How Do You Build A Murphy Bed? Easy 24 Step To Make

How Do You Build A Murphy Bed? It’s time to stop living in a series of small rooms and start enjoying the luxury of sleeping in any room you want.

If you live in an apartment, condo, or house with a basement or attic, then it’s time for your Murphy bed to come out and make your outdoor space a lot more space.

Nowadays, Murphy beds are becoming more and more popular as people want different types of beds. Some want to save money by a cheaper alternative to a futon or traditional bed.

Some want extra space in their homes, and some want to enjoy the comfort and luxury of their favorite bed at almost any time of the day or night.

Building your own Murphy bed can be an exciting process that will make your outdoor living space completely yours, especially when you have friends or family.

How Do You Build A Murphy Bed? 24 Step By Step Tips

Necessary Materials:

  • Murphy bed kit
  • tape measure
  • hammer
  • drill with 1/8″ countersink bit, 1/4″ bit, and 1″ Forstner bit
  • 1-1/4″, 1-1/2″ and 2″ screws
  • table or circular saw
  • jigsaw
  • screwdriver
  • clamps
  • stud finder
  • paint and paint supplies
  • nailer and finish nails
  • (4) 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood sheet
  • (2) 1/4″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood sheet
  • (12) 1×2 x 8′ solid wood board
  • wood glue
  • veneer tape
  • cabinet handles


Step 1:

Get your measurements for your Murphy bed, inside and outside. You want the bed to be at least 4 feet off the ground and 8 feet wide. A Murphy is 6 feet long because of the thickness of the footboard.

Step 2:

Cut out the pieces of plywood that you need to build your bed frame. If you plan on building a sleeping platform on top, make sure you get plywood at least 1-1/2 inches thick. If your sleeping platform is on top, make sure the bottom is 1-1/4 inches thick.

Step 3:

Place the top frame on a table and measure from inside to outside width and from inside to outside height.

Place your plywood sheet upside down on the table and place the footboard onto it. You’ll need to mark where the front edges of the plywood are going to be.

Measure it, mark it with a pencil, and then you can mark your cuts with a knife or marker. Don’t forget to leave an extra 3/4″ on the top and bottom for the frame.

Step 4:

Get your drill with a 1/8″ countersink bit and drill into all the places you marked for the screws. Take a 1/4″ bit and a Forstner bit, also known as round-over bits, with different sizes, hole saw bits, or you can explore with different hole sizes. The holes are what let your screws go into the plywood.

Step 5:

After your holes are drilled, put your screws into them. Use screws that will hold up to your weight, such as screws with at least 1-1/4″ thread length.

Step 6:

Lay the back down on the floor and put on the vertical supports for the horizontal supports. Make sure the top corner is in line with the bottom corner of your footboard to get a nice and even look from both sides of your bed frame.

How Do You Build A Murphy Bed?

Step 7:

Lay the top frame back on the table and place your plywood sheets right side upon it. Mark how long the middle part of your footboard is by laying on a paper. Measure twice, cut once.

Measure from corner to corner on all sides and make an even mark in the middle of both ends, parallel to each other.

Step 8:

Place your top frame back onto the footboard and screw it together. If this is your first time building a bed frame, put wood glue on the screws and screw them together as tightly as you can.

Step 9:

Get your drill with a 1/4″ bit and countersink for screw heads. You can flatten out any sharp edges still there after you’ve screwed the frame together.

Step 10:

After that, screw the frame together on all sides. Clamp down your frame and make sure you have no spaces or anything open. Use wood glue and pipe nails to close it up if you do.

Step 11:

If you don’t want any extra pieces of hardware on the footboard or headboard of your bed, then now is the time to put them on. Be sure you place it at least 1 inch away from the top of your frame.

Step 12:

Use clamps to hold the frame together, and use a hammer and finish nails to push down any raised edges around your frame.

Atlantic Furniture Nantucket Murphy Bed Chest with Charging Station & Mattress


Step 13:

Sand down the entire frame with light, medium, and heavy grit sandpaper. Use different grits based on how rough your wood is or how smooth you want it to be. If you don’t have heavy sandpaper to remove deep dents, then use a sander followed by a piece of 220-grit sandpaper.

Step 14:

Get your paint supplies and paint all the parts of your bed frame that require it. I recommend giving it at least three coats of paint. Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours, and then after 24 hours or so, you can go ahead and attach the hardware to your bed frame.

Step 15:

Now that your wooden frame is built, it’s time to start putting on everything else. You have to have the frame of your Murphy bed to support all the weight of you and a person.

Step 16:

Get your cabinet handles about as wide as your frame, with about 8 inches between each handle. Place 2 handles on top and 2 handles at the bottom.

Step 17:

Use your table saw to put grooves in all 4 sides of the plywood sheets to which you’ll be attaching your feet.

Step 18:

Lay the plywood sheets down on a flat table and attach your cabinet handles. This is what makes the foot of your bed wider.

Step 19:

Place your 2x4s on the frame and attach them to the plywood sheets with screws. You want them to be about 1 inch away from each side of your plywood sheets.

Remember to consider the thickness of your footboard when finding out how deep you need to screw in these boards.

Step 20:

If you are building a sleeping platform onto your Murphy bed, put a piece of plywood that is at least 1-1/2 inches thick on top of the 2x4s.

If you’re alright with not having a sleeping platform in your Murphy bed, screw two 2x4s into each side of the plywood sheets and attach cabinet handles.

Step 21:

Get your hinges and measure out where they will fit on your footboard. They need to be about 2 1/2 inches away from the front and 3 1/2 inches away from the back of your footboard. Make sure they will fit on the width of your footboard.

Step 22:

After that, use a drill and screws to screw the hinges onto your footboard.

Step 23:

Now you can put on the hardware for your bed frame. Attach each support bar to an outside corner of your frame with 3 eye bolts.

Be sure the eye bolts have washers on them and use a nut or washer underneath your cabinet handle to prevent it from falling off when you move around in the bed.

Step 24:

You can also add hardware for the headboard of your sleeping platform. You can either screw-in support beams or use tension rods instead.

Each platform will be different based on what you want them to look like. I personally prefer support beams because they are easier to put on and take off.

Congratulations! You have just finished building your own Murphy bed with the wooden frame!

How Difficult Is It To Build A Murphy Bed?

Building a Murphy bed can be easy or hard, depending on your woodworking skills. It is two different pieces of furniture that are supposed to be stacked on top of each other, and it is one of the easiest types of Murphy beds to build.

Make sure to double-check the measurements and take your time when pressing all the pieces together to flush with each other. You want your bed to be perfectly flat and straight.

What Type Of Wood Should I Be Using?

I recommend that you stay away from anything hardwood. Hardwood will crack and splinter when you are screwing all the pieces together.

A good alternative to hardwood is soft pine or cedar because these woods can take more weight than hardwood can.

How Do You Support A Murphy Bed?

When putting a Murphy bed together, there are a few ways to support it. The typical way is to use wood underneath the bed frame that prevents it from bending down. You can also use wood underneath the mattress or platform if you’re using one.

Another way to support a bed frame is with anything sturdy and even. This would be an iron brace, fence, wall bracket, etc.

Do Murphy Beds Need To Be Anchored To The Wall?

It is not necessary to anchor a Murphy bed to the wall, but it is encouraged if you have a small amount of weight on your bed. If you are building a Murphy bed for two people, I recommend that you anchor it to the wall.

Final Thoughts

You can put anything on a Murphy bed that would normally go on a regular bed. You have to make that part of the bed as sturdy as possible, so it can hold whatever you want to use for it. Most Murphy beds aren’t too tall either, so it’s easy to do so if you want to put a dresser or chest of drawers underneath.

I like making Murphy beds out of pine because pine is cheap and flexible when it comes down to cutting corners for inside cuts.

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