Pandemic-era design solution from the past: The Murphy bed

When the vast majority of your life is happening within the four walls of your home, every square foot counts. So the past two years have inspired some serious, space-saving creativity.

“Everybody all of a sudden was just surrounded by their environment, just sort of thinking, ‘If I’m going to be spending this much time here, I really want it to be great quality space,’” says interior designer and HGTV host Vern Yip.

Oddly enough, one popular strategy for creating multipurpose spaces at home in 2022 is an innovation born more than a century ago: the Murphy bed, a fully made bed emerging from a wall to instantly transform a living room into a bedroom.


New Jersey-based interior designer Karen Topjian remembers seeing Murphy beds in old black-and-white Hollywood movies and thinking they looked wonderfully glamorous. It seemed almost magical, she thought. Unlike a sofabed that requires moving cushions and some degree of assembly, Murphy beds have the superpower of transforming a space with just a single motion.

Of course, the spring-loaded metal bed that nearly destroyed Charlie Chaplin in his 1916 short film “One A.M.” appeared pretty uncomfortable. Even the World War II-era models probably weren’t especially cozy, Topjian says, no matter how chic they looked in the movies. But technology has improved dramatically.

Today, she says, high-quality Murphy beds open easily and can be outfitted with high-end mattresses and lush bedding.

So when a client with a New York studio apartment challenged her to create a space where he could eat, sleep, live and work, Topjian designed a Murphy bed built into custom hardwood shelving, giving the compact living space plenty of storage and flexibility.

And the appeal of Murphy beds is moving beyond those who live in apartments. As the pandemic lingers, even people with larger homes are facing “small-space living issues,” says Heather Higgins, another New Jersey interior designer.

https://www.newstimes.com/living/article/Pandemic-era-design-solution-from-the-past-The-16799179.php

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