We coined the term "Murphy Desk," due to the similar concept to the Murphy Bed. The original design had the bed on one side of the room - when it is closed, there is room for a full size "partner" desk - 3 by 5 feet - to fold down from the other side of the room. A partner desk is large enough for two people to use, one on each side of the desk. File drawers and other storage are in the separate adjacent cabinets; the cabinet under the desk, that would be hard to use when the desk is open, will hold extra bedding for the Murphy Bed. The very large partner desk requires a ceiling height greater than 8 feet.
The pecan Murphy suite included the smaller desk - 2 1/2 x 4 feet - which folds into a "normal" height bookcase. In this case, it was the same side of the room as the Murphy bed, so the desk could either be available or out of the way when the room was used for other activities, and could be closed for easy access to the queen size bed.
When the Murphy desk is closed, the legs fold into the front of the desk, and lock the desk into position. The desk surface is a torsion box - hollow like an airplane wing, so it is light enough to be opened or closed by one person without a counterbalance or the requirement to attach the cabinet to the wall.
If the Murphy desk is to be a primary office, you might want to consider file drawers. In this case, they are included in the cabinet beside the desk, accessible when the desk is open. That would also suggest that the base unit be deeper for the drawers - at the request of the customer, the base of this unit was 18 inches deep, with a shallower top unit. Coupled with the extra large desk, it complicated the construction.
This partner size desk is exceptionally tall... the five foot long desk folds up starting at 30 inches above the floor, so the overall desk is over 8 feet tall, so will not fit in may rooms. We recommend a smaller desk to be consistent with the overall design of the Murphy suite, and have found the smaller size adequate for many crafts and games in a guest room.
When planning a Murphy desk, consider what office facilities are required. There is no conventional desk drawer, since it would "dump" sideways when the unit is closed. A laptop computer or flat panel monitor can easily fit in the cabinet, but a CRT computer display probably will not fit. A conventional desktop computer will require special provisions for ventilation and wiring. Full extension file drawers, with metal slides for the hanging folders, were included in the adjacent cabinet, but take substantially more work and material than simply including a shelf behind some doors.
Murphy desk unit, with approximately 27x48 inch desk, $1,800
Murphy desk unit with partner desk about 36x60 inches, $2,450
Bookcase with doors $1,100 each
Bookcase with 4 file drawers, $1,300 each
The Murphy bed is closer to the floor than a regular bed when open... the bottom of the mattress is about 9 1/2 inches above the floor; a typical mattress is about 12 inches thick (no more than 12 inches in the Murphy bed mechanism that we use, unless the design is adjusted). Therefore the height of the bed is about 21 inches above the floor, rather than a more typical 28-30 inches - a consideration when planning night stands.
Lights in the unit are close to the bedding when the bed is closed. Therefore we recommend that the height of the cabinet be increased a couple inches if lights are used.
Murphy beds are large. A queen size bed is over 7 feet tall and projects into the room (from the wall where it is attached) 7 feet. Be sure to allow room to walk beside the bed when opened - at least 18 to 24 inches. The outside dimensions of the bed and cabinet, without lights, for vertical-style beds (the head is next to the wall when the bed is used) are
|SIZE||MATTRESS||HEIGHT*||WIDTH||DEPTH* (Closed)||PROJECTION into the room from the wall (when open)|
|Twin||39 x 75||82 1/8"||42 7/8"||15 7/8"||80"|
|Full||54 x 75||82 1/8"||57 7/8"||15 7/8"||80"|
|Queen||60 x 80||87 1/8"||63 7/8"||15 7/8"||84"|
*Size of the basic cabinet. Trim and customization will increase these dimensions slightly.
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