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Tiny House on Wheels with a Murphy Bed

I’m excited to show you my friend Joe’s latest tiny house build. He’s the man behind Tennessee Tiny Homes who I got to have beers with while at Deek and Steven’s Relaxshacks.com workshop in North Carolina earlier this year. The house has already been delivered to a customer near the Arkansas/Louisiana border.

I think you’ll enjoy the interior because for some reason most people don’t end up installing murphy beds in tiny houses. And I just don’t get that. But Joe finally did just that and I’d love to read your thoughts about it in the comments. I think it’s a great way to avoid the need for a sleeping loft and you can instead use the available loft space for storage. You’ve got to love the built in porch, too. I’m sure it disassembles relatively easy for when you need to tow the house. But for me something like this is a must.

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Tiny House w/ a Covered Entry/Porch


Photo Credit Tennessee Tiny Homes

I encourage you to take the rest of the tour below:

Tennessee Tiny House Ready for Delivery


Interior View of the Kitchen and Living Area


Notice the optional loft you can use if you wanted to either for storage, sleeping or for guests.

Full Bathroom with Shower & RV Flush Toilet


Sometimes composting just won’t do the trick. It’s not for everybody. You can pick one of these type of toilets up here instead and Amazon will deliver it to you if you wanted.


Downstairs Murphy Bed in a Tiny House on Wheels


Finally! I’ve always wanted to see this in a tiny home on a trailer. Have you seen something like this before? If so, I’d love it if you shared any links/pictures with me because little houses on wheels with murphy beds seem to be rare. I wonder why..


Air Conditioning your Tiny House

Did you notice the ductless in-wall AC unit above the bed? I like that so much better than the window units although they’re much more expensive. But it’s so much sleeker inside and out. What would you do? Window unit or in-wall unit? Or do you live in an area where you just need a heater instead? In that case would you go with something like a Mr. Heater (cheaper) or a Dickinson marine heater (pricey)?

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 45 comments… add one }
  • July 12, 2013, 12:04 pm

    A lot of people don’t like the hassle of dealing with a Murphy bed, but it is nice to see more options in the tiny house market. I’m curious about the porch roof….Is it hinged to fold down for travel? Would love to know more about how they attached it. Great house!


    • Rebecca
      July 14, 2014, 5:45 pm

      I think a Murphy bed would be much more desirable than a sofa bed. (I personally haaate sofa beds ). With a Murphy bed, linen can be already in place and ready to go. There are some very nice configurations or you can buy a kit and do it yourself

  • Kelly
    July 12, 2013, 3:22 pm

    I really like this. It looks like a modification of Tumblweed’s Popomo design, overcoming the tiny “great room” by replacing the semi-enclosed bedroom with a great-looking Murphy bed! And it has loft space, which the Popomo doesn’t have at all. I wish we could see more of the kitchen, but I love the look of. Love the double doors too!

    • Nic
      April 5, 2016, 7:31 pm

      Fold out beds are so uncomfortable if the bedding issue bothers me i would simply remove the sheets before i flip it up then i would stow them neatly honestly i have never made my bed in my life without being told. 8p

  • LaMar
    July 12, 2013, 3:33 pm

    Murphies are OK and I have used them in a few designs but one reason people don’t like them is because you either have to remove the bedding or tie it down or it slips down and ends up crumpled at the head.

    I would suggest a fold out couch bed with storage under neath and since you are using an actual toilet you could store your fresh water tank under a built in couch bed. A couch bed gives you more storage above and to the sides of the couch than a murphy does. That gives you seating and a bed.

    The built in AC units work OK but you would need a dedicated power source and they would not be great for off-grid applications.

    I am guessing the bathroom is on the side by the kitchen from the pics ?
    I do like the kitchen design.

    • Francesca
      July 13, 2013, 4:24 am

      Few reg. sofa beds are comfortable enough to use daily. One might want to substitute the original mattress by an Air Dream Mattress https://www.airdream.net/index.php? Other alternatives may be
      a high end product such as the Perfect sleeper by American Leather (http://www.24estyle.com/products/comfort-sleeper) or ordering a space saving model such as the Comfort Sofa Sleeper (http://www.goitasca.com/key_features/2012/comfort_sofa_sleeper/) available through Winnebago or Itaca RV dealers.

    • July 13, 2013, 10:07 am

      I agree with the idea of using as much passive space as possible for water storage. I’ve moved from design of exterior and interior to ducts, framing, and utilities in my TH pre-build and there just aren’t enough spaces for water and for storage. The thing is, I figure a lot of TH folks love the “Transformer Factor” where they get to make one space turn into several. The Murphy Bed is perfect for that, a feast for the imagination!

      There is a great design meme where a mirror on the wall folds down into a table so the mirror’s frame becomes the legs of the table not supported by the wall its mounted on.

      As for water storage, I’m actually leaning towards Northwestern University’s solution, the under the house water pillow. That would work well for this unit.

      This is really cool! The interior lines and colors are so crisp.

      Is this made with drywall or plywood, I wonder?

    • Michael
      May 23, 2014, 6:55 pm

      And with a couch you have to make up the bed every day twice. I’d rather would tie down the pillows and cover. Best is the combination of both – sofa and murphy bed and it can be done DIY.

      • Arleen Smith
        August 28, 2016, 9:16 pm

        I agree the Murphy bed that folds down over a couch is perfect. I have been looking at them for the past year for my Tiny and wondered why no one has been using them. I would really like to see more of the whole home. I get really frustrated when there are not more photos of the whole home and the videos.

  • Mike
    July 12, 2013, 3:38 pm

    I’m a big fan of murphy beds, I’ve seen a murphy bed that folds down on top of a couch. Looks like you just have to move the back cushions, which would be perfect in this instance. If not I’m not sure where you could put the furniture when you open the bed, looks like you might be left with the 5′ in front of the doors, but then the bathroom takes a piece out of that I’m guessing. Kitchen looks nice, and I like the storage above it. I agree — the porch is sweet.

  • Joe3
    July 12, 2013, 4:08 pm

    I like the slanted roof design, less so for the Murphy bed, it’s really a matter of the plain look of it, rather than design-and the floorspace if front of it has to be kept clear, or whatever is there moved nightly? I’m looking for a suspended bed from a Trek Safari (just in case someone knows of one), I think that would give me the best of both worlds – more floorspace and a full sized bed without a sleeping loft. Window unit or ductless? Window by a far cry, saving at least $1000. And I’d have to choose the Dickinson, it’s just functional and looks great. Joe has made great use of the inside, I really like the small (storage?) loft above the kitchen….

    • July 13, 2013, 10:13 am

      I brought my old window unit with me because we hope to start building sometime soon. I was planning on mounting the AC unit up high in a similar way but with its own window hole built into a spot above the hitch triangle similar to what this Tenessee house has done.

      Seems silly but I keep thinking the expense might be worth the trouble just to have the AC with a remote control. I keep realizing how annoying it will be to climb up to the loft to adjust the temperature! My design has stairs rather than a ladder, but still…

  • Corina
    July 12, 2013, 4:13 pm

    I stayed in a time share that had a wonderful murphy bed that was easy for my 82yo mother to open and close. The bed was made and only the pillows were removed. There are some amazing models including twin beds that fold up leaving you with a desk.
    The time share also had the most comfortable memory foam couch that folded out but was a bit more cumbersome and you had to put away all the bedding.
    The AC unit you see also looks like a heating unit (does both) but as mentioned not for off grid considerations.
    I like seeing non-loft options for tiny house living.
    Keep sharing pics they are most helpful and idea inspiring!

  • Glema
    July 12, 2013, 5:47 pm

    There is a Murphy bed style kitchenette online as well that might be nice for a TH.
    Walk softly:)

  • Lisa
    July 12, 2013, 5:56 pm

    I know someone who built her own vardo and put a double bed in it on some kind of hydraulic lift system. The bed floats above the open space during the day and is lowered at night. I like this idea: It gets rid of climbing on ladders, heat stuffy lofts with back bending low roofs and the bed adjusts to exactly your height (not too high, not too low.)

  • Kelley Chambers
    July 12, 2013, 5:58 pm

    As PixelPusher on Facebook, I’m always chiming in on your work so you know how much I admire your projects. This, however, is your best work yet! Given that you live in TN, you get it that we southern folk NEED air conditioning and the fact that it’s an IN WALL unit makes it absolutely PERFECT for me! The murphy bed is something I’ve added to my own plans. I’m so glad to see you’ve actually implemented it!

    Hopefully, it won’t take this long, but I plan to work with you in less than a year to build ByteSizeBungalow. 🙂

    Cheers my friend! 🙂

  • Lionel
    July 12, 2013, 8:09 pm

    Hello Alex! About moving solutions, have a look to this «indoor trailer»…
    http://www.groupeleclerc.ca/realisations/propositions-concours (2nd row and 2nd column) Very creative but is it truly functionnal on a day to day basis? What do you think of this? Lionel

  • Alyce Johnson
    July 12, 2013, 10:46 pm

    I love the modular kitchen/bath/closet/TV wall. Not sure about putting it in a portable space, but for a small studio apt it would work well, I think.

    I’ve seen Murphy beds with the bed linens & mattress held on with 2 large straps across top & bottom of bed, with quick release “buckles”. Seemed like it would be very fast to set up, although of course you would have to make your bed on a daily basis to put it away. (And put pillows elsewhere.)

    I love the Murphy bed idea because I have mobility issues & getting into & out of a loft is not an option on a daily basis. (Much less in the middle of the night in the dark when needing to use the restroom!)

    I would also be very interested in seeing actual examples of the hydraulic & pulley type systems (bringing the bed down from above) mentioned above?

    What other heater options are there? What kind of square foot (or cubic foot) coverage do these 2 different models cover? What is the “solid fuel” referred to for the marine model?

    I’m asthmatic & keep parrots as pets & plan to house them in my smaller house. Therefore gases are of primary importance – I can’t have a unit which puts out fumes of any kind or too much CO2. What type of heating would you recommend for this situation (assuming moderate night time temps maybe down to freezing outdoors by not much below 32 F).

    What about the roof mounted RV type AC units? Are those excessively expensive? Are they reliable & do they do a good job?

    I am looking to run the AC off of roof mounted solar panels. I need absolute reliability (ideally, 2 separate units) so that my pets are not killed by heat, while I’m away for the day. What would you recommend in that situation? (Assuming desert heat – 120 degrees F as a possible external temperature. Need to keep the interior below 85 degrees F.)

    • Bigdave
      July 14, 2014, 6:25 pm

      You won’t have enough roof space for the panels it would take to run a/c off solar not to mention the battery bank you’d need. Solar is definitely ready for prime time with the exception of heating and cooling.

  • ElTee
    July 13, 2013, 5:21 am

    While I think the murphy bed is a great idea, they’ve clearly missed a trick by it *just* being a bed. They could have had a table, desk or sofa one that folds down as you pull the bed down without disturbing papers that might be on the desk. Hell, it’s not even one that has a shelf on it. So it’s not just taking up valuable wall space (where there could be a window or storage) but it also is a pain to either clear the space of furniture (or have to leave it clear, in which case might as well have a fixed bed). And I think that might be why you see less of them: not many people know you can get these multi-function murphy beds, or the kind that fold down sideways, or murphy bunks etc. A great way to avoid losing that window opportunity would be to have the bathroom behind it and the bed against the internal wall – this will really only work if you have a wide enough TH that you’d still be able to fit a bathroom door on the wall with the bed too.

    • Mary Rex
      July 13, 2013, 12:35 pm

      It appears that the opened murphy bed does not go past the door frame …leaving a fair amount of space to move around, and maybe enough to put a tiny table and chairs. I think that the glass doors and 2 existing windows would also provide enough light that I would gladly give up another window for the convenience of a first floor bed. Papers on a desk? I am trying to get away from that now- even living in a huge house!

  • Mary Rex
    July 13, 2013, 12:18 pm

    I plan on building a tiny house one day, but there is no way I could ever climb a loft ladder up and down every day. This is an accessible plan for anyone with arthritis. I would rather have what looks like a really comfy bed, and perhaps a small folding table and chairs that could be easily moved out of the way. As far as the bedding; all I use now is a fitted sheet, a duvet and a few pillows – pretty easy to make any bed that way. I love the design of this little gem.

  • alice h
    July 13, 2013, 2:28 pm

    Murphy beds are interesting but for me they’re more suited to occasional use. For daily (nightly?) use I have a daybed. Comfy seating by day, then just toss a few extra cushions off and it’s ready for snoozing. You can lie down for a quick nap in the afternoon or snore the night away without any big preparation fuss. There are several types that convert to a double quickly and easily too. Bedding can be left in place or you can have a simple sleeping bag type arrangement that can be rolled up for the day.

  • Linda Q
    May 23, 2014, 2:17 pm

    I have actually designed a line of tiny homes of wheels where I take advantage of wall beds for that very reason. In such a compact space you need to make every space play double duty. I particularly like the versions where either a sofa or a folding table is part of the double duty features.

  • Linda Q
    May 23, 2014, 2:18 pm

    I would choose the wall bed over a day bed especially when there are two people living in the space.

  • CathyAnn
    May 23, 2014, 2:38 pm

    I’ve always liked the concept of a Murphy bed. I would put the furniture that is near the bed on wheels so it could easily be moved.

  • Michael
    May 23, 2014, 7:04 pm

    This an option for a murphy bed, it goes up to the ceiling and used in VRV.
    On top of that it costs less than the space saver stuff and can be customized for size.

  • Comet
    May 25, 2014, 12:33 am

    I have seen very clever uses of Murphy beds–one where the bed is over the couch and then the arms of the couch are “fixed” as bolsters/side tables when the bed is pulled down and the back of the couch becomes the headboard.

    I also have bookmarked a “Murphy Desk/Table” that folds flat against the wall in a few inches of space—this can be mounted at different heights and has some storage built in to the part that attaches to the wall. Then you add some decent folding chairs that can easily move out of the way.

    I actually have–and have owned it for about 35 years now–a folding table that when the table top leaves are folded down is only about 10″ wide. The side drops go from the table top to almost the floor so you can seat quite a few when the whole thing is open. You can put up one side or both; the center section holds 4 chairs and also has a drawer for misc items. I have seen these with several drawers and no chair storage too. I think Crate and Barrel among others sells them. I have thoughts of doing a Murphy in an RV but it would def have to do more than just make a dance floor when folded up! Would have to earn it’s keep! But if you had the Murphy bed with couch AND the Murphy table–well then!

  • Steve
    June 1, 2014, 3:24 am

    I love the Murphy bed option. I’ve had one in a guest room in a apartment. They’re simple to raise and lower because they’re on springs and the tie down of bedding is very fast. This is a much better option for me than falling down a ladder or banging my head on the ceiling of a 3′ high loft.

    • Alex
      June 1, 2014, 9:26 am

      Thanks Steve!

  • Maria
    June 1, 2014, 7:16 am

    Instead of a murphy bed in this home you could put in a day bed by Ikea that can be used as a couch by day and bed by night,it has two pull out drawers and also can sleep two.

  • Anthony McCarthy
    July 14, 2014, 6:11 pm

    You would think a Murphy bed would be a lot more intuitive than a loft bed, for one thing it avoids the overheating and claustrophobia. And it leaves that loft space free for something useful during the day.

  • Matt King
    July 14, 2014, 6:18 pm

    I would use a furniture system like that from Resource Furniture
    a couch that converts into a bed that way you can get the best of both worlds. I would have a drop down shade or a “white door” that blends with the Kitchen side and have a wireless projector as my tv set up.
    I like the flexibility of the floor plan…..

  • Shelby Solski
    July 14, 2014, 6:53 pm

    What kind of interior siding looks like conventional sheet rock — thought that was a no no for tiny house on wheels due to the stress off moving??

    • Alex
      July 14, 2014, 7:13 pm
      • Shelby Solski
        July 14, 2014, 7:16 pm

        Thank you Alex. Can’t believe I got a reply from the “MAN” himself! I do enjoy your email and newsletters – next summer my brother and I want to do at least 2 tiny houses here in Fairbanks Alaska and use as tiny rentals for tourists 🙂 So I am always researching !

      • Shelby Solski
        July 14, 2014, 7:20 pm

        Hey if you still there I remember once you posted a link to a place in Canada that specialized in some type of super insulation for tiny houses – can’t find it anymore – ring any bells??

  • tegma
    July 14, 2014, 7:21 pm

    I love those Hideaway beds mentioned… However, it kind of defeats the economics of a Tiny House when you have to pay $7,000 for a small bed, don’t you think? I love the idea of a Murphy Bed in a tiny home…. it looks nice, is practical (better than a loft bed) and gives class to the looks of a seating area, if done right, with bookcases and such on the outside. And it’s even DIY!

  • Ruth Vallejos
    July 14, 2014, 7:45 pm

    This is really nice: you have a full kitchen, a shower and toilet, even a deck, and you don’t have to climb the ladder with old bones and fragile knees and weak bladders. I agree with the comments about using a hide-away bed with a table, then having a couch that folds up, perhaps, on the wall. Lots of different ways to make this work!

    I would love to see a DIY-how to on the hinged roof.

  • Jim
    July 14, 2014, 9:00 pm

    I like the Murphy Bed and that is one of many design styles out there. As far as mini split style AC that’s the way to go “Quite” and recently have become more affordable, One system that caught my eye was listed on EBay as a portable 7k Mini Split system. When it comes to heat Dickerson and all it’s charm

  • Marsha Cowan
    July 14, 2014, 10:30 pm

    I have always been a fan of Joe’s tiny houses. He is very practical in his designs while still maintaining aesthetics and strength. I think a lot of people don’t use Murphy beds because of what someone mentioned earlier, you have to have a big empty space for letting them down to sleep. I like the idea of furniture that rolls out of the way, but in a tiny house, there is not a lot of extra space for rolling furniture away. I loved my tiny house loft in the first tiny house in which I lived. Instead of being claustrophobic, I felt like I was sleeping in a hug. However, I can see why some people would not want to climb up and down a ladder to sleep. I can also see why people would not use a murphy bed. It seems a compromise is in order. Maybe permanent stairs that do double duty as part of other structures in the house, or a stationary bed about 5′ high with a few steps going up and lots of cleverly designed storage underneath. A modified captain’s bed. There are untapped sleeping options still out there. Can’t wait to see them!

  • Marsha Cowan
    July 14, 2014, 10:34 pm

    Hey, what if all the furniture folded up out of the way at night so the Murphy bed could be lowered? What if all the other furniture was built so that the Murphy bed just lowered on down on top of it and used it instead of legs? Just brain storming…

  • DFallis
    July 25, 2014, 5:17 pm

    We opted for something similar to a Murphy bed in the RV because of the long benches. We put a piece of OSB on hinges between the benches and it folds back and under the passenger side bench. Because it’s only 1/2 ” OSB and 23 &1/2 ” wide, it fits nicely and doesn’t really create a hump while sitting on the bench. It was the easiest option.

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