How to Build a Murphy Bed

A detailed tutorial on how to build a murphy bed.  No expensive kit required.  Build it all for under $250!

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Building a murphy bed has been one of the most gratifying projects I have ever done!  I was terrified to take on this project but it turned out to be a lot easier than we thought! 

Our original plan was to team up with some friends and the men were going to build us a murphy bed while the ladies hung out with the kids.  Then we would do the same thing at their house.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out like that. 

One of our friends got sick so it was up to my husband and me to figure it out ourselves.  We were in a little bit of a panic but it all worked out in the end. 

How to Build a Murphy Bed

My parents drove to Minneapolis from Iowa and spent the weekend with our daughters while we built the bed.  We headed to Home Depot to get our supplies.  We were out of there for around $200!

It all worked out and we finished it on time for the One Room Challenge Final Reveal.

Here was our week by week progress on this room transformation:


We did a lot of research online and compiled a bunch of plans together to make our own.  We didn’t want to buy a murphy bed hardware kit so we figured out a way to do it without one. 

The hardware kits range from $200-$300 and we wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible.

Step 1 – Find Studs in Wall

To start we needed to find the studs in the wall.  This is a very important step that you don’t want to forget. 

You don’t want the bed to fall down on your guests, so make sure it’s screwed into a stud!  That would not be good! Ha!

Step 2 – Assemble Frame

Once we assembled the frame then we secured it to the wall with wood screws.  We joined the 1×12 pieces of wood together in a rectangle so that it would frame around a queen size mattress. 

We used L brackets to hold the pieces of wood together and added a couple of wood screws as well. 

I didn’t want the bed to touch the ceiling so we made it 92 inches tall and added a couple of inches to the width so that the bed would fit in it comfortably. 

The middle 1×6 boards were placed there to secure it to the studs in the wall.  We secured the 1x6s to the 1x12s with wood screws going in from the outside of the frame.

Step 3 – Build Base of Mattress Frame

The next part of the bed to be made was adding the base of the mattress frame, where the bed will fold outwards.  We used 2x4s to create this base of the frame. 

Every time we added a board in between the outer 1x12s we measured the length.  It’s interesting to find that the boards may need to be different lengths as the wood may be warped.  I would double check the measurements before cutting each board when putting it inside the frame.

Step 4 – Building the Mattress Frame

The next portion of the bed that we built was the bed frame.  This is where the bed rests. 

We bought two pieces of plywood.  There are different types of plywood and we went with the nicer ones.  The cheaper plywood would need to be covered.

We weren’t planning to cover the front of the plywood on the front of the bed.  I was planning to paint over it. 

We had the plywood cut to size at Home Depot.  We had them cut the two pieces to 31 inches by 82 inches.  When they are side by side they are a total of 62″x 82″. 

A standard queen size bed measures 60×80 so we allowed for two inches of overage on each side.  We joined the two pieces of plywood with a 1×3 piece of wood.  (Later on, we changed it to a 1×6 for a little extra support.)

After the plywood was in place we added the frames on each side to hold the mattress in place.  We screwed in 1×6 boards all around the plywood. 

We connected the 1×6 in each corner and then flipped the bed front around and screwed the plywood into the 1x6s.

After that part was finished we placed the mattress inside just to confirm that it fit! 🙂

Step 5 – Adding the Hinges

Once the front of the murphy bed was complete we attached 3 door hinges on the bottom of the front of the frame.  You want to make sure that the hinge itself is below the wood as it needs to be exposed when closed for it to work.

Next, attach the other side of the door hinges onto the base of the frame that is on the wall.  Once the hinges are on the frame you have a finished murphy bed!  Well, before you add the finishing touches.

All that’s left is to add the locks, molding, shelves, and paint!  I don’t want to overwhelm you with details so I’ll be back with part two next week. 

We attached these Althea Standard Bookcases to each side of the bed and I can’t wait to show you how it really brought the whole thing together!  


Build a Murphy Bed with Free Plans

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week with a couple of new tutorials!


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View Comments

  • WOW that looks amazing!!! And obviously it's not THAT hard lol so maybe even I could do this!

  • Great job! Are there legs or supports on the front as it looks like the end near the wall is about 6 " off the floor. What keeps it level?

    • Yes, there are legs. They screw into the top of the frame and can be unscrewed when it's in the folded up position. Let me know if you have any more questions!

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