Make Your Own DIY Murphy Bed

Murphy beds are an elegant solution to a simple problem: you need a bed and you also need floor space within the same room. Rather than having to resort to a cot or spend thousands on a pre-made bed you can put together a Murphy bed quite simply and maintain the extra room you need while fitting a bed in whichever room you might need.

Keep in mind that this is a pretty serious undertaking, and we’re going to show you how to do it without a kit. You’ll need some skills to pull this one off, so read through before you start rushing about to make sure you’re ready to commit to the project.

Victoria, Homethods Author
Victoria

DIY Murphy Bed

1.) Gathering Materials

You’re going to need an expansive amount of materials for this one, it’s not exactly a weekend upcycle project after all. It’s a major room renovation, but the end result will feel great.

You’re going to need the usual woodworking tools, at the very least a table saw and screw gun. Preferably you’ll have the following:

  • Circular Saw or Table Saw
  • Brad Nailer
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Speed Square
  • Tape Measure

It’s not a whole lot if you’re already the handy type, but it’s going to represent a huge investment if you don’t have the tools already.

As far as building materials, you’re going to need:

  • A Sheet of MDF or Particle Board
  • Some 2x6s
  • Some 2x4s
  • A Mattress

So, get it all together and we can get started.

2.) Making the Mattress Board

Making the Mattress Board

Cut the particle board or MDF to fit the mattress. You’ll probably want about 1/8” inch all the way around just to be safe. Too small and you’ll have wasted the wood, after all.

Mark off the sheet of wood you’re going to be using then run the cuts with the circular saw. Remember to always cut outside the line if you’re not completely sure of your measurements. You can always cut off a little bit more of the wood, but you can’t add any back.

Cut another piece for the remainder of the height to the ceiling as well. This will allow the entire thing to stay sealed and secure, while looking great once you’ve finished the job. You can wait to cut it until the frame is in place in order to get an exact measurement if you’re not quite sure how high the base is going to be.

Screw in a 2×6 the width of the board at both the top and the bottom, put the screws every two or three inches.

3.) Build the Frame

Build the Frame

First things first, measure the height of your mattress and add the height of the board you’re planning on using for the bottom. Add 2” and get to work on the frame with your 2x4s.

The frame should extend all the way to the ceiling, even if the mattress does not. This is so we can get a “finished” look when it’s all done.

Use off cuts from the 2x4s used for the frame to hold up the 2×6 you’ll be using to run the width and take the weight of the mattress. The easiest way to build the frame is to not attach the whole thing from the ground up. Instead put up the pieces of the frame that will be screwed into the wall first. Screw these in, using your already cut mattress board to make sure you have the exact right width.

Make sure there are studs under the frame. This whole structure is going to put a lot of stress on the frame and bad things will happen if the whole bed isn’t well secured.
Afterwards, use a pocket jig to drive the central supports into the outside rails and attach a piece of 2×4” of the same length at both the bottom and top of the rails. Then, you can screw on the final 2x4s.

Building the base is similar. Cut a 2×4 at the correct width to fit in between the rails and use your pocket jig to run the screws you need into the base. Then, attach cut several of the off-cuts of your 2×4 to the base with pocket jigged screws.

Try to place them at 4” intervals or so
, then cut your 2×6 to the correct width to fit snugly in the frame and screw it into each of the supports underneath.

And finally, attach another 2×4 at the top to keep the whole thing sturdy.

Build the Frame 2


4.) Facing the Bed

Facing the Bed

Using the veneer or paneling of your choice, you can now cut and cover the entire face of the Murphy bed before you finish. It’s a lot easier if you can lay the mattress board on the floor after all.

This is the most tedious, but far from the hardest part of the project so just persevere through because you’re almost there.

You can cut another piece of board and skin it to cover the distance to the ceiling, or just use your paneling or veneer to provide the illusion of a complete floor to ceiling cover.

If you’d like, you can add simple bracketed shelves on either side of the bed now as well, in order to make the whole thing look “flush” with the wall.

5.) Attach the Bed

Now for the easy part, all you’ll need to do is attach the hinges to the 2×6 at the base and then to the header of your framed mattress board.

Piano hinges are also a good idea, and if you can spring for it then you should probably get assisted hinges. If you’re on a tight budget, however, any kind of heavy-duty hinge will take care of the job for you with a surprising amount of ease.

One last thing, cut some legs from a 2×6 and put them in with a loose bolt or screw so they can be turned. The 6” side will keep them flat with the weight of the mattress on top of them, and you can easily turn them back around when you lift the bed into place.

Now, place the mattress and fold the bed up… you’re done!

Conclusion

While this won’t rival the ease of use for some of the better kits available on the market, you’ll still be able to get most of the convenience you’ll get from a regular Muprhy bed with this fairly simple DIY project. Give it a shot, it’s a bit more advanced than some of our projects but it’s easily doable if you’ve got the time and DIY inclination.







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