Murphy Beds Are Making a Comeback—But Are They Here to Stay?

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated April 14, 2022
A small apartment with murphy bed
Photo: Jon Lovette / Photodisc / Getty Images


  • This space-saving favorite was invented over 100 years ago.

  • Murphy beds are beloved today for tiny houses and micro-lofts. 

  • Despite the many pros of Murphy beds, this furnishing also comes with a couple drawbacks to consider.

Though a Murphy bed may seem like a better fit for a black-and-white movie than a modern home, this inventive furnishing is uniquely fitted to many contemporary needs. Also known as a pull-down, wall, or cabinet bed, this decades-old design is rising in popularity—the global market is expected to grow over 6% by 2029. It’s an ingenious way to win back square footage or turn any room into a multifunctional space, which is a big win for studio apartments, tiny homes, and other small living spaces. 

Not familiar with this old-school favorite? Keep reading to get to know the pros and cons of Murphy beds and if it could be the missing piece for your perfect home set-up. 

What Is a Murphy Bed?

When in use, a Murphy bed looks like any regular bed. But what makes this design different is that it folds up seamlessly into a wall, freeing a large amount of space during the day. Murphy beds are sold in an array of different sizes and styles, but most versions are hinged on one end for relatively easy opening and closing.

Murphy Bed Origins

The Murphy bed was first invented by William Lawrence Murphy in the late 1800s, according to Smithsonian Magazine, but the design was most popular throughout the 1920s. Rumor has it Murphy had the idea to create it when he realized he’d need to transform his single-room apartment into a bedless parlor fit for entertaining. Little did he know, his design would still be used to make the most of small spaces more than100 years later.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Murphy Beds? 

A wardrobe with pull down bed
Photo: / Adobe Stock

Though Murphy beds are growing once again in popularity and might seem like a flawless space-saver, this furnishing comes with a handful of drawbacks that are also worth considering. Here are all the pros and cons of Murphy beds that will help you determine if one is right for you. 

Pro: They’re Space Savers

As micro-lofts and tiny homes become increasingly more common, so too do Murphy beds. “[People] are learning to get creative with the spaces they are given, and I believe Murphy beds fit well into our growing interest in minimalism,” says Andrea Martin of Ewa’s English Cottage

Whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment and need to find a way to make it feel like you’re not constantly in your bedroom, or you do have more space and simply want to win back a bit of extra square footage for another use, a Murphy bed can certainly help you do it.

Con: They’re Often More Expensive Than Traditional Beds

Murphy beds cost a bit more than traditional beds because they require extra steps to install. In general, you’ll pay between $1,000 and $7,500 and $3,000 on average to have one installed by a professional, according to HomeAdvisor.

Pro: …But They’re Just as Comfortable

There is practically no difference in comfort level between a traditional bed and a Murphy bed. The mattress you choose is the only thing that may have an impact on how well you sleep (but this is true for any kind of bedtime setup). 

Con: They Can Be Dangerous If Not Used Properly

Murphy beds are a safe and convenient option for any home … as long as they are installed and used properly. In general, it’s always a good idea to anchor heavy furniture to prevent tip-overs, like a heavy Murphy bed. Even avid DIYers should consider hiring a local contractor for this task to ensure your space is as safe as possible. 

But there are also a handful of other steps you can take to guarantee that no mishaps occur. Whenever opening and closing the bed, take time to ensure that all locks and safeties are properly secured to avoid the risk of unwanted pop-ups. Do it in a well-lit room to guarantee you don’t miss a thing, and you and your Murphy bed will both be good to go. 

Pro: They Can Make a Room Multi-Functional 

Murphy beds are so beloved for micro-lofts, studio apartments, and tiny houses because they make it possible to entirely transform a space with little effort. “A living room becomes a bedroom, a loft an entertaining space, a bedroom an office,” Martin explains. 

Con: …But They Can Be Difficult to Close Up and Put Away

Early versions of the Murphy bed were often heavy and difficult to close, and that is still sometimes true today. Fortunately, more and more options are being made with lightweight materials and advanced spring mechanisms to eliminate this problem entirely. If, of course, you’ve found a vintage Murphy bed that you can’t let go, consider putting it in a space where it won’t need to be opened every day, like a guest room.

Pro: They Provide Extra Storage

“The Murphy bed is perfect for saving space while also adding storage,” Jessica Hamlet, of The Manor Antiques and Architecturals. “I personally love the idea of built-in shelving units for a small library that’s attached to a Murphy bed.”

Other ideas include a Murphy bed that’s also an entertainment center, a desk, or even an entire cabinet system for all your loose ends.