Coming Out of the Closet: Murphy Beds and Their Practical Uses

How many baby boomers even know what a “Murphy Bed” is? In the early years of the 20th Century, these ingenious space-saving devices were all the rage.  And they were practical, too. What good’s a bed during the middle of the day? When the sun pops up in the morning, it’s time to make the bed, fluff the pillows and tuck the bed back into the closet.

“The Cinderella” (so named because the house was so small it required less work), was a cute and cozy kit home offered by Sears in the early 1920s. This little bungalow made good use of its small spaces by incorporating a murphy bed. Take a look at the pictures below to see how they did things in the 1920s. All images are from the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

To learn more about built-ins in the 1920s kit home, click here.

To learn about breakfast nooks, click here.


This page from the 1921 catalog shows the practical application of a Murphy Bed.

Murphy Bed

Murphy Bed

Folds away in the morning

So easy, even a very large child can do it!


And there's a sink in the corner!

Beddy Bye Bye

Beddy Bye Bye


Floor plan, showing the Murphy Bed.


The Cinderella, as seen in the 1921 catalog

The Cinderella, as seen in the 1921 catalog

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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1 Comment

  1. Shari D.

    Rosemary –
    I just found this particular page footnoted at the bottom of one page of a PhD Dissertation I happened to stumble across (as usual, when in search of something vaguely related).

    It was submitted last year by a student at University of North Carolina – Greensboro, entitled ““ALL MODERN CONVENIENCES”: MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING CHOICE, THE APARTMENT, AND THE MODERNIZATION OF RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, 1918 – 1929”, as a source of information on Murphy-Beds, and beds of similar style, as one of the referenced “modern conveniences.”

    There was brief mention as well of kit homes as a source of residential architecture of that area in that time frame, but other sources were noted, unfortunately. (She would have done better using yours! 🙂

    Seems your information gets around a lot! Not that I’m at all surprised of course……