How To Turn a Platform Bed Into a Murphy Bed – Step by Step

A platform bed is a type of bed that features a large, sturdy base designed to hold a mattress and which does not require the extra support of a box spring or other mattress foundation. Traditional platform beds feature a sleek, minimalist look – no headboard or footboard – but modern platform beds incorporate a variety of style and design features (including both headboards and footboards). For more information, make sure to check out our in-depth guide to platform bed pros and cons. Murphy beds, on the other hand are hinged at one end so they can be stored vertically against a wall or inside a closet or cabinet. So, you might be wondering, how do you turn a platform bed into a murphy bed?

To turn a platform bed into a Murphy bed, first attach the murphy bed wall mounting mechanism into the bed frame. Then, add false drawers or doors underneath the bed and attach panels. Finally, assemble the platform bed, mount it to the wall, and attach handles to easily pull the bed down.

We understand why you might want a Murphy Bed instead of a platform bed. Murphy beds are a unique, multi-functional bed perfect for saving space in your bedroom. You are making a smart decision to utilize the space in your home office or spare bedroom more efficiently. The Murphy bed mattress is also thicker than sleep sofas and other foldable beds, making it practical for daily use. These instructions from Wilding Wall beds show you how to make a standard Murphy bed, for inspiration and general guidance. Additionally, take a look at a what is a Murphy bed, our full list of Murphy bed pros and cons, and why Murphy beds are so expensive to buy outright. 

A murphy bed hardware kit like this one from Amazon will allow you to easily convert a platform bed into a murphy bed. Below, we will provide you general guidance, but you should consult the manufacturer’s instructions for all the details. Additionally, if you just need a little more height to your platform bed, take a look at our guide on how to raise a platform bed instead.

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Step 1. Build a Murphy Bed Frame Into the Wall

Use a kit to turn a platform bed into a Murphy bed.Murphy bed kits can easily help convert platform beds into murphy beds. Here’s one that makes a minimalist cabinet. Kit available on Amazon.

If you want to turn a platform bed into a Murphy bed, it’s easiest to start with the platform bed already in your room. This will save you a lot of time because you won’t need to make the platform and bed by yourself.

First, you need to make a frame in the wall that the bed will fold up into. You are basically bumping out the wall to provide space for the bed to be hidden in.

It’s important to take the right measurements of your platform bed so it will fit into the wall frame you build. If you are interested, you can go a step further and make bookshelves next to the wall frame so you can store some of your things in them and maximize your use of space. After you build a frame on the wall, move onto the next step.

These Murphy Bed DIY kits from Amazon will make your task much easier

Product Name and Link on Amazon What’s Included Price
Easy DIY Cabinet Murphy Bed Queen Kit All the hardware, detailed guide books with images, and a lifetime warranty
Does not include the lumber or mattress
~$250
Create-A-Bed Queen Size Vertical or Horizontal Murphy Bed Kit A DVD with instructions and a booklet, murphy bed piston mechanism, brackets, etc. 
Does not include the lumber or mattress
~$290

Step 2. Add False Doors or Drawers to the Underside of the Platform Bed

When doing it DIY, attach faux panels and doors to the back of your platform bed.Use spacers to create gaps between doors and drawers. (Image from FamilyHandyman).

Next, you will want to add faux drawers or doors to the other side of your platform bed. 

Your second step is adding false drawers or doors. You will turn over the platform bed, attach the faux panels and drawers, and mount the pulls and knobs.

With a helper, carefully turn over the platform bed assembly so it’s face up on your bench. Rip the stock for the faux panels and drawers to width. Use 1/8-in. spacers to create gaps between the faux doors and drawers and attach them with glue and brads or pins. Be sparing with the glue, which is tough to clean up. 

Go ahead and mount the pulls and knobs, being careful to avoid the inner frame structure when placing your hardware. Remove all the hardware until after the cabinet is finished. Cut and fit the mattress supports, but don’t screw these into place until final assembly.

Step 3. Attach the Panels

Panels help provide a finished look to  your murphy bed.Attaching the panels will give your Murphy bed a finished look. (Image from Rockler Companies).

Once you’ve added the false doors or drawers, you will want to attach the panels.

Your third step is attaching the face panels. You will need to apply glue, center the subframe, and then secure the face panels and subframe by screwing them into the bed and struts. 

Apply glue to the face panels using the trace that you made, so you will be able to secure the struts. Reposition the subframe on the glue. Make sure that the subframe is flush with the panels at the foot of the bed and centered on the sides.

Apply the screws in order so that the face panels, as well as the subframe, will be aligned. Start by securing the last strut that is located on the foot, using screws on the corners. Two additional screws should be inserted in the center of the strut at the foot rail. 

Screw together the corners at the head of your bed before adding more screws to the rest of the struts to secure them to the face panels.

Step 4. Assemble the Platform Bed

Almost any platform bed frame can be converted into a murphy bed.Assemble your platform bed, like the one above, before attaching it to the Murphy bed frame. (Image from Wayfair).

Once your panels are attached, it’s time to assemble the platform bed. The longer sides will be vertical when the bed is folded, and make up the cabinet sides, while the header goes up at the top.

Your fourth step is assembling the platform bed by attaching the verticals to the header, then applying and ironing on veneer tape for a nice finish.

Attach the verticals to the short side of the header using a drill and two-inch screws. Use your jigsaw to cut a notch to provide clearance for your base molding. 

This will ensure the platform bed is flush against the wall. Apply veneer tape, then iron it on all the visible edges of the plywood to give your platform bed a finished look.

Step 5. Mount the Platform Bed

Mount the platform bed to the Murphy bed frame.Mount the platform bed to the frame, and it will function like the Murphy bed above. (Image from Amazon).

Now it’s time to attach the platform bed to the wall frame.

The fifth step is mounting the platform bed. You can do this by attaching the backside of your header to your wall studs, then installing the Murphy bed hydraulic mechanism. Finally, you can paint or stain the wood and add any additional leg support.

Find the studs in your walls. Attach the backside of your header to these studs so the platform bed is installed on the wall.

After finishing that, you should attach the hardware. Install the Murphy bed hydraulic mechanism that came with the hardware kit. It is important that the hydraulics kit fits your platform bed, and that it is properly assembled. 

Paint or stain the wood and add leg support based on the instructions that are included in the kit.

Step 6. Attach the Handles

Once your platform bed is mounted to the wall, you’re ready for the final step.

The final step is attaching the Murphy bed handles on the outside panels of the bed. Make sure to install them at a comfortable height to you.

Typically, handles are 66″ from the floor, but they can be adjusted as you see fit. After doing this final step, your Murphy bed should be done and ready for use. 

Why Turn a Platform Bed into a Murphy Bed?

Murphy Beds save a lot of space when stowed away by using vertical wall space insteadMurphy beds are more space-saving and stylish than platform beds. (Image from The Spruce).

There are many reasons why you may want to turn a platform bed into a Murphy bed.

Some reasons you may want to turn a platform bed into a Murphy bed include saving space, building a multifunctional space, and creating an environment that is both stylish and comfortable.

Reason 1. Murphy Beds Save Space

Murphy beds will transform the way you think about the space in your home. Spare, guest, or hobby rooms can quickly become a room for storing workout equipment, Christmas gifts, seasonal clothing, as well as a comfortable space for your guests when they come to visit.

With any Murphy bed, you save a lot of space while customizing how you plan to use the room. Utilizing built-in storage cabinets, hidden nightstands, drawers, and fold-out desks, you can maximize every square inch of your room, so you get the most use out of your home.

Reason 2. Murphy Beds are Multifunctional

Murphy Beds take up wall space, not floor space, allowing you to use your room in ways you never thought possible.

You can decorate the outside of your Murphy bed so you have shelves, a desk, or even a sofa. When the bed is not in use, it folds up easily into the wall, leaving you with a clean, free space to use as you choose. You can get really creative with the additional free space.

Reason 3. Murphy Beds are Stylish and Customizable

Not only do these space-saving beds allow you to create a multipurpose room, but they’re also a stylish and stunning addition to your space.

Turning your platform bed into a Murphy bed will make your bedroom both stylish and fully customizable.

You can customize your Murphy bed in a dozen ways. From the color and texture to cabinet and drawer handles, you can design your perfect Murphy bed to meet your needs and reflect your personal style. 

Can You Use a Platform Bed Mattress for a Murphy Bed?

The short answer is yes. When transforming your platform bed into a Murphy bed, try to build a Murphy bed that can use any mattress, with the only restriction being the thickness.

You can use a platform bed mattress for a Murphy bed because most Murphy beds do not require a special mattress. Try to use a mattress that is thinner so that your murphy bed cabinet doesn’t need to be too deep. 

It is common for the thickness limit of Murphy beds to be around 11 inches, so the cabinet can be narrow (typically 16 inches deep) and the unit can fit nicely into even a small room. This 11 in. thickness usually means that some of today’s plush, pillow-top mattresses will not work. Rather, a standard “old school” mattress from any brand works best. Even a memory-foam mattress works well, as long as it is less than 11” thick. I personally use the Zinus Green Tea mattress from amazon and it’s incredibly comfortable. 

Remember, if you are using your own mattress from your platform bed, make sure to carefully measure everything so that the installment will go smoothly. 

Examples of Murphy Bed DIY Kits

A simple Murphy bed conversion kit from AmazonMurphy bed DIY kits include all the tools and hydraulics to transform your platform bed. (Image from Amazon).

In order to transform your platform bed into a Murphy bed, or make your own Murphy bed, you should definitely consider buying a Murphy bed kit.

There are many examples of Murphy bed DIY kits, from super low-cost frames to more expensive, deluxe kits for larger beds. The kits typically include all the necessary hydraulics and hardware that help you easily turn your platform bed into a Murphy bed.

These kits are sold in various home improvement shops or online from bed manufacturers. Once you receive your Murphy bed hardware kit, read all the instructions thoroughly. If the package comes with a DVD, watch it. It is important to review all the instructions meticulously so you know how best to approach building your bed.

There will be plenty of wood cutting, so make sure that you are aware of the scope of the work. The instructions for building a Murphy bed usually include a list of materials, but you can adjust the list according to your specifications. Once you have your complete DIY Murphy bed kit with all of its materials, it’s time to assemble your bed.

See the table below for examples of Murphy bed DIY kits.

Murphy Bed DIY Kit Example Why Is This a Good DIY Kit? Approximate Price
Queen Size Deluxe Murphy Bed Kit This kit comes with a lifetime warranty and major hotel owners recommend it $300
Low-Cost DIY Murphy Wall Bed Frame Woodworking Plans King While this isn’t a ‘kit’, this plan is very easy to assemble $30
WBS DIY Murphy Bed Hardware Kit This kit helps you save vital space in small living areas or create an additional sleep area for friends or family. $260

Examples of Murphy Bed Frames

Murphy bed frames come in a variety of materials.

When turning your platform bed into a Murphy bed, you have plenty of options for the Murphy bed’s frame. Some examples include heavy steel frames, lighter metal frames, and wood frames.

In some situations, it might be easier for you to get a separate Murphy bed frame than use the one on your platform bed. For example, if you need a smaller frame than the one you have, it is easier to buy a new one than to shorten the existing frame.

Use solid wood for the bed frame to create a sturdy, convertible bed for your room. When you are DIYing, the materials require exact cuts. Most of the time, solid wood boards will be used for the frame struts, mounting cleats, and sides, while plywood can be used for the rest. So, buying a murphy bed frame might be a good alternative, since it’s so much simpler. 

See the table below for examples of Murphy bed frames and how to use platform bed mattresses with them.

Murphy Bed Frame Example (from Amazon) How to Use a Platform Bed Mattress with This Frame Approximate Price
Bestar Murphy Bed Frame with 2 Storage Cabinets This murphy bed frame accommodates most standard Queen mattresses from 8” to 12” thick. You don’t need to modify anything. $1850
Bestar Pur Queen Murphy Bed Frame The Pur Murphy bed has no cabinets. It accommodates any queen mattress up to 12 inches thick. The total weight capacity is 1000 lbs $1500

Conclusion

We hope this article gave you some insight on what Murphy beds and platform beds are, as well as some of the benefits of each. Additionally, you may find our step by step guide about how to move a platform bed most useful too.