We have had our Murphy bed for several years now, and I just wondered how long they normally last. So I did some research on it.
How long does a Murphy bed last? Some old beds from the start of last century still function to this day. The bed frame can last for generations, depending on how often it is used. The pistons will not last more than 15-20 years. Here’s what you should expect.
That is the short and simple answer, and the longer answer is that it really depends on a lot of factors.
We have to look at the different parts of the bed system separately.
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The BIG joker here is: How much will the bed be used?
If the bed will be folded up and down on a daily basis it makes a huge difference compared to a bed that will stay down most days.
How often you will fold it up depends a lot on where you place the Murphy bed.
If you install it in a bedroom/home office as we have done in our house, the bed will typically not be lifted up every day. If you install it in the living room on the other hand, and you have to fold it up to live in the space during the day the bed won’t last for generations.
Let’s assume we take it up and down almost daily. Then we have to look at the strength and durability of the different parts.
Let’s take a quick look at the different parts that make up a Murphy bed, and try and work through how long each part will last.
The durability of each part of a Murphy bed
As mentioned above, the bed frame itself and the primary wooden construction can last a really long time. Like 50 years or more. But the moving parts such as the hinges and especially the pistons might not last that long.
Let’s look at the different parts of the bed:
- The bed frame – It might last 50-100 years depending on the quality of the wood.
- The hinges – They might last 20-40 years max (for daily/weekly use)
- The piston system (more in next paragraph)
The pistons are the two metal parts that lift the bed up and down, and they will not last as long as the frame of the bed.
The hinges are also worn over time, but they are generally made to hold much more than the weight of the Murphy bed (200- 560 lbs). So normally they will not have to replace during the bed’s lifetime-
Let’s take a closer look at the durability of the piston system.
How long do the pistons/springs on my Murphy bed last?
There are two different systems for liting the bed: Pistons and springs.
Springs are used in older beds while most newer designs will have a piston-based lifting mechanism. So if you are thinking about how long a new Murphy bed will last, you should probably concentrate on the piston-based systems below.
Murphy beds with a piston-based lifting system
The gas pistons on the Murphy bed is really the most vulnerable part of the construction. These two metal parts are in use everytime you lift and lower the bed.
We have checked around at the different manufacturers of Murphy bed systems, and the answer differs a lot.
The store in the video below says they have tested the pistons thoroughly and after 16,000 times of lifting and lowering the bed, the pistons were still functioning very well. That’s equivalent to 60 years of active use if we assume that the bed will bed lifted up and down five times per week on average.
But from other stores, we have been told that the pistons should be expected to last 15 years.
So it’s hard to tell because there’s no real data to look up, but our best guess is something in between. When the company above tested the bed for 16,000 lifts, it might have happened continuously, and not over a very long period, so the pistons might not last that many times in a real-life setting.
Our best guess is that the pistons will last around 15-20 years, depending on how many days per month you actually raise it.
Many people only raise the bed during the weekend, or at least not every day.
Murphy beds with a spring-based lifting system
Many older Murphy beds are constructed around a spring-based lifting mechanism. You will have a set of strings all the way across the horizontal base of the bed and the tension will create a strong pull on the bed.
This way it can be lowered easily, and you won’t have it falling down.
These springs will not last 20 years if you use the bed on a daily basis. They will get loose over time, and the pull will decrease over time.
But you can find new springs online, like on this site. 8 new springs cost around 50 bucks. By adding a new set of springs, or replacing some of the old springs, you can gradually increase the pull from the springs.
By doing so the bed will keep functioning for many years and you can keep the lifting system nice and balanced, so it won’t hurt your back to pull it up every day.
But if you are looking to build a new Murphy bed, you will definitely have to choose pistons over springs. Gas pistons are much better and reliable, and you will have a more even pull on the bed.
What can I make the Murphy bed last longer?
There are many things you can do to take good care of your bed and make sure it will last as long as possible. You should take good care of it, and make sure it does not get too dusty.
First and foremost you have to take good care of the woodwork. You can paint it and give a strong lacquer to seal off the wood, so it won’t get too worn from daily use. You should treat it like you would treat another piece of furniture.
You want to make sure the pistons are functioning well. Clean off dirt and dust once in a while, but don’t add oil to the pistons.
Keep it in an upright position when not in use
If you know you are not gonna use the bed for a week, month etc. (maybe you are going on vacation or traveling), you should keep the bed upright. This way you won’t have a pull on the pistons/springs, and the tension will last longer.
If you store it for a period..
Don’t store your bed in a humid atmosphere. It will be hard on the woodwork. It shouldn’t be stored in a cold room as well. Place it in a living room temperature if possible, and if that’s not possible you can hang a moisture bag near it.
Direct sunlight is not a problem, it might just affect the color of the wood, but not affect if in other ways.
How often is a Murphy bed folded up? Most Murphy beds are folded up 3-5 days per week. People will often let it stay down during the weekend because you sleep longer. But it depends on where you place it. A Murphy bed in a living room will be folded much more frequently than a bed placed in a bedroom.