Murphy bed-Shelf-Drawer unit for a tiny studio

Murphy bed-Shelf-Drawer unit for a tiny studio

Obligatory Completed Image First

As is customary, here's a shot of the completed project.
Entry way

Welcome to my home. Yeah, this is it. I mean… there's a bathroom behind me down a short hall, but this is the living room/kitchen.
Single guy's apartment

I lived like this for two months — happily. But I had friends coming so I knew it was time to furnish this studio.
Approximate Dimensions

These are actually pretty close to the true dimensions. It's a very small space as you can see and the angles didn't make this any easier to design into.
Murphy Position mockup

There is really only two places this could be positioned: as shown in this image, or on the other side against the wall. Both has its pros and cons, but ultimately, for what I wanted out of this space, I decided to place it in front of the entry way so when guests walk into the space, they immediately can sit down.

The guy that sold these is very nice and friendly, but although he advertised this as being $999, for the queen-sized it cost $1350 with labor and delivery but it didn't even include the couch, or the headboard, and it required drilling into the studs or at least using anchor screws. Building management would NOT have liked that, so my options were limited. PLUS, I really hate the design; it looks like a boring couch placed in front of a closet.
Proper Design

Here's an Italian design I really liked but would have cost thousands of dollars.
Proper Design

This is the template that inspired my version. I really liked that it was a free-standing structure, so I modeled mine after this design. They use MDF, and steel/aluminum and do not have any drawers for storage, but overall, if I had the money to spend I would have definitely just given them my money.

Having had experience building previous designs, I know that breathing in tons of wood dust and getting it everywhere is not ideal. I decided to separate the sanding area next to the windows so I can breathe, and having a small space to the right to vacuum the pieces before bringing it out to the main area (where I'm standing in.)
Sanding Area

Lumber Delivered

It was a real pain to get this delivered as the long pieces are tough to maneuver, but I knew this was just the beginning of my Hell. Now that the easy part's over with…
Working Area

Most of the cutting and measuring was done on this awesome IKEA desk that I found ON THE STREET! It's a 8 . 9/10 desk with minimal scuff marks and someone just threw it out. I'm truly blessed to have found this about a week before this project started. I later had to disassemble and store away in a closet because I hoard stuff; it's my thing. Note: A lot of the horizontal cuts can be done by the lumber supplier, but the vertical "rip cuts" you'll have to do yourself with a rip cut guide (www . amazon . com/gp/product/B007K5HIFS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
Ready for paint

After about 3 nights of sanding key pieces, and making sure all the pieces were ready to be painted, I took a final shot of them in their natural glory. Missing are the large plywood pieces which will be shown in the next image.
Painted pieces

Here's a shot of pretty much all the pieces that will make up this murphy bed. For pieces that will never see the light of day, I left them unpainted and un-sanded.

The key to building this murphy bed and NOT requiring it to be installed into a stud, or fastened with anchor screws into drywall is having two columns that can stand on its own that will not fall forward and is properly counter-balanced. Along with the cabinet-drawer system, this design does not compromise the structural integrity of any building or room as it's its own free-standing structure, albeit a giant one; like a table.
Properly balanced.

I forgot to paint the front of that piece but as you can see, this is a perfectly balanced piece and is sturdy as heck.
Side view.

My ceiling is 96", this piece stands

The key to this design is the cabinet piece which holds both columns together from the bottom. The weight of the bed is properly distributed along each of these four column pieces that conveniently houses three drawers.
Painted and Ready

Here's the entire structure properly painted and ready to be installed.
Top piece ON

The top piece is a beautiful piece of 3/4" plywood that the cushions will be resting on top of.
Securing to columns

I used 1/4 x 3 lag bolts and washers to secure the cabinet-drawer system to the columns on both sides.

Looking good.

Once both columns were installed to the centerpiece, I used a level to make sure everything was properly balanced (it was.)
Additional safety bracket

This is more to keep any potential horizontal forces from potentially messing with the lag bolts and washers too much. Once I secure the bed frame unit to this, it'll be even MORE secure but I had these laying around and thought "why not?"
Checking position

I wanted to see how it felt in the spot I intended for it, and by all accounts I think it works. So once I felt pretty confident I wasn't going to have it on the other side of the room, I began to finalize all the pieces.
Checking the bed frame position

The bed frame consists of two pieces of 30 x 80 3/4" plywood, although I really wanted to go with 1/2" but the lumber guy convinced me otherwise; I still think 1/2" would have sufficed.
I used a pocket hole jig to form the basic shape (rectangle)

The pocket hole jig is one of my favorite tools in the world. Every household should have one of these for simple repairs to simple projects. KREG!
Aluminum Spine

Instead of using a complicated system to perfectly blend the two pieces into one (like glue, biscuit joints and slots), I decided to use an aluminum spine and securing it with screws.
Bed Frame

Here's a shot of the two pieces joined. If you look at the Italian design, even they used two pieces. I wouldn't even know where to get a huge 60 x 80 piece of plywood.
Checking Fit

I wanted to get this thing between the two columns to ensure that my measurements were correct and that it fit properly, taking into account the size of the boat swivel plate (below.)
Other side

Here's a shot of the other side. Since the mattress will be on top, there's no need to paint this side.
Corner brace and brackets added

To attach the plywood and complete the bed frame, I used corner braces and angle brackets… or is it corner brackets and angle braces??? At any rate, it's super secure. I did a little dancing on it at 3AM in the morning to make sure it was steady as hell since I'll be "sleeping" on it.
Room shot

I could see the finish line from here, and all I could think about was what kind of ice cream I was going to treat myself to.
Room shot 2

I started to imagine how the rest of this place was going to look and feel like once this bed was complete, and my place was furnished for me to live in. However, I was filled with the sensation of dread thinking about the arduous clean-up ahead of me.

I got this idea from an amazing DIY-er YouTuber named Glen ( and he saved me a lot of brain juice. If you like building, check his channel out for tips because he's a really relatable, insightful guy.
Close-up shot of swivel

I pre-drilled first, and measured it meticulously until I was sure. Then I used lag bolts on the column side and a screw and locknut (right side) to secure the swivel plate to the bed frame.
It works!

It was a pretty exhilarating feeling to be able to move this platform up and down. I changed the original design because I didn't want to use the swivels to keep the platform elevated from the ground in the "up" position. The 3/4" poplar was a lot heavier than in my calculations and although I felt it could support the weight, I ultimately allowed the bed frame to be supported by the ground only instead of the plates.
Slightly Altered Design

As a result, in the "down" bed position, I lost about 10" from the wall, but this sacrifice will totally minimize any stresses on the swivels so I think it's worth it.
Drawers Installation

Installing these rails were really difficult because I didn't give myself enough room for error so I had to get it placed perfectly in there. Measuring each rail and then getting the drawers secured were a real pain. I recommend leaving the top of the cabinet-drawer system OFF and then measuring and installing.
It works… yay….

By this point, I was so exhausted I kind of half-assed the handle installation and I paid for it. Upon close inspection, you'll see that the handle is poorly secured because I didn't drill the holes perfectly for the screw to fasten into.
Drawers complete; next — the shelf

I had been having a hard time figuring out how I was going to install the shelf which also acts as a support mechanism for the forces on the foot-side of the bed frame in the "down" position.
Pure Steel

Even without the shelf, these monster steel 12" heavy L-straps could easily support the weight and forces but obviously, it looks way better with a shelf so I built a simple one.

Here's a shot of what I was working with.
Shot 2

I had to be careful to get the screw through both holes and not impact the corner brace I had there.

I used a piece of scrap wood, drilled a big hole and tried using this system with a washer on each side and a little play for the 3/4" wood to swivel. I was optimistic about this and went ahead with it.

As you can see, it worked!
Sleep Position

Here's a shot of the headboard in the sleep position. Nothing is securing it but it stays snug if you fit it against the wall and behind the mattress. I will probably eventually secure it to the wall as well.

I put the bed frame in its upright position and went to work on the headboard I got from Amazon. I just wanted to see if it would fit as nicely as in my google sketch-up and it did.

To secure the headboard, I used the Hang Man system by Hillman, which was a god-send because it's simple, cheap and super effective; it also supports 200 pounds of which you'll only need less than 10%.
Work Area – Last Night

As the project was coming to a close, I wanted to take a shot of what my place looked like before I furnish it. I'd say overall, I kept everything pretty organized and clean out of necessity and practicality.

Those are just IKEA decorations. I got the pillows from Amazon.
Room shot

Here's the entry way shot after furnishing the place.
Room shot 2

Here I am standing in the kitchen-side corner. So now, I start my life here in this tiny little space. If you've made it this far, thanks for checking out my album. If anyone wants the sketch-up files, or has any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out. Peace~
Source : perrychannyc from Reddit