Living in a small urban apartment or tiny home doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort or spend a fortune on specialized furniture. With some creative thinking, you can find budget-friendly alternatives to expensive Murphy beds that maximize both your living space and sleeping space.
Whether you opt for a compact cabinet bed, convertible futon, or DIY pallet bed, there are plenty of ways to save money while still enjoying the space-saving perks of a Murphy bed.
Traditional Murphy Beds Are Too Pricey for Small Spaces
First, let’s take a look at why authentic Murphy beds may not be ideal for small budgets. Murphy beds are vertically folding beds that can be stowed away in cabinets or flush against walls. This allows you to free up a room for other purposes during the day since the bed is hidden.
While Murphy beds are great space-savers, they tend to come with premium price tags. Purchasing an assembled Murphy bed can cost anywhere from $1,000 up to over $4,000. On top of the steep base prices, installation also requires professional expertise which drives costs up further.
The high prices of Murphy beds are largely due to their complex hardware systems. The fold-up mechanism that allows the bed to seamlessly disappear into a cabinet or wall cavity requires heavy-duty springs, chassis, and mounting hardware.
For those looking to maximize their budget when furnishing a small living space, the hefty sticker price of an authentic Murphy bed is likely beyond reach.
Cabinet Beds Offer Hidden Sleeping Space on a Budget
The good news is that far more affordable alternatives exist which provide the Murphy bed space-saving benefits without the massive price tag. One of the most popular options are standalone cabinet beds.
Cabinet beds are elegant, freestanding storage units that convert into comfortable sleeping spaces. Rather than folding vertically into the wall, the entire cabinet lies flat and pulls out horizontally from against the wall or into the room.
When closed, cabinet beds simply look like any other cabinet, armoire, or closet. But they secretly contain a mattress inside which can be pulled out and converted into a bed in seconds. This gives you the Murphy bed advantage of making a room multipurpose.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of choosing a cabinet bed over a Murphy bed:
- Cost – Cabinet beds range from $500-$2000 in general. Far more affordable than Murphy beds.
- Storage – They provide integrated storage space for clothes, linens, etc.
- Easy Assembly – Cabinet beds are freestanding units that can be easily assembled. Murphy beds require professional installation.
- Compact Size – The footprint of a cabinet bed is smaller than a Murphy bed that folds vertically into the wall.
- Style – Cabinet beds come in a wide array of finishes from modern to rustic to match your room decor.
One excellent cabinet bed option that provides comfort, quality, and affordability is the Lori Wall Bed. Priced around $1,200-$1,800, Lori beds feature solid hardwood frames, soft memory foam mattresses, and your choice of finish. Everything about the Lori is designed for accessible use in tight spaces. The bed frame smoothly pulls down and out from the cabinet and simply lifts back up into place when stowed.
Futons Double as Both Sofa and Bed
For those on an even tighter budget or with extremely small spaces, futons are another Murphy bed alternative to consider. Futons function as a sofa by day, quickly folding down into a bed at night.
The main advantages of futons are affordability and compactness. Futon sofa beds typically cost between $100-$400, making them significantly cheaper than standard Murphy beds. When used as a couch, futons also consume much less floorspace than cabinet beds or bulky Murphy beds that eat up wall space even when stowed.
Futons can certainly save you money, but they do have some downsides to consider:
- Less Stylish – Futons tend to have a simple, basic sofa design.
- Less Comfortable – The thin futon mattress may not be ideal for regular sleep.
- Less Durable – Futon frames and mattresses tend to sag and wear out more quickly than Murphy or cabinet beds.
Overall, futons work best for occasionally accommodating overnight guests on a budget. The trade-off for the low price-tag is somewhat diminished comfort and durability compared to other options.
Repurposed Furniture Lets You DIY on the Cheap
If you’re willing to get creative and don’t mind a DIY project, you can make your very own Murphy bed alternative out of repurposed everyday furniture and materials.
Some popular choices for DIY convertible beds are:
- Pallet Beds – Sturdy wooden shipping pallets can be reconfigured into customized, rustic bed frames.
- IKEA Hacks – The modular LACK table and BILLY bookcase from IKEA can each be transformed into Murphy-style beds.
- Bench Beds – Storage benches with hinged lids that fold down to a mattress.
- Trundle Beds – A low bed frame on casters that can roll under a sofa or loft bed.
These types of DIY Murphy bed projects allow you to create a customized bed for a fraction of the cost of buying a pre-made wall bed. With some handy skills and elbow grease, you could make a unique bed for under $100-$200 in materials.
Some of the benefits of going the DIY route include:
- Ultra Budget-Friendly – Using furniture you already own or inexpensive raw materials like pallets.
- Customizable – Build a bed tailored exactly to your needs and living space.
- Eco-Friendly – Repurpose materials that might otherwise go to waste.
The drawbacks of DIY Murphy beds are that they require more work, and the end results may not be as polished or refined as a store-bought bed frame. But for those on a tight budget, building your own bed can be an extremely wallet-friendly choice.
Make Day and Night Work with Convertible Furniture
As we’ve seen, Murphy beds are certainly useful when you need to optimize every inch of living space. But with their hefty price tags, traditional Murphy beds may not be within reach for those decorating on a budget.
The good news is that more affordable, convertible alternatives exist like cabinet beds, futons, and DIY options. Each has their own pros and cons, but any can help you make the most of your compact home.
When evaluating the best Murphy bed alternative for your needs, focus on the basics like price, functionality, comfort, and style. Look for furniture that can serve multiple needs like saving space, providing storage, and integrating into your decor.
With some savvy shopping and a little creativity, you can build a bedroom oasis that works for both sleeping and living even in the smallest of spaces.
When comparing all the options, cabinet beds stand out as offering the best balance of affordability, functionality, and quality. You can get an elegant, space-saving cabinet bed from quality brands like Lori Wall Beds for as little as $1,200-$1,800.
Considering that cabinet beds provide integrated storage, easy assembly, and high-end features for a fraction of the cost of a Murphy bed, they are arguably the smartest solution for maximizing tight budgets and spaces.
Don’t let a small apartment or limited budget prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. With some strategic shopping, you can find Murphy bed alternatives that give you both living space and sleeping space without breaking the bank. Cabinet beds in particular offer the perfect marriage of affordability, style, and convenience.