Q. How do I go about getting a wall bed for my guest room? Do they still make those-and are they still called Murphy beds?

A. Yes, the Murphy bed lives. Named for William L. Murphy, who invented it in 1918 as a space-saving device, it remains a great alternative to the sofabed. The bed was designed to be stored vertically in a closet, then lowered to the floor when needed, using a mechanism that let the bed pivot on the door jamb.

The Murphy Bed Company, based in Farmingdale, New York (800-845-2337; murphybedcompany.com), sells the bed and mechanism, as well as cabinetry, all across the country. If you want to use a local shop, Fabian Cabinets (3734 W. Belmont Ave., 773-313-8000) is one of several in Chicago that work with Murphy. Fabian’s pros will design and build cabinetry to your specifications, order the bed and mechanism from Murphy, and install the whole thing in your home. The process takes four to eight weeks from start to finish, depending on the design and the shop’s workload.

A full-sized cabinet with a simple stain is about $2,300, says Fabian Spyropoulos. The price includes the bed frame and mechanism. The bed frame comes with a four-inch-deep padded box attached to it; the customer supplies the mattress. Delivery and installation are an additional $220 to $280; the fee to come to your place to measure is $80 to $120, depending on how far away you live.

You could also check out Poliform (445 N. Franklin St., 312-321-9600; poliformusa.com), an Italian company that makes closets, beds, and libraries. “We can house a wall bed in our closet systems, manager Gregory Herman says. “We would take care of all the details-the design, the materials, building, and installation.” Poliform buys mechanisms from the Murphy Bed Company, among other sources, and the general design process takes four to six weeks, but production takes 14 to 16 weeks because the work is done in Italy. Depending on finish, design, and size, the cost of the system ranges from about $5,000 to $20,000.

Another choice is More Space Place (4430 Fox Valley Center Dr., Aurora, 630-585-7880; morespaceplace.com), a national franchise operation that specializes in space-saving furniture. You can work with a space designer at the store and use a computer program to design your own bed-choosing finishes, door styles, and type of wall-bed system you want. A twin wall bed starts at $1,200, not including the mattress, and can go up to about $3,900; a queen-size wall bed with wood cabinetry can run as high as $7,000. “Sometimes the customers like a Tempur-Pedic mattress and they buy their own,” co-owner Cindy Kristanto says. “But we also sell traditional mattresses that the customer can buy. Any mattress can be used.” The turnaround time is four to six weeks for laminate cabinetry, up to ten weeks for wood.