To steal a little inspiration from Superman, it’s a bed, it’s a wall, no, it’s both! It’s a Murphy bed, and it’s one of the ultimate space-saving sleeping solutions for multi-functional areas. These efficient furniture pieces look like part of the wall or even shelving but pull down into a bed.
When down, a typical Murphy bed can range widely in width and length, mimicking the sizes of standard beds. It’s usually roughly 82 to 88 inches high, 18 inches deep, and 45 to 67 inches wide when upright. However, if you opt for a horizontal Murphy bed, these dimensions change dramatically.
A Murphy bed is an excellent solution for a multi-functional room, like a studio apartment. It’s also a great way to provide sleeping space for guests in a home with limited bedrooms. However, you need to make sure you get all your measurements correct so your Murphy bed can function properly.
Table of Contents
- Dimensions of a Closed Murphy Bed
- Dimensions of an Open Murphy Bed
- Clearance Needed for a Murphy Bed
- Extra Considerations When Using a Murphy Bed
- Related Questions
Dimensions of a Closed Murphy Bed
Basically, if you have the room for an open Murphy bed, you might think you’re good to go. However, since you store a Murphy upright, you need to consider a whole separate set of dimensions.
Necessary Wall Space for a Vertical Murphy Bed
Obviously, where you install your Murphy bed on the wall needs to be clear and open to house your bed. Vertical Murphy beds are the most ideal since when open they closely resemble a standard bed. You can get into the bed from either side.
Allow about 82 to 88 inches of vertical space on your wall for a Murphy bed. You need at least 45 to 67 inches of horizontal space for just the bed and frame.
Necessary Wall Space for a Horizontal Murphy Bed
If your ceiling clearance or floor space in the room is tight, a horizontal bed might be a better option. Obviously, you just need to account for more horizontal wall space but will require less vertical space.
A horizontal Murphy bed needs about 80 to 85 inches of horizontal wall space. However, it only takes up about 47 to 69 inches of vertical space on the wall.
Murphy Beds with Storage
If you decide to go with a Murphy bed design that features side cabinets, you’ll need even more space. These additions give you extra storage, plus add to the built-in shelving look, really disguising your Murphy bed.
Cabinets are typically available in 18, 24, or 30 inches wide, but you can get custom sizes as well. Depending on your bed’s design, you can also get drawers or shelves flanking your bed. Make sure to account for the extra wall space these additions need.
If you’re limited in wall space, consider getting storage on just one side of your bed. Some storage is always better than none!
Dimensions of an Open Murphy Bed
When a Murphy bed is down, it typically takes up the same amount of space as a standard bed. Therefore, the space you need depends on the size of your Murphy bed.
The Murphy bed’s overall dimensions usually equal the size of the mattress plus a few extra inches. These extra inches account for the bed frame and vary based on the bed’s style.
A Quick Peek at Murphy Bed Dimensions
When open, your bed’s width and depth are based primarily on the size of a standard mattress. However, the orientation of the bed plays a large role in how the bed takes up space. Here is a quick glance at the average dimensions of the various sizes of an open Murphy bed.
|Bed Size||Orientation||Depth (From wall to bed edge)||Width|
|Twin||Vertical||82 inches||45.5 inches|
|Twin||Horizontal||45 inches||80 inches|
|Twin XL||Vertical||87 inches||45.5 inches|
|Twin XL||Horizontal||45 inches||80 inches|
|Full/Double||Vertical||82 inches||60.5 inches|
|Full/Double||Horizontal||61 inches||80 inches|
|Queen||Vertical||87 inches||66.5 inches|
|Queen||Horizontal||66 inches||85 inches|
Clearance Needed for a Murphy Bed
Having enough maneuvering space is always essential in a bedroom, especially for a Murphy bed. In addition to the wall space already mentioned, you need to consider the vertical space and the ceiling. And, of course, you need to think about your floor area as well.
Necessary Floor Space for a Murphy Bed
When your bed is down, it’s essential to leave an adequate amount of space around it. You don’t want getting in and out of your bed to feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Usually, it’s ideal to have between 30 and 36 inches of clearance around a bed. This open space allows you to climb into bed from either side.
Plus, it lets people move around the room freely without feeling like they’re going to trip over the bed. However, you could cheat the clearance a bit on one side for a twin bed. Twin beds are usually meant for one, so there is probably no need for equal space on both sides.
Likewise, if you use a horizontal Murphy bed, then you only get one open side. In this case, you might want to ensure you have some extra space at the foot of the bed. At least strive for this extra room at the foot for full and queen-size beds.
What Is on the Ceiling Above the Murphy Bed?
On average, your ceiling should be at least 2.5 inches taller than the height of the upright Murphy bed. Also, consider anything installed on your ceiling, like light fixtures or pipes, that can interfere with the Murphy bed.
Ensure the lowest hanging item is at least 2.5 inches above the height of your closed Murphy bed. If you don’t have the necessary ceiling clearance, then a horizontal Murphy bed is the way to go.
Extra Considerations When Using a Murphy Bed
While size and space are important factors for choosing your Murphy bed, so is safety. Typically, Murphy beds install into studs in the wall with brackets. Never leave your Murphy bed freestanding.
If you cannot install your Murphy bed yourself, it’s vital to get someone who can do it properly. Some wall beds also mount to the floor as well. However, many new models have veered away from this design to protect flooring.
When planning your layout, ensure there’s enough space to exit the room quickly when the bed is down. This is critical in case of emergencies like fire or a gas-line issue. You don’t want your Murphy bed blocking any access points in the room when it is in the down position.
Likewise, remember to consider your other furniture in the room. Everything might look fantastic when your Murphy bed is up. But, when you pull down the bed, things become cramped and create a slew of accidents-waiting-to-happen.
Can you get a king-size Murphy bed?
King Murphy beds are not common, but you can get them (for a hefty price) or have one custom made. This size of Murphy bed comes with some extra challenges when it comes to installation due to the size and weight. However, you can find some basic, limited options for king units on sites like Wayfair.
A king Murphy bed is about 90 inches wide and roughly 93 inches long. However, one possibility is to use a design featuring two twin beds that come down side-by-side, creating a makeshift king.
Can you install anything on a Murphy bed’s underside for when it’s in an upright position?
When it comes to designing a Murphy bed for your space, you have lots of possibilities. In fact, you can come up with some quite unique and creative ideas if you go custom.
You could bolt lockable storage for sweaters or lightweight items that can be jostled around to the Murphy bed frame. Another option is to put some beautiful art on the underside of your Murphy bed. This, or a map of places you’ve been, will make for a stunning display when the bed is closed.
Some custom Murphy bed companies can even mount flat-screen televisions on the underside of the bed! Another creative option is a fold-down table or desk. The piece simply folds back up and locks into position when you pull down the bed.
Do you need a particular mattress for a Murphy bed?
There’s no need to get a custom mattress for a Murphy bed. Most standard mattresses will work just fine. However, you do need to pay attention to the thickness of the mattress.
A Murphy bed mattress should be no more than 11 inches, although some allow for 12 inches. A standard mattress should hit this mark, which means you probably can’t go for an extra-cushy pillow top. Therefore, when shopping for your Murphy bed mattress, don’t forget to pay close attention to thickness.
Overall, a Murphy bed is a great way to create a sleeping space in multi-functional or tight spaces. However, ensure you get all your ducks in a row when it comes to measuring. This way, you make sure you get the perfect (and safest) fit for your space.
Is Your Bed Taking Up Too Much Space?
Old Craftsman style homes are usually built to include smaller bedrooms. If your bed takes up more than 80% of your room, how about downsizing your mattress, or perhaps purchasing a futon to sleep on? Check out our Futon Dimensions Guide to see how much room a standard Futon will fill.