Murphy Bed

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Introduction: Murphy Bed

Hi everyone! This is my first time writing an Instructable and have learned a lot and gotten ideas from other users here. This project was also the largest build I've done to-date. When we purchased our house we also purchased some of the furniture along with it. As part of that was a very large oak entertainment center. This piece was very nice, but it was custom built for the old rear projection big screen TVs (that were huge and weighed a ton). Since our flat screen would not fit in the space, I decided to build a different TV stand and turn this piece into a murphy bed.

There are kits that you can purchase that come with plans and all the hardware, but I chose to go a different route (mainly because I'm cheap and I wanted to challenge myself). Since this was a custom project and I didn't use any plans, I haven't included any measurements. I mainly intend this to give others some ideas if attempting to do something similar.

Hardware used:

(2) Boat seat swivels:

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/marine-raider-boa...

150 lb gas struts (comes in pair):

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BE5J542/ref=o...

(2) 10mm ball stud (comes in pairs):

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076FFJ2HS/ref=o...

Step 1: Demo Time

To give an idea of what the entertainment center looked like beforehand, here is a picture. We had to downgrade the TV and get one to fit in that space (I wasn't too happy about it, but that's OK). After a while and a tax refund, we purchased a bigger TV and it was time to move this behemoth out and start the demo process. I didn't get any pictures during this, but basically just cut out all the inside panels and removed the doors/shelves so all that was left was the outside panels.

Step 2: Bed Frame

When everything was removed from the inside of the cabinet, I made a simple shelf to store sheets/pillow/lamp. This was done by re-using some of the panels that were removed and securing with pocket holes. I built the bed frame (sized for a full bed) using pine boards and oak. The pine boards were glued and screwed together in an L shape to add strength. Once complete the bed frame was attached to the cabinet using boat seat swivels as seen in picture #6 (I got this idea from a couple YouTube videos I've seen and they've been working out great).

I made a door using oak boards and raised panel cabinet router bits and attached it to the right side using 3 soft close inset cabinet hinges.

Step 3: Face

Next I made a false front that will be attached to the bed frame using oak boards. I determined the dimensions of the overall face and used that to determine the dimensions for each panel. The rails and stiles are 2.5" wide. I edge glued the boards together and cut the panels down to the correct measurements. Using the raised panel router bits, each piece was cut.

After it was all stained and finished, I glued the rails and stiles in place going 1 at a time to ensure that everything was square. The raised panels are not glued in and are left "floating" to account for wood expansion.

Step 4: Flip Out Feet

Once the false front was complete I cut out holes where the feet would go. I attached the bed frame (without the false front) to the cabinet, lowered it down and supported it so that was level. From this I took the measurement to the ground. This measurement will be how long the feet needed to be minus 3/4" for the false front. The feet were cut from oak boards and stained to match. They are attached using inset cabinet hinges. I attached these so that when the legs are flipped out, they rest against the false front. That way all the weight is resting on the feet and not on the hinges.

After the feet were in place, the bed frame was attached to the false front

Step 5: Install

At this point it was ready to be moved into place. Unfortunately it was too big to fit through the doorway in the intended room because the hallway was too narrow to turn it correctly. So I ended up having to cut it half and reassemble it in the room. I made the cut to be even with the middle rails to look consistent.

The 2 halves were brought in and the bed frame was attached to the bottom half. Stringer boards were screwed to both halves to add stability and also to secure to the wall to prevent it from tipping over. Once everything was in place, I cut some 2.5" oak boards to cover up the sides where the cabinet was sawed in half.

150 lb gas struts were used to assist with lifting and lowering the bed. These are connected using 10mm ball stud brackets, one on each side of the bed frame and one on each side of the cabinet. The ends of the struts swivel and should turned in opposite directions. They made a huge difference, but it can't be lifted/lowered with 2 fingers like some of the demo videos of the actual kits. However it makes it light enough that my wife can do it by herself.

When installing the struts and brackets you will want to make sure that it is within the range of extended and compressed lengths. To do this I went ahead and installed the bed frame stud brackets and measured the point on the side of cabinet where the fully extended strut would go. this is done with the bed in the upright position. I marked this spot and then lowered the bed to horizontal position and made sure the length was still within the compressed strut length. One thing to keep in mind is that the bed will need to be pushed past the vertical point in order to attach the struts.

Thanks for checking it out! Please leave some comments or questions.

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15 Discussions

0
ben.merritt1
ben.merritt1

8 weeks ago

I like your design.
What are the best inset cabinet hinges to use for these flip out feet?

0
MarkS976
MarkS976

Question 9 months ago

Great project, thanks for uploading this! I'm planning on
building my own Murphy bed and have a question about this project. Did you install
any type of mattress support on top of the frame such as slats? If I would put
the mattress that I have on such a frame I would definitely be able to feel the
support beams through the mattress. But maybe that’s because I have a different
type/thinner mattress then you are using.

1
DaveyM2
DaveyM2

Question 1 year ago

how do you know where to position the swivel bearings?

0
njohnston924
njohnston924

Answer 11 months ago

Sorry! It's been a while since I've logged on! I basically just measured from the bottom of the outer cabinet and from outermost edge in the front. The bed part is flush with the outside so I measured from the outside of the bed (facial side when bed is folded up) and from the bottom edge of the bed (headboard side). You'll also need to take into account a space at the bottom so when the bed folds down, the bottom edge swings out just a bit. I hope this makes sense!

1
bburke.us
bburke.us

Question 2 years ago

Great project! Question; Where did you attach the struts? Do you have pictures of the struts installation?

0
njohnston924
njohnston924

Answer 2 years ago

bburke,

Thanks! I update the last section to explain how I measured/installed the struts. I also included a couple pictures of how they're attached. The ends of the struts I used simply push onto the ball stud and are held on with a spring clip - very simple and secure.

20180531_222008.jpg20180531_222103.jpg
0
jim_henry
jim_henry

Reply 11 months ago

I don't know if you are still answering questions on this, but I have been studying your instructions a LOT, and I am still wondering about the ANGLE of the struts when in the fully vertical position. Are they then perfectly vertical? Or is that top ball stud still a bit to the "left" of vertical (when looking at the picture on the left?) Also, how deep is the cabinet? I am starting with a bed frame already built and I am going to make the cabinet by joining two one-by's. I am wondering if I can get by with 1x8's (=15" deep) or if I need to go with 1x10's (19" deep). I really appreciate your help if you can give it, and I will post a "I made this" when I get done. (I ordered the parts you linked to already.:)

0
bjm1950
bjm1950

Question 2 years ago on Step 1

Great project well presented. How did you work out the pressure for the gas struts? Are they 150Lbs each or together?

0
njohnston924
njohnston924

Reply 2 years ago

I saw another DIY murphy bed somewhere and the comments said 100 lb struts were used (I think it may have been a twin bed). There's also calculators online where you can input weights and measurements and it will narrow it down.

The struts are 150 lb each. They could stand to be a little bit heavier for this build - you can't lift/lower it with 2 fingers as seen on the commercially available kits, but they still help out a lot when lifting and lowering the bed.

0
bjm1950
bjm1950

2 years ago

Well done, and very well presented.

I would be worried about using boat seat swivel connections, as they are designed for a vertical load.

I would use a bearing with a 15mm diameter pivot pin. One fixed either side of the bed and the other the to the frame box.

0
njohnston924
njohnston924

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks! I had the same thought about the boat seat swivels, but they've held up fine so far.

0
WackyPup
WackyPup

2 years ago

Great design and execution! I am researching a DIY Murphy bed for myself, yours is definitely going in the file! Thanks for such good photos and instructions.

0
njohnston924
njohnston924

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks! Good luck with the build and post some pictures! Let me know if I can help or make any suggestions

0
tomatoskins
tomatoskins

2 years ago

This is awesome! I love murphy bed designs. Such a great way to save space!

0
njohnston924
njohnston924

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks! It was a fun build. My 6 y/o nephew didn't believe there was a bed in there when he first saw it.