When a spare room opens up, it leads to one of the more difficult choices you have to make as a homeowner.
Do you turn your new space into a hobby room or keep it as a spare bedroom? It’s a tough situation whenever you’re dealing with limited space, and it can be frustrating when you have to make a sacrifice.
The good news is, sometimes you don’t have to compromise.
With a Murphy bed or sofa bed, you can get the dual function you need out of any room. But when you compare a Murphy bed vs sleeper sofa, it’s crucial to understand that despite their shared space-saving uses, they also have some unique advantages depending on your needs.
If you want to get more from your space, we’ll explain the pros and cons of a sleeper sofa and a Murphy bed to help you find the best space-saving bed for your situation.
Murphy Bed vs Sleeper Sofa: What’s the Difference?
There aren’t many hints in the name, so you may be wondering, “What is a Murphy bed?”
Sometimes called a fold-down bed or pull-down bed, a Murphy bed consists of a hinged system where a mattress can swing down to a horizontal position for sleeping or swing up to sit in an upright position.
The bed usually folds up inside a cabinet, which is fixed to the wall. When it’s not being used, the piece of furniture containing the Murphy bed looks like an otherwise normal cabinet.
On the other side of the hide-a-bed coin is the sleeper sofa, which looks like a normal sofa but contains a folded-up mattress inside. You remove the seat cushions to reveal a metal frame with a handle in the cavity of the sofa. With the help of a handle, you can then pull the frame out, which extends into a bedframe holding a mattress.
Sleeper sofas are a significant upgrade from your standard futon in both style and comfort. The most common version is the fold-out straight three-seater, but you can also find many multi-piece sectionals and sofa chaises with a sleeper option.
Benefits of a Murphy Bed
The Murphy bed has been around for over 100 years, and it continues to serve the needs of space-strapped individuals the world over. They can contain mattresses of all sizes, and the available furniture frame can blend seamlessly into the wall or add extra function and storage. Let’s explore the benefits a Murphy bed has to offer.
You Save the Most Space
A Murphy bed consists of a cabinet and a mattress, so they don’t need to be much deeper than the thickness of an average mattress. In an upright, closed position, many of them only extend about 16-20″ into the room, about the same depth as a TV stand.
You can get a Murphy bed to seamlessly slip into your room’s decor without getting in the way. By contrast, a sleeper sofa is almost double the depth in many cases, with many models measuring at least 32″ from front to back.
You Get the Most Comfort
The mattress in a sleeper sofa has to fit within the body of the couch, so there’s a limit to how large it can be. Most mattresses are only 4-5″ thick because anything larger wouldn’t be able to fold up in the mechanism.
Sofa beds have come a long way, and you can now upgrade from the pressure-point-activating innerspring mattress to more conforming memory foam versions. But because they’re so thin, it’s almost impossible to get the full benefits of memory foam mattresses in a sleeper sofa version. In many cases, you’ll be able to feel the metal frame underneath unless you add a hefty mattress topper.
With a Murphy bed, you can get almost the exact same sleep experience as your normal bed, only without the box springs.
The mattress doesn’t have to fold up so you can get a standard 12-18″ deep mattress to fit without any issue. With a deeper mattress, you’ll get the support and relief you need to get a good night’s sleep and wake up pain-free.
You Get the Easiest Setup
Sleeper sofas make you take the cushions off, find a place to store them, pull out the sleeper, and add an extra mattress topper if you want a halfway decent sleep. But with a Murphy bed, all you have to do is pull down the panel, undo the strap that holds the mattress in place, and you’re good to go!
Benefits of a Sleeper Sofa
Sleeper sofas come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s usually easy to find a piece to complement the rest of your furniture arrangement.
Unlike a Murphy bed, which is a sleep system with the added benefit of furniture function, a sleeper sofa is mainly a piece of sitting furniture with the added benefit of being a backup bed. Although Murphy beds are far superior in terms of sleeping comfort, the right person will see some advantages in opting for a sleeper sofa.
You Get the Lowest Price
If you need an inexpensive sleep solution, the relative simplicity of a sleeper sofa will end up costing you less than a Murphy bed.
Although they’re more expensive than their non-sleeper counterparts, you can find some sleeper sofas for under $500. There are inexpensive Murphy beds as well, but they tend to get more expensive as you add more functionality. Even at their cheapest, sleeper sofas always have two uses as both a sofa and a bed.
You Get the Most Seating
Many Murphy beds double as bookshelves, cabinets, or desks. But if you need seating, a sleeper sofa is often a more practical use of the room.
When you want an entertainment room to double as a guest room, you can get a big, comfy couch and the occasional bed all in one piece. With a Murphy bed and a sofa sharing a room, you might create more conflict for space when you have to pull the bed down.
Murphy Bed or Sofa Bed: Which Is Right for You?
When you’re choosing between a Murphy bed vs sleeper sofa, it all comes down to your goals for the room. If you want optimal sleeping comfort, the Murphy bed is the best choice, but if your primary concern is maxed-out seating, go for the sofa bed. Whichever one you choose, always invest in the highest quality that fits your budget to ensure the best possible experience.
With your backup sleeper out of the way, it’s time to move on to the next project! Check out our lifestyle section for more tips, tricks, and advice on upgrading your home.