They’ve come a long way since their alleged debut in San Francisco in the Victorian era.
Once a staple of old-timey efficiency studio apartments and pay-by-the-month motels, Murphy beds (also known as wall beds and convertible beds) of yore were often cumbersome and uncomfortable. Not anymore.
As furniture design embraces and accommodates lifestyles, Murphy beds can be a no-brainer when it comes to transforming spaces.
Current selections from retailers like California Closets, Resource Furniture, and even Costco mirror how specialized dealers are updating a passé concept into a home furnishing that is clever, compact, comfortable, elegant, and functional. Current wall beds come in impressive styles and configurations and are gaining popularity with homeowners who want flexibility with the guest room or a fresh take on space-saver options.
The Murphy bed’s origins are believed to be linked to San Francisco. Legend has it that William Lawrence Murphy, who lived in a studio apartment in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, was pursuing romance with a famed opera singer. It was considered quite risqué then to invite a member of the opposite sex into one’s bedroom, so Murphy used some ingenuity to transform his one-room abode into a sitting parlor — a proper place to entertain refined ladies. Murphy’s pivot and counterbalance design added ease and efficiency to the existing fold-up bed, leading him to apply for his first patent around 1900, and further refinement led to additional patents for the “disappearing bed” in the 1910s.
As growth, suburban sprawl, and larger home footprints ensued, the need for Murphy beds was lost. However, as Ikea made space transformation into an accessible artform in the 1990s with budget options, livable showroom experiences, and an engaging annual catalog, Americans began to reconsider function. The Tiny House movement also has helped bring Murphy beds back into focus.
The good news is that the current reboot is more adaptable and stylish than ever. Empty nesters are reclaiming their kids’ rooms, and versatile wall beds mean there is no need to permanently sacrifice sleeping space. Such bonus rooms go well beyond the home office, encouraging recreational pursuits such as a yoga studio or home theaters.
California Closets has budget-friendly options, crafted in America, for bookcases that can become a crafting table and bed when needed as well as more traditional wall bed styles. San Francisco’s Resource Furniture is a leader in innovative and high-quality transformative furniture with sleek, modern styles. Family-owned and operated BredaBeds of Idaho crafts wall beds that are easy to assemble, and the company often offers promo prices and free shipping specials. If you are looking for an easy and efficient shopping experience, Costco online has a surprisingly large selection of sizes and styles from $1,999 to $2,899, and curbside delivery makes buying a breeze.
Now you can easily spare your guests the experience of awkward blow-up beds. Artfully tucked behind gorgeous wall cabinets, sleek sideboards, and cushy loveseats, modern Murphy beds are easily customized to work for your style.
BredaBeds, 127 N 39th St., Nampa, Idaho, 208-466-4781, BredaBeds.com
California Closets, 716 Fourth St, Berkeley, 510-763-2033, CaliforniaClosets.com
Ikea, 4400 Shellmound St., Emeryville,
Resource Furniture, 300 Kansas St., Suite 105, San Francisco, 415-872-9350, ResourceFurniture.com