How to build a Murphy bed?

Measure, cut, assemble, install, enjoy.
How to build a Murphy bed?
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

As a reader-supported website, we're able to keep it free. Buying something through a link on this page might earn us commissions. Thanks for that.

Creating space and being creative is not everyone's cup of tea, but there is one thing we can all appreciate: the murphy bed. Most of you have got one, and it drives you crazy most of the time. No, not a child, a small bedroom. If you have a murphy bed, you will appreciate its value for providing space and being a comfortable bed.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of building a murphy bed from scratch on how to build a murphy bed.

Let's get into it.

Building a Murphy bed

This horizontal murphy bed might be a great solution if you need more space in the guest bedroom or your child wants more space to play during the day. 

Most of this bed's design focuses on versatility and compactness, but more importantly, it doesn't compromise your sleep quality.

Most individuals typically use an uncomfortable pull-out couch, air mattress, or cot as an extra bed. This murphy bed is much comfier because it can accommodate a full-size mattress. 

What you will need

  • 3 sheets of ¾ plywood.
  • 1 sheet of ¼ plywood.
  • 10 solid wood 1x2x8
  • 100 x 1 ¼ long screws.

The plans ask for finish nails and screws in three different sizes, but you can complete the project with just these. However, you could always spend less money on a less expensive option. You are purchasing a box of 100 and using almost 3/4 of it.

  • Approximately 75 ft of edge banding.
  • Wood glue.
  • Murphy bed hardware.


  • Power drill.
  • Countersink bit
  • Jig Saw
  • Standard saw.
  • Drill bits
  • Set of Forstner bits 1 inch and ⅝ inch.
  • Tape measure.
  • Set square.

Step 1

The first thing you do is cut the plywood sheets to the appropriate sizes. Whatever tool you use, these blueprints make it very simple. 

Use a track saw in this instance. A Keyed diagram with the blueprints demonstrates how to arrange each component on your plywood. All you need to do to get the precise measurements is look at the cut list. Here are a few images of the blueprints.

Step 2

The second action is to start cutting all of our solid wood stock. Using a miter saw, we cut them out of pine 1x2x8. To determine which components must be made of solid wood, look for "Solid*" on the drawings.

Step 3

Drill out all of the required holes. Lay down the locations where each piece of hardware will be mounted. These were relatively simple to complete and are thoroughly documented in the set of plans.  Definitely take your time with this process. 

The majority of the holes must be drilled on Parts B and Parts G (Verticals) (side rails). The image below demonstrates how the plans serve as a blueprint for all the challenging tasks.

Step 4

Edgeband the plywood. You may begin edge banding everything once all of the holes have been drilled, and the side rails have had the radius taken off of them. 

You can decide to edge band every component at once because there are so many of them. There are "F" symbols with arrows pointing to "completed" edges scattered throughout the plans.  This informs you of the edges that require edge banding. Before doing this project, you are recommended to get one of these because removing 75 feet of edge banding is far worse than returning home to a dog that eats your dinner!

Step 5

Assemble the cut parts. Making the frame for the mattress to sit on came first. Creating a number of L-shaped sections and joining them to two longer stretchers is easy. Because you risk splitting wood, it is advised to pre-drill these holes.

Step 6

Paint or stain the wood. By securing the side, front, and back rails to the frame, complete the construction of the bed part. You might have decided to add a finish to everything before moving on.

Step 7

Fix the bedframe to the wall. The bed cabinet must be fastened to the wall and joined to the bed as the last stage. Plans for how to do this are included in a whole booklet.  This is a reasonably straightforward process. However, some parts are trickier now that the design has changed. The essential objective here is to stress the importance of securely fastening the bed to the wall.

Any loss of integrity with fasteners could result in a guest having the murphy collapse on them.

Potential changes

The designs expressly state, "do not build this in any other way," which should be mentioned. So you choose whether or not to modify anything. So, you can make a few adjustments, most of which are visual. The first aesthetic modification was making the front panel entirely one piece. The cut diagram shows that as part "E."  This was done because you won't want a seam running down the middle of the front and instead wanted it to seem like a shiplap. 

The seam is present because many other designs employ it to make the bed appear like a cupboard. Here are some of the potential designs from the plans.

Use a shiplap design

The shiplap effect is straightforward to create; you can utilize it frequently on other projects.  All you need to do is cut the length of the board using your track saw, circular saw, router, or table saw with the depth of cut set to somewhere between 1/8′′ and 1/4′′ on the front of the bed and the vertical side pieces.

Portion "F" of the cabinet's rear was built entirely out of a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood as the subsequent modification. On this panel, you can also apply the shiplap effect. 

This improvement is fantastic in principle. It basically cleans up the inside and prevents the wall from being visible, adding a ton of strength that is necessary for when your strange extended family comes to town to visit.  But when it comes to assembly, this has a lot of disadvantages.

The back must be removed to add the gas spring while the bed is closed. Although it's not the end of the world, the bed will feel flimsy until the back is installed again.  This panel was fastened to the bed's wall anchors using pocket holes on the panel's back. 

The bottom line

It is one of those tasks that seem incredibly difficult until you break it down step by step. It's a project that many people, including you, will find daunting.