Make Your Own Bed Headboard
These before and after photos demonstrate how a headboard can dramatically change the look of a room. Photo courtesy of Maru C. Wilson at Rooms for Real Living.

A beautiful headboard can up the style quotient in any bedroom, and luckily, there’s no need to spend a lot to get serious chic appeal. There are many different styles of headboards that are easy and relatively inexpensive to make.

"The headboard is a focal point," says Maru C. Willson, interior redesign specialist and owner of Rooms for Real Living in Oceanside, Calif. "It helps establish a decorating theme and almost always dictates the style in a room."

In her quest for the one-day makeover, Willson has created many headboards from bits and pieces found throughout a house or the local home center. Sonya Wardwell, an interior designer in San Diego, Calif., and owner of Sonya’s Design Studio, says she also believes in the power of quick fixes. "Small projects, like a new headboard or pillows, can make a big change without having to spend a lot of money," she adds.

Make Your Own Bed Headboard
Photo courtesy of Maru C. Wilson at Rooms for Real Living.

Considerations for Your DIY Headboard
There are a few key tips to bear in mind as you scout for decorative elements to use as a headboard. First, choose items that can be mounted flush against the wall; this will provide a more comfortable surface to lean against and help minimize the risk of hitting your head. Keep the scale of the headboard proportional to the size of the bed.

Coordinate the headboard with your bed linens and the other decorative accessories in the room. A theme can help tie together the look of your bedroom. For example, in a garden theme room, a portion of white picket fence might create a pretty headboard. Most importantly, ensure that the headboard can be mounted securely against the wall to avoid accidents.

Designers recommend first choosing the bedspread or comforter, which usually has the most color and personality in the room, and using that as the inspiration for the headboard. Proportion is critical to good design, so carefully measure the width of your bed before deciding on a style. Here are some ideas.

Upholstered Headboards
Upholstered headboards are a good choice if you’re looking for comfort; they work well as a bolster when you’re reading in bed. The style coordinates with

platform beds or basic box spring and frame setups. The simplest idea takes three or four decorative chair cushions with ties and hangs them on a curtain rod above the bed. The cushion itself determines the style. For a no-fuss appearance, choose cushions in cotton or linen fabrics. Dressier fabrics, such as silk and velvet, will add elegance to the space.

How to Make a Basic Upholstered Headboard

Enhance the style and comfort of any bedroom with a new-sew upholstered headboard. Tools you’ll need:

Jigsaw • Mitre saw • Staple gun • 1/4 –inch staples • 1-inch wood screws • Cordless drill • Tape measure • Scissors • Pencil • 1/4-inch plywood • 2×4-inch lumber • 2-inch foam • Batting • Spray adhesive • Medium-grit sandpaper • Upholstery fabric • 2 standard lag bolts • Picture frame hangers

First, measure the width of your bed. The headboard should be slightly wider than the width of your mattress. Take note that foam and padding will add about an inch to the width, sometimes less.
Measure the desired height of your headboard. While standard upholstered headboards are 44 inches tall, you can add extra height for more drama. To determine how much fabric to purchase, take the headboard dimension and add 6 inches to all sides. Once you have dimensions, begin construction of the backing frame. Using the mitre saw, cut 2×4-inch stock lumber to the necessary length and angles. Build the frame by attaching the 2×4-inch lumber with wood screws. Using a jigsaw, cut 1/4-inch plywood to the dimension of the frame. Home centers will sometimes do this for you. Attach plywood to the top of the frame using wood screws. Lightly sand the edges of the plywood with medium-grit sandpaper. Cut 2-inch foam to fit the size of the headboard. Glue the foam to the front of the headboard using spray adhesive. Attach batting to foam using spray adhesive and also wrap batting around the wood frame to soften the edges. Cut fabric to size. Attach fabric by wrapping it around the front of the frame. Begin stapling it to the back of the frame at the top center. Pull the fabric taut as you staple but not so much that it puckers. Cut excess fabric from the back of the frame. Attach picture frame brackets to the back of the frame in two places. Install lag bolts to the wall where you want install the headboard. Place bed under headboard.

A craftier version of the upholstered headboard covers a large piece of plywood—cut to size—with 1- or 2-inch foam, batting and decorative fabric (see how-to in sidebar). You can also sew together three coordinating fabrics to create a striped panel. The upholstered headboard is then hung on the wall using durable picture hangers.

Make a bedroom appear larger by creating a mirrored headboard. Hang full-length mirrors in pretty frames vertically on the wall behind a traditional bed, or turn them horizontally for low-profile, contemporary beds. Mirrors will reflect whatever is across the room, so make sure it’s reflecting something attractive, such as a window with a view, a boldly painted wall, artwork or a dresser accessorized with glowing candles.

Fabric Fixes
If you need to pull a room together in a flash or need something for the short-term, Willson recommends hanging a large tapestry, swath of fabric or pretty carpet remnant on the wall above the bed. "A contemporary area rug that has one large blooming flower on it or a pattern will look like a piece of artwork," she says. To make it more permanent, you could frame the material and mount it on the wall.

More Ideas
Ideas for beautiful headboards can come from anywhere. A collection of photos can make a striking headboard. For this look, mat black and white photos in 18×24-inch frames and line them up on the wall behind the bed. A twin bed will take two frames. Create affordable mats for the frames by cutting poster board to size and spray-painting them in a color that coordinates with the bedding.

You can use wood, wicker or handpainted room screens as a headboard. Simply detach the hinges on a three-piece screen and mount each screen on the wall behind the bed. If your bedroom has a window that is proportional in width to the bed, you can use the window as a headboard. Frame pretty views with fabric by suspending a decorative rod from the ceiling using fishing line. Hang tab top sheer panels on the rod and drape the fabric in front of the window or at either side of the bed. The sheer fabric will filter light softly in the room. If you have a traditional wood headboard, Wardwell recommends sewing a slipcover for it in a decorative fabric.

No matter what style you choose for your headboard, make sure it’s safe. If your design calls for hanging items above the bed, ensure that the objects are fastened securely and won’t fall on your head.

Credit: Renovate with Tommy Mac