When we think of Murphy beds, our minds might go to scenes from famous comedies.
These wall-mounted beds have been used as props by everyone from Charlie Chaplin to the Three Stooges to the Muppets.
But now, Murphy beds – also known as hide-away beds or wall beds -- are making a comeback. People are doing more with less space, whether they’re adherents to the tiny house movement, or contending with high-rent, low-room living situations in cities like New York and San Francisco.
Why are they called Murphy beds?
The Murphy bed was born in the late 1800s out of a mix of love, social conventions and limited money. Inventor William Lawrence Murphy was in love with a young San Francisco opera singer. As the Smithsonian puts it:
“Courting customs at that time would not permit a lady to enter a gentleman's bedroom. But according to family legend, Murphy's limited finances and a strict moral code didn't spoil his chance at love. His invention allowed him to stow his bed in his closet, transforming his one-room apartment from a bedroom into a parlor.”
The couple married in 1900, and Murphy patented his bed in 1911. The original Murphy bed was a full-sized mattress on a metal frame that was tucked into a closet during the day, and turned a dressing room or parlor into a bedroom at night.
The beds were a quality product, the Smithsonian notes, but were also helped along by a rise in population and a shortage in housing.
More than a century after Murphy patented his invention, his beds are seeing a resurgence in popularity for the same reason they were first invented, Murphy bed expert Chelsea Williams told Elle.
"Murphy Beds allowed people living in a one room apartment to entertain friends in an era when it was not socially acceptable to have guest come over and essentially spend time in a person's bedroom," Williams said.
Not just for one-room apartments
The image you have of the Murphy bed might still be stuck in the 1910s: a thin mattress in a cold-water flat. And in fact, Murphy beds did decline in popularity as people moved out of cities into larger homes.
But it’s possible for Murphy beds to live in harmony with modern, stylish décor, and in larger homes as well as one-room apartments. Many people choose to have them installed in guest rooms, allowing homeowners to get more than one use out of a room. Pull out the bed, and your home office becomes a place to sleep.
If you need a place to put guests, but don’t want to give up your craft room or workout space, a stylish Murphy bed gives you the best of both worlds.
Our combination desk/bed units are perfect for small college rooms or multi-purpose home offices, with an efficient design that can help you maximize your living spaces.
We also sell and install wall-beds that serve as storage units. When open, these units feature a 12-inch mattress. When closed, our cabinetry gives you extra storage/display areas.
Our Murphy beds are available in twin, full and queen sizes, and will always look like a custom-designed bedroom set.
Contact Closets & Cabinetry to find out more about our Murphy bed installation service. We look forward to hearing from you.