How To Build A Murphy Bed In A Van: The Ultimate Guide

Dr jay Feldman: A Murphy bed, or wall bed, is the perfect solution to small space living if you have enough room behind your couch or in your closet to store it when not in use. These beds fold into the wall and are generally used as a couch during the day but quickly convert into an extra bed at night without any work! Once you see how easy it is to build one of these beds, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it years ago! Here’s everything you need to know about building a Murphy bed in your van!

Materials Needed

To build your own Murphy bed, you’ll need these materials: 1 2x4x8′ (studs), 1 2x2x8′ (skids), 1 sheet of plywood cut into 12 x 84, 1 4ft. Length of 3/4 Plywood, power saw or jigsaw for cutting, a drill and several bits for drilling holes including bits for wood and metal, screwdriver or drill with screwdriver attachment.

For tools, you’ll need an electric or cordless drill/screwdriver set and some clamps to hold the pieces while drilled and screwed together. If you have any screws lying around your garage that might work better than the ones we recommend below, feel free to use them instead!

Step 1) Measuring the Space

Before purchasing any materials, make sure you know the size of your vehicle. Find the inside length of your van, then measure from the back of the seat on one side to the same point on the other. This will give you two measurements: one for length and one for width. You will want to remember these measurements so that when you purchase furniture, it fits properly within your vehicle.

For example, if you are building a Murphy bed, ensure that all pieces of furniture purchased will fit into this particular measurement space before installing them into your van.

Step 2) Ordering Materials

A Murphy bed is the perfect way to increase the living space in your vehicle and make it a more suitable long-term home on wheels. Here’s how you can make this a reality.

1) Choose your Materials

Start by purchasing all the supplies you’ll need for your Murphy bed, including plywood, pieces of 2x4s, a hammer, a saw, and nails.

Step 3) Building the Frame and Installation

Step 1. Building the Frame and Installation This process can be done with a few simple tools that anyone should have at home, or you can stop by your local hardware store. We’re going to build out the frame of the Murphy bed and then secure it with nuts and bolts before we install it into our van. Before installing anything, clear off your workspace, so you have plenty of room for manoeuvring tools and materials.

Step 4) Connecting to Plumbing and Electrical

Building a Murphy bed has two advantages that are worth considering. One, it can be out of the way when you don’t need it and close at hand when you do. Two, because of the low profile and height of most murphy beds, you can often slip your bed neatly under the sloped roof while still giving yourself an open view above.

You may have some rewiring or plumbing adjustments to make first before you build your Murphy bed frame, but don’t worry – we’ll show you how!

What tools do I need to build a Murphy bed?

To build a Murphy bed, you will need essential tools such as saws, drills, power screwdriver, and paint. Investing in carpenters or pipe clamps to install the cabinet’s hinges may also be helpful. Some people also choose to use shims or small blocks of wood (stacked under the outside of the mattress frame) for clearance when closing the cabinet door so it doesn’t hit the headboard.

While we generally recommend carpentry skills over the no-skill assembly, you can do this project with trim carpentry experience if you choose your lumber wisely and don’t get too crazy with creativity on your design.


Murphy beds offer plenty of benefits for people living on the road, including being more accessible and cheaper to build than furniture that’s supposed to withstand the wear and tear of travel. They offer the comforts of home while freeing up space inside the van. But despite their many advantages, it pays to know what you’re getting into if you install one yourself.

This step-by-step guide is here, so you don’t have any surprises! You’ll need your murphy bed kit, drill, measuring tape or ruler, pencil or marker, and level. Once everything is ready to go, measure from the top of your side wall to the height of your ceiling.


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