Murphy Bed

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Create a convertible bedroom with cool cabinetry, the right hardware kit, and clear instructions.

I suspect that a lot of empty nesters would like to convert a kid’s former room into a usable space for other pursuits while still having it available for visiting friends and family. The solution is a comfy, standard-sized Murphy bed that quickly flips out of the way when not needed. I wanted one myself.

After some research, I found a nice, well-made, reasonably priced Murphy bed hardware kit for the job. (See page 62.) What’s not so nice is the kit’s instruction booklet, with its metric dimensions, minimal illustrations, and a bed cabinet design that leaves a lot to be desired. After puzzling through the hardware installation, I designed much nicer cabinetry to accommodate it, and I have to say the unit looks and works great! The cleverly designed spring-loaded bed mechanism is adjustable for tension and lets you lower the bed with one hand while swinging the legs down for support. When raising the bed back into the cabinet, swing the leg stretcher up onto the mattress to help hold it in place while vertical. 

I based the bed cabinet design on an 8"-thick, full-size mattress, which will suit most guest rooms. I flanked the cabinet with bookcases, tying all three units together visually with molding at the base and a square bead that runs along the top. Soffit boards atop the square bead reach to the ceiling to hide the metal mounting brackets and prevent a dust trap. A mantel reinforces the door while providing a pretty platform for decorative items. I built the project with clear, vertical-grain fir plywood trimmed out with solid vertical-grain fir to match my room’s trim. Build and style your version to suit your own décor.

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