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Murphy beds - the original bed in a cabinet
Although they're often called the same thing, Murphy beds, Next beds, Wall beds and Spacesaver beds are different types of bed and each are constructed in different ways. They're all beds that either fold into a cabinet or fold into cabinets. That's where the similarities are and where they end. The difference in these beds stems from the way their lift mechanisms operate. And because they use different lift mechanisms, they require different types of cabinets.
Murphy beds and Next beds are basically metal frame beds that are stored in a cabinet (either vertically or horizontally) that's placed on a wall to free up the space the bed takes up. This of course, is to use the space for other purposes during the day when the bed is not being used. A wall bed, by the same token, is a bed that's folded into a cabinet for opening up the same floor space.
Murphy beds use a lift mechanism that attaches to the floor to assist in lifting the bed into the cabinet when not in use. Floor savers are available, when it's not advisable to attach the lift mechanism to the floor, that attach the bed to the wall through the baseboard. They come with bi-fold doors that you have to open to pull the bed frame out of the cabinet for use. Because Murphy bed frames have thin metal slats across the bed frame to support the mattress, it's often necessary to place a foundation under the mattress for proper support. This is to keep the mattress from sagging.
Next beds work like Murphy beds in they can attach to the floor. But, they can also attach to the wall negating the need for floor savers or wall brackets. They also are constructed of tubular steel instead of plate steel like the Murphy bed which gives them rounded corners unlike the square corners of the Murphy bed. They have heat treated wooden slats to act as a foundation so you don't have to buy an extra foundation like you would have to with the Murphy bed.
This bed panel gives you the support that a foundation would for the Murphy bed but it does it without having to add anything to the unit. Your mattress simply sits on the bed panel which is the face of the cabinet when the bed is stored, so instead of opening up doors to pull out a bed frame, you simply pull out the face of the cabinet or bed panel which becomes the bottom of the bed.
There are different types of lift mechanisms used for wall beds. There are pneumatic gas springs or shocks that are used on many wall beds. These usually have about a 10 year life span and often need to be exchanged in that time frame. Of course, this depends on how often you open and close your bed cabinet. A longer lasting type of mechanism used on many beds are coil springs. These type of lift mechanisms usually last a lifetime and many come with a lifetime guarantee.
Although melamine particleboard is used in many cases to build the cabinet, to help keep the initial cost lower, melamine particleboard may give you fewer years of service. A lot of manufacturers are switching from particleboard to plywood because of the longer life that a plywood cabinet will give you over one made out of particleboard, even though they put a layer of mica or melamine over the material to help it last longer. Even though plywood is a little more expensive than particleboard, most manufacturers who use this type of material have found it better to use than particleboard in order to keep their customers satisfied longer. Solid wood on the other hand will usually give you more years of use because of the nature of the material and it's resistance to normal wear and tear. Most high quality Murphy beds, Next bed and wall bed cabinets are made out of solid wood to allow their owners a longer lifespan. Where the bar that holds the springs is fastened to the cabinet, whether screws or bolts are used, experience has shown that they last longer in solid wood than they do in plywood, which lasts even longer than in particleboard. This will give the owner many more years of use due to the normal strain that these joints are under.
The most important distinction between a Murphy bed or Next bed and a wall bed is the way the bed uses the cabinet for storage and the way it's attached to your home. Because of the nature of Murphy beds, Next beds and wall beds, you also want to make sure they’re setup properly so they can give you years of good use. A good Murphy bed or wall bed needs to be installed in your home rather than just put together and sat up against the wall. Murphy beds are attached the floor in your home because of the way the lift mechanism works. This can be avoided by using a floor saver, as mentioned above. Next beds attach to either the floor or wall where as wall beds are attached directly to the wall. Hence the name wall bed. This is because of the way their lift mechanisms work and how they're attached to the cabinet.
As mentioned before, Murphy bed and the Next bed are beds on a metal frames that are stored in a cabinet. The legs on the Murphy bed and Next bed frames pivot on the side of the frames to store the bed in the cabinet. The bed frame is designed to allow the legs on the frame to remain vertical while deploying and storing the bed, so the bed is supported by the metal legs on the frame. The Murphy bed frame uses slats to support the mattress for the bed. The Next bed has heat treated wood slats for its foundation. Because of the way the lift mechanism works on the Murphy bed and Next bed, the cabinet is secured to the floor or base of the wall to keep the cabinet from moving when the bed is stored and deployed for sleeping.
A wall bed is a bed that uses the cabinet to support the mattress and this is why it's important to know how they differ. The legs on a wall bed fold out from the cabinet face to support the bed when the bed is lowered to sleep on. The rest of the bed is supported by the cabinet itself where the face of the cabinet, which acts as the base for the bed, is attached to the cabinet on an arm that acts as an axle to allow the bed to be lifted up for storage. Because of the way the wall bed uses the cabinet face for the support for the mattress, this has a tendency to put more strain on the cabinet. If you're the type of person that likes to sleep with a lot of covers, this will add to the weight and bulk to the bed putting more strain on the cabinet.
Because the face of the cabinet acts as the support for the mattress, the wall bed gives you the same support that a platform bed, or having your mattress on the floor, would give you. The Murphy bed, because the mattress sits on slats on its metal frame, has only the slats to support the mattress. The slats on the frame are metal to keep the frame lightweight, so it can be more easily stored in the cabinet, and to give the frame a longer life. Slats have a tendency to sag after years of use, thereby not having the ability to offer the support that a flat surface, like the face of a wall bed cabinet offers. this is why an extra foundation is necessary. Because the face of the wall bed cabinet is reinforced with a metal frame to hold the mattress, it doesn't sag or bend, keeping the surface flat for the life of the cabinet. Although some Murphy beds offer more support than others, they don't always offer the same amount of support that the Next bed, wall bed or the Spacesaver bed does. Of course, some mattresses will give you more support than others and this is where the buyer must be aware. An informed educated decision is important because your sleep (and maybe your back) depend on it.
To setup a good Murphy bed or wall bed it's essential to know what your doing before you do it. It's king of like installing new software on your computer. You can do it if you know what you're doing. If you don't, it's best to leave it to someone who does.I good DIY craftsman can achieve the same goal and this is why Spacesavers Murphy Wall beds ships wall bed kits nationwide. We supply you with the needed hardware, the plans, instructions on how to build it and a cut list that you can take to your local lumber yard where they will cut your wood to the specifications on the list so you can make your own wall bed and save the money it costs to build it. You supply the tools, wood, and manpower and we supply the mechanisms, hardware, instructions, cut list, and savings. It's advised that you have a friend help you also. This advice isn't concerned with how much experience you have. Some things you just have to have the help of that extra person.
A lot of stores and sites sell Murphy beds as wall beds, but they're really not wall beds, because of the metal frame the mattress sets on, on the Murphy bed. By the same token, a lot of sites sell wall beds as Murphy beds, which aren't really Murphy beds, because of the way they work and attach to your home. Murphy bed has become somewhat of a generic label for all beds that store in cabinets to free up space in the home. Because Murphy beds, Next beds, wall beds, panel beds, Spacesaver beds and Flying beds work differently, use different mechanisms and attach to the house or apartment differently, the buyer should be aware of the differences to make a knowledgable intelligent decision if they or loved ones are going to be using this type of bed to sleep on.
All Murphy bed, Next bed and wall bed cabinets offered on this site, that are made with solid wood if chosen, come with a 10-year warranty. Spacesaver beds come with a lifetime warranty on the lift mechanisms and hardware because they’re made with solid wood and a lift mechanism that’s tested to be as good, after 10,000 uses, as it is when it’s brand new.
How Next beds differ from Murphy beds and wall beds
Next beds are the new generation of spacesaving furniture for the bedroom in that they work like a Murphy bed but they don't have to attach to the floor. Because they can attach to the wall as well as the floor, you don't need any kind of a floor saver or wall mount brackets for installation. You also don't need a foundation to lay over the thin metal slats like you would with the normal Murphy bed frame.
Next beds are made of tubular steel instead of the plate steel of the Murphy bed and come incorporated with heat treated wooden slats to act as a foundation negating the need to purchase an extra piece of hardware that you have to have, with the Murphy bed.
The Next bed corners are rounded instead of square eliminating the hazard of bumping shins on the corner of the bed as well, making the Next bed your a better solution for spacesaving bedroom furniture.
Wall bed - the Murphy bed made simple
Click on image to see how this wall bed opens
What to look for in a wall bed
How a wall bed works
Click on image to to see how this wall bed opens
Spacesaver wall bed - an upgraded wall bed
Click on image to view how the Spacesaver wall bed opens
What to look for in a Spacesaver wall bed
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