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How To Build A DIY Murphy Bed In 2023 [Step-by-Step Guide]

By: Susie
Updated On: October 8, 2023

Tidying up never looked so stylish until the advent of the DIY Murphy bed. It's an ingenious solution that breathes new life into any tiny apartment or spare room. Blending form and function, it offers a chic yet practical way to free up valuable space in your home.

A DIY Murphy bed is more than just another home project; it's an investment in style and comfort. Gone are the days of cluttered bedrooms and cramped living spaces.

Here is a step-by-step guide to creating your own space-saving, aesthetic masterpiece. Don't worry, no fancy jargon ahead - we're keeping it simple and clear! Now, it's time to get building!

Why Consider a DIY Murphy Bed?

Why Consider a DIY Murphy Bed?

Despite being around for almost a century, the popularity of the Murphy bed has never faded away. Known for its duality of purpose, the Murphy bed seamlessly melds necessity with aesthetics. Let's delve deeper into why you should consider opting for a DIY Murphy bed project.

Space-Saving Brilliance

Occupying less space remains one of the attractive merits of a Murphy bed. How is this accomplished? Well:

  • Compact Design: The design of a Murphy bed implies that when not in use, it can easily be folded and stored away unobtrusively. This frees up precious square footage and is not limited to bedrooms alone; it can be used effectively in studios, offices, and even living rooms.
  • Room Versatility: Once your bed is tucked away against the wall or within cabinetry, your room instantly transforms. What used to be your bedroom could turn into a yoga studio in the morning, an office during work hours, or even a lounge in the evening.

Designing and building your own Murphy bed allows you to tailor every inch to suit your unique needs and tastes, thereby offering you unparalleled space efficiency.

Also Read: 20 DIY Loft Bed Ideas For Small Rooms In 2023 [Space-Saving]

Affordable Room Transformation

The versatility of a DIY Murphy bed extends beyond saving space; it also offers an economical way to transform any room in your home:

  • Cost-effective: Building a DIY Murphy bed saves on costs compared to purchasing one off-the-shelf or hiring someone else to do so since you're only paying for materials instead of labor and delivery. A typical store-bought Wall Bed ranges from $1,000 – $3,500, while DIY can come as low as $700 to $800, depending on the materials used.
  • Customization: Crafting it yourself means you have control over every aspect, including design style (modern or traditional), color schemes (tapestry or neutral), and even extra features like built-in shelves or lights, resulting in a personalized touch.
  • Increased Property Value: A Murphy bed could potentially increase the value of your home. It offers future buyers extra space without the need for an additional room, which can be a great selling point.

Choosing to execute a DIY Murphy Bed setup is not only economically beneficial but also allows you to express your creativity and personal style fully.

As daring as it may seem, kicking off this project is absolutely doable no matter what your preferred style, layout, or budget is.

As long as you're willing to invest some time and elbow grease, your ideal space-saving solution could be just one DIY project away!

The Overview of the Project

Embarking on a DIY Murphy bed journey serves as a rewarding creative endeavor for those who are skilled and love hands-on projects.

It's an opportunity to merge your aesthetic taste with functional design, transforming a dream space into reality. Here's a quick overview of the project to give you an insight into what it entails.

  • Estimated Working Hours: Expect to commit between 6 to 8 hours of work spread over two days. These hours will be spent constructing, finishing, and installing your Murphy bed. However, this might seem like quite a time investment; remember the splendid results waiting at the end.
  • Total Project Duration: You should anticipate spending about 1-2 days on this project. This duration encompasses everything from organizing resources and measuring the frame to adding those finishing touches that make all the difference.
  • Expected Outcome: At the end of this enjoyable task, you'll have created an exquisite single Murphy bed equipped with elegant cabinet doors that enhance your room's overall aesthetic appeal.
  • Skill Level Required: This DIY project may require an advanced skill set due to its somewhat complex nature, including woodworking skills and knowledge about safety during installation. But fret not! With enough patience and focus, even beginners can bring their own Murphy creation to life.
  • Anticipated Project Expenses: Over and above what we've laid out for you in the tools-and-materials section, you could expect your expenses to round up to approximately $700-$800 for this project, depending on where you source your materials from.

Every cloud has a silver lining - while a pre-made Murphy bed can set you back by several thousand dollars in costs alone, building it by yourself can cut down these costs significantly, paving the way for huge savings!

Essential DIY Murphy Bed Tools and Materials

Essential DIY Murphy Bed Tools and Materials

Excellent projects start with superior tools and materials. Constructing your DIY Murphy bed is no exception. From securing the bed frame to sanding the wood surfaces for a smooth finish, these tools and materials are indispensable.

Choose quality, reliability, and durability here; after all, you'll be trusting these items to lead you in crafting a commodity that combines comfort, efficiency, and beauty. Let's unpack each element together.

Explore More: What Is A Murphy Bed? 2023 [Types, Sizes, Pros And Cons]


Think of the tools as your trusty band of allies. Each one plays a crucial part in building your Murphy bed from scratch.

  • Caulk Gun: This is perfect for sealing gaps and ensuring that your Murphy bed has an immaculate finish.
  • Brad Nailer with Nails: Ideal for fastening smaller pieces of wood together, which ties into giving your bed its final structure.
  • Iron: Used in conjunction with edge-banding tape to give a smooth, professional edge to raw plywood cuts.
  • Miter Saw: A pivotal tool for making precise angled cuts on pieces of your project wood like the bed frame or cabinet trim.
  • Painting Supplies: Primer, paintbrushes, rollers - all set for painting and personalizing your completed project.
  • Orbital Sander with Sandpaper: This helps provide an even texture across all surfaces of the wood before applying any finishing touches.
  • Ladder: You'll need this to safely secure the upper parts of the Murphy bed installation on Your wall
  • Drill & Drill Bits: They're essential for creating holes at specific points where you want to fasten different parts together.
  • Jigsaw & Oscillating Multitool (Optional): They make cutting patterns easier.
  • Measuring Tape & Pencil: Getting accurate measurements is paramount in every DIY project. A mistake here can throw off the entire project.
  • Pry Bar: Offers leverage when manipulating hefty components during the installation.
  • Level or a Laser Level: Ensures the installation is level, making it secure and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Stud Finder: This will help you locate your wall studs to anchor your bed frame safely.

Several other tools and accessories could be equally useful in constructing a DIY Murphy bed. For instance, consider investing in a dust mask to protect your lungs during the sanding process and safety glasses for overall eye protection.


Taking the plunge into your first DIY Murphy bed project may feel a tad bit daunting. Whether you’re a seasoned craftsman or just dipping your toe in the DIY waters, it’s crucial to assemble the right materials before kick-starting this endeavor.

A solid foundation of materials ensures your project runs smoothly, stays within budget, and culminates in a durable Murphy bed you’re proud of.

To ensure you have all you need for your new endeavor, here's a comprehensive list of materials required, along with their specific roles:

  • Murphy Bed Hardware Kit
  • Combination Outlet Extension with Built-in Reading Light
  • Two 1x8 x 8' Pine Boards
  • Three 2x2 x 8' Pine Boards
  • One 2x4 x 8' Pine Board
  • Two 2x4 x 10' Pine Boards
  • Two 1x6 x 10' Pine Boards
  • Four 1x4 x 10' Pine Boards
  • One 3/4" x 4' x 8' Sheet of Sanded Plywood
  • Two 1/4" x 4' x 8' Sheets of Sanded Plywood
  • One 1/2" x 4' x 8' Sheet of Sanded Plywood
  • Three-Quarter Inch Iron-On Edge Banding
  • Wood Glue
  • Twelve 1/4" x 3-1/2" Lag Bolts
  • Twelve 1/4" Fender Washers
  • Two-Inch Wood Screws
  • Two Cabinet Pulls
  • Painter's Caulk
  • Painting Supplies
  • Bare Wood Primer
  • Interior Paint

How to Build a DIY Murphy Bed

How to Build a DIY Murphy Bed

Building a Murphy bed incorporates the best of home improvement skills with the promise of a rewarding result. As intimidating as it might seem, this undertaking is completely manageable when you break it down into simple steps.

The secret to crafting an exceptional DIY Murphy Bed lies in careful preparation, accurate measurement, and meticulous execution. So, let’s embark on this exciting home project together and convert that spare room into something truly extraordinary.

Gather Materials and Tools

No project begins without a little prep work. First, before you dive in headfirst, make sure that all your materials are in order. Check off each item on the material list provided above. Store-bought hardware kits usually come with a comprehensive list of content, but it's always better to double-check.

Now comes the fun part: tools! It’s essential to gather these early to prevent any interruptions once you start assembling your bed. Lay them out neatly within easy reach – a table nearby would do just fine or, better yet, if you have a tool belt, that can help too!

Drill bits and screwdriver heads should be sorted by size. Sharp tools like jigsaws and miter saws should be stored safely away, ready to be used when needed. Your measuring tape must be accurate; triple-check your measurements, as they are pivotal for the construction process.

Keep safety equipment handy, such as some thick work gloves and eye protection – scratches and splinters can happen when least expected!

Measure and Cut Plywood for the Bed Frame

The second step in making your Murphy bed is constructing the bed frame using plywood, which gives form to our design while ensuring strength, too.

Start by taking careful measurements - precision can't be overstated here. You will need these exact measurements to cut your plywood pieces accordingly to create a snug-fit frame later.

Usually, sizes may vary depending on whether you're making a twin, queen, or king-sized bed(), so make sure you measure based on size requirements.

Begin by placing your plywood on a flat surface suitable for cutting- sawhorses are usually recommended for this purpose. Now use your pencil or marker guided by the straight edge of your level to mark measurements across the sheet; here's where that preciseness comes into play - remember, every inch counts, providing structural integrity later on!

Once marked accurately, get hold of our main cutting tool - a jigsaw. Start by making long, straight cuts along your marked lines. Don’t worry if the edges are rough, these can be sanded down later for a smooth finish.

Also Read: Can I Use Plywood Instead Of A Bunkie Board? [2023 Guide]

Assemble the Bed Frame

The next step is assembling the bed frame. This stage involves adhering your cut pieces together to form the main structure of your Murphy bed.

Proceed with laying out the plywood pieces according to your blueprint. Remember, accuracy is everything - even a minor misalignment could affect the structural integrity of your finished bed.

Apply some generous amounts of wood glue along the edges where two pieces would join, and then bring them together. While the glue is yet to dry, secure these joints further with 2-inch wood screws for a sturdy bond.

Once you've assembled all the pieces into one solid unit, allow it some rest for the glue to dry up and offer that seamless adhesion strength we're striving for!

Now behold! Your something-from-nothing journey begins to shape into a beautiful DIY Murphy bed frame!

Attach the Bed Frame to the Wall

With your Murphy bed frame assembly complete, it's now time to make space for it on your wall. Identifying wall studs with a stud finder is essential to ensure secure anchorage of our relatively heavy structure.

Mark spots on your wall aligned to the top corners of our frame – that’s where lag bolts will go in! Pre-drill these marked spots, avoiding any damage a direct bolting might cause later.

Lift your frame, aligning it perfectly with bolt spots, and have someone hold it in place while you quickly drill in 1/4" x 3-1/2" lag bolts affixed with fender washers right into studs through adjacent holes in our frames' top corner brackets.

Remember this requires patience and precision because this step ensures even distribution of weights, promoting overall stability when you lift or lower down your bed later on.

Install the Lift Mechanism

Now that you’ve got your bed frame ready, it's time to give it some movement through the lift mechanism. This mechanism, usually included in your Murphy Bed Hardware Kit, will dictate whether your bed floats like a butterfly or plops like a stone - so be attentive!

First, lay out all parts of the lift mechanism and familiarize yourself with them. The connection points of pistons and brackets will vary depending on the specific kit manufacturer's directions - follow them diligently for an effective installation!

Attach your lift mechanism to both sides of the bed frame. Pay attention to which side you're attaching the lift arms as some manufacturers differentiate between right and left arms. Once attached, secure them using lag bolts and washers; ensure it is firm and sturdy.

At this point, test it once by pulling up if possible, but while taking care- safety first!

Build the Bed Cabinet

With the bed frame done and the lift mechanism in place, next comes enclosing our Murphy bed into a stylish cabinet, adding to our home decor!

Start by taking accurate measurements based on ceiling height (considering when opened fully) and mattress size, ensuring a perfect fit.

Utilize 2 x 4 pine boards for constructing box frames for cabinet walls; ensure they are square without warping, which could jeopardize integrity later! For shelving, add vertical inserts using 2x2 pine boards if needed.

Keep aesthetics top-notch: opting for sanded plywood would provide an elegant backdrop inside your cabinet sans rough edges! Cover edges with iron-on edge banding, giving a sleek look while hiding visible plywood layers.

Attach this newly crafted cabinet around our previously constructed bed frame. Ensure even gaps to allow smooth operation later.

Attach Cabinet to the Bed Frame

Once your Murphy bed's cabinet and frame are complete, it's time to marry the two components together. Start by lining up the bed frame with your cabinet- ensure they match perfectly.

Next, using a quality drill equipped with wood-specific bits, get ready to screw through pre-drilled holes (refer to instructions from your Murphy kit) in the wooden brackets into corresponding plywood parts.

As you drill fastener screws through these brackets, make sure they penetrate deep enough into both pieces creating a rigid interaction between them. After fastening all brackets, examine again, making certain it's mounted securely - shake testing is recommended.

Add Support Legs or Wheels

After securing your bed frame to the cabinet, it's now time to add some extra support- this ensures your Murphy bed won’t collapse while being used yet maintains its easy usability.

For adding legs using bolts, attach angle brackets at either end of the frame’s longest side. First, position the bracket where the leg will attach; mark the spot for drilling the hole using a pencil; then drill and insert the provided bolt–an easy and firm attachment method.

In case you opt for wheels over legs, follow similar steps: Attach each caster at respective corners, but remember to place once collapsed – ensuring ease in lowering and raising the mattress later.

Either way, ensure they're secure enough because this support system is designed to protect both you and your wall bed from unwanted accidents –so this step deserves sufficient attention.

Read More: 10 Simple Strategies For A Room Makeover [Budget DIY Ideas]

Install a Handle or Latch for the Cabinet

Once your Murphy bed is beginning to take shape, it's finally time to add the finishing touches. One of the critical parts here is installing a handle or latch for the cabinet. This functional addition will make it easier to open and close your foldable marvel.

Start by choosing a space on your cabinet door where you'd like to place your handle - somewhere around waist height should work perfectly. Utilizing your measuring tape, mark an equal distance from each side of the panel, ensuring perfect centering.

Next, use a drill to create holes where you've made those marks. The size of these holes depends on the screws that came with your cabinet handle. Then align your handle over these holes and tighten securely with screws from inside.

If you've opted for a latch instead, follow similar steps depending upon latch type - whether magnetic or hook style.

Test The Bed For Functionality and Safety

We're nearing completion! Now that everything's in place ( aesthetically & structurally), it's time for one final yet essential step- Testing!

Begin by slowly lowering and raising the assembled bed frame smoothly multiple times into its cabinet compartment, observing if the actions go without any hitches.

Examine all corners for stability and ensure there are no gaps in between components that might present safety concerns; this includes checking if pivot hardware works smoothly without jamming and friction.

Do not forget to give utmost attention to wall anchorage before conducting weight-bearing tests as serious accidents can occur if this vital part is neglected- a robustly attached wall anchor ensures safety during everyday usage!

After a successful series of tests, install the mattress over the secured frame & voila! You're ready to enjoy the comfort & convenience of your very own DIY Murphy Bed!

Sand and Finish the Wood Surfaces

Once you've cut your plywood to the desired dimensions, it’s time to refine your workmanship. Sanding is crucial not just for its aesthetic appeal but also for safety, as it removes potential danger from sharp corners and rough surfaces. Start by armoring yourself with sandpaper or an orbital sander.

Work in small sections, utilizing fine-grit sandpaper for an even, smooth finish. Always sand following the direction of the wood grain; going against the grain might cause scratches or damage to your wood surface. Start with a rough sandpaper grit (60 to 80) and gradually work your way up to fine grit (150-180) for a finished effect.

Remember to dust off your work after each round of sanding. A clean cloth or brush can be helpful in removing excess sawdust from nooks and crannies.

Post-sanding, you may uncover minor defects like nail holes or cracks – worry not! A quick application of wood filler can sort these, which, after drying, can be sanded again for a seamless appearance.

Paint or Stain the Bed as Desired

After hours of cutting, fitting, and sanding, you’re now at one of the most gratifying stages – painting! Choosing whether to paint or stain is entirely subjective; both give a unique appeal- Paint offers color versatility while stain maintains that natural wood charm.

Ensure your wooden surfaces are dust-free before starting to paint – remember that brush we used earlier? Get thorough with it!

If you're opting for paint, start with applying a primer - it sets an ideal base, giving an even absorption ground, makes colors pop out more vibrant, and protects underlying wood. Once dried (it could take up to two hours), it's time to apply paint (latex enamel paint works best ).

Use a high-quality brush or roller for this job, working in long, even strokes, thereby avoiding any drips or streaks.

If you're more inclined towards staining, lather the stain onto the wood with a clean cloth or a foam brush. Again, ensure that it’s done in the same direction as your wood grain.

Leave it on for five to fifteen minutes (depending upon desired darkness) before wiping off any extra stain. Be patient and allow ample time for your stain to dry before considering another coat.

Also Read: 13 Soothing Paint Colors For Bedrooms In 2023

Install a Mattress

So you've completed the bed assembly, and it's now time for the cherry on top: the mattress. Choosing the right mattress is crucial for a good night's sleep and is as important as the construction of the bed itself.

Make sure that your mattress complies with your DIY Murphy bed's dimensions. A thicker mattress might affect its ability to fold up into the wall cabinet effectively, so it’s best to stick within the suggested thickness found in your kit’s instructions - generally up to 11 inches thick.

Before placing your mattress onto your newly built frame, make sure all mechanisms are closed and locked properly for safety.

Gently lay down the mattress, aligning corners precisely to achieve a snug fit. Test out folding and unfolding with a mattress on, ensuring smooth functioning before adding bedsheets or comforters on top.

Decorate and Accessorize Your New Murphy Bed

Since Murphy beds take up significant wall space when folded up, use this opportunity to make it a statement piece of your room decor.

Consider adding painted patterns or wallpaper on its exterior. You can also attach some wall art or install floating shelves above for book storage- creativity is unlimited!

To add functionality, think about crafting side cabinets for holding items like reading glasses or even installing smart charging stations providing techie conveniences at arm's length.

Factors like room layout, color schemes & overall decor aesthetics should dictate how you decorate and accessorize around this amazing piece of furniture crafted by none other than you!

Enjoy this process; each addition gives more character to this project, reflecting upon not just a physical statement in your room but also an emotional one celebrating the unique flavor of DIY accomplishment!

Also Read: How To Arrange An L-shaped Sofa In Living Room [5 DIY Ideas]

FAQs about DIY Murphy bed

What is the standard size of a Murphy bed?

The standard sizes for Murphy beds mirror normal mattress sizes, including twin, full, queen, and king.

Can any mattress be used in a Murphy bed?

Any mattress can be used as long as it fits the dimensions of the bed and isn't too thick to prohibit the bed's proper folding.

How difficult is it to pull down a Murphy bed?

Murphy beds are designed for easy use; their counter-balanced mechanisms make it possible to open and close them with minimal effort.

Can a Murphy bed hurt my wall or floor?

Properly installed Murphy beds are safe for your walls and floors, but improper installation may lead to damage.

Does a DIY Murphy Bed add value to my home?

Yes, considering its space-saving feature can enhance home value by optimizing living space utility.


Creating a DIY Murphy bed isn't just a home improvement project but a practical and sensible investment for your living space. It encapsulates the perfect blend of style, comfort, and space efficiency without compromising on the overall aesthetic decor of your room.

Your DIY journey toward owning a Murphy bed offers the immense satisfaction of crafting something with your own hands.

The freedom to customize it as per your preferences makes this venture worthwhile. So gather your tools, roll up those sleeves, and embark upon this exciting project today!

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