Trying to place yourself in the perfect living space is a constant effort. After all tastes change, lifestyles alter, and needs for space grow and shrink as life continues to roll along. When designing a bedroom, someone once told me that the best idea they had come across for guest rooms and children’s rooms was a Murphy bed. I felt a little foolish, as despite all my recent research, I was forced to ask, “What is a Murphy bed?”
The Murphy bed was introduced in the early 1900s, created by a man named Murphy. William L. Murphy. He started his company in San Francisco under the name Murphy Bed Co. These beds were once considered a trademark of the beds the Murphy Bed Company actually produced, but was eventually ruled as a generalized meaning for beds that are able to be stowed in the walls.
The simplest explanation of a Murphy bed is that it is a bed built into a wall. While up until now I had only seen a references to them on various television shows, Murphy beds are becoming considerably more popular. Studio apartments were once the only place to find one of these particularly creative sleeping arrangements. Yet because of their ability to lend additional space, their versatility, and their keen intriguing designs, these special one of a kind beds are becoming more prominent in households throughout the country.
A Murphy bed is designed to slip entirely away, which is handy for either a kid’s room or guest room. By placing a Murphy bed in the guest room, the room becomes much more versatile. With just a few quick changes, the guest room can become a comfortable place to sleep just as easily as it can convert into another office or play room.
Likewise, having a Murphy bed in a kid’s room makes a great additional space for play dates while simultaneously taking care of that pesky problem of toys, clothes, that snack that wasn’t supposed to make it to the bedroom, and even pets from landing in a near permanent state under the bed. It pretty much makes the statement of “Go clean your room,” more concrete. After all, the bed can’t be put away unless it’s either made or the sheets are stripped and when the bed is put away, there isn’t anywhere other than the closet to stash an abundance of toys and clothes.
Modern mobile homes have made excellent use of Murphy beds, clearing out the space that would ordinarily be taken up by a bed. Slapstick comedy has also made sure to make full use of Murphy beds, sending their comic victims clear through the sky only to be caught in the Murphy bed as it slams shut inside the wall.
There are advantages and disadvantages to Murphy beds. We’ve already covered the basic question, “What is a Murphy bed?” and explained its greatest advantages. However, we can’t paint these awesome little beds as perfect, either.
One of the greatest disadvantages is that it is nearly impossible to change the mattress without ordering an entirely new bed. Murphy beds are not sized the same as other beds, and their configurations are different. On top of that the Murphy bed is held in place via a bolt (usually) drilled through each corner inside the mattress to keep it from shifting about. Unless you’re willing to destroy a perfectly good mattress by drilling straight through it, which also means that you aren’t too concerned with allowing the bolts to be seen and occasionally slept on, you will need to talk to the factory for mattress replacement.
The greatest drawback in my opinion to sleeping on a Murphy bed is the inability to change things up from time to time. Depending on the season, I like either a little more direct sunlight hitting the bed, or I like to hide from the hot burning ball burrowing through my window. There isn’t a whole lot of change that can happen with a Murphy bed. You can change the sheets, but that’s about it.
The Murphy bed can be a fantastic arrangement or it can be extraordinarily limiting. How it works out for you really depends solely on your tastes and your need to make changes throughout the home. Creating an ambiance around an unusual style such as this can be seen as a great challenge and a lot of fun. The extra space, not to mention the still basic unusual style that a Murphy bed offers, might be a significant trade off for not being able to move the bed around. Of course, these beds don’t come cheap, and they might not fit into every budget.
Regardless, kids who end up with them love them, and of course they get to feel excitedly unique when their friends are all confused about the location of his bed. What is a Murphy bed? Kids just beam with pride when they yank their bed out their wall to answer the question. Go figure.