If you're looking to free up extra room, building a Murphy bed might be your best option. This nifty piece of bedroom furniture folds back into the wall when not in use, leaving more square footage for you to work, play or simply relax. Pre-assembled Murphy beds can be expensive, but with a little construction know-how ,you can save money by making one yourself.
Visualize your ideal Murphy bed. Does it fold out vertically or horizontally from the wall? Will you want additional features, such as bedside tables or bookshelves? How big is the mattress you'll be using? Knowing the answers to these questions will make finding an appropriate bed plan easier.
Next, identify the wall on which you'll install the bed. Measure it to find out how much space you have. Make sure the wall can support the weight of your bed by checking it for studs. A stud is a wooden support beam that can easily bear the weight of heavy objects. A quick way to find studs is to press your ear against the wall and rap on it with your knuckles. According to the experts at Lowe's, the sound of a solid wood stud is different from the hollow sound between studs.
Finding a Bed Plan
Using the information gathered during your planning phase, locate an appropriate blueprint. Woodworking or carpentry shops can often provide you with building plans upon request, as can Murphy bed manufacturers. Keep in mind, however, that these plans come at a cost. Home carpentry books provide a less expensive, but trustworthy, source of blueprints. You may also be able to find free or cheap bed plans online.
Besides the mattress, a Murphy bed consists of two main components: a wooden frame and hardware to hinge the bed into the wall. You can find strong, affordable wood at lumberyards or building suppliers. When shopping, keep in mind that hardwoods like teak tend to be more expensive. According to an article in the "San Francisco Chronicle," sticking with so-called softwoods like birch or pine will keep your project under budget.
Because the hardware needed for a Murphy bed is a specific type of fixture, you're better off buying a kit. These can be purchased from woodworkers, carpenters or Murphy bed manufacturers. Before purchasing, be sure the hardware in your kit matches the specifications mentioned on your plan.
Building the Bed
This is the stage where you'll save the most money: building the bed. Constructing your Murphy bed should be easy if you have reliable instructions. If you run into problems, however, return to the place you bought your plan from. Chances are, your retailer will be more knowledgeable about the trials of furniture construction than you. If you've built a respectful relationship with him, he should be more than willing to give you pointers along the way.