Maximizing Space: A Comparison of Murphy Beds and Sofa Beds

folded out murphy bed with its wooden white brown cabinet

What is the distinction between murphy beds and sofa beds? This article compares comfort, space-saving capability, and ease of use.

It takes some imagination to transform a crowded room into an elegant one. Furniture is necessary but can be inconvenient, and beds, in particular, take up most of the floor space in a room — and you’re asleep most of the time!

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Murphy Bed Into a Sofa

Space-saving bed options, such as a Murphy bed or pull-out couch, maximize space while maintaining your home’s aesthetic. Sofa beds and wall beds have been a source of contention for those seeking additional sleeping space for decades. You can create space without feeling stuffed, whether you’re looking for a new bed for yourself or to accommodate occasional overnight guests. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a winner.

What is a Sofa Bed?

Folded out blue sheet murphy bed with white cabinet open shelves in a room
Sofa beds and murphy beds

The sofa bed, a folding bed stored inside a sofa, is the first space-saving option many consider. You’ve probably slept on one at some point in your life, perhaps while visiting your grandparents as a child or at a sleepover with a friend. It’s a valuable piece of furniture with a dual purpose, which appeals to people who want to maximize their space. This piece of furniture serves as seating during the day and converts into a bed at night.

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Most standard sleeper sofas use queen-size foam mattresses, but they are not the same as a standard queen mattress used in a regular bed. Because sofa bed foam mattresses must fold up inside the couch when not in use, they are pretty thin and flexible.

A folding metal frame attached to the couch is typical of modern sofa beds. Remove the cushions and lift the frame up and out, unfolding it as you go to make the piece into a bed. The mattress remains atop the frame. After that, fold the end of the bed over, then lift and lower the frame inside the sofa. The sofa bed is more versatile than a traditional one because it can be used for seating during the day and opening up for an overnight guest.

What is a Wall Bed?

Murphy bed with open door white door cabinet and shelves
Wall bed

A wall bed is a platform bed attached to the wall by a hinge. The entire platform swings up against the wall when not in use. This type of bed is also known as a Murphy bed. The traditional Murphy bed is a brand of wall bed. Still, the name has become synonymous with wall beds, much like Photoshop is synonymous with photo editing, or Kleenex is synonymous with tissue. When comparing Murphy beds, wall beds, and sleeper sofa options, you’re essentially comparing wall beds and sleeper sofas.

How Comfortable are Murphy beds?

Dark wooden cabinet murphy bed with grey sheets in a modern room
Comfortable Murphy Beds

When evaluating a bed’s comfort level, it is helpful to look at the various parts of the bed. A simple wall bed comprises a platform with a sturdy metal frame and a real mattress, unlike the standard sofa bed mattress, which is designed to fold up. Because of the thicker mattress, a wall bed is as comfortable as a traditional platform bed. When not in use, it simply folds up against the wall. The mattress is supported and comfortably supported by beechwood slats.

The wall bed has a hinged counterbalanced system that allows it to fold up and down easily. The weight and safety mechanism keeps the bed in place, preventing it from opening or folding up while you sleep. To maximize space, wall beds can be designed to open horizontally or vertically.

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Wall beds are available in various configurations to maximize space and even serve multiple functions. The style is determined by your preferences and the look that best complements the rest of your room. While wall beds are ideal for small spaces, they can also be used in larger rooms.

Wall beds are an excellent way to make any room feel more open, airy, and spacious, regardless of size. A wall bed, for example, is an ideal way to create more play space during the day in a child’s room, making the bedroom more functional. To make them multifunctional, some wall beds include other pieces of furniture, such as tables, desks, or sofas.

Wall Beds Make Life Easier

Black and orange murphy bed cabinet with folded out murphy beds and sofa beds
Useful wall beds

Convenience Factor

After a long day, all you want to do is collapse into your bed and unwind. Most space-saving options necessitate that you first set up your bed. When deciding between Murphy beds and pull-out couches, consider the ease of setting up your bed.

When ready for bed, a wall bed is simple to assemble. You can pull the bed down and jump right in. Wall beds are typically much easier to assemble and disassemble than pull-out couches. They don’t feel heavy when you pull them down into position or put them back against the wall. The hinge on the bed is designed to quickly go up and down as needed, so getting your bed ready or putting it away doesn’t require a lot of muscle. Wall beds also have straps to keep the bedding in place, eliminating the need to make your bed every night and remove it before putting it away in the morning, as you would with a pull-out couch.

Depending on the features, some wall bed models provide even more convenience. Some have shelving and desks that stay level, so you don’t have to remove them to convert the bed. Some have built-in storage beneath the sofa seats. Integrated cabinetry and shelving provide additional built-in storage. Wall beds are very versatile and convenient in terms of the overall design. On the other hand, traditional sofa beds are typically stand-alone items that do not integrate as seamlessly with other storage or space-saving solutions you may have in your space.

While a sofa bed provides both seating and sleeping space, it has one major drawback: you can never fully move the sleeper sofa out of the way. When used as a couch, it takes up slightly less space than a regular bed, but it still takes up a significant amount of space in your room. The sofa bed isn’t the best option if you want to save as much space as possible.

Space Savings

Folded out wall bed with white cabinet in a room with black rug and window
Saving space with murphy beds

While a sofa bed provides both seating and sleeping space, it has one major drawback: you can never fully move the sleeper sofa out of the way. When used as a couch, it takes up slightly less space than a regular bed, but it still takes up a significant amount of space in your room. The sofa bed isn’t the best option if you want to save as much space as possible.


A wall bed can fold entirely against the wall, leaving the floor space below free for whatever activities you want. Because of its ability to completely open up floor space, a wall bed is a much more versatile option. The bed disappears against the wall, giving it a sleek and modern appearance. If you require seating, you can choose a wall bed with an integrated sofa to get the same seating as a sofa but with the ease, convenience, and comfort of a wall bed.

Most wall bed models include integrated storage, which saves a lot of space, especially in small rooms. Many beds have shelving either above or attached to the bed itself. Choose a model with built-in cabinetry with doors to conceal your items if you prefer hidden storage. Look for a wall bed with an integrated sofa with storage underneath the seats.

The size variety that comes with choosing a wall bed is another space-saving benefit. Sofa beds are typically only available in queen sizes, limiting your options. Wall beds are available in various sizes, including twin, queen, and bunk beds. A queen-size bed is ideal for a guest bed; choose a twin-size bed if you want to save more space, even when the bed is folded down into a sleeping position.

A Murphy Bed Takes Up Less Space

Large modern wooden cabinet with folded out white sheet murphy bed
Utilize your space

Murphy beds are compacted into a frame (which is only 16” to 19” deep) and connected to the wall, thus taking up less space than a sofa. Because a sofa bed is placed in the room and is 24” deep, plus has armrests on both sides of the chair, it is wider than a typical sofa.

A Murphy Bed Can Also Be a Home Office Workspace

Murphy bed with white cabinets and drawers in a room with dark wooden floor
Murphy beds and sofa beds

Sofa beds are just like a sofa you can sleep on (how insightful!). They can’t also function as a desk. On the other hand, if you want to create a home office in a spare room, you may not be aware that Murphy beds can have a desk built into them . A queen-sized desk bed like the one shown below can provide you with a big bed (for couples). If you want to build a flexible sleeping area in a youngster’s bedroom, this Murphy bed with a desk and twin mattress are exactly what you need.

You Can Build a Storage System Around the Murphy Bed

Dark storage cabinets with mirror around folded out murphy bed
Create More Storage Space

Having cabinets and drawers on the sides of your bed if you’re utilizing the room as a home office is necessary. Cabinetry that seamlessly coordinates with Murphy beds is available with a Murphy bed system. You can use this room as a spare room and yoga studio, storing workout gear and hanging garment bags. Cubbies for storing supplies can be installed in the crafts room if you’re using this room for crafts.

You Can Add Lighting Into the Murphy Wall Bed System

Install LED lighting inside the Murphy bed framing or top shelf to make the spare room or living room brighter or add relaxed mood lighting.

Choosing a Space-Saving Bed

Pink murphy bed folded out in a room with light ping walls
Space-saving solution

Comparing the benefits and drawbacks of a sofa bed and a Murphy bed allows you to select the best option for your specific situation. In general, whether you’re looking for a bed for daily use or a guest bed for occasional use, a Murphy bed is the most comfortable option. However, there are some things to look for if you want to know how to find a comfortable sofa bed.

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Avoid spring-style mattresses, which can poke you or creak. A memory foam mattress or a hybrid with air and innerspring construction provides a more comfortable sleeping surface than box springs. Some manufacturers also provide a foam topper, which adds a cushioned, comfortable top layer for those who do not prefer a memory foam mattress. Examine the mechanism for any sharp edges that could cut or snag your sheets.

Check to see if the mechanism glides easily. If a wall bed is a better option for you, there are still some decisions to make and features to look for when purchasing. Consider the following when looking for a high-quality wall bed:


The wall bed is a safe and comfortable place to sleep, thanks to its sturdy construction and high-quality materials. A good design is especially important if you intend to sleep on the Murphy bed every night. That may imply spending a little more money to get a higher-quality bed that will last a lifetime.


Select a size that accommodates both your sleeping needs and the available space. During the day, the bed folds up against the wall, but at night, there must be enough space for the bed to fold completely down. If you’re sharing the bed, a larger size is required to sleep comfortably; otherwise, a twin-sized bed will suffice.


You may be thinking of the traditional Murphy bed style, which folds out vertically, but there are murphy bed frames that fold out horizontally. The manner in which the bed is attached to the wall and folds down influences how well it fits in a space. If a queen bed with the attachment at the end of the bed cannot fit in the room, consider whether the bed would fit better with a side attachment.


When making your choice, keep the appearance of the wall bed in mind. While some Murphy bed designs appear to blend into the wall, others are designed to provide a custom look with a variety of style options to fit your design scheme and functional needs. You can create custom styles with sofas, desks, tables, shelving, cabinetry, and built-in storage to suit your needs. Additional customization options include a variety of fabrics and colors. On the other hand, sofa beds are typically a “one-size-fits-all” situation, with little to no customization ability based on the specific function you require the piece to perform.


When working with a limited amount of space, innovative storage solutions are essential. To make the most of your space, look for a wall bed with built-in shelving or storage. Store any extra bed linens or items you might need before going to bed in the storage areas.

Additional features

Choosing dual-purpose furniture makes the best use of your available space. Consider the furniture design and how you intend to use the space surrounding the bed. Styles with integrated desks or sectional sofas transform your sleeping area into a multi-functional space with a small footprint. It all boils down to how much space you have and what you want to fit into it.

Mattress Alternatives

When purchasing a Murphy bed, inquire about the mattress options. A good mattress will make your wall bed more comfortable and enjoyable and prevent or relieve any long-term discomfort, such as back pain. Check the maximum mattress thickness permitted in your bed to ensure that you select a compatible one. (Resource sells queen and twin-size mattresses for wall beds in our collection.)

Increase Space and Comfort

Saving space with a wall bed or sofa bed is wise in any room with limited floor space. Regarding sofa beds vs. Murphy beds, wall beds typically provide more convenience, better comfort, and more floor space than sofa beds when not in use.

Conclusion – Summary of Murphy beds and Sofa Beds

In conclusion, Murphy and sofa beds are great options for various situations. Murphy beds are ideal for those looking to maximize their space and use of the area. The beds fold into the wall and require very little storage space. For the ultimate convenience, Murphy beds can even be equipped with automated mechanisms to open and close the bed with a button.

Sofa beds are another great choice, especially for those looking to maximize seating and sleeping areas in one. They are typically quite comfortable to sleep on and come in various styles and colors. Whichever bed you choose, you will be sure to find a comfortable, functional, and stylish addition to any room.

Which is a more comfortable sofa bed or a Murphy bed?

When deciding between a sofa bed and a Murphy bed, there isn’t one universal answer as to which is more comfortable. Both offer convenience, aesthetics, and comfort levels that vary depending on the individual buyer’s needs and preferences.

What is the point of a Murphy bed?

Murphy beds are a great way to get extra space in your home if you have a limited living area. They’re typically used as an apartment solution, but they can also be helpful when there’s not enough room for traditional bedroom furniture and appliances like dressers or closets with clothing racks!

What is the difference between a wall bed and a Murphy bed?

The primary difference between wall beds and Murphy beds is their functionality. Wall beds are designed to be used as a full-time or frequent sleeping surface, while Murphy beds are often thought of as an occasional bed that folds into the wall when not in use.

Wall beds, also known as “hideaway” or “fold-down” beds, have been used for centuries to provide additional sleeping space without taking up valuable floor space. These types of horizontal foldable twin or double-sized beds are secured against one wall, providing them with increased stability and safety compared to traditional Murphy-style alternatives – this is because they don’t need to be propped up to stay open like the latter.

In addition, hideaway beds can easily transition from sitting upright against the wall during use back down into a compact storage solution with just a few simple steps – making them more versatile for daily use than other options on the market today.

Murphy (vertical) foldable twin/double size bed was patented by William Lawrence Murphy over 100 years ago, and since then, this design has become iconic worldwide. The main idea behind its construction was to have a functional bedroom piece that could quickly and easily fold away behind closed doors or out of sight.

This allows its users tremendous flexibility in living spaces where every inch counts, enabling them to adapt any given environment into something that works best for their current lifestyle needs without sacrificing quality comfort at night – perfect for guests’ rooms! Unlike hideaway models, though, operating these structures can be somewhat cumbersome due to how involved lowering/raising mechanisms usually require manual labor via pulling ropes or turning handles located at either side of the mattress frame itself

Are Murphy beds a good investment?

Yes! Murphy beds are comfortable and long-lasting. You can find a Murphy bed in any size or design that will work for your needs, whether you’re looking to add more sleep space at home with one as an extra room mattress; or need something durable enough when guests stay over from time to time as kids sometimes do (they love having their own private play area!), then this type of guest bedroom furniture should serve them well!

What is the difference between a Murphy bed and a sofa bed?

A Murphy bed and a sofa bed are two very different pieces of furniture. A Murphy bed, also known as a wall bed, is essentially a cabinet that can be folded up into the wall when not used. It consists of a mattress on top of a box spring mounted to steel springs attached to vertical tracks in the wall. When it’s time for sleeping, you simply pull down the handle to release the holding mechanism and lower the frame easily. Once it’s open, you can have an almost full-size mattress for those guests who need somewhere comfortable to sleep overnight.

On the other hand, a sofa bed is exactly what its name suggests – it serves as both seating and sleeping space when needed. This type of furniture typically includes cushions over sprung metal frames that open up to form either double or single beds – but unlike Murphy beds, they don’t fold away into existing walls or cabinetry units; rather they tend to take up quite a bit more floor space due solely to their size and structure.

So there you have it: both are great solutions for extra guest sleeping arrangements but differ slightly in design features. Ultimately deciding between them will depend on your personal preference and available space within your home/apartment.

Which is more comfortable: a Murphy bed or sofa sleeper?

Comfort levels can vary between individual Murphy beds and sofa sleepers, but generally, Murphy beds provide a more comfortable sleeping experience. Murphy beds use standard mattresses, offering better support and comfort compared to the thinner mattresses found in most sofa sleepers. However, the ultimate comfort level depends on factors such as mattress quality, personal preference, and the specific make and model of the bed or sleeper.

What is the difference between a Murphy bed and a wall bed?

Murphy beds and wall beds are essentially the same thing. Both terms refer to a space-saving bed design that can be folded up against a wall or into a cabinet when not in use. The name “Murphy bed” comes from its inventor, William L. Murphy, while “wall bed” is a more generic term for this type of furniture. Both designs aim to maximize floor space in small rooms or multi-functional spaces.

Why do I sleep better on a sofa than a bed?

There could be several reasons why you sleep better on a sofa than a bed:

  1. Firmness: Sofas tend to have a firmer surface, which might provide better support for your body, especially if your mattress is too soft.
  2. Environment: Your living room may have a more relaxed atmosphere, making it easier for you to unwind and fall asleep.
  3. Routine: If you’ve developed a habit of falling asleep on the sofa while watching TV or reading, your body may associate the sofa with relaxation and sleep.
  4. Sleep associations: You might have negative sleep associations with your bed, such as stress or insomnia, making it difficult to fall asleep there.

If you consistently sleep better on the sofa, consider evaluating your bedroom environment and mattress to improve your sleep quality in bed.

Is sleeping on a sofa bed good?

Sleeping on a sofa bed occasionally is generally fine, but it may not provide the same level of support and comfort as a traditional bed for long-term use. Sofa bed mattresses tend to be thinner and less supportive than regular mattresses, which can lead to discomfort or poor sleep quality over time. If you plan to use a sofa bed regularly, invest in a high-quality model with a comfortable, supportive mattress, or consider using a mattress topper for added comfort.

Which is More Comfortable: A Sofa Sleeper or a Murphy Bed?

The comfort between a sofa sleeper and a Murphy bed can vary depending on the specific models, but generally, many people find Murphy beds to be more comfortable. This is primarily because Murphy beds can accommodate a regular mattress, providing a sleeping experience more similar to a traditional bed. On the other hand, sofa sleepers often have thinner mattresses and a metal support structure that can sometimes be felt through the mattress. However, high-quality sofa sleepers with well-designed mattresses and supports can also provide a comfortable night’s sleep. The best choice depends on your personal comfort preferences and space considerations.

Jessica holden

Experienced Executive Assistant with a demonstrated history of working within the furniture industry. Skilled in furniture styling, visual communication, project management, and proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite. Strong arts and design professional with a (BA) Creative Direction for furniture design focused on Industrial Design from School of the Art Institute of Chicago.