Can You Install A Murphy Bed In A Mobile Home? (Explained)

No doubt that the available space is very limited in mobile homes. We need to be creative while designing and decorating them.

One of the items in our homes that take lots of space is ‘bed’. The space saving solution that I found was “murphy beds”. However; the next question was, could I install a murphy bed to a mobile home?

Murphy beds can be installed in mobile homes. They are great for saving space, and can be used daily. There are 3 different types of murphy beds; attached to wall, attached to floor and free standing. Any mattress can be used in murphy beds, as long as the mattress’ height don’t exceed the max available height of murphy bed.

These are all great and promising information for murphy bed installation for mobile homes. However, there are more to it. Let me go through all the details and provide you a detailed knowledge on them.

What Is A Murphy Bed?

According to general definition; a Murphy bed is a bed that is hinged at one end to store vertically against the wall, or inside a closet or cabinet for space saving purposes.

Murphy Bed

Murphy beds have a couple other names. Even though they have some minor differences, they mainly refers to same concept:

  • wall bed
  • pull down bed
  • or fold-down bed

The bed is named after William Lawrence Murphy (1876–1957), an Irish immigrant in US who wanted to find a creative method of making space in his small apartment. He has started filing patent applications for murphy beds around 1900, and continued for various models until mid 1910s.

Murphy beds are mainly used for space saving purposes, thus they are great for tiny homes, mobile homes and small apartments.

Another usage of murphy beds are in the guest / study rooms. Since the beds are not needed in daily usage for such rooms, it is important to find a way to ‘hide’ them for saving space. When you have a guest, murphy bed can back to life.

Which Are Murphy Bed Types That Can Be Installed to Mobile Homes?

Typically there are 6 different types of murphy beds that can be used in mobile homes:

  1. Vertical Murphy Beds
  2. Horizontal Murphy Beds
  3. Folding Murphy Beds
  4. Murphy Bunk Beds (height may be problem for mobile home installations)
  5. Murphy Desk Beds
  6. Freestanding Murphy Beds

Based on your mobile home’s interior design and also the available space (not only floor space, but also the wall space as well), you will need to check available options.

What Are Murphy Bed Pros And Cons For Mobile Homes?

Murphy Bed ProsMurphy Bed Cons
Saves floor space. During the day, the same space can be used as home office, or living spaceMore expensive than regular beds
Can be multifunctional (depending on design) – desk, table, or sofa options the most common ones. Can be problematic to open and fold out (rearrange of furniture may be needed, when the space is limited)
Can be used as an additional bad (guest bed)Because of height limitations, not all murphy bed designs are available for mobile homes.
(Mostly) As comfortable as regular beds. The mattress is important. If possible, try the mattress before buying one.Can be dangerous if not installed and used properly
No box spring is requiredTakes lots of wall space
Bed sheets may get disorganized during the day (when the bed is upright position)
May not be as durable as regular beds. This was the case especially for earlier murphy beds. However, nowadays the murphy beds are as durable as regular beds.
Murphy Bed Pros and Cons for Mobile Homes

Murphy Bed Experiences From The Real Life Mobile Home Owners

I have talked to various mobile home and murphy bed owners and here are the common points from their feedback:

Chelsea K.: “I have used Murphy beds in a house. I don’t care for them. I didn’t like the comfort level and I didn’t like having to put my bed down and up daily. The sheets get all messed up and my comforter was to thick. So I had to remove it. Have to remove pillow to.”

Larry O.: “All Murphy beds are not equal.  Some have a deeper cabinet to allow for thicker bedding.  When the bed is up, some have a drop down desk or work station.  All of this allows for flex space.”

Jennifer F.: “The one’s I’ve seen in person were cheaply made, but I think you could build something yourself that would work in your space and be solid. I want one and haven’t been able to find a decent one.”

Inquieta A.: “I am ordering a tri folding full mattress. Building a custom frame that will extend and close up too so during the day the bed can just be a couch and leaves me more room and reason to get up out of the bed”

Tina B.: “Opting for elevator bed over living area rather than a Murphy. Hate having to move stuff around every daily to make room for a murphy to be set up. Then put it all back when you want a seating area”

It seems the common complaints are about the mattress comfort and the requirement to move staff around when pulling the bed down.

Everyone agrees on the space saving as an advantage.

What To Look For When Buying a Murphy Bed For Mobile Home?

Murphy Bed and Room Dimensions

Maybe the most important factor is the dimensions of room and murphy bed. You need to make sure your murphy bed will fit properly into your mobile home – both when it is folded up (daytime) and also when it is converted to bed (nighttime).

There are vertical and horizontal murphy bed designs. Based on your needs, you can select the proper one for your mobile home.

Also it is a good idea to check some other physical characteristics of the room, to make sure the murphy bed is a good fit:

  • Doorway location and size
  • Electrical outlets
  • Floors, baseboards, molding

When measuring a mobile home for a murphy bed, you should consider the height, width, and depth of the bed when it is in the closed position. You should also look at the projection of the bed when it is open (and arrange other furniture if needed). Knowing these dimensions will give you a better understanding of how the bed will fit in your space.

Here are typical measurements for different size murphy beds. I am giving this list to just give an idea to you. The actual murphy bed measurements may be a couple of inches more or less (depending on the brand and model). Always better to check exact product specifications before buying the bed:

Murphy Bed sizeInstallingRequired widthRequired Height
Twin bedVertical47 inches82,5 inches
Twin bedHorizonal80 inches50 inches
Full BedVertical62 inches82,5 inches
Full BedHorizonal80 inches65 inches
Queen bedVertical70 inches87,5 inches
Queen bedHorizonal85 inches72,5 inches
Murphy Bed Installation Clearance Requirements

Depending on the murphy bed design, the depth requirements change. In average, you will need 18 inches space for murphy bed depth.

Murphy Bed Mechanisms

There are 2 main murphy bed mechanisms in the market; Spring mechanism and Piston Mechanism. While spring mechanisms will need adjustments over time (every couple years), piston mechanisms use a lock to keep the bed in place when not in use. Check both options and their usages before making a decision.

Most of the time; piston mechanisms are used in wall-mounted beds; and they are easier to remove with minimal damage to wall. On the other hand, usually spring mechanisms are used floor mounted murphy beds, and harder to remove. However, floor mounted ones are more stable.

Murphy Bed Appearance

Since the same space will be your living space and bedroom in your mobile home, the murphy bed appearance will be important. Check how it looks when it’s folded up before the decision. You wouldn’t want to look at to a bad design all day, every day.

It is also a good idea to check if you can paint and stain the murphy bed frame to match to the rest of the interior design.

Murphy Bed Comfort

While some murphy beds are coming with their own mattress, for the others you can pick the mattress yourself. If it comes with its own mattress, I suggest you to try before buying it. Try to lay on it for 15-20 mins and feel how it feels.

If the murphy bed doesn’t come with its own mattress, check the mattress size limitations (if any). Some murphy bed designs may fit only up to 12 inch mattresses.

Most murphy bed production companies suggest to use memory foam or latex foam mattresses. Simply because other types of mattresses weight more, and they tend to damage one end of the mattress after staying upright position for long periods of times.

What Kind Of Wood is Used On Murphy Bed?

Murphy beds made out of high-grade plywood (maple, birch, beech, oak and alder) are more durable than others. Check the material to make sure it will support the weight properly.

Murphy Bed Installation Services

If the murphy bed is not installed according to instructions, they may be dangerous. Moreover, their installation may not be easy and may require professional carpenter.

Better to buy a murphy bed from a place which provide professional installing services. Even better, if they have any mobile home murphy bed installation experience.

There was a new from NY Post with heading; “Murphy bed snaps up and killed man: suitOpens in a new tab.” (April 2014). I am not sure of the outcome of the claim, but better to be careful as much as possible.

Can You Put A Regular Mattress In A Mobile Home Murphy Bed?

As a general rule, you can use a regular mattress in a murphy bed. However, using a mattress which is not designed for murphy bed usage may reduce its lifetime considerably and this will reduce your comfort in your murphy bed.

Normally, the mattresses stay in horizontal position all their lifetimes – except murphy beds. The mattresses used in murphy beds stay in upright position minimum two thirds of their lifetime in average, which may create defects base on the mattress type.

This problem has a name; ‘slumping’: This is where the coils inside the mattress or the foams inside the mattress slide down because of gravity. This causes a bell-shaped bump at the head of the bed. Once the problem exhibits itself the mattress is ruined.

There are some mattresses in the market which are specifically produced for murphy beds. If you are in the market for a murphy bed mattress, check their specifications and usage.

Apart from mattress type; there are 2 other criteria that you will need to take into consideration when buying a murphy bed mattress: size and weight.

  • The mattress should be able to fit to your murphy bed; not only height and width, but also the depth is important. Make sure your mattress can fit into your murphy bed design.
  • Murphy beds have weight limits; including the mattress and the people who will sleep on it. Make sure the total weight is in acceptable limits for your murphy bed. Ensure that you do not exceed your murphy bed weight capacity, or else you may damage the lift mechanism or pull the bed out of the wall.

Can You Build Your Own Murphy Bed?

It is possible to build your own murphy bed by purchasing available DIY murphy bed kits or building the bed totally by yourself without any help from any pre-made kits.

While in average murphy beds cost (including installation) around $3.000 or more, DIY kits’ prices are less than $1.000. By building your own murphy bed, you will save serious amount of money.

Some kits are coming with all the parts and pieces needed, and they are pre-cut base on the requirements. On the other hand, some other kits only come with instructions and wood dimensions. Fur such kits, you will need some carpentry tools and saws. If you are not handy, better not to start to process.

There are dozens of kits and DIY videos available on internet. I have watched and analyzed many of them, and listed only the good ones for you:

Does A Murphy Bed Have To Be Attached To The Wall?

Murphy beds do not have to be attached to the wall. There are 3 types of attachments that can be used for murphy beds:

  1. Attached to Wall: The most common type is this. They need to be attached to studs and in general they can be moved without any problems. Usually they use piston mechanisms.
  2. Attached to Floor: The traditional murphy bed types are these. This type uses spring mechanisms. They are the most stable murphy beds, however they cause permanent damage to floor.
  3. Standalone Murphy Beds: These kinds of beds do not use any mechanisms and no damage to floor or walls are done during the installation.

Can You Move The Murphy Bed To Another Tiny House?

In general, the murphy beds can be moved to other locations and other homes without any problem.

Some of the earlier types of murphy beds were not built to move; once you install them to a place they would stay there forever. However, this is not the case anymore. You can remove an installed bed and move to a new location with no problem.

While you are removing the bed, you will need to be careful not to lose any screws or any other parts of the bed. If the murphy beds are not installed properly, they may become dangerous. So, make sure not to lose any parts during the uninstalling phase.

Is There Any Other Bed Types That I Can Consider For Mobile Homes?

There are some other bed types [to save space] that you may consider for your mobile home: Depending on your needs (how many people will be living in your mobile home) or depending on your mobile home design (is there a loft?), you can pick the most appropriate one for yourself:

  • Sofa Beds: A sofa bed or sofa-bed is typically a sofa or couch that, underneath its seating cushions, hides a metal frame and thin mattress that can be unfolded or opened up to make a bed. They are used as sofa during daytime, and as a bed when needed. Their mattresses’ -unfortunately- are not the most comfortable mattresses (first hand experience).
  • Futon Beds: Similar to sofa beds, however the mattress of futon is used as seat cushion when it is used as seating furniture. So, there’s no separate mattress in the futon beds.
  • Bunk Beds: These beds are ideal solution for families with multiple kids. Two beds are on top of each other. There is even murphy bunk beds available, for saving even more space.
  • Trundle Beds: A trundle bed is a low, wheeled bed that is stored under a twin or single bed and can be rolled out for use by kids, visitors or as just another bed. A pop-up trundle bed can be raised to meet the height of the normal bed, effectively creating a wider sleeping surface when positioned side-by-side. With this functionality, a single bed can become like a queen bed.
  • Loft Beds: If the mobile home has loft space, a bed can be placed and that space can be used as bedroom.

How about finishing today’s article with a Charlie Chaplin movie (jump to 11:37 for murphy bed part)?

Charlie Chaplin Murphy Bed

Kutluay S.

Kutluay is a typical family man, with a wife, 3 kids, and a dog. And he has dreams - like everybody. He loves sharing his knowledge with the world, and here is the website. His latest passion is Tiny Houses.

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