Custom Murphy Bed for our Bus Conversion: Part 1 – S04E10

Don and I spent a long time talking about what we wanted for our murphy bed in our bus.  We always start with the ideal design and then figure out what is practical for tiny living and what compromises we are willing to make.

We were able to check off almost all the boxes from our wishlist on this one.  While our current king size bed does fit in the bus, it takes up the whole width of the bus, this wasn’t going to work with the rest of the designs for our bedroom/music studio/pilates studio, we couldn’t go bigger than a queen if we wanted a murphy bed. We were totally fine downsizing to a queen size as what really makes our bed so comfortable is our Tuft & Needle Original Mattress. So that was an easy fix! The compromise we had to make was to turn our bed sideways.  Without a roof raise we would not have enough height to have the head of the bed against the wall as a murphy bed.

Don then began designing our bed frame around this mattress.  We wanted a simple design that would be easy to lift without a hydraulic lift and didn’t take up much space when in the up position during the day so we have ample room when we transform the space into our Pilates studio.

We used ¾ inch birch plywood and stained it a warmer color with rooibos tea.  We also added green tea as the tannins help enrich the color and coconut oil which helps the color sink into the wood.  Don designed the bed’s legs out of plywood that we rounded so you can roll the bed up to lock it away against the wall. We strategically spaced the legs out to both support the bed frame and us, lying in the bed, as well as to create storage underneath.  We needed a place to store the Pilates Mat and some other Pilates props. With some bracing placed between the legs we were able to store everything in place whether the bed is down in sleeping mode or up in Pilates studio mode.

Now that we have the bed frame is built, we can design and build the cabinetry that will frame and secure the bed in its up position.  This is the more complicated part, as if you've been following our build so far, the walls are never straight lines and we have to curve our cabinets into the ceiling.


Up Next
We build bedside towers and upper cabinets to hold our Murphy Bed up onto the wall.

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Tuft & Needle Original Mattress
We have been sleeping on our T&N King size mattress for 3 years now and we absolutely love it. We needed a queen size for our bus, it was a no-brainer for us to stick with the T&N Original Mattress with adaptive foam. With Don’s herniated disc in his lower back and my (Mela’s) reverse curve in my neck we have found this to be the most comfortable mattress we have ever had and can sleep soundly through the night.  I also move around a lot at night, but with the adaptive foam it Don doesn’t feel it or wake up everytime I roll over anymore!


By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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