PLANS: A Murphy Bed YOU Can Build, and Afford to Build

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/21/2010 - 20:40
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Do you need a guest sleeping spot, but don't have a guest room? Or is your guest room also a nursery or office? Add a hidden murphy bed with this easy project plan. The bed folds away into a cabinet that looks like an armoire. Easy instructions, no special hardware required.

Dimensions and Composition are show above


Shopping List

1 – Sheet of 1/2″ Plywood or MDF
3 – 1×12, 8′ Long
1 – 1×8, 8′ Long
1 – 1×4, 8′ Long
1 – 1×3, 8′ Long
3 – 1×2, 8′ Long
2″ Screws
2″ Nails
1 1/4″ Nails
5/8″ Brad Nails
Wood Filler
Sand Paper
1/4″ Thick Hobby Boards
Hinges (preferably heavy duty door hinges or continuous piano hinge)
Heavy duty magnetic clasp to keep the bed from falling open
Optional compression hinges to slowly lower the bed in place

Cut List

Cut List for the “Box”

2 – 1×12 @ 78 1/2″ (Sides)
1 – 1×12 @ 42 1/4″ (Bottom)
2 – 1×4 @ 42 1/4″ (Back Supports)
1 – 1×2 @ 43 3/4″ (Front Support Trim, Top)
2 – 1×2 @ 77″ (Side Trim)
2 – 1×2 @ 12 1/4″ (Top Side Trim)
1 – 1×2 @ 45 1/4″ (Front Top Trim)
1 – 1×3 @ 47 1/4″ (Top, Back)
1 – 1×12 @ 47 1/4″ (Top, Front)

Cut List for the “Bed”

1 – 1/2″ Plywood @ 40 1/2″ x 76 1/2″ (Back)
1 – 1×8 @ 40 1/2″ (Bottom)
1 – 1×8 @ 55″ (Cut Length wise at a diagonal as shown in the plan to get 2)
Trim as desired with 1/4″ thick hobby stock

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

General Instructions. Work on a clean level surface. Use proper safety precautions and equipment. Take a square of your project after each step. Use good straight boards. Countersink and predrill all of your screw holes before fastening.


Step 1

Build the Box. Using the 2″ screws and glue, fasten the sides to the bottom

Step 2

Back Supports. Fasten the back supports to the box, flush with the top and back. Also fasten through the bottom of the box into the bottom support. Use 2″ screws and glue.

Step 3

Front Support. Fasten the front support to the box as shown above. Top edges are flush. Use 2″ screws and glue.

Step 4

Side Trim. Using 2″ nails and glue, fasten the side trim to the box. Outside edges are flush. You will need to also fasten to the bottom of the box and fasten through the top of the top trim into the top end edge of the side trim.

Step 5

Step 6

Front Top Trim. Fasten the front top trim in place using 1 1/4″ nails and glue. Keep top and outside edges flush. Use 2″ nails on the ends to fasten to the side trim and the sides.

Step 7

Top, Back. Using 2″ nails and glue, fasten the top back piece to the top, leaving 1″ overhang both ends. Back will be flush.

Step 8

Top, Front. Leaving a 1″ overhang on front and sides, attach the top as you did the top in step 7.

Step 9

Mattress Box. Build the mattress box by using 2″ screws to screw the bottom 1×8 board to the plywood bottom. Use glue. Then fasten the sides to the bottom and the back using 2″ screws and glue. The sides are simply the scrap 1/8, cut at a diagonal to create two boards. You can cut with a jigsaw or a circular saw.

Step 10

Door Decorations. Using 1/4″ thick hobby stock, fasten your desired door pattern to the face of the door (mattress bottom). Secure with glue, 5/8″ nails and clamps and let dry. Dimensions shown are for the sample pattern above.

Step 11

Hardware. Use the hinges to attach the mattress box to the wall box as shown above. You should also use a clasp to keep the door from falling open when shut. You can also use support hinges to keep the door from free falling open when unlatched.

Step 12

Finishing. Fill any nail or screw holes with wood filler and sand and finish as desired.

Step 13

Installation. You will need to use screws to fasten through the 1×4 support boards into a stud in the back wall. This recommended on the top and bottom. Also recommended is a wide elastic strap secured to the plywood door to keep the top of the mattress in place when the door is closed.

Fits a standard twin mattress 39″ x 75″


Anji (not verified)

Tue, 03/23/2010 - 15:40

On the cut list the front side trim shows 75" but then the actual measurement should be 77" per the diagram - is that an accurate correction to you? I guess we'll make a decorative little corner piece at the bottom... no one will eeeever know!

The (not verified)

Tue, 03/23/2010 - 16:44

I'm with Crissybug - would love a Murphy bed for a queen sized bed, but it seems the DIY options that are out there suggest that twin or full are the max that the hardware will support. Your design of resting the floor on the bed seem like they may be more forgiving for a larger bed... what do you think?

Ana White (not verified)

Tue, 03/23/2010 - 16:57

Hi Anji, there was defintely a typo in the cut list - side trim should be 77". I made this change, thanks so much for taking the time to comment on this.

Hardware is definitely an issue when considering a queen. The support problems will not be when the bed is open or closed, but when you open or close it. Might be difficult to open or close a queen bed without some help. Could be dangerous too. Hmmmm . . . a wind up winch . . . this needs to be hacked!

Brent (not verified)

Sun, 03/28/2010 - 20:15

Ana, perhaps instead of a winch, you could incorporate a counter-balance weight in the sides, if they were a little deeper.

handcrafted fu… (not verified)

Sat, 04/24/2010 - 08:37

I always thought making a perfect bed would be a very very hard task to attain.But from the instructions I am happy to see it is not and want to lay my hands on it.

custom kitchens

Loni (not verified)

Sat, 08/21/2010 - 07:56

Hi Ana! I was revisiting this post because I've been trying to figure out how/where to put a nursery without losing my guestroom. And then I remembered the murphy bed! We already have a queen sized bed in there that I planned on using for this project. I saw where you mentioned it being a safety hazard due to weight, I wanted to let you know that I plan on modifying your plans so the bed lays out horizontally, which will make it much more manageable for its size, but also I can put molding on the outside so it has that feaux fireplace/mantel effect while not in use. Thank you so much again for all you do!

Kacie (not verified)

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 17:52

If anyone has actually attempted to do the queen size bed, please message me at as I would love to do this with our existing queen mattress so I don't have to lose my guest bedroom when we turn it into a nursery! Probably would work best if turned horizontally?

James K Polk r… (not verified)

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 10:33

[...] Knock off Wood : This plan was actually posted after I constructed my bed or I would have gone with it.  You have to be able to lift the weight of your mattress, but the same is true of the Lori bed and I’ve had no issues.  The bed would also be a bit low to the ground, but a few mods to the plans would fix that. [...]

Patty (not verified)

Thu, 02/10/2011 - 21:44

Awesome plan Ana. We own a pop up trundle. I wonder if you could fit that in this plan--it would take care of the expensive hardware. I just cannot put my parents on the floor. They are aging.


Fri, 04/01/2011 - 14:09

I made this out of the knottiest pine Orange had for an extra-long twin mattress we had, so just added 5 inches to the height.  It makes for a very tall "cabinet" but I'm planning to build a shelf system in next to it and match the doors so that it'll look like a half-wall of tall built-in storage when the bed is closed.

I used a 30" piano hinge for the bottom, were I to do it again I'd buy a longer one and cut it to size.  The trim kept pricing out to be pretty expensive, so I ended up using 1/4" luaun ply cut into strips.  I went over to my dad's & we cut the strips on his tablesaw, but orange would've done it for me too, albeit with a little more edge sanding.  I finished it with watered down white semi-gloss latex paint (for a siort of white-wash) which helped camouflage the ply sides and filled pocket holes but lets the knots and some of the character show through.  It ended up looking slightly old fashioned without being distressed, although that could work too with a little 150 & elbow grease.

I used 1x2's I already had, but if you're buying them new I'd check if they match the thickness of 1x12 before you leave the store, or use 1x2 to trim out the front of a scrap of plywood.  The jig saw hasn't been unearthed from our chaos yet so I made all the cuts (save trim) with a chop saw.  For the sides I used another 1x8 and cut an angle at the top to keep there from being a sharp corner and help it look a little nicer.  Ended up having to trim a strip off the front of the "door" because I didn't account for the thickness of the cabinet bottom when it's folded up, so I'll add to the chorus of check your measurements before you build =0)

PS  The watered down paint thing I read on a website awhile back but can't remember where and can't find it to give proper credit.  I saw them do it on DIY yesterday but they dipped the brush first in paint, then water, then dabbed.  I stirred paint into water until it looked good and rolled/brushed it on.