Murphy Bed

When our son and daughter in law announced they were expecting their second baby besides being excited we were ready to help them get their home ready.

Their 3 bedroom home is really pretty but is lacking storage and space for toys. Because my daughter in laws parents live out east when they come to visit they stay for a while so it is nice for them to have their own room. The guest room isn’t huge but has a comfortable queen bed. The problem is the bed takes up most of the space in the room and makes it unusable for anything else.

My daughter in law was wanting to create a toy room but wanted to have space for her parents to stay when they visit.

The perfect solution

After she told me what she was wanting in her home I realized the best solution was a murphy bed. The problem with murphy beds is they’re expensive if you purchase one. They looked on ‘offer up’ a buy and sell app to see what was available. There were a few options but not what they were looking for. Then they turned to pinterest to see how hard they are to build.

She found the perfect plan for their space. This is not a beginners project but if you follow the instructions it can be done.

The kit

murphy bed kit

The first step to building the murphy bed was buying a kit that included detailed instructions, product list and the hardware. The kit was a little expensive but worth the money because of what it provides. Not only a step by step instruction guide but the hydraulic hardware kit is worth the investment. It makes the murphy bed easy to open and close.

The beginning instructions say to follow the directions step by step in the order listed. Both my son and husband have building experience and found that to be valuable information. Usually they look at instructions and have a vision of the end result and figure they’ll make it happen one way or another.

With this project you really want to follow their detailed instructions step by step.

Cutting the Wood

wood for murphy bed

My son decided to purchase the wood from a supplier and have it cut before he picked it up. They could have managed without it being cut but it was nice having the pieces ready to go when they were ready to start.

There was still cutting that needed done along the way but nothing too crazy.

Building the bed frame

build a murphy bed

They started by building the bed frame. It wasn’t terribly difficult just took some measuring, cutting and nailing. The mattress will sit on this portion of the frame after the plywood is added.

Exterior Frame

build a murphy bed

They then got the face of the murphy bed attached. This is the portion you will see when the bed is closed against the wall.

The next steps was building the whole frame that the bed folds up into. This step caused a little grief as they read instructions and had to make adjustments if they didn’t do something correctly. Luckily none of the mishaps were huge. Mostly misinterpreting the instructions and needing to make adjustments.

More framing

build a murphy bed

The queen mattress sits right on top of these sheets of plywood. You can see the beginning portion of the framing. The piece sitting at the top of the picture is the actual top of the murphy bed. At this point I was a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to make it look like a beautiful piece of furniture. Something about plywood in the garage gives you reason to doubt yourself.

Attaching to the wall

build a murphy bed

After the exterior frame and bed frame were attached they were now ready to bring it inside and attach it to the wall. Monte and our son were able to haul this in on their own. It was very heavy but the two of them managed it.

build a murphy bed

To get the bed to this stage took most of the Saturday. I don’t remember what time they started but I’m guessing it took 6+ hours to this point.

When I saw it I was really wishing I’d had the chance to paint it before assembly. It would have been easier for me but that also brings it own challenges. My job was to keep my granddaughter entertained so painting wasn’t possible. It was a full Saturday project.

Painting the frame

When we left that night I was worried about getting it painted and looking good. After thinking about it for a couple days I came up with a really good strategy.

I decided the portion where the mattress sits didn’t need painted. My plan was to paint the outside frame then the interior part that would be seen when open. I would paint the front on a different day.

I wanted it left open for a few days so the paint would have some time to set. Painting to this stage would give it plenty of time to dry and be ready to paint the front and make it look beautiful.

build a murphy bed

Adding the shelving

An important piece was adding some shelving to the murphy bed. This was an easy addition. My daughter in law had an idea of what she wanted on the shelves so they were custom built to her needs.

build a murphy bed

There was a point I was panicking because the plywood along the edges didn’t look great. I know paint can fix a lot of problems but these were looking a little more problematic then paint could fix. When I realized there would be trim covering these portions I felt a lot better.

diy murphy bed
diy murphy bed

While Monte finished the trimming on the front I got ready to paint the shelves. I’m so glad I painted the side of the murphy bed, it made painting the shelving super easy.

diy murphy bed

After the trim was finished I was excited by how amazing it looked. Just a reminder that a key step to making built in’s look custom and professional is caulking the edges. Monte is a pro caulker. He got busy caulking so I could get busy painting and making this unit look amazing.

diy murphy bed

Because we were working around a babies nap I painted the shelves while Monte caulked the face. We then switched spots. It wasn’t a big deal to caulk after the first coat of paint. I knew this unit was going to need at least 2 coats of paint and probably 3. Remember to use primer first or a paint with primer on raw wood.

Finishing it up

When I got the first coat of paint on I was disappointed. It didn’t look as good as I’d hoped. I always do this, I need to learn not to panic and know the first coat of paint never looks great but gets better with each additional coat.

diy murphy bed

Don’t forget to sand

After the second coat it looked so much better. I wanted to give it a third coat just so it would hold up to the toys and use as it opens and closes. Another great tip I’ve shared before is do a light sanding between each coat of paint. I like to use a sanding sponge to knock off the rough wood fibers. It only takes a couple minutes but makes a huge difference.

diy murphy bed
build a murphy bed

This unit looks amazing. I was thrilled with the end product. It will work perfectly in their home. It opens up the space and gives them so much more room.

This project was a little more costly but a lot less expensive then buying ready made or having it custom built.

The queen bed kit was $350. There was also an additional $350 spent on materials. We were really happy with this kit the hydraulics making it super easy to open and close. I feel like it is worth the investment.

The bank of shelves are priceless for all the additional storage they add. One last thing I wanted to point out was the pillow top mattress fits inside the murphy bed frame. Just check your measurements. The mattress they had was the max size that would fit.