Recently, I was commissioned by my Great Aunt to build a murphy bed. I've never built one of these things before, but I figured I was up for the task. Since I finished the project, everyone wants to know how to do their own. So I thought I'd share some advice with any of you curious folks.



Whether you want to maximize space in your studio apartment or have a comfortable place for guests
to sleep in your home, you’ll find it valuable to know how to build a murphy bed. This piece of furniture
is a bed that folds up into a wall-mounted cabinet less than 18 inches deep. You can easily incorporate a
murphy bed into your existing décor by adding trim, matching bookcases, and even built-in lighting.

Before you start building, take note of some basic requirements: you’ll need at least four feet of open
wall space for a twin bed and more for a larger bed. You’ll also need seven feet of clearable space (easily
movable furniture, probably not a high-traffic area) where the bed will fold down. You’ll also need to
make sure you have an egress window nearby that’s in compliance with fire safety requirements. (You
can call your local building inspections department for specific dimensions.)

How to Build a Murphy Bed: Starting Out

The murphy bed has three main components: the lift mechanism, the bed frame, and the cabinet.
There are two basic lift mechanisms: spring and piston. Both create force that helps you lift the bed into
the concealed position. You can buy a basic lift-mechanism kit for between $200 and $300. As for the
frame, keep in mind that it must fit into the cabinet, and so your mattress shouldn’t be more than 12
inches thick. You can either build your own frame and cabinet, or you can buy a ready-to-install version
for several thousand dollars. Once you’ve got all three components, you’ll need a large, flat work surface
(about a full sheet of plywood is the right amount of space). If you’ll be moving the finished bed through
a narrow hallway or stairway, you might want to assemble it in its designated room after you’ve finished
the machining.

Tools You’ll Need

Basic hand tools – tape measure, hammer, clamps, wood glue, screws, casters
Table saw or circular saw with sharp plywood-cutting blade and a drill or driver
Medium density fiberboard (MDF)
Heavy duty hinges

How to Build a Murphy Bed: Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Locate the studs in the wall where you want to put the murphy bed. Position the cabinet against
the wall right above the baseboards, then drive 3-inch wood screws into the cabinet back and
into the studs, leaving about 6 inches in between screws.
2. To build a frame:
a. Measure the size of the mattress.
b. Cut two pieces of 1 x 12 wood the length of the mattress, then two more pieces the
width of the mattress. Use wood screws to connect the corners of the frame.
c. Make the two ledger boards (boards that connect the bed to the wall)by cutting two
pieces of a 2 x 8 a few inches longer than the frame.
d. Cut a piece of MDF the size of the frame, and then screw it to the bottom, leaving 7
inches between screws.
3. Put casters on the four corners of the frame, and then place the frame against the cabinet.
The ledger boards should be inside the cabinet. Use hinges to attach the ledger boards to the
cabinet.
4. Put the mattress in the frame. You’re ready to use your murphy bed!

Hope this information helps - Oklahoma City Construction