Are Murphy Beds Safe or Dangerous? (6 Safety Tips)

Murphy beds (also called wall beds or hide-away beds) are an excellent way to save space in your bedroom, apartment, or any other sleeping area with a confined space.

But are Murphy beds safe?

Murphy beds are relatively safe – it’s highly unlikely that a Murphy bed will kill, injure or trap you when installed and used properly. The biggest danger of using a Murphy bed is trapping your fingers, hands, or toes in the pinch points around the hinges, frame, or legs when lowering or raising the bed.

A Murphy bed may therefore be a good idea if you’re looking to save on space without incurring any extra dangers.

The rest of this article reveals the 6 key safety tips that you should adhere to when buying, installing, and using a Murphy bed.

Alternatively: click here to see the best and safest Murphy beds to buy online (includes discounts and Ikea Murphy bed alternatives).

6 Murphy Bed Safety Tips

So how do you make sure that the Murphy bed that you’re going to use is safe?

To purchase and use a Murphy bed safely, make sure that you buy from a reputable manufacturer that uses high-quality parts, consider a Murphy bed with a hydraulic lift mechanism, have the bed professionally installed, be vigilant of pinch points during operation, use the safety locks, and buy a compatible mattress.

More details below:

1: Buy a High-Quality Murphy Bed

The most significant step that you can take to ensure that you are buying a Murphy bed that’s safe is to choose a reputable manufacturer that uses high-quality parts and materials to guard against defects and mechanical issues.

For example, the Lori Wall Bed is one of the best Murphy beds that you can buy because it’s made from 100% real Baltic birch wood instead of cheap laminate for greater strength and durability.

Furthermore, the Lori Wall Bed has a 5/5 star customer rating based on more than 1,100 customer reviews at the time of writing – which is reassuring from a safety and comfort standpoint.

Conversely, you should think twice about buying a second hand Murphy bed from a private seller on Craigslist or elsewhere because the parts may have worn out and lead to safety issues.

And unless you are highly confident in your DIY skills, you should avoid trying to build your own Murphy bed because this increases the risk of build-errors that could make the Murphy bed less safe than a professionally manufactured Murphy bed.

You should also consider the quality of the materials used for any supplementary furniture that comes with your Murphy bed – like the integrity of the materials used for Murphy beds that come with a sofa, desk, bookcase, or extra storage units.

2: Have a Professional Install Your Murphy Bed

To ensure that your Murphy bed is as safe as possible, you should consider having a trained professional install your bed through ‘white glove delivery’ to ensure that it has been assembled correctly and minimize the risk of safety issues related to improper construction.

For example, proper assembly can help to ensure that the bed won’t drop down by itself, place strain on the fixtures, or damage the wall that it’s attached to.

In particular, having someone who knows what they are doing can help to prevent gaps arising between the frame and the floor due to improper attachment to the wall (normally due to the frame being attached too high up) – which can damage both the bed and the wall due to the shearing forces that arise each time you place your weight on the bed.

Proper attachment to the wall is also crucial to avoid the bed falling down in the upright position due to the fixtures coming loose.

If the company doesn’t offer white glove delivery then you might want to enlist the help of someone else who is DIY savvy to help you put the bed together with greater confidence.

Alternatively, if neither option is viable, then you should make sure that you follow the assembly instructions very carefully to ensure that your finished wall bed is safe and sturdy.

You may also want to invest in a stud finder to help you find the most secure place to attach your Murphy bed to the wall.

Another solution is to buy a Murphy bed that folds up into a freestanding cabinet to avoid having to deal with wall fittings.

3: Watch Out For Pinch Points

The biggest danger of a Murphy bed is getting your fingers and other appendages trapped in the pinch points located at the hinges, along the frame as the bed folds into the upright position, and under the legs of the bed as you fold the bed down.

It’s also possible that children, pets, other objects in your bedroom, and items of clothing could get trapped in the pinch points of your Murphy bed.

To avoid the dangers of the pinch points, you should take extra care when raising and lowering the bed, remove children and pets from the room, and double-check that there are no other items of furniture that may fall into the movement path of the Murphy bed.

4: Choose a Hydraulic Lift Mechanism

Choosing a Murphy bed with a hydraulic lift mechanism not only prevents the frame from falling from the upright position, but the pistons can also help to make lifting the bed into the upright position much easier.

However, Murphy beds that include a hydraulic mechanism are typically much more expensive than those that don’t.

So, if you’re trying to save money by avoiding a hydraulic mechanism, then you should take extra care when lowering the bed and when fastening the safety locks to ensure that the bed doesn’t drop down with full force – although many non-hydraulic, hinged Murphy beds will resist free falling due to the spring tension that counters the effects of gravity.

If you aren’t very strong, then you might need to enlist the help of someone else to lift the bed into the upright position – since you won’t be able to take advantage of the assistance provided by the pistons.

5: Use Safety Locks

All good quality Murphy beds will come with safety locks that allow the bed to be secured in the upright position to prevent it from falling down.

Safety locks are especially important for Murphy beds that don’t have a hydraulic lift mechanism or any taught spring hinges because they can fall down more easily due to the lack of a gravitational counterforce.

6: Buy a Compatible Mattress Under 12 Inches Thick

To avoid straining the joints and hinges of your Murphy bed in the folded-up position and to reduce the chance of the bed becoming damaged, ensure that you buy a mattress that’s compatible with your Murphy bed.

To find a compatible mattress, either buy a Murphy bed that comes with a compatible mattress, or choose a mattress that’s thin enough to allow you to fold the bed up with room to spare.

Most Murphy beds won’t accommodate a mattress that’s thicker than 12 or 13 inches – make sure you check the product description and specifications for clarification before buying.

You should also check to see if you can fold the bed up with the duvet, comforter, pillows, and/or bed sheets still in place – some allow for this but many won’t.

Overstuffing the mattress space with bedding can prevent you from being able to lock the Murphy bed in the upright position or place excessive strain on the hinges when forcibly closed.

Common Murphy Bed Safety Questions

Below are the concise answers to the most common Murphy bed safety and comfort questions:

Can a Murphy Bed Kill You?

A Murphy bed can kill you [1]. There have been some isolated incidents of people dying due to being suffocated or crushed inside a Murphy bed – with intoxication and improper installation being the main driving factors. However, the chance of a properly assembled Murphy bed killing you is very low.

Will a Murphy Bed Fold Up and Trap You?

It’s highly unlikely that a correctly installed, modern Murphy bed will fold up with you inside it due to the amount of weight being placed on the bed relative to the counterforce generated by the pistons or hinges.

Will a Murphy Bed Drop Down Suddenly?

A Murphy bed may fall down from the upright position if it doesn’t have a hydraulic system or a strong hinge mechanism in place – which most modern Murphy beds thankfully include.

What Are the Most Common Murphy Bed Accidents?

The most common Murphy bed accidents are related to people trapping their fingers, hands, and toes in the pinch points around the hinges and where the bed frame folds up – make sure these areas are free when lowering and raising the bed to avoid injury.

Are Murphy Beds Comfortable?

Murphy beds are just as comfortable as any other type of bed when the bed is set up correctly and used in conjunction with a mattress that’s well suited to your dominant sleeping position, style, and body weight.

Click here to find a compatible mattress for your Murphy bed now.

Murphy Beds Are Relatively Safe

Although there have been some very isolated incidents in the past where people have been killed by a Murphy bed, modern Murphy beds are very safe when correctly installed, properly maintained, and used with care.

If you’re ready to buy a Murphy bed, click the button below to see the safest and highest quality Murphy beds that you can buy online now at a great price.

Sources and References

[1] The New York Times – Letter of Recommendation: Murphy Beds. Accessed 4/1/21.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Murphy Bed’ by Jen Takes Pictures (Getty Images) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.