I’m a stay-at-home mom turned home design and DIY expert. I've discovered the thrill of creating a beautiful, functional home, and I'm here to inspire and teach you to do the same
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Are you looking to install a space-saving horizontal Murphy Bed? We needed a room in our house for our family to stay when they visit, and since we’re short on space, we built a Murphy Bed in our basement, and it turned out beautiful!
We purchased a horizontal Murphy Bed kit by Create-A-Bed that we found on Amazon. Their instructions are very detailed, so I’m just going to give you an overview of our experience; consider this blog post a companion guide to Create-A-Bed’s guide. They also have kits for vertical beds, but we chose a horizontal Murphy Bed because our basement ceiling is only 7ft tall, which isn’t enough to allow for the clearance a vertical bed needs.
If you want to take a look at the instructions, I’ve linked them here for you.
4 – 3/4 x 4 x 8 plywood
2 – 1/4 x 4 x 8 plywood
12 – 1 x 2 x 8 pine boards
The instructions in the kit from Create-a-Bed explain what wood to buy, what size cuts to make, what types of screws to use, etc. The first thing we did was make all the cuts, which were pretty simple straight cuts…not a miter cut in sight thank goodness. We opted to use poplar rather than pine since poplar tends to be straighter. However, pine is cheaper.
The more difficult cuts involved the large sheets of plywood. If you’ve got two people, you can run the large sheet of plywood through your table saw or have Home Depot cut it, although the instructions are VERY specific about measurements, so it would be risky having someone at Home Depot get the measurements off.
I was by myself, so I used my go-to trick of cutting it on top of foam insulation with my circular saw and a straight edge. Works like a charm. I’ve also used these plywood grippers when the plywood is still too awkward to handle on my own.
After we made all our cuts, we started assembling the bed frame. This involved some gluing, nailing, and lots and lots of clamps. You really can’t have too many clamps. These are my favorite all-purpose clamps.
Create-A-Bed has perfected the process of building a DIY Queen Horizontal Murphy Bed. They include templates that help minimize guesswork and mistakes. One of the templates was for cutting a rounded corner of the side rails.
This type of cut requires a Jig Saw, which can shred plywood sometimes, even if your blade is brand new. So, to reduce tear-out, I added painter’s tape on both sides of the plywood before marking and cutting, and this made for a much cleaner cut.
The holes for the hardware must be exact, but there’s a template for those locations as well. We used a Forstner bit that cuts a clean, straight, smooth hole.
After all the holes were drilled, we attached the hardware and tested it to see how we did with the required exactness. I’d say we passed!
Now for the fun part!
The cut edges of plywood always look rough and unattractive. Birch edge banding is an awesome product that is easy to apply and makes a huge difference in the appearance. I used my iron to apply the banding and a razor blade to trim the excess. The instructions on the kit tell you which edges you need this on!
Next, I pulled out all the pieces of wood that were going to be painted and gave them an all-over sanding to help the paint adhere better.
I then laid out all the pieces of wood on top of buckets, food cans, scrap wood, and whatever random objects I could find in my garage and set them up on our front lawn. (Pro tip: clean up is a cinch because all it needs is a good mow when you’re done!)
I loaded up my favorite Graco paint sprayer with my favorite primer for wood and sprayed everything with a thin, even coat. After thoroughly drying, I sanded every surface to smooth out all the rough spots the primer created. I love using a cordless sander for large projects like this.
Isn’t this color gorgeous?!? It’s a custom color that I named Montenegro Green. Screenshot the picture of the paint lid and take it to your local paint store to mix up the exact same color.
After cleaning out my spray gun, I loaded the green paint and did an even coat. Watch my YouTube video on how I clean out my paint sprayer.
The trick for a smooth paint job is to apply thin, even coats with gentle sanding using a high grit sandpaper between each coat. I go into more depth about painting cabinetry in this blog post about how I painted my kitchen cabinets.
We’ve invested considerable time and effort into transforming our unattractive basement into something more cozy. But first, we had to contend with our cinder block walls. Cinder block makes for a solid basement; however, when we need to secure things to the wall, like, say, a queen horizontal Murphy Bed, we’re missing those oh-so-important studs.
Rather than furring out the entire wall with studs, we used a few horizontal pieces and bolted them to the wall. We measured where the horizontal Murphy Bed would need to be attached to the wall, placed our 2 x 4 studs strategically in those spots, and used toggle bolts and a masonry drill bit to secure it to the walls. Our laser level was essential and took much less effort than a typical level.
If there ever was the perfect “BEFORE” shot, this is it. I promise it’s going to look like a million bucks when I’m done with it. If you’re lucky, your basement doesn’t look like an abandoned industrial factory, and all you’ll need to do is use a stud finder, you lucky duck.
It’s easier to assemble the horizontal Murphy Bed in the room where it’s being installed, so we hauled all our wood into the basement. We had previously labeled every piece, so laying it all out in the correct spot was easy.
Create-A-Bed provides detailed instructions for this next step, but I’ll add some tips.
And here’s what it looks like after it’s installed. Yes, I’m sure you’re not booking a trip anytime soon to Omaha to stay in my basement.
But maybe you’d give this room 4-stars? This is what the horizontal Murphy bed looks like now because it’s finished and ready for bookings!
I built those custom built-ins around my Murphy bed! Check out that blog post for the step-by-step instructions.
Space Dyed Cotton Linen Quilt
Ceramic Organic Modern Ring Vase
Euro Double Cloth Decorative Throw Pillow
Woven Basket with Lid Natural
Artificial Potted Ribbon Fern Leaf Plant
Lumbar Faux Leather Channel Stitch Decorative Throw Pillow
Natural Woven Storage Bench
Single Handle Ceramic Vase
Tinted Glass Sandalwood & Terracotta Ribbed Jar Candle
Brass Pedestal Table Clock
Small Brass Planter
Metal Wavy Bowl Gold
Natural Wicker Table Lamp
Round Leather Links
Large Artificial Trailing Gentian Plant
Black Round Ceramic Vase
Green Ceramic Reactive Glaze Box
Faux Wood Mini Table Lamp
Matted Circle Table Frame
Checkered Knit Throw Blanket
Grid Stitch Comforter Bedding Set
Antique Floral Framed Canvas
Printed Floral Square Throw Pillow
Denim Clay Rug
Gold Drawer Pulls