The Murphy bed, that retro and notoriously uncomfortable design feature that was a permanent fixture in homes in the early 20th century – and has been used as a comedic trope from The Three Stooges to Frasier – is back. The first time I encountered a Murphy bed was at my aunt’s miniscule Milan apartment in the early 1980s. I was immediately intrigued by its Narnia-like concept and its resemblance to the whimsical contraptions of intelligent design that were so prominent in The Jetsons.
Then I slept on it and all the romance of futuristic furniture faded, leaving in its place an overtired kid with a sore back. As it turned out, the bed of the future was hard and lumpy.
Thankfully, today’s versions are infinitely more comfortable. “These aren’t your grandmother’s Murphy beds,” says Seamus James Butterly, sales and showroom manager of Resource Furniture Toronto, which carries the Italian brand Clei. “These are next-level beds that are streamlined, contemporary and very comfortable.”