What are Murphy Beds?

In a time of expensive real estate, smaller homes built on smaller lots are becoming the norm, even in the suburbs. In the city, space is at an even greater premium, as more and more people work or live in existing buildings. Any idea that makes the most of these smaller spaces is vital to the comfort of the population.

One such idea, Murphy beds, is resurfacing. The idea of the Murphy bed was born in San Francisco around 1900. The inventor, William L. Murphy, was a young, single gentleman who lived and slept in a one-room apartment. Because he wanted to entertain his girlfriend in his room, and because “proper young ladies did not enter a gentleman’s bedroom in those days, he found a way to hide the bed while he was entertaining. He invented a means of easily and automatically flipping the fully-made bed on its end into a closet, so it could be safely stored out of sight, but brought out again when he needed it.

Mr. Murphy patented his idea in 1900. He began manufacturing the beds as others heard of Murphy beds and wanted to take advantage of their space-saving properties. After the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, his invention became even more popular. Much of the city had suffered extensive damage, and the available living space was utilized to the utmost. Murphy’s business prospered as he continued to improve his product.

Murphy beds rapidly spread across the country as more people moved into the cities and apartment life became a popular trend. Mr. Murphy moved his flourishing business to New York in the 1920s, where it still is today. Many of the original beds are still in use today. Now, they can be found all over the world, in apartments, hotels, hospitals, offices, fire stations, and any other building where efficient use of space is vital.

Sonya Weiss

About Our Interior Decorating Columnist Sonya Weiss:

From the time she was a child, Sonya spun stories to entertain herself and her siblings. Once she graduated from high school, she put her writing aside and attended college where she studied Secondary Education, majoring in English. She's represented by literary agent Nicole Resciniti. 

Sonya's website can be found at https://sonyaweiss.com/
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