DIY Murphy Bed using a Next Bed Murphy Bed Kit and IKEA PAX wardrobe cabinets.
While our daughter was away at university, we relied on her room as a guest room.
When COVID struck, our daughter moved back home full time, so we lost our guest room in the process.
We don’t have a constant flow of guests in and out of our home, but we have enough visitors where we needed to come up with a suitable solution.
We decided to turn my home office into our new temporary guest room.
Wasting space on a queen size bed that is only seldomly in use was not ideal, and occasionally conducting client meetings in my office, having a bed in full view was completely out of the question. This is where the idea of a Murphy bed came into play.
I called around for quotes. And was surprised at how much carpenters were charging to build a Murphy bed. I figured that I could build one myself. So, I found the following inspiration photos on www.houzz.com and set about designing and building my own.
Found! The Next Bed Murphy Bed
I researched quite a bit for Murphy bed hardware and came across the Next Bed Murphy Bed Kit. The appealing thing I found with the Next Bed Murphy Bed kit is that unlike in a traditional Murphy Bed, the Next Bed is not built into the cabinet.
It is a stand-alone piece of equipment.
Since the Next Bed attaches directly to your wall, it doesn’t rely on structural support from the cabinet in order to operate properly. This meant that my cabinet would purely be a decorative cover used to hide the bed.
In order to keep the costs down, I kept things as standard as possible. Doors are the most expensive item in cabinetry, so custom-building doors was out of the question.
My bed is a queen size 150cm x 200cm, and the kit stated that I needed a minimum of 160cm for properly installing the murphy bed. So I combined 2 100cm wide PAX cabinets. This allowed me to select 4 IKEA standard sized doors to finish the cabinet with.
Determine where you want the bed to be placed inside the cabinet. I despise living out of a suitcase when I travel, so I wanted to make sure our guests had a place to unpack and hang their clothes.
Included in the wardrobe, a hanging closet space and the bedside table on one side of my design. I positioned the bed to one side of the interior so that it left room for a small night table/cabinet plus hanging space on the opposite side. This is optional.
Secure your Next Bed Murphy bed frame to the wall. I have ceramic tile floors and baseboards, so I drilled through the baseboard tiles and used (4) 6mm lag bolts to secure my bed frame.
Attach Next Bed floor mounts
Hint: Make sure you are using a ceramic drill bit to drill through ceramic tiles. I destroyed 4 porcelain drill bits before realizing I was using the wrong type of bit! Duh!
Once you’ve determined your layout, cut the wood pieces for assembly. I don’t own a table saw, so I went to a local carpentry shop and paid them a few $ to cut the pieces for me.
Below is drawing I used to determine the cabinet layout, how each piece of the cabinet would be cut, and from where on the panel it would come from. Keep in mind that certain pieces of the IKEA cabinet are not finished on every edge. The shaded areas are discarded pieces.
Cabinet pieces needed:
Left Side 238 x 58cm
Right Side 238 x 58cm
Main Header 196 x 58cm
Plinth 196 x 8cm (finished edge)
Bottom Kick 196 x 8cm
Top Valance 196 x 8cm
Headboard 136 x 33cm
Shelf (3) 32 x 40 (one finished edge)
Closet 58 x 40 (two finished edges)
Side Table 48 x 40 (two finished edges)
I discovered during the cutting process that IKEA panels are not fully made out of MDF. Instead, they consist of an MDF frame with a waffle-like cardboard in between, all covered by a thin sheet of wood veneer.
Because of this newly discovered fact, I realized that I would need to build a support structure for the IKEA pieces to be attached to. I used 6mm x 2mm boards to create this.
Cut a notch into the bottom of the wall facing portion of each side piece so that they fit over the top of your floor molding, and sit flush with the wall.
Assemble a support frame for the main header piece of the cabinet using cut to size pieces of the 6mm x 2mm white wood board. I used the carpenter’s square to make sure everything is squared.
Note: The support structure is hidden behind the decorative “wood” pieces, so you’ll need to take that into consideration when you’re cutting your support frame pieces to size.
I built the support frame because the width of my cabinet is twice as wide as a normal IKEA cabinet, and has no support on the back to help bear the load of the main header. I also wanted to ensure the main header didn’t bow downward once the cabinet was assembled.
Attach the top valance piece to the front of the frame and secure the main header to this using 3.5 x 35mm screws. The screws are inserted from the structure into the valance piece so they don’t show once assembled. This photo shows the make-up of the material used in the construction of PAX cabinets.
Secure the completed frame and valance to the top sides of the cabinet using 3.5 x 35mm screws.
Secure the main header to the header frame. I screwed the header board directly into the frame because I knew the weight of the board wouldn’t be supported if I screwed from the frame into the header in order to hide the screws. My screws are around the perimeter of the header board so even though they are exposed, they are not easily seen.
Because the back of the cabinet is completely open, I added a support for the bottom back of the cabinet and added two supports boards 100cm up to secure the headboard to.
(You’ll need two people for this step.)
Carefully lift the cabinet upright and attach the headboard by screwing from the back side through the two support boards into the headboard using 3.5 x 35mm screws.
(Skip this step if you aren’t including the hanging closet and night table)
Position and secure the closet structure. I attached a leftover piece of 6mmm x 2mm to the inside roof of the cabinet as a hidden support inside the hanging closet and then cut decorative horizontal support boards from one of the unused trim pieces included the IKEA cabinet pack.
Because of the extra weight the closet would need to hold, I used L-brackets for additional support. I repeated the same idea to assemble the bed side table.
If I did it over again, I would have created the bedside table first, and then the closet, and would have saved myself a few aches and pains from knocking my head into the closet while building the bedside table.
Secure a support board to the bottom front of the cabinet and attach the bottom kick and plinth to that support board. Afterwards, carefully shift the cabinet into place against the wall.
Once the cabinet was where I wanted it, I added an extra piece of support horizontally underneath the plinth to help bear the weight of the folding doors and the track the hardware runs on.
Secure the cabinet to the wall using lag screws and the securing hardware included in the IKEA Pax cabinet components. Use a level and square to make sure the cabinet is positioned evenly and squarely before securing it to the wall.
Completed cabinet with closet and night table
My walls are concrete block, so I attached the cabinet to the wall just above the headboard. If you look at the photo closely, you can see the two black covers (one on each side) that IKEA includes in their cabinet securing hardware components.
Secure any artwork to the wall above the bed that you want to add.
Assemble the Next Bed Murphy Bed Kit. I found the instructions for the Next Bed kit to be very clear and easy to follow. I would recommend having a can of WD40 close by to spray some of the areas of the components that you’ll need to slide into each other. It took me a total of 4 hours to fully assemble the bed kit.
Add your mattress. Murphy beds require a mattress that is able to stand on end without buckling or folding, so a memory foam mattress is the best recommendation.
Install door hardware. I purchased Hettich W-Line folding door hardware because I wanted as much of the cabinet interior to be exposed when the doors were open.
This system uses a top and bottom guide for a really smooth movement. The instructions are vaguely written, and they seemed really complex, especially when calculating where to drill the hinge holes.
I realized pretty quickly that I was over my head installing this type of system for the very first time.
Install wardrobe doors and decorative hardware. I ordered my IKEA doors in a standard white. Then, I contacted a cabinet maker in the area who agreed to paint them dark blue for a reasonable price. I purchased the brass ring pulls on Amazon.com.
While the cabinet makers were delivering the freshly painted doors, I convinced them for a few extra $ to install the folding door hardware as I watched.
I’m glad I did!
The cost alone of purchasing the tools to complete the install myself would have been more than what I paid the professionals to do it for me.
Overall, I am really pleased with how my Murphy Bed turned out. Our first guests arrive this weekend, so I look forward to hearing their feedback.
Don’t get ahead of yourself. Before you position and secure the cabinet to the wall and add artwork, make sure that you have left enough clearance on each side of the cabinet for the sliding doors to open and for the bed to operate without any interference.
The internal hanging closet and night table are optional and add a level of complexity to the positioning of your bed within the cabinet. If you don’t need them, don’t include them in your project, and you’ll save yourself a few additional headaches along the way.
Total cost including labor for door painting and installation $1270.
Please note this price does not include the cost of the mattress or the Next Bed Murphy Bed kit.