Bedroom motion1

Published on July 17th, 2014 | by msilberberg


BILLY Bookcases transform into Murphy Bed

We live in Manhattan where space is a premium. We are fortunate to have a playroom that also needs to double as a guest room.

BILLY hides murphy bed
BILLY hides murphy bed

Conventional Murphy beds didn’t quite fit into the space and they are expensive. So a hack seemed in order:


The center bookcases are mounted on a piece of plywood on wheels with the Murphy bed attached to the plywood.


It’s pretty manageable to spin around when the bed is needed.


For the side shelves I used two bookcases to add depth to accommodate the depth of the bed when it is hidden.


I used some old IKEA hardware to keep the center piece from being moved.


Here it is in action:

BILLY hides murphy bed

Alex Numerar Desk
Combining 2 HEMNES console tables into 1

The Author


29 Responses to BILLY Bookcases transform into Murphy Bed

  1. Adrienne says:

    This is so great! I’m planning on doing this with the Ikea Morliden ( doors to hide the play things. Any thoughts on glass shelves changing the weight/ease of the revolving bookcase?

  2. Gary says:

    Did you use the murphy bed frame alone, or the murphy bed with foundation? The description on makes the foundation sound like simple fiberboard covered with fabric. Something I aquire (or make) cheaper where I live.

  3. Now that’s what I call an awesome flat pack furniture hack!! It is said that one Billy bookcase is sold ever couple of seconds or minutes and no wonder! I think that if Ikea management could realize how much potential these ideas have they would immediately realize what to do… It’s a fact, that Ikea does not always react in time ( A fun fact about ikea is that it took them years to adapt to US market..)

  4. Cary Trochesset says:


  5. Maddy says:

    Hi, first, thank you for the wonderful idea and such detailed instructions. second, could you use Hemnes bookshelves instead of the billy ones and get similar results? we already have a set of the former, so it would be a much cheaper overall project. thanks again!!

    • msilberberg msilberberg says:

      I wold think so. You’d probably need to find wheels whose height in combination with the platform would just lift the legs off of the ground. You could also cut the legs off to allow the platform to better support the full shelf. If you did tat you could probably shorten the legs and reattach to the bottom of the platform to preserve the aesthetics of the bookcase. Good luck!

  6. question says:

    hi there, I am just wondering what size mattress you used? A queen mattress is 80 inches tall and these book cases are only 79.5 plus the added height of the casters and the platform. thanks so much

  7. jeffc says:

    Looks great!! I think I get the install, and see that you mounted the book cases to the base platform with the L brackets. I am guessing you wanted to do it this way to get the bookcases “at floor level” so the bed is hidden. I have a couple questions…
    1) What if the platform was just bigger and the bookcases were mounted “on top” of the base platform?
    (I’m thinking of going that way, fwiw… using cabinets, which i think might be more solid and dont have the gap under the bottom.)
    2) Those murphy beds are supposed to be mounted to the floor, or to the wall. How do you keep the bookcases from just falling over when the bed is lowered? Is the platform “heavy enough” to keep it all from just falling over? And/or did you just keep the springs loose? (Tho if too loose then it seems the bed would be difficult to raise?)

    • msilberberg msilberberg says:

      Thanks for the comment. You could mount the bookcase directly on top of the platform, but it would then be higher than the side shelves. That would have required building a platform for the sides so that the heights were even. If you don’t need the side shelves then that would not be a problem. I’d probably still go with L brackets user the bottom shelf to secure it to the platform.

      With regard to opening and closing the bed, the two bookcases seem to be heavy enough. Also, when the bookcases are turned around to expose the bed, they are pushed back against the wall, which provides additional stability. The weight of the shelves did seem to pitch them forward a bit, which is why I added the strap to be able to pull them back. The spring is set pretty tight so that it is easy to open and close the bed.

  8. Anna says:

    This project is great! I have a question though: are the two side Billys in the back useful or are they just here for visual purposes? It would be easy (I think) to saw the back of the front Billys and have more deep ones, but I can’t figure out if you’ve already done it or no!

    • msilberberg msilberberg says:

      Thanks for the comment. The side Billy’s are double depth, which is actually pretty useful. You don’t need to saw anything. You just don’t attach the flimsy backing that IKEA uses for most of its bookcases to the front bookcase.

  9. Maria says:

    Wonderful, it s great for a small space,,,,, congrats

  10. Susan says:

    This is so cool! I was just considering transforming my fantastic IKEA office into a guest room and was also thinking of a Murphy bed. If I do this, I can keep the office AND have a guest room. :D Happy day!

  11. msilberberg msilberberg says:

    Much appreciated! Glad you enjoyed it.

  12. ConnieM says:

    Love this.
    Hack of the year.

  13. msilberberg msilberberg says:

    The most involved part was cutting the 3/4″ plywood platform to size. I needed to cut out a middle section so that it could fit around the two inner sides of the bookcase. I also mounted 20 swivel casters to the bottom of the plywood (something like this: I tried to find casters whose height would raise the bookcases just barely off the ground. I then screwed the two bookcases together using the guide holes for the shelf supports. The sheet with casters was then screwed into the bottom shelves of the bookcases, but secured to the sides of the bookcases with L-brackets (see picture here: I did this with the shelves face down on the ground for easier access.

    Once the plywood/caster support was in place I stood the bookcases up. They pitched forward slightly so I added the adjustable strap, which allowed me to level the shelves.

    The Murphy bed frame was purchased as a kit ( The frame was bolted into the bottom of the plywood. In a regular application, it would go directly into the flooring.

    You can use any mattress. I bought a mid-price range mattress and it is pretty comfortable. There are straps that hold the mattress onto the frame that came with the kit. The kit also comes with springs that you add so you can adjust how easy/hard it is to raise or lower the mattress. The weight of the bed frame is sufficient that there is no risk of the bed closing by itself when it down or when someone is sleeping on it (despite what many cartoons seem to suggest!).

    When the mattress was attached, I had to adjust the straps again to make sure that everything was level.

    The bookcase/bed structure is quite stable and can be rotated pretty easily. When the bed is down, the back wall and the two back shelving units also help to hold it in place (i.e., there is no side to side motion). The only thing I added to the bed was a piece of 2″x4″ on the bed leg to accommodate for the bed being mounted on the plywood. This makes the bed level when it is down.

    The whole construction took a couple of hours.

  14. Jen says:

    Great job! Thank you for including the gif! I was really curious to see it in action. Very creative and it looks good. I’ve been considering buiding an Ikea murphy bed too. I was hoping you might answer a few questions:

    1. Do you worry about the moving bed structure tipping over, or have you secured it in some way that’s not evident in the pictures? (Most tutorials say you have to attach a murphy bed case to the floor or wall for safety.)

    2. Is the mattress comfortable? How did you know which kind of mattress would be best for that kind of frame?

    3. When you’re sleeping on the bed do you every worry that the bed might spring up if you sat too much at the front?

  15. D says:

    hack of the year!

    But yes, more detailed instructions please. Can you still add them? Thanks!

  16. Chris Kelly says:

    You are a genius!

    You said you used some bits from ikea to stop the shelf from being moved while the bed is packed away, how did you secure it?

    But again – GENIUS!

    • msilberberg msilberberg says:

      I just used one of the IKEA screws that takes an Allen wrench and drilled a hole through narrow bookcase and the moving bookcase. I did this on each side. When they are screwed in the shelves can’t be pulled out.

  17. Cindy says:

    This is such a cool idea! Thanks for the video. I was having a little trouble visualizing just how it worked, but it looks like a piece of cake.

  18. die3kas says:

    Hallo aus Deutschland!
    Ein total coole Idee!
    Gibt es eine Bauanleitung?

    Hello, from Germany!
    An absolutely cool idea!
    Is there a construction manual?

    Best wishes die3kas (kkk)

  19. Bryan says:

    Oh god, that squished widescreen on that projector. Savages!

    • Zachary says:

      short on space, but there does seem to be plenty of room for a monoprice widescreen!

      BTW, where does one get the proper Murphy Bed hardware to pull this off? Perhaps a more detailed instruction manual would be helpful!

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