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Sofa Bed Vs Murphy Bed: What's the Difference?

What is a Murphy Bed?

Murphy Bed Design

A Murphy Bed, fold-down bed, wall-bed, electronic bed, swivel bed - to name a few - was originally invented around 1900 in San Francisco by William Lawrence Murphy. In order to adhere to courting customs, which, at the time, would not permit a lady to enter a gentleman’s bedroom, he decided to create a stow-away bed from his closet to accommodate his mistress. Alas, the Murphy bed was born.

Since then, these multifunctional pieces of furniture have evolved into highly convenient products that can be ideally located inside a entertainment hub, a wall, or even a desk, securely tucked away in the daytime to provide ample space within the home.

Supported by a European-style slatted frame, Murphy Beds offer a 21st century solution for convertible spaces that maximizes space without sacrificing décor.

What is a Sofa Bed?

Sofa Bed Design

The sleeper sofa, bed couch or hide-a-bed; all refer to this coveted piece of furniture that provides a space to simultaneously relax and sleep .

The idea of a dual-purpose piece of homeware came to fruition in the late 1800s; a time where sleep innovations were on the rise. Leonard C. Bailey was the first to create such a product, patenting a metal bed frame and mattress that folded in the centre. The invention soon caught the attention of the U.S Army Medical Board and the mass-produced design found particular favor with soldiers and campers soon after.

Since then, the sofa bed has evolved into an extremely versatile design and construction within the 21st century home. It provides a place to watch TV, read a book or take an afternoon nap. While at night, it can transform into a place to sleep.

The main distinction between the Murphy bed and the sofa bed would be their permanency within the home. Despite the developing infrastructure of sofa beds housing guests for a night or two (more expensive ones anyway), their overall design is deemed as more of ‘an additional place to sleep’ than a primary sleeping option. Conversely, Murphy Beds and their innovation has led to many home-owners installing one within their guest rooms, conveniently and COMFORTABLY accommodating guests when they come round to stay.

Sofa Bed Vs Murphy Bed: Space-Saving?

Sofa beds available on the marketplace come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors to complement your home. It would be advisable to measure your sofa bed prior to purchasing to ensure that it fits the dimensions of your room.

On the contrary to Murphy Beds, these pieces of furniture are more difficult to manoeuvre from sofa to bed. It will take a manual effort (unlike a remote controlled murphy bed design).

In stark contrast, the murphy bed is designed with space and convenience in mind. While a sofa bed provides both a seating and sleeping option, you can never fully move the sofa out of the way, thus creating a floor hazard. While it takes up less space than a regular bed when utilizing this piece of furniture as a couch, it still takes up a significant amount of essential horizontal space in your room.

A Murphy bed can either fold up completely against the wall, tuck away in a cabinet, or electronically zoom in and out by the click of a button. Most murphy beds also include integrated storage, which is a huge space-saving factor, especially in small rooms. Many beds feature shelving above the bed or attached to the bed itself. If you prefer hidden storage, opt for a model with built-in cabinetry with doors to conceal your items. For a wall bed with an integrated sofa, look for an option with storage underneath the sofa seats.


Comfort is one of the fundamental factors when choosing a bed. No one wants to feel the sharp prods of a springy mattress as they lie awake in the early hours.

In general, a Murphy Bed is the more comfortable option out of the two multifunctioning beds. A sofa bed is usually made of a thin (or thinner) mattress, that facilitates the fold-up component atypical of this piece of furniture. This allows it to be flexible enough to fold away whilst not in use. However, this sacrifice of comfort and support can be one of its major pitfalls in the multi-functional furniture space. For a night or two, it may not be bad, but as a regular sleeping unit, a traditional sofa bed is notorious for its uncomfortable design structure (particularly as it ages overtime).

In terms of Murphy beds, while most mattresses are designed to perform in a horizontal position, a large proportion of Murphy beds mattresses on the marketplace will be in a vertical position, leaned against the wall for the most part of the day. The problem with this is that it can render technical issues such as slumping, whereby a bump forms on the lower edge of the mattress. In order to avoid this devastating design issue you need to ensure the murphy bed you select has a sturdy support layer and is extremely high quality.

Thankfully, the Zoom-Bed Murphy Bed's premium high density foam mattress (now also available with an integrated memory foam topper!) is manufactured under the strictest level of quality control. Maintaining their elasticity for decades, you'll never experience lumps or sagging. Zoom-Room bed frames are constructed from premium bowed Beechwood slats. Slatted bed frames are the standard in Europe, and are designed to last a lifetime - in clear and comfortable contrast to finicky bedsprings.

Murphy Bed Vs Sofa Bed

While these products may be similar in concept, they serve completely different purposes, so choosing between the two shouldn’t be all that complicated.

Murphy beds are destined for every night use. They can be paired with some really good mattresses, provided these are durable and compatible with the mechanism that a Murphy bed relies on. In the case of Zoom-Room, all our beds come with a high-density mattress tailored specifically to your murphy bed design.

When tucked away during the day, a Murphy bed is completely undetectable and thus provides ample space to live and breath within your home. A sofa bed is mainly designed for sitting, and not that much for sleeping every night. It’s perfect if you have out of town guests, or sometimes want to indulge yourself in sleeping in front of the TV.


Contact Zoom Room

2121 N. Bayshore Drive

Miami, FL  33137

By Appointment Only


Telephone:   (305) 677-9148

Toll Free:      (888) 211-1120

 Fax:              (305) 677-9278



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