What is a wall bed?
A wall bed is a bed that folds cantilevers up and is stored and hidden into the cabinet attached to a wall. When stored away, it forms part of a cabinet against the wall freeing up space in the room. When you need the bed, you release it and it will opens downward.
The wall beds are also commonly referred to as Murphy Beds or folding beds
In a nutshell, it is a space-saving piece of furniture that allows you to turn any room into a guest bedroom or room which you create luxurious spaces when the bed is folded up.
Here’s a series of photos illustrating how a wall bed works – from storage position to full bed:
Benefits of a wall bed
The benefits are pretty clear. They are:
- Saves space.
- Turn almost any room into a guest bedroom.
- Gain additional storage and/or functionality in the room. You can add bookshelves, desk, TV stand, sofa and more. When you go with a custom design and build, the sky is the limit.
- Look really cool.
- More comfortable than many sofa beds.
Disadvantages of wall beds
It’s hard to pinpoint any disadvantages, but they are not without problems. Consider:
- Cost: custom wall beds with bells and whistles are expensive just as any custom cabinetry is.
- Have to make the bed: In order to fit the bed into its cabinet, the bed must be neatly made or blankets removed. It’s easier not having to tuck away a bed. Anyway the same issue is with sofa beds too.
- Cannot move to another location: Some models can be moved, but you need to take out screws. These things are bolted to the wall and pretty much cannot be moved to another room. It’s permanent.
Are wall beds growing in popularity?
Yes, as most houses are built with much smaller rooms and space is becoming a premium in most cities.
Which room can a wall bed go in?
In my opinion, they can go in any room other than the kitchen, dining room or bathroom.
They work in a living room, family room, home office, basement, garage, out-building such as artist studio or dormitories, etc. As long as it’s pretty easy to create sufficient space for the bed to open down, you can put it there. Here is a great example of how a Murphy hidden wall bed can fit well into a SOHO home office:
How much do wall beds cost?
The cost depends on whether you buy one ready-made, design your own or have it custom built. Feature addons will dictate the price as well such as shelving, etc.
Ready-made wall beds (they’re delivered and you assemble) will start at around $1,200 for a base unit.
Custom designs can go as high as $10,000 or higher. It is a lot of cash, but you can create extensive built-in features such as the following example which creates an entire home office with a wall bed built into it:
As you can see from a examples above, you can add all sorts of features to your wall bed. Whether some basic bookshelves or a complete home office system to TV entertainment centre and more.
Are wall beds comfortable?
Yes, they are. Murphy hidden wall beds are solid pieces of furniture with an even sleeping surface and are large enough to accommodate a quality mattress. More importantly, they do not need to be folded so you do not need a flimsy mattress that can fold. In other words, you get to sleep on a real quality mattress.
Types of Wall Beds
There are 2 main types of wall beds. Here they are.
Can you take your wall bed with you if you move to another house?
Yes, you can but it requires disassembling them from the wall. The more cabinetry and furniture attached, the more complicated it is to extricate from the room. They are essentially built-in furniture, but with a drill or other tools, they can be removed.
Are wall beds suitable for a master bedroom?
Yes, but it is not necessary unless your master bedroom doubles as another space which is not uncommon in small apartments. If, however, you have a dedicated master bedroom space, there is no reason to spend the money on a wall bed. I believe the money is better invested in a better mattress and traditional bed.
Let’s face it, are you seriously going to tuck the bed into the wall each day? Not likely. It’s only done when used as a space-saving bed so that the space can be used for something else when not being used as a bed.
Are wall beds good for kids?
Like the answer to whether they are good for a master bedroom, the cost and the fact you and definitely your kids are not going to tuck it into the wall each day. However, if you live in a smaller space, it can be a viable solution for when there are more people than bedrooms. Also, it could be a good practice if the beds have an attached foldable table so your kids can be working on his school works with the space for working and when it is time for bed, it can be folded down to make a complete bed. As for whether they are comfortable enough as a main bed, yes, they are. They provide very good comfort and support as a bed.
DIY Wall Beds
There are three types of DIY wall beds.
First, you can assemble a purchased wall bed. This is pretty typical.
Second, you can buy plans or a kit and build it.
Third, you can design and build one from scratch.
Most people buy one with all the materials and hardware and simply assemble it. Why? Because it’s a fairly complex piece of furniture that unless you have very good design and woodworking skills, you’re better off with a manufactured one.
Honestly, unless you enjoy assembling projects and you have another assistant to help you so, it would be much better to buy one that comes with free assembly services.
Wall Bed / Murphy Bed Alternatives
The primary reason you’d get a wall bed is for space-saving functionality. Therefore, the key Murphy bed alternatives are other bed options that save space and/or serve another function. They include:
- Sofa bed
- Convertible sofa
- Trundle bed
- Bunk bed
Online Wall Bed Stores? Where can you buy a wall bed?
I don’t know about what brick and mortar stores you have near you, but you can buy them online. You can visit www.spacekoncept.com and make an appointment with them to physically view the demo sets of the beds you planning to buy.
A Last Note
Do be careful when you are purchasing the wall bed. Before you do so, you need to ask the sales person where the beds are manufactured, what type of wood materials are used and the most important question – what is the size of mattress that the bed is designed for.
Many may not know that mattresses differ in sizes even though they are classified the same. A Queen size mattress has different sizes for United States, United Kingdom, Australia, China, Singapore and Malaysia. China Queen size is slightly smaller than Singapore and Malaysia, so if you purchase a hidden wall bed that is for China mattresses, you may have problem slotting your Singapore sized mattress into your bed and it cannot be closed correctly.
Different materials used has its’ impact on pricing as well as the country where the gas lifts are produced.
Having said that, spaces are expensive, so it is a wise choice to create the luxurious spaces with the Murphy beds.