How Do Murphy Beds Work? (Easy Explanation)

Murphy beds have been capturing the attention of homeowners since their inception in the early 20th century, and even more so now that the Tiny House Movement is building momentum.

Most users worry about their daily use of a Murphy bed, while others worry about the dangers that they pose.

If you are considering a Murphy bed, we’ve outlined some helpful tips to get you started:

Here is A Guide to How Murphy Beds Work:

Murphy beds raise and lower using spring or piston lift mechanisms and tension to keep them from springing up or falling down. Most modern beds will come with locking mechanisms for safety reasons. Murphy beds become harder to lift the older they get due to worn down lifting mechanisms.

What Hardware is Being Used in Murphy Beds?

Murphy beds are built into the wall and hidden in a “cabinet” or “closet” that both looks nice and conceals your mattress until it is time to use it.

However, these beds require a lot of engineering to make them both safe and comfortable.

Murphy beds have a lifting mechanism as well as locking safety features to keep them both stored upright and safely laid down for sleeping.

Murphy beds use two different hardware mechanisms that allow them to raise and lower safely and securely:

  • Piston Lifting Mechanisms
  • Spring Lifting Mechanisms

Piston Lifting Mechanisms:

If you are looking for a quiet, modern option, try a piston system for your Murphy bed.

Gas piston lifting mechanisms use high-pressure gas or air on a piston head to provide motion for the bed to raise and lower in a quiet, slow and safe fashion.

However, if pistons require maintenance or become damaged over time, or even just lose their strength, you will have to entirely replace the mechanism, rather than a single spring.

While pistons are quieter, they don’t last as long, and they are more expensive.

Spring Lifting Mechanisms:

Spring mechanisms are a tried-and-true classic system for lifting your bed up and down; however, they are noisy.

Spring mechanisms are more likely to maintain their strength and last longer over a lifetime of use than a piston system, and they are easier to replace if some damage is done or if they wear down and don’t keep their strength.

The springs, unlike the gas pistons, use their taught force and resistance to hold the bed in place and gently raise and lower it.

However, springs are noisier, especially after a few years of use.

How Does a Murphy Bed Stay Down?

Whether you are using a spring system or piston system, Murphy beds use weight and tension to stay down.

Once you pull your bed down from the wall, it will stay down, using the weight of the bed to help keep it stable on the floor.

Most modern Murphy bed systems also use locking mechanisms to keep them in place.

The spring and piston systems aren’t supposed to be strong enough to spring you back up into the wall while you are using it, so it shouldn’t go back up when you are sleeping.

How Does a Murphy Bed Stay Up?

Murphy beds have locking mechanisms to keep them down, and they also have locks to keep them up.

Parents with small children prefer extra locks on their Murphy bed cabinets to keep their children safe, rather than make it too easy to simply open the bed cabinet and let it fall.

Furthermore, when the bed is in an upright position, it will either lock into place using a locking mechanism, or the springs or piston mechanical system will use tension to keep the bed in an upright position.

This prevents it from falling on the user or from breaking through the cabinet doors.

Finally, while it is very rare that a modern Murphy bed will collapse, it is still recommended that you keep pets and small children away from it, preventing them from knocking the cabinet open or pushing on it in any way.

How Hard is it to Lift a Murphy Bed?

Murphy beds have come a long way in their construction and design.

Most users worry that having a Murphy bed will be more trouble than it is worth, but that isn’t the case.

Any new Murphy bed should be counter-balanced perfectly when you purchase it. However, spring and piston lift mechanisms do wear down or get weaker with age.

Therefore, a Murphy bed is harder to lift back up the older the lift mechanisms get.

If you think that your bed has reached a point where it is too heavy to lift, consider replacing your lift mechanism or invest in a new bed.

You shouldn’t have to replace them or get a new bed until after at least five years.

Final Thoughts:

Murphy beds are very convenient when you want to live tiny or are looking for a modern space.

While they can be a huge adjustment to live with, modern Murphy beds are outfitted with great safety features and lift mechanisms to make things a little easier on users on a day-to-day basis.

Finding the right bed for you comes down to preference and price, but Murphy beds are worth looking into if you want something modern and space-saving.

References:

Are Murphy Beds Noisy When Being Used? (Solved!)

Are Murphy Beds Stable & Sturdy? (Explained!)

How does a Murphy bed work? What’s the murphy bed mechanism?

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