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Difference Between a Murphy Bed and a Cabinet Bed (Explained)

Have you ever wondered which space-saving bed solution is best for you: a Murphy bed or a cabinet bed? Both options have their own unique advantages and can significantly contribute to making the most of limited space while providing a comfortable sleeping area. In this article, we'll explore the distinctions between Murphy beds and cabinet beds to help you determine which option best suits your needs, preferences, and budget.

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, have been a popular choice for many years, featuring a metal frame that folds out and a thin mattress. On the other hand, cabinet beds are a more recent solution, offering a stand-alone unit with a comfortable mattress hidden inside. By considering factors such as comfort, space requirements, design, and flexibility, you'll be able to make an informed decision on the best bed solution for your home.

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Key Takeaways

  • Murphy beds and cabinet beds are both space-saving options; consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing
  • A cabinet bed provides comfort and portability, while a Murphy bed offers more customizable design options
  • Pricing may vary; compare the two options to find the perfect bed solution for your budget and lifestyle

Murphy Beds and Cabinet Beds: Basic Differences

Have you ever wondered what the key differences are between Murphy beds and cabinet beds? These two innovative space-saving bed designs have unique features that cater to different needs and preferences. We'll walk you through the distinctions, so you can make an informed decision based on your specific requirements and preferences.

Murphy Bed

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, are designed to fold up against the wall when not in use. They often integrate seamlessly with the room's décor, sometimes disguised as a cabinet or bookshelf.

One major advantage of Murphy beds is their ability to save floor space. When the bed is not needed, it can be folded away, leaving more room for daily activities. These beds are attached to the wall with a sturdy frame and use springs or pistons to assist in raising and lowering the bed. The modern designs of Murphy beds result in a sleek, lightweight, and safe sleeping solution.

Cabinet Bed

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On the other hand, a cabinet bed is a stand-alone unit containing a bed inside. It can be easily unfolded to reveal a high-quality, comfortable sleep space without the need for wall attachment.

Cabinet beds come in various elegant and aesthetically pleasing colors and designs, and they are generally considered more portable than Murphy beds due to their stand-alone nature. The construction of cabinet beds often involves durable materials, such as solid hardwood or plywood.

While both Murphy beds and cabinet beds are excellent space-saving options, the choice between the two comes down to personal preferences and requirements. If you prioritize seamless integration with your room design and need more floor space when the bed isn't in use, a Murphy bed might be best for you. However, if portability and versatility are more important factors, a cabinet bed could be the ideal choice.

Comfort and Mattress Options

Have you ever wondered about the comfort and mattress options for Murphy beds and cabinet beds? To help you understand the differences and make the right choice for your needs, let's explore each of these options in-depth.

Murphy Bed Mattress

Murphy beds are quite versatile when it comes to mattresses. They can accommodate various sizes and types of mattresses, including memory foam, innerspring, and hybrid models. This flexibility allows us to choose a mattress that offers the desired level of comfort and support for a restful night's sleep.

Some popular mattress options for Murphy beds include:

  • Memory Foam: Provides excellent body contouring and pressure relief
  • Innerspring: Offers good support and responsiveness, with a traditional feel
  • Hybrid: Combines the benefits of memory foam and innerspring for superior comfort

It's essential to consider the thickness of the mattress when selecting one for a Murphy bed. Most Murphy beds can accommodate mattresses up to 12 inches thick, but it's crucial to check the specific requirements for your chosen bed model.

Cabinet Bed Mattress

Cabinet beds, on the other hand, typically come with a built-in mattress. This simplifies the selection process, as there are no additional decisions to make regarding mattress type or compatibility. Cabinet bed mattresses are usually made of memory foam, which provides a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface.

One key difference in mattress options between Murphy beds and cabinet beds is the size. Cabinet beds usually come in standard sizes, such as full or queen, and may not provide the same variety found in Murphy bed mattress options. This may be a factor to consider if you have specific size requirements or preferences for your sleeping space.

In conclusion, both Murphy beds and cabinet beds offer comfortable and supportive mattress options, allowing us to enjoy a restful night's sleep. With a wider range of mattress sizes and types, Murphy beds provide more customization options, while cabinet beds simplify the decision-making process by including a built-in memory foam mattress. Carefully considering your personal comfort preferences and space requirements will help you choose the best option for your home.

Space Requirements and Saving Capabilities

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Are you struggling to make the most of your limited living space? With the right choice of furniture, you can significantly save space and improve the functionality of your room. In this section, we will compare the space requirements and saving capabilities of two popular space-saving bed solutions: Murphy beds and cabinet beds.

Murphy Bed Space Requirements

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, are designed to fold up into the wall when not in use, utilizing vertical space and freeing up valuable floor space. This provides a great solution for small living areas or multipurpose rooms, allowing you to use the saved space for other activities when the bed is not in use.

When choosing a Murphy bed, it is important to consider the dimensions of the bed, as well as the clearance required for opening and closing it. Most standard Murphy beds require at least 85 to 90 inches of height for installation and adequately folding away into the wall. Make sure to measure the available wall space before purchasing a Murphy bed, as not all models are suitable for different ceiling heights.

Cabinet Bed Space Requirements

Cabinet beds, on the other hand, are fold-out beds that are stored within a cabinet when not in use. Unlike Murphy beds, cabinet beds do not need to be installed into the wall, making them a more portable and versatile option.

Cabinet beds take up significantly less vertical space compared to Murphy beds but do require more room in terms of horizontal space. When unfolded, the bed extends out from the cabinet, taking up significant floor space. The cabinet itself also requires additional storage space when the bed is in use.

To ensure that you have enough room for a cabinet bed, it is essential to measure the foot clearance, which is the distance from the cabinet to the end of the unfolded bed. Typical cabinet beds require roughly 90 to 100 inches of foot clearance, depending on the bed size.

In conclusion, both Murphy beds and cabinet beds provide space-saving solutions for small living spaces, with each having its own set of space requirements. By considering your specific needs and the available space in your room, you can make an informed decision on which option is best suited for your home.

Materials and Design

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Are you trying to decide between a Murphy bed and a cabinet bed for your home? The differences in materials and design can play a significant role in your decision-making process. In this section, we'll discuss the materials commonly used for each type of bed and explore their design aesthetics.

Materials for Murphy Beds

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, are often made from high-quality materials to ensure durability and longevity. The most common materials used include:

  • Solid hardwood: It offers an attractive, elegant appearance and is the sturdiest option available, ensuring long-term durability. Solid hardwood (e.g., oak, maple, or cherry) creates a timeless look that can seamlessly integrate with various interior design styles.
  • Plywood: Another dependable option for Murphy beds is plywood. Plywood's composition makes it resistant to warping and provides excellent structural stability. While not as luxurious as solid hardwood, plywood can still create an appealing, modern design.

Materials for Cabinet Beds

Cabinet beds are standalone units that contain a fold-out bed inside an exterior cabinet. They are commonly crafted from the following materials:

  • Solid hardwood: Like Murphy beds, cabinet beds can also be made from solid hardwood, offering an elegant and tasteful appearance. The quality of solid hardwood ensures that your cabinet bed remains sturdy and durable throughout its lifespan.
  • Plywood: An economical alternative, plywood is also used for cabinet beds. Although it may not have the luxurious feel of solid hardwood, plywood remains a robust and reliable material that can still contribute to an attractive design.

In terms of design, both Murphy and cabinet beds provide homeowners with a space-saving solution that doesn't compromise on style. Murphy beds are often integrated into the wall or existing cabinetry, creating a seamless, built-in appearance that can blend beautifully with any interior design style. On the other hand, cabinet beds feature a standalone design that allows for more versatility in placement and can be customized with various finishes, colors, and hardware touches.

In conclusion, when deciding between a Murphy bed and a cabinet bed, it's essential to consider the materials and design that best suit your needs and preferences. Both options offer space-saving solutions, but the choice ultimately depends on your desired aesthetic and practical requirements.

Flexibility and Portability

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Have you ever considered how a small living space could benefit from utilizing flexible and portable furniture options? In today's shrinking apartments and growing popularity of home offices, both Murphy beds and cabinet beds can be a smart space-saving solution. In this section, we'll discuss the flexibility and portability of these two bed options and how they can improve the functionality of your living space.

Moving a Murphy Bed

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, are designed to fold up against the wall when not in use. This feature is especially beneficial for those living in studio apartments or people working from home offices. Because of their built-in nature, Murphy beds are often integrated into existing walls or furniture, making it challenging to move them between rooms or properties.

On the positive side, the customizability of a Murphy bed's design allows it to blend seamlessly into your space and be tailored specifically to your needs. For example, a Murphy bed can be disguised as bookshelves or other functional furniture pieces. While not as portable as cabinet beds, they offer the advantage of creating a more permanent and aesthetically pleasing solution for small living spaces.

Moving a Cabinet Bed

Cabinet beds, on the other hand, are more portable than Murphy beds. They often feature wheels or casters for easy mobility, making them a great choice for those who need the flexibility to move their bed between rooms, or even properties. This is particularly useful for studio apartment dwellers who may want to periodically rearrange their layout for added functionality.

While not as customizable as Murphy beds, cabinet beds usually come in more standardized sizes and styles, allowing them to fit into various décors. In addition, their standalone design may appeal to those hesitant to install a bed into their walls or existing furniture.

In conclusion, both Murphy and cabinet beds offer unique advantages when it comes to flexibility and portability, depending on your personal needs and space restrictions. Consider how each option could benefit your living space and make the best decision for your lifestyle.

Installation and Assembly

Murphy Bed Installation

Have you ever wondered how difficult it is to install a Murphy bed? While some technical components are involved, the process can be relatively straightforward with the right durable hardware and tools. In fact, some Murphy bed models have detailed installation instructions or even video guides to walk you through the process.

Murphy bed installation typically involves assembling the bed frame, attaching it to the wall, and installing the necessary springs or pistons. These springs or pistons help counterbalance the weight of the bed, making it easy and safe to raise and lower. Although labor-intensive, the layout provides the perfect balance of utility and space-saving features.

Cabinet Bed Assembly

On the other hand, cabinet beds are known for their easy-to-assemble properties. Unlike the wall-mounted Murphy bed, cabinet beds are more of a freestanding piece of furniture that does not require any attachment to a wall. The installation process usually involves assembling the cabinet, installing the collapsible bed frame, and placing the mattress in its designated area.

As we put together our cabinet bed, we will find that the layout doesn't involve any complicated technical components, such as springs or pistons. This design allows for an easier setup, with fewer tools and less labor-intensive tasks when compared to its counterpart, the Murphy bed.

In summary, while both Murphy beds and cabinet beds provide functional and space-saving solutions for your home, the installation procedures differ. The processes involve various hardware, tools, and assembly techniques, resulting in different levels of ease and complexity. By understanding these differences, we can make informed decisions about which option best suits our needs and preferences.

Size and Weight Capacity

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Have you ever wondered about the differences between Murphy beds and cabinet beds? As space-saving solutions, both of these bed types have their unique size and weight capacity. In this section, we'll explore these differences in detail.

Murphy Bed Sizes and Capacities

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, come in various sizes ranging from twin to king. Common sizes include:

  • Twin size: 250-300 pounds weight capacity
  • Double and Queen size: 500-1000 pounds weight capacity
  • King size: 2000+ pounds weight capacity

Queen-size Murphy beds are particularly popular because they can accommodate a wide range of sleepers with their substantial weight capacity while still taking up limited space in the room.

Murphy beds are designed to fold up vertically or horizontally, depending on the model. By doing so, they provide a practical and efficient way to maximize floor space in small areas such as home offices and studio apartments.

Cabinet Bed Sizes and Capacities

Cabinet beds, on the other hand, are slightly different in design. They consist of a single to queen-sized unit that looks like a wooden cabinet when closed. The mattress folds inside the cabinet, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a compact and versatile sleeping solution. Typically, cabinet beds have a weight capacity similar to Murphy beds in the same size range.

While cabinet beds and Murphy beds share some similarities, there are crucial differences to consider. One of the main differences is that cabinet beds do not require to be attached to the wall, making them more portable and less permanent than Murphy beds.

Here's a quick comparison of the two bed types:

Bed Type Sizes Available Weight Capacity
Murphy Bed Twin, Double, Queen, King 250-2000+ pounds
Cabinet Bed Single to Queen Similar to Murphy beds

In conclusion, both Murphy beds and cabinet beds offer space-saving solutions for those with limited space or in need of practical furniture solutions. However, their sizes and weight capacities differ, with Murphy beds offering a wider range of options and cabinet beds being more versatile and portable. By understanding these differences, one can make an informed decision on the best bed type for their specific needs.

Style and Customization

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Are you considering a space-saving bed option but unsure about the differences between a Murphy bed and a cabinet bed? Let's explore the style and customization aspects of both options, making your decision process a bit easier.

Murphy beds and cabinet beds are known for their convenient and contemporary designs, with various style choices available. They are both aesthetically pleasing, offering modern, space-saving solutions with a rich history, dating back to William Lawrence Murphy, inventor of the Murphy bed.

Murphy Bed Styles

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, are well-known for their ability to blend into a room's décor seamlessly. We can find modern Murphy beds in a wide range of materials, finishes, and colors, allowing them to work well in many different interior settings. Some models also come with additional built-in features, such as shelving, lighting, or even a desk.

Typically, a Murphy bed is stored vertically against a wall, concealed within a cabinet to maximize floor space. To use it, simply pull the bed down when needed and fold it back up when not in use.

Cabinet Bed Styles

Cabinet beds are an alternative to Murphy beds and provide a similar space-saving solution. However, cabinet beds differ in that they fold out horizontally from a cabinet-like structure rather than vertically from a wall.

Various styles of cabinet beds cater to different preferences, making it easy to find one that fits your desired aesthetic. Cabinet beds also come in different materials, including wood and modern laminates. With a range of colors and finishes available, matching your cabinet bed to your existing décor is simple.

Like Murphy beds, some cabinet beds also offer additional storage or functional features that can be customized to suit your needs.

In conclusion, both Murphy beds and cabinet beds offer stylish, convenient, and customizable sleeping options for small living spaces. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your design preferences, available space, and integration requirements.

Pricing and Comparison

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Are you interested in a space-saving bed solution but unsure about the differences in cost and quality between Murphy beds and cabinet beds? In this section, we will compare the pricing and qualities of both options to help you make an informed decision.

Murphy Bed Costs

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds or pull-down beds, are designed to fold away when not in use, making them a great option for maximizing space. Typically, Murphy beds are more expensive than cabinet beds due to their complex mechanics and high-quality materials used in construction. However, this also means they often offer a high level of durability and functionality.

An essential part of owning a Murphy bed is considering the additional costs that come with installation. You may need to measure the available space, account for electrical outlets, and choose suitable finishes to match your room's interior. In many cases, you will need to visit a showroom or have a professional come to your home to ensure proper installation.

Cabinet Bed Costs

Cabinet beds are stand-alone units that contain a bed inside. While they are generally more affordable than Murphy beds, they still offer a high-quality sleep experience. Many cabinet beds are made from high-quality material like solid hardwood or plywood, which are both sturdy and attractive choices.

One of the major benefits of cabinet beds is that they often require less installation work than Murphy beds. They do not need to be anchored to a wall, which means fewer concerns about electrical outlets or structural requirements. However, make sure to measure your room carefully to ensure a proper fit.

In conclusion, both Murphy and cabinet beds offer valuable space-saving solutions. When considering cost and quality, Murphy beds are often more expensive due to their elaborate mechanics and materials used. On the other hand, cabinet beds are more budget-friendly without compromising on quality and durability. Consider your specific needs, budget, and space requirements when choosing between these two options.


So, have you ever wondered how to choose between a Murphy bed and a cabinet bed for your small space living needs? We have explored the differences between these two space-saving options, considering factors like design, ease of use, and comfort.

To recap, a Murphy bed is a wall-mounted bed that folds up against the wall when not in use, saving space in your room. It usually requires a more complex installation process and has springs or pistons for easy lifting. You can find Murphy beds in various sizes and styles here.

On the other hand, a cabinet bed is a standalone unit that houses the bed inside the cabinet. It is generally easier to set up and often has additional storage space, such as drawers. Cabinet beds can be an attractive and versatile option for small spaces. 

Both options have their pros and cons, and the choice ultimately depends on our personal preferences and living situation. While Murphy beds can be more seamless and hidden when not in use, cabinet beds provide extra storage and flexibility.

Now that we know the differences between Murphy beds and cabinet beds, we can make an informed decision for our small space living needs. Whether we go for the classic Murphy bed or the modern cabinet bed, we'll be creating a comfortable and efficient sleeping solution in our tiny living spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do Murphy beds and cabinet beds compare in terms of comfort?

When it comes to comfort, both Murphy beds and cabinet beds offer a similar sleeping experience, as they typically use standard mattresses. However, Murphy bed mattress thickness is sometimes limited due to space constraints in the wall mechanism, while cabinet beds can accommodate thicker mattresses. Overall, comfort will depend on individual preferences and the specific design of each bed.

What are the main differences in functionality between Murphy and cabinet beds?

Murphy beds are wall-mounted units that fold up vertically when not in use, saving space and often doubling as a decorative element. They rely on various mechanisms, including springs and pistons, which allow for smooth and easy operation. On the other hand, cabinet beds fold out horizontally and are stored within a compact cabinet. They require no wall installation and can be moved as needed. They typically feature a simpler design, often with storage compartments built-in.

Which option is more space-efficient: a Murphy bed or a cabinet bed?

Both Murphy beds and cabinet beds are designed to save space in small rooms or multi-purpose spaces. While the actual space savings depend on the specific design, Murphy beds do tend to save more floor space than cabinet beds, as they fold up against the wall. However, cabinet beds can be more versatile, as they can easily be moved or rearranged within a room.

Do Murphy beds and cabinet beds have similar installation processes?

The installation processes of Murphy beds and cabinet beds differ significantly. Murphy beds require wall-mounting and can involve a complex process, often necessitating professional installation. They may also require modifications, structural support, or reinforcement, depending on your wall type. In contrast, cabinet beds are typically free-standing units that do not require wall installation, making the setup process simpler and more straightforward.

What are the design and style differences between a Murphy bed and a cabinet bed?

Murphy beds come in various designs and styles, often featuring sleek, modern lines that integrate seamlessly with the room's decor. Some models use the front panel as a decorative element or shelving when the bed is folded up. Cabinet beds, on the other hand, prioritize compact, functional design, often with built-in storage drawers or compartments. The cabinet's exterior can be styled to resemble a console or cabinet for a more discreet appearance.

Are there notable differences in cost and maintenance for Murphy beds vs. cabinet beds?

In general, Murphy beds can be more expensive than cabinet beds, as they often feature high-quality materials, advanced mechanisms, and customizable designs. Additionally, Murphy bed installation costs can be substantial. However, prices for both types of beds can vary depending on the brand, material, and design. Maintenance for both options is typically minimal, but Murphy beds may require occasional adjustment or lubrication of the mechanism components to ensure smooth operation.

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