December 1, 2008 John Shum

Murphy Bed Choices, Choices, Choices!

Yay! Thanksgiving went well, the turkey wasn’t overcooked, the cranberry sauce kept its canned-like appearance and the wine selection blended perfectly.  But if we could do it again, your in-laws need more than your stained futon that hit its prime back in grad school.  It’s time to do your homework and find a better solution for sleeping additional guests in your home office.

Having personally shopped for several wallbeds for my condos and houses, I’ve gone through many options, configurations, and have set various goals for each sleeping investment.

A wallbed can provide multi-functional space in your home, and still remain tasteful.  Wallbeds come in various flavors and finishes.

Finishes and Construction

Lower-end beds are constructed of particle board and use a veneer surface layer to mimic the effect of solid wood. Higher-end beds are made from solid wood, and are hand-finished with stain and a gloss or matte clear coat poly.

Configurations

Beds can use mechanisms that fold the bed out length-wise or width-wise. A bed that folds out width-wise if a bigger space saver, however the drawbacks are that the guests may end up in an awkward position or in the case of 2 guests, one of them will be trapped against a wall.

Beds can be integrated within a wall cabinet, a closet, a hutch/chest, and even a desk. They can be accompanied by shelving, drawers and lighting. Some options include a slide out night stand, and lower drawer storage.  When not being used for sleep, they can double as desks, chalkboards, whiteboards, bulletin boards, or simply vanish until the next Thanksgiving.

The traditional way Murphy Beds were installed back in the day was to take a closet and convert it to a foldout bed, but these days you can add at bed to any wall.

Bed sizes can range from single and dual twins to queen and even king.  Mattresses can be ordered to fit  basic sizes, pillowtops, and memory foam.

Feet for Your Bed

When your bed folds out, there are a few ways that the bed frame will rest on the floor. One way is a metal bracket that swings out from behind the bed, and the second is a foot that swings out from the front of the panel that you see when the bed is folded up.

Ordering

You can order a wallbed in various ways:

  • Order Online and assemble/install yourself
  • Order from a store and have a  professional deliver, assemble, and install
  • Order a mechanism and fabricate the entire bed

Installation

Most of the wallbeds you will find are free-standing, and will only require a few lag bolts or screws that secure the bed to your wall so it doesn’t tip over when opening the bed, or fall over during earthquakes (for residents in those respective areas.)

Some beds integrate into custom cabinetry, such as a California Closets installation, so the procedure will be customized.

And some beds don’t require any mounting to walls.

Minor Things to Consider

Portability – I once have a room redone with wrap-around custom cabinets to maximize storage, which included a wallbed. When I moved, I realized the bed wasn’t going to be portable, and I could not easily use it in my new house. If I were to rip it out, it would’ve left a gaping void in the area where it was installed.  In the next home, I had one installed with only 3 screws so I could move it to the next home.

That about wraps it up, so you should be well in over your head with things to think about :)

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