A headboard finishes a bed and frames it, so that it’s more than just a mattress and box springs on the floor. A headboard can tie in other elements of the room’s decor, or just provide a prop for pillows for watching TV and reading in bed. You don’t need to shell out the big bucks for a bed to have a great headboard. Creativity and basic carpentry skills can give you a one-of-a-kind headboard that is both beautiful and practical for very little money. You may already have all the materials you need in your home.
Plywood and Fabric
If you can wield scissors and a staple gun, you can cover a piece of plywood with fabric for a plush and comfortable headboard. For a king-size bed, you’ll need a piece of plywood at least 76 inches wide. You can join two narrower pieces if you need to, since the fabric will cover the seam. Cut the plywood into any shape you desire, layer on quilt batting, then stretch fabric over the batting and staple on the back. Two people – one to stretch and one to staple, make this job easier. Almost any fabric from silk to velvet will work for this – even old sheets. Add buttons for a tufted look, or layer on lace or netting for extra interest. When you’re tired of one color or texture, simply layer on more fabric.
Repurpose Other Furniture
Bookcases, doors and wooden table tops can all do double-duty as headboards. Since a regular kind bed is 76 inches wide, you may need a couple of doors or bookcases. Bookcase headboards double as storage. Distress or paint the furniture to match your decor. You could decoupage old calendar pages, paste on favorite photos, or finish the wood with paint or stain. Attach the doors, table top or bookcases to the bed frame with metal L-brackets, or simply position the bed in front of the item. This allows you to easily return the item to its original purpose later.
Check the backyard, garage or garden for old gates, fencing or barn wood that you can transform into your king bed headboard. As long as you have something that will span the width of your bed, you can use it as a headboard. Instead of one wide gate or trellis, combine two smaller ones. Weave ribbon or silk flowers through a wooden or metal trellis, or paint barn wood or an old gate in a bright color. Or mount a wooden ladder horizontally on the wall for a rustic headboard.
If you merely want the look of a headboard, without the weight or expense, consider painting a headboard on the wall. Using a technique known as tromp l’oeil, or “fool the eye” you can paint an illustration of a headboard that, from a distance, looks like the real thing. When you’re ready to move the bed, or change your décor, simply paint over the illustration.
- McCall’s Sewing For Your Home: Editors of McCall’s Magazine
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Decorating Basics: Mary Ann Young
- Libby Langdon’s Small Space Solutions: Libby Langdon
- CSG Network: Standard Bed Sizes Chart
Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.