Murphy Bed Pros and Cons – Why Aren’t Murphy Beds That Popular?
A Murphy bed, also called a wall bed, pull-down bed, or fold-down bed, is a type of bed that is stored vertically against a wall when not in use. Murphy beds can also be folded into a closet or cabinet, depending on personal preferences. These types of beds are convenient because of their space-saving features and multifunctionality. However, there are still some disadvantages that should be considered when deciding whether to purchase a Murphy bed. You also need to consider the weight capacity of different Murphy beds too. But what are some murphy bed pros and cons, and why aren’t murphy beds that popular?
Murphy bed pros include that they save space, are multifunctional, can blend in with the room when not in use, and can be used as a guest bed. Murphy bed cons include that they aren’t that durable, can be dangerous if not used properly, are relatively expensive compared to other types of beds, and can take up lots of wall space in a room. Murphy beds aren’t that popular because there are many other types of beds to choose from and because they might not suit the design of some bedrooms.
Murphy beds were much more popular during the 1980s and 1990s than they are now. The main reason for this is the fact that there are dozens of different types of beds in different price ranges nowadays. Plus, people can now easily select a suitable bed by considering the design, features, and price range from multiple vendors at the same time.
Below, we will provide an overview of the major pros and cons of murphy beds.
Advantages (Pros) of Murphy Beds
Although Murphy beds have become less popular over the last few decades, there are still many advantages that people appreciate them for. Some of the major pros of murphy beds are discussed below.
Advantages of murphy beds include that they save space, can be multifunctional, can be used for guest beds, and can look like a regular wall, storage unit, or closet when not in use.
Murphy Beds Save Space
As mentioned earlier, the primary purpose of a typical murphy bed is to save some space in small apartments or bedrooms. If you have limited space, a murphy bed can let you free up some space during the day or while the bed is not being used. Also, since murphy beds are only folded out when used, they can create the illusion of a larger and brighter bedroom. Murphy beds are also a popular option with tiny homes and campers. Take a look at our article on choosing the right Murphy bed for a tiny home for more information. Also, check out these 15 Murphy bed ideas for studio apartments, campers, and RVs for more options.
A simple murphy bed chest like this one can look like a dresser during the day and convert to a bed at night.
Murphy Beds Can Be Multifunctional
The majority of early murphy beds were just hinged beds without any additional storage. As the production of furniture has evolved and advanced, the design and features of murphy beds have improved as well.
Modern murphy beds can include storage shelves, typically on each side of the bed, and some models offer even more. For instance, some murphy beds feature a storage unit and can also be converted into a sofa when folded up against the wall. These features make murphy beds multifunctional and can help you save even more space.
This murphy bed cabinet from Amazon has built-in storage shelves!
When Not In Use, Murphy Beds Look Like a Regular Wall, Storage Unit, or Closet
One thing people love about murphy beds is that they look like a regular wall, storage unit, or closet when folded up against the wall. This is important because the overall aesthetic of your bedroom influences how comfortable you will feel while being there. The part of the murphy bed that’s visible when it’s folded against the wall can also be seen as a bit of decoration. For example, you can put some books, pictures, or decorative items on shelves or paint the base using colors that match your bedroom. You can also hang some lights on the bed to make it even more pleasing to the eye. Make sure to also check out these 10 Murphy bed accessories to help maximize your space to the fullest.
You can even convert any bed into a murphy bed (and save space in your room) for as little as $280. Here’s a kit from Amazon that enables you to do this.
Murphy Beds Can Be Used as Guest Beds
Last but not least, murphy beds are ideal for guest rooms. If you sometimes have guests who need overnight accommodation, having a room that is not loaded with furniture but still offers excellent comfort for guests is essential. You can even use a Tempurpedic mattress with your Murphy bed, making your guests completely comfortable. The use of a murphy bed in your guest room will allow you to use the space freely and unfold the bed only if you have guests staying with you. For more information on this topic, check out our comprehensive article about different types of beds that are ideal for guest rooms and choosing the right Murphy bed for your exercise room. Also, if you have a platform bed, but prefer a Murphy bed in your guest room, take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to convert a platform bed into a Murphy bed.
Disadvantages (Cons) of Murphy Beds
Although murphy beds have many pros, it is important to consider some of the most noticeable disadvantages that these beds have.
Disadvantages of murphy beds include that they can be challenging to fold out and put away and that they may cause you to have to rearrange your room throughout the day. Murphy beds are also not that durable, can be dangerous if not used properly, and are relatively expensive compared to other types of beds.
Murphy Beds Can Be Challenging To Fold Out and Put Away
Early murphy beds were quite bulky and were challenging to fold and unfold. Although modern murphy beds are designed to make it easier for the user to fold them up and out when needed, it might still be difficult in some cases. For instance, it is not recommended for elderly people to open or close murphy beds. Murphy bed handles are typically located at the top of the bed, so elderly people may experience joint pain when reaching up and pulling the bed down (for more information about how age and sex can affect strength when folding out and putting away a murphy bed, see this study).
Unfolding a murphy bed can also be a pretty tough task for pregnant women. Children shouldn’t open or close a murphy bed either; they might not be able to ensure that the bed is completely unfolded before they sleep in it, which could cause severe safety issues. For more information about child safety and injury prevention in the home, see this study.
If you love DIY, then making your own murphy bed using this kit from Amazon will help you maintain your murphy bed so that it’s always easy to pull out.
Extra Rearrangements Might Be Required During the Day
As mentioned previously, you might want to use the space created by folding up your murphy bed for another purpose during the day. Despite the fact that Murphy beds allow you to benefit from some extra space, they also require you to rearrange the area afterward. It might be tiring to have to rearrange the area to pull out your murphy bed when you just want to get some quality sleep. Murphy bed accessories like wall-mounted bookshelves and hangers can help mitigate your need to rearrange your room.
Bed Sheets Might Get Disorganized and Messy
Another disadvantage of murphy beds is that they can cause bed sheets and pillows to be messy and disorganized. Also, pillows can easily lose their shape if they are left in the bed when it’s folded up. To prevent these problems, some murphy beds provide special racks for storage. However, even if you have a storage rack on your murphy bed, you still have to put your bedsheets, pillows, and blankets on the bed every time you pull it out and take them off every time you put the bed away.
Use bed sheet clamps like these ones from Amazon to keep your bedding organized on your murphy bed.
Murphy Beds Are Not That Durable
Since murphy beds are pulled out and put away quite often, they might not last as long as regular beds. Murphy beds that are installed for everyday use usually last for about 13 years. On the other hand, murphy beds that are explicitly designated for guests can last for 20 years or even more, depending on how often you fold and unfold the bed. On average, Murphy beds can be expected to last for 15 to 16 years, whereas regular beds can last for much longer.
Murphy Beds Can Be Dangerous If Not Used Properly
Generally, almost any type of bed is safe for children and adults. The only aspect of some beds that could be considered dangerous is the presence of sharp corners. However, murphy beds can pose additional safety problems.
Murphy beds can be safety hazards if not correctly installed and used, and deaths caused by defective murphy beds snapping up have been reported. One of the more widely known cases is the death of a 32-year-old man in 2012 who was instantly killed while installing a murphy bed. For more details, see this article from the New York Post about the incident.
This may sound scary, but any type of furniture can be dangerous if it’s not used properly. Murphy beds are safe if they are used properly by following the instructions and precautions provided on the label or in the manual. For more information about bed safety, see this study.
Murphy Beds Are Relatively Expensive Compared To Other Types of Beds
Typical murphy beds usually cost at least $1,500 to $2,000, and they can be even more expensive (costing up to approximately $6,000) as the size of the bed increases. There might also be extra fees for the installation of a murphy bed, which is an essential step you should never skip. Having a professional install your bed will make it much safer to use and protect you and your family members from injuries. For more information on this topic, take a look at our ultimate guide to murphy bed costs.
When and Why Were Murphy Beds So Popular?
Murphy beds were invented in the early 1900s when William Lawrence Murphy introduced the concept of a space-saving bed. Since then, the design and features of murphy beds have significantly improved, but their main purpose has stayed the same: to save some space in small rooms.
Murphy beds were especially popular in the 1980s and 1990s because they allowed people to have additional space in small apartments and living quarters.
The main reason for the popularity of murphy beds in the 1980s and 1990s is because lots of people were living in very small apartments at the time. In these small apartments, the use of a regular bed would have made it difficult to have some free space for other pieces of essential furniture.
Why Aren’t Murphy Beds That Popular Now?
Murphy beds aren’t that popular now because they are expensive, there are dozens of other types of beds to choose from, living conditions have improved over the past few decades. and murphy beds might not suit the design of every bedroom.
The main reason that murphy beds aren’t that popular now is price. Although Murphy beds are quite convenient to use, especially in small bedrooms, there are still lots of alternative options that cost much less than a murphy bed. For instance, you can use a futon or a foldable sofa as a bed at night and also save some space during the day by converting it back into a couch. Using a futon or sofa bed will help you not only free up space in your bedroom but also save money. Our guide to why murphy beds are expensive will show you all the hidden costs.
Nowadays, there are many different bed types to choose from. This makes it pretty easy to select and purchase the bed that best suits your preferences and matches your bedroom, so some of the types of beds that were popular in the past have been replaced by others. Trundle beds are among our favorite beds for guest rooms. They’re compact, have 2 beds to sleep multiple guests, and can act like sofas during the day. Make sure to take a look at our complete comparison guide to Murphy beds, daybeds, sofa beds, and futons too for more detailed information.
In the past, people lived in smaller houses, so it was essential for them to use furniture that would allow them to have some free space for other things as well as for daily activities. As living conditions have improved and the size of houses and apartments has increased, more and more people no longer require space-saving furniture. Instead, they can afford to buy regular beds, which are much more convenient and easier to use. However, Murphy beds are still quite popular in areas with studio-type apartments and can even be used in rooms with low ceilings. There is nothing wrong with sleeping in a murphy bed, but a regular bed might be more comfortable if you have enough space for it to fit in your bedroom.
Another reason that murphy beds aren’t that popular now is that murphy beds might not match the overall look of every bedroom. When buying a modern murphy bed, one has to take into account not only the bed itself but also the additional storage racks or any other complementary pieces that come with it. As a result, it is harder to ensure that the whole bed suits the design of your bedroom and it might be easier to purchase a regular bed since there is less to consider in terms of matching your bedroom design.