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DIY_Matt 06-13-2012 12:38 PM

How to Build a Murphy Bed
It doesn't seem all that difficult. I can get the MDF board cut at a local hardware store. I've seen the folding mechanisms for sale on line.

I'd like to build one similar to this (with the sofa attached):

Anyone out there an expert in this area? Is there anyway to get the "shelf" mechanism like the one in the link?

Just Bill 06-15-2012 06:48 AM

MDF is heavier than plywood, and since it has to be counterbalanced, I would consider wood.

I saw some good plans about a year ago in Fine Homebuilding(I think). But you should be able to find plans online.

user1007 06-15-2012 06:59 AM

I haven't seen them in awhile but there are hardware kits for Murphy beds out there. In fact if you Google for "Ready to Assemble Murphy Beds" you will find many complete RTA (Ready to Assemble) versions with wood, mdf or whatever building material factory finished, pre-cut and pre-drilled with needed fasteners as well.

Be mindful you are going to have to do a fair amount of framing work to accommodate the bed and hold up to the stress from extending it into place. You cannot just cut a space for it and plunk it in. And if you are going end up changing structure and needing to header a bearing wall or something you will need drawings, a sign-off and probably permits and inspections. You may need an electrical variance since you will not be able to comply with having outlets every x feet on the wall with the Murphy bed.

Sure some sort of nice (not necessarily student apartment type) futon or other fold-out convertible sofa would not better suit your purposes?

woody4249 06-24-2012 10:24 AM

I worked with the Murphy Bed Co when I first came to the US. I was responsible for designing and manufacturing the cabinetry for Sharps Bedroom Design back in the mid 80's.
There are a lot of mechanisms out there, some work better than others. The Murphy Bed brand bed that I thought was the best was this one
Maybe one could be adapted to what you need

You could buy all the components but this is tried and tested and performs well. The problems usually arise from a weight to torsion balance. The weight of the bed is of most importance
Also if the bed mechanism you choose is anchored to the floor such as the above product there is less issues with the cabinet construction, but you have to consider bed mech' and cabinet alignment if the cabinet moves at all.
The design you have shown in your link is what they call a panel bed, where the underside of the bed is finished with a panel. This should be made of the lightest material possible. This panel is roughly 60 or 66" wide x 80" long, causing another issue with available substrate sizes. You will require a material joint here that could be included as an accent.
MDF is way too heavy for the bed panel but good for the cabinet especially if it gets painted.
You could use an "Equilibration" mechanism and construct your own frame from aluminum, but you have to consider what to use to support the mattress. Murphy Bed brand have a "Bunky" box spring that works well with a mattress.....again consider these as they are light weight.
The shelf mechanism is a simple pendulum arm that works on vertical gravity.............not sure I'd have all that crap on my shelf.
If you have specific issues PM me or email a


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