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Are Murphy Beds Comfortable? (3 Step Buying Guide)

Murphy beds (also called wall beds, fold up beds, or hideaway beds) are perfect for saving space in a confined sleeping area – Murphy beds are also very safe when installed and used properly.

But are Murphy beds comfortable to sleep in?

Murphy beds are comfortable to sleep in when used with a compatible mattress that’s the right size, is made from a comfortable material, has the right firmness, and is paired with a pillow that’s 4-6 inches thick plus a comforter/sheet set that regulates your temperature.

The rest of this article shows you exactly how to buy a comfortable Murphy bed in 3 steps in more detail.

Ready to buy your Murphy bed? Click here to see the most comfortable and affordable Murphy beds and wall beds to buy online in 2021 now.

How to Buy a Comfortable Murphy Bed

To buy a comfortable Murphy bed, you should ensure that the mattress that you buy is compatible in terms of size and thickness, but also has the correct level of firmness for your body type and is made from materials that suit your sleeping preferences.

You should also ensure that you choose a pillow that supports your neck properly and maintains good posture, and pair it with a comforter/duvet and sheet set that doesn’t make you sleep too hot or cold.

The full list of considerations for buying a comfortable Murphy bed are as follows:

1: Choose the Right Mattress Size

A comfortable Murphy bed requires a mattress that’s thick enough to support your body weight whilst also being big enough to allow you to move around in – look for a twin, full, or queen mattress that’s between 10 and 12 inches thick because mattresses more than 12 inches thick typically won’t fit inside a closed up Murphy bed.

More details below:

1.1: Thickness – Stay Below a 12 Inch Profile

The majority of Murphy beds will hold a mattress that’s up to 12 inches thick – thicker mattresses typically won’t work with a Murphy bed because the deeper profile won’t allow the Murphy bed frame to close properly in the upright position.

Most mattresses are between 6 and 12 inches thick, which means that you shouldn’t have any problems finding a mattress that’s thin enough to fit inside your Murphy bed when it’s folded up.

You can find some suitable mattresses on my list of the best mattresses to buy online here.

However, you should also consider the depth of the bedding that’s going to sit on top of your mattress if the instructions from the manufacturer don’t contraindicate leaving your pillows and sheets on the bed as you fold it up.

In terms of comfort, if you weigh between 130 lbs and 230 lbs, a 10-inch mattress is almost certainly going to provide you with the sufficient depth of materials required to hold your body weight and guard against material sinkage.

Mattresses that measure less than 6-8 inches in thickness may not be comfortable on your Murphy bed if you weigh more than 200 lbs – 230 lbs because you may feel that you sink too far into the materials – thus experiencing bad posture and an increase in uncomfortable pressure points on your body.

1.2: Size – Go for Twin, Full, or Queen

Murphy beds typically only come in twin, full, or queen sizes – with very few king or California king sizes being available because these bigger frames can put more stress on the wall fixtures, whilst a taller/longer frame may not be as popular with customers because most people buy Murphy beds to save space in smaller rooms.

Also, bigger and heavier Murphy beds are typically harder to lift and therefore are more likely to require a hydraulic system to help return the bed to the upright position – which will likely make for a more costly Murphy bed because the hydraulic system is the reason why Murphy beds are so expensive.

In terms of comfort, a queen-sized Murphy bed offers the most amount of space for couples and single sleepers when compared to the narrower and shorter full and twin-sized Murphy beds.

To avoid incompatibility issues, you should look for a Murphy bed that comes with a comfortable and appropriately sized mattress so that you’re not faced with the frustrating experience of a mattress that won’t work with the Murphy bed frame that you’ve bought.

When buying your Murphy bed and mattress separately, always check the exact dimensions of the mattress and the Murphy bed frame on the manufacturers’ websites to ensure that they’re compatible.

You should also check the terms of the mattress warranty and the sleep trial to ensure that using a Murphy bed with that mattress won’t void either.

You can also use my guide to US mattress sizes and dimensions for additional help – where you’ll also find a more detailed explanation of the infographic displayed below that visualizes the relative mattress size differences:

Mattress size overlay.
Visual representation of how relative mattress sizes differ.

2: Select the Ideal Mattress Design

A comfortable Murphy bed requires a mattress that’s made from suitable materials and has a level of firmness that complements your sleeping style – a medium level of firmness and a hybrid or innerspring mattress will suit most sleepers in terms of comfort.

However, there are some further considerations relative to how the design of a mattress will work with a Murphy bed, and some reasons why you might want to choose a different firmness level – which are as follows:

2.1: Firmness – Medium is Best for Most Sleepers

Mattress firmness describes how hard or soft the mattress feels when you lie on it, which makes it critical when finding a comfortable Murphy bed to sleep on – most sleepers in the 130 – 230 lbs range will be comfortable with a ‘medium’ mattresses firmness to go with their Murphy bed.

However, sleepers under 150 lbs that sleep mostly on their side may prefer a softer mattress because the reduced surface tension and softer feel can allow you to sink more deeply into the materials for more comfort on your shoulders, hips, and joints overall.

Conversely, heavier weighted front and back sleepers over 200 lbs may prefer a firmer mattress because the increased surface tension and pushback from the materials can stop you from sinking too far into the materials and prevent you from falling into bad posture.

2.2: Materials – Memory or Latex Foam for Pressure Relief and Springs for Support

Memory foam, latex foam, spring, and hybrid mattresses will all work with a Murphy bed as long as they are not too thick and are sized to fit within the dimensions of the Murphy bed.

However, if you plan on only using your Murphy bed occasionally, then you should consider the fact that mattresses that contain springs (hybrid and innerspring mattresses) may bunch up and slump in the middle due to the weight of the coils.

To avoid this, you can opt for an all-foam memory foam or latex foam mattress (if they are comfortable for you) because they don’t contain springs.

Alternatively, if you can leave the Murphy bed in the extended position for longer periods of time, this will help to guard against sagging and deformation that may arise due to the mattress being upright for too long and experiencing slumping.

But in order to find a Murphy bed that’s comfortable for you, in addition to the level of firmness, you should also consider how the properties of the materials typically influence the comfort levels relative to your dominant sleeping position and physical characteristics – which are as follows:

Memory Foam – Maximum Pressure Relief

All-foam mattresses that have memory foam in the top layer and polyfoam in the support core tend to be better for lighter weighted sleepers under 150 lbs and sleepers that rest on their side at night because they typically ‘sink in’ more and provide exceptional pressure relief on your hips and shoulders.

However, heavier weighted sleepers can also enjoy the benefits of memory foam if they choose a firmer feel and/or opt for a memory foam mattress with springs in the support core (a hybrid spring-memory foam mattress) because this can help to stop you from sinking too far into the materials – thus avoiding back pain, hip pain, and discomfort caused by poor posture.

Memory foam mattresses are also good for couples with similar sleeping preferences because the foam does a better job of absorbing movements than a spring containing mattress.

If a memory foam mattress is comfortable for you, then they typically pair very well with Murphy beds because they are more resistant to slumping in the upright position.

Latex Foam – Pressure Relief With More Mobility

Latex foam mattresses offer similar pressure relief to that of memory foam, but also tend to be more responsive so that heavier weighted sleepers won’t sink as far into the materials and restless/combination sleepers can move more freely as they switch positions.

However, the addition of springs in the support core (a hybrid spring-latex foam mattress) can help to further boost the support, buoyancy, and mobility of the mattress if required.

All-foam latex-foam mattresses should resist slumping and sagging when the Murphy bed is folded up better than a spring containing mattress.

Hybrid – The Perfect Balance Between Pressure Relief and Support

Hybrid mattresses contain springs in the support core and latex foam or memory foam in the upper comfort layer to provide the best balance between pressure relief and support for all sleeping positions and styles.

However, the major drawback to using a hybrid mattress with a Murphy bed is that the weight of the springs may cause the mattress to slump down when folded up – potentially leading to sagging, folds, and creases in the mattress.

You can combat this by opting for a thinner mattress (if this doesn’t contraindicate your body weight and sleeping preferences) or leaving your Murphy bed in the extended position for longer periods of time.

Innerspring – Maximum Bounce

Innerspring mattresses are very similar to hybrid mattresses except they tend to have an upholstered top layer that contains polyfoam and/or natural fillings that makes the comfort layer thinner.

This thinner comfort layer can allow the buoyancy of the springs to bleed through more when compared to a hybrid mattress with a thicker memory foam top layer – making the mattress feel more bouncy.

Therefore an innerspring mattress may be the best choice to go with your Murphy bed if you want a bouncy mattress or are a combination sleeper that needs to switch positions with minimum drag and maximum fluidity.

2.3: Avoid Mattresses That Require a Box Spring

Most Murphy beds do not require a box spring and may in fact be incompatible with box springs – therefore you should avoid mattresses that require a box spring when looking for a mattress to pair with your Murphy bed.

Click here to see the 3 best mattresses that do NOT require a box spring to buy now.

3: Use Suitable Bedding

In addition to considering if your Murphy bed will fold up with your bedding inside, your pillows, comforter, and sheet set can have a significant impact on how comfortable you will be when you sleep in your Murphy bed as follows:

3.1: Pillows – Look For a 4-6 Inch Height

Choosing the right pillow height is crucial to ensure that you are comfortable in your Murphy bed because a pillow that’s too thick or thin can cause neck pain – look for a pillow that’s between 4 and 6 inches in height to help maintain good posture and avoid discomfort (some scientific studies have concluded that 10 cm/4 inches in the ideal pillow thickness [1]).

3.2: Comforter – Choose One That Can Keep You Warm in Cold Weather

A comforter or duvet can impact the level of comfort that you experience in your Murphy bed mainly through temperature regulation – make sure that you get one that’s thick enough to keep you warm in cold weather.

3.3: Sheets – Get a Cooling Sheet Set if You Sleep Hot

If you are a warmer sleeper, then you’ll be more comfortable in your Murphy bed if you buy a cooling bed sheet set that can also help to wick away moisture as you sleep to help regulate your temperature and keep you dry.

The Mattress Influences Comfort the Most

The design, firmness, and materials of the mattress that you choose to pair with your Murphy bed will have the most significant impact on how comfortable you are in your Murphy bed.

Make sure that you choose the right level of firmness (medium is suitable for most sleepers in the 130 range – 230 lbs range) and choose a material design that complements your sleeping style – hybrids offer the best balance between pressure relief and support.

However, all-foam memory foam and latex mattresses can potentially provide more pressure relief and may help to guard against slumping and creasing if your Murphy bed is stored in the upright position for long periods of time.

Choosing the right pillow height can also help to guard against neck pain – look for a pillow loft between 4-6 inches to help you remain comfortable in your Murphy bed.

And finally, ensure that you choose a sheet set and/or comforter/duvet that won’t make you sleep too hot or cold relative to your environment and that complements your night time body temperature.

If you’re ready to buy your Murphy bed, click the button below to see the best Murphy beds to buy online in 2021 now:


Sources and References

[1] PubMed – The Effect of Different Pillow Heights on the Parameters of Cervicothoracic Spine Segments. Accessed 20/1/21.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘One Bedroom Flat With Murphy Bed’ by ArchiViz – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.

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