Murphy Bed vs Sleeper Sofa (Which One You Should Choose)

Homebody Forever is reader-supported. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase through a link on this post.

Murphy Beds and Sleeper sofas both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Which one works best for you will depend on your style preferences, available floor space, and the role you would like it to play in your home. 

Full sleeper sofa in white

Here’s a quick summary of the differences, pros, cons, and factors you should consider before purchasing.  

So, what is the difference exactly?

Although a sleeper sofa and a Murphy bed have several differences, most are related to their comfort, space-saving capabilities, and ease of use. 

The sleeper sofa

The sleeper sofa is a variety of couch. It boasts a foldable hidden mattress that can be easily pulled out and utilized as a bed. 

It is a dual-purpose piece of furniture that provides both seating and a bed to sleep on. It can either be a bed or a sofa—nothing more.

The Murphy bed

On the other hand, the Murphy bed is available with various functions (At an added cost, of course!)

The Murphy bed is a bed that can be folded away vertically in a cabinet, closet or even the wall when not in use. In addition, it can come with various add-ons that add to its functionality—a built-in desk, sofa, table, and shelving (to name a few). 

Which is more comfortable?

The comfort of your sleeper sofa or Murphy bed ultimately depends on the quality of the design and mattress and your personal preferences. Typically, however, Murphy beds are considered the more comfortable choice

The sleeper sofa’s mattress is typically thinner and more flexible than a Murphy bed, as it needs to be foldable and fit within the couch frame. You can select a standard mattress made from your chosen material with Murphy beds.  

A high-quality Murphy bed with a regular mattress size can be as comfortable as a traditional bed. 

The mattress is also stored in a horizontal position, providing a more comfortable sleeping experience. 

When purchasing a sleeper sofa, search for non-spring options such as memory foam or innerspring mattresses. Adding a foam topper can also make a world of difference. 

Some space considerations

Before purchasing, it is wise to consider your available room space and what you want the furniture’s primary purpose to be. 

If you need to free up floor space, the Murphy bed’s vertical storage will make that possible. 

The bed will, however, still take up the same space as a traditional bed when in use. 

Fortunately, unlike sofa beds that typically come in queen sizes, Murphy beds come in various size selections.  

Murphy beds can also provide integrated storage – a lifesaver when saving space in a smaller room. 

It is important to note that a sofa bed has the same or bigger footprint as a regular sofa. It makes little sense to move a sofa when not in use, and sleeper sofas are often customarily bulkier than your standard sofas. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each! 

Sleeper Sofa pros and cons

The main benefits of a Sleeper sofa are:

  • The cost.
  • The ability to have seating in a small space.
  • The multiple available designs and materials. 

The sleep sofa can be bulkier in design than a conventional sofa, and if you choose a cheaper option, you may not sleep as comfortably as you had hoped.  

Here is a breakdown of some essential pros and cons. 

CostGenerally cheaper than Murphy Beds. Use lower-cost materials.
Multifunctional Sofa and bed in one.
Great for small homes Seating during the day, a bed at night.
Ease of useSimple sofa-to-bed conversion.
Various styles and designsMany styles and designs are available.
Mattress comfortVaries due to the foldable design. Thin, foldable mattress. 
Wear and tearFaster wearing than traditional beds and sofas.
Size and bulkinessBulkier than standard sofas. Armrest can take up additional space.
Bed setup before useTime-consuming to add bedding / remove throws and cushions.

Murphy bed pros and cons

The main benefits of a Murphy bed are that it provides loads of free floor space and, if custom-made, can fulfill many valuable functions.

In addition, the mattress can be as comfortable as a traditional bed and is typically more durable and solid than a sleeper sofa. 

Unfortunately, comfort and added functionality do come at a price. Murphy beds are considerably steeper in price than sofa beds, and you may need professional assistance for installation. If renting, there may also be restrictions or repair costs involved when leaving the apartment. 

Look at some common Murphy bed pros and cons. 

Space-savingFrees up floor space when stored.
Mattress comfortStandard-quality mattresses can be used.
DurabilitySturdier / more stable than sleeper sofas.
MultifunctionalCan have a built-in workspace, sofa, storage, and lighting. 
Bed Setup before useQuick setup. Can be stored with bedding. Pillow storage is often included.   
CostMore costly than sleeper sofas.
InstallationMore complicated than sleeper sofas.
StorageMurphy bed folding storage takes up space.
Rental considerationsApproval may be needed for installation. Cost for bed removal. 

Scenarios where one is better than the other

When a Murphy bed is the wiser choice

You have a large family 

If your child has a tiny bedroom or you have a family with multiple kids, you may struggle to find the space to store their belongings and beds while still providing them with room to play. 

A Murphy bed will allow you to store the beds away by day, so your children can use the space to play. 

You want to welcome guests into your tiny home

Similarly, if you have a small apartment or home with no guest room, you could add a Murphy bed to another room, such as an office, for when you need the sleep space. This allows you to welcome guests but still use the area when the bed is not in use.  

Your home is tiny, and you work from home

Some Murphy beds come made with a built-in desk. This is especially handy if you work from home but don’t have the space for an at-home office. Although this is typically a custom feature, it will save you space and provide added functionality. 

When a Sofa bed is an obvious choice

You are on a budget 

If you are cash-strapped, purchasing a sofa bed will be much cheaper than buying a Murphy bed. Murphy beds are a lot more complex to manufacture and require more materials. They can also come with built-in storage and other features that push the price up substantially. 

You live in a small apartment or studio

A sofa bed is an easy and cost-effective way to add seating to a room with limited space. 

Even if you have little space, you can still entertain guests. This is a widespread dilemma for studio apartment owners. For example, a studio with a traditional bed may need more floor space for seating.  

When you are renting 

If you are renting, a sofa bed will mean a lot less admin and stress than a Murphy bed. Unfortunately, many rental contracts or buildings do not allow the installation of Murphy beds or charge for repairs after bed removal.  

What’s great about a sofa bed is that it’s portable and non-permanent. So, you can easily take the sofa with you when you move to a new apartment or home. 

You like to mix things up from time to time

If you get bored quickly or enjoy changing the look and function of your rooms, then a Murphy bed may be a too permanent option for you to consider. 

A loft bed is movable and a better option if you like to reposition or change your room layouts from time to time. 

Similar Posts