The Murphy Bed vs. The Sofa Bed: Which One Suits You Best?

When it comes to space-saving beds, one usually has two choices: the wall bed and the sofa bed. This article discusses each type of bed – specifically their advantages and disadvantages – to help you choose which one suits you and your needs the best. And for a great variety of beds, visiting would be a great consideration.

The size of residential spaces in the country has been shrinking and people have been adapting to this by coming up with clever space-saving solutions. In this endeavor, beds are especially problematic as they really do take up a lot of space. The most common solutions to this problem are the Murphy bed and the sofa bed, and while they do a great job at saving space, they’re able to fulfill specific needs and suit different situations.

All About the Murphy Bed

Murphy bed are space-saving beds that are hinged on one end (either on the head of the bed for vertical wall beds or on either side of the bed for horizontal wall beds) to be attached to a wall. The wall acts as a counterbalance that will allow the bed to be pulled down and used. When not in use, the bed disappears into a wall or into a frame, hence its alternative name “wall bed”.

A Brief History

While it’s possible that others may have come up with the idea of the wall bed first, the credit is given to the man who applied for the first patents for this bed in 1900: William Lawrence Murphy.

Murphy was said to have invented the wall bed because of love. He was courting an opera singer and, living in a one-room apartment, he needed to circumvent the time’s moral code that prevented women to enter a man’s bedroom. The wall bed allowed him to transform his bedroom into a parlor wherein he could entertain both male and female guests with no judgment. 

Prior to Murphy’s design, foldup beds were already all the rage. But Murphy improved upon these designs and added pivot and counterbalance elements. His designs landed him patents – one of his most known ones being for the “Disappearing Bed” in 1912. 

Because his bed designs were innovative, they immediately became popular. This was especially so among people living in small spaces with a limited floor area. 


Of course, the biggest benefit of having a wall bed is saved space. Regular beds take up so much space and cannot be easily moved to make room for other things. When not used as a bed, the wall bed is stored – it is compact.

Another benefit is the ease of storage. If a regular bed is not in use, it cannot be kept away from view and tucked away in a cabinet. A wall bed, on the other hand, can be easily stored and concealed with little to no effort at all.

They’re also pretty functional. When not being used as a bed, Murphy beds can function as other furniture. One of the most popular secondary uses for Murphy beds is to use them as additional storage spaces like cabinets. Some Murphy beds can also be converted into work desks or even dining tables.


Murphy beds aren’t exactly the cheapest pieces of furniture out there. In fact, some Murphy beds can be expensive, especially if they come with luxurious upgrades like lighting fixtures and sound systems. To add to that, their susceptibility to repairs means that more money could be shelled out for these beds later on, too.

They can also be dangerous if not installed and secured properly. Misuse can also pose risks of injury and even death to its user.

Wall beds can be complicated to set up. So they aren’t that popular with inexperienced homeowners doing DIY projects at home.

All About the Sofa Bed

The sofa bed is also widely known as the sleeper sofa. This space-saving bed is basically a sofa or couch that can be converted into a full-size bed. This is made possible through its design that hides a metal frame and mattress under its seating cushions. This frame can be unfolded to reveal the mattress underneath, connect with the seating cushions, and form a bed.

A Brief History

As with the wall bed, it’s not possible to determine who had first thought of the sofa bed concept. However, the design that inspired the sofa beds of today belonged to a man name Bernard Castro. In 1931, Castro created the “Castro Convertible” – the most sophisticated sofa bed of their time. 


Like the wall bed, the sofa bed also saves a lot of space. These beds are technically a sofa and a bed bunched up in one furniture piece. This means that there is no need for separate furniture pieces that would otherwise take up space even when not in use.

In the same way, sofa beds also save a lot of money. Homeowners need not spend for a sofa and a bed separately. All they have to do is to invest in a sofa bed and they can have the best of both worlds.

That said, sofa beds are affordable compared to wall beds. They don’t have any complicated mechanisms that require excessive and expensive parts in order to function. 


Sofa beds, like regular beds, can’t be stored easily. While sofas are smaller than beds, they are still heavy and bulky furniture pieces that one may have trouble storing, if it can be done at all.

They aren’t as comfortable as regular beds, or even as Murphy beds for that matter. Because the mattress is hidden underneath the sofa’s seating cushions, there isn’t that much space to store a comfortable, soft mattress there. Sofa bed owners often have to settle for thin mattresses. While they’re not necessarily uncomfortable, they’re just not as comfortable as regular beds.

Sofa beds can be used for seating or for lying down – they don’t serve any other purpose.  Unlike wall beds, they can’t be used as storage spaces, desks, cabinets, etc. 

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