What's the difference between murphy beds and wall beds?

Are you looking to save some space? A Murphy bed or Wall bed may be the answer. These innovative furniture solutions allow you to add an extra bed to your house or apartment without sacrificing valuable square footage.

In this article, we will review the key differences between Murphy and Wall beds so you can choose the best option for your home.

What is a Murphy Bed?

Murphy Beds are a name brand, like Kleenex or Jacuzzi.  A real Murphy Bed uses authentic Murphy Brand Hardware that consists of a full steel spring tilt mechanism, a full-steel frame around the mattress, and a one-piece leg assembly that is either locked up or down. Thanks to its strength, these beds have a 1700 lb engineered stamped weight rating and are designed to take up the least amount of floor space.

Authentic Murphy Beds are easy to operate and can be opened and closed with just one finger, as they are completely balanced for ease of use.  Murphy beds are designed for daily use and use a full-sized mattress.

What is a Wall Bed?

A wall bed describes any bed that can be folded against the wall.  A Murphy Bed is a type of wall bed, but not all wall beds are Murphy Beds. It’s only a Murphy Bed if it utilizes the full complement of Murphy Brand Hardware.

What’s the Difference Between a Murphy Bed and a Wall Bed?

Murphy and wall beds have a lot in common. Many people (professionals included) now use the names interchangeably, which makes matters even more confusing for the average homeowner.

However, Murphy Beds and wall beds are not the same thing. Despite modern improvements, several important differentiators exist between the two products. Understanding these differences will help you make the right choice for your family and home.

Lifting Mechanisms

The lifting mechanism is one of the critical differences between wall beds and Murphy Beds. Although both mechanisms serve the same function (to help you raise and lower the bed), they work differently.

Murphy Beds use a set of HD springs to lift and lower the bed. These springs are attached to the sides of the Murphy Bed with an HD Steel Tilt Mechanism. They are installed under tension to help power the lifting and lowering of the bed, making it effortless.

Some wall beds can use a knock-off spring mechanism or, more likely, use a gas-pressurized piston and swivel setup. The pressurized arms assist in the lifting and lowering a wall bed but still require significant effort.  This is an economical way to tilt a bed, but it lacks strength and durability.

Some wall beds do not use any lifting mechanisms. The total weight of the mattress and frame should be well-supported when you raise and lower the bed. You cannot do this movement safely with just one person. Lifting and lowering the bed requires two physically healthy individuals. As a result, we do not recommend this style of wall bed.


Genuine Murphy Beds come with a full steel bed frame. The tilt mechanism hardware and the legs are bolted directly to the steel frame.

Other types of wall beds either use a knock-off cheap metal frame or a wooden chipboard frame that is fastened to the bed door with L brackets. This makes for a much weaker system.  Therefore, these wall beds don’t have an engineered weight rating, nor are they easy to operate.

Since Murphy and wall beds seem so similar, it is important to learn about the differences. When determining which one is better for you, it is important to look at all the facts.

If strength, safety, usability and longevity are important to you, then look no further than an authentic Murphy Brand Bed.

Horizontal vs Vertical

Both Murphy beds and wall beds are available in horizontal and vertical models. Vertical Murphy and wall beds open with the head of the bed against the wall. They are taller when closed and longer when opened than their horizontal counterparts.

Consequently, the room needs to be deeper to allow the bed to open and close properly. Although vertical beds use more space in the room, they occupy less space on the wall.

Horizontal Murphy and wall beds (also called side tilt) are shorter and broader when open. They open along the long side of the bed. As a result, side tilt beds work best for rooms with limited depth.

Mattress Size

All Murphy Wall beds provided by Beds Off The Wall are designed to use a full-size mattress in all typical sizes. Both styles of beds are available in single, double, and queen and King sizes, King is Vertical Only.

The Real Murphy Bed Brand Difference

There are a number of companies that make real Murphy Brand Beds (utilizing the full complement of Murphy Hardware); however, there are big differences in the quality of the finished product.

Beds off the Wall is recognized as Ontario’s top authentic Murphy Bed producer for many reasons.  First and foremost is the quality of our product.  Beds off the Wall uses the highest quality substrates available today, they use a 2mm PVC edge band for durability, aesthetics and longevity.  All the components that make up a Beds off the Wall system are the best available.  Visit Beds off the Wall and see the difference Quality makes.

Their knowledgeable team can answer any questions you may have regarding the hardware, style and installation of our genuine Murphy Beds.

Tip: Opt for Professional Assembly

Professional assembly is always best. Our team of professional installers can have your new Murphy or wall bed ready to go in 2-3 hours, though complicated installations may take up to 5 hours. However, this depends on the design of the bed and the condition of your walls.

DIY installation, however, can take much, much longer. Furthermore, even the most earnest homeowner can make mistakes during the assembly process. An installation error could make the bed unsafe to use.

When it comes to the safety of your home and loved ones, it’s always best to leave the heavy lifting to the professionals.

Visit Beds Off The Wall for Toronto’s Top Selection of Murphy Beds and Wall Beds

At Beds Off The Wall, we offer the best Murphy Bed selection in the GTA. Our team of professionals will guide you through every step of your purchase, from design to manufacturing to installation. We build the best Murphy Beds available today.

To learn more about Murphy and wall beds, call Beds Off The Wall at 905-456-9255 or contact us here.