11 DIY Headboard Ideas Guaranteed to Give Your Bed a Boost
Sweet dreams start here. Headboards are often the center of attention in a bedroom and these haute projects will transform your sleeping space—no new furniture required.
Holding court at the center of the room, your bed has a presence that extends far beyond its four posts. When it comes to decorating, that's impressive—if not, at times, intimidating. So, it's not surprising that many people play it safe with bedclothes, smoothing down reliable white linens or buying patterned sets with matching designs on everything, from pillowcases to curtains. But behind every stylish sleeping spot is usually a bed maker willing to experiment. Tinkering with colors and textures, intermingling sheets from different collections, and even fashioning a few custom pieces can produce a bed that awakens a room—even as it lulls you to sleep.
That said, energizing a bed doesn't mean making it excessively showy. In fact, some of the best hues for bedding are those that soothe, such as pale blues and greens and sunset pinks. Use trusty whites as a base or to create crisp bands of contrast. And remember that no bed is an island. Nightstands, wall paint, rugs, and other elements offer subtle art direction. The lamp with the ivory shade and dusky blue trim? There's a two tone scheme for the linens.
Depending on your sewing skills, you can stitch these yourself or enlist a seamstress. Raw materials and a little creativity can help address a bed's flaws (a cotton cover-up to conceal a once-lovely headboard) or provide a break from mass-market styles (some shimmering flounces to take the place of a boxy bed skirt). A well-made bed, with all the details in place, is its own dream sequence.
We love a folding partition for the pretty way it breaks up a room. Here's another transformative use: Slip it behind a basic bed frame to create a plush and personalized headboard. Recast one you already own with a favorite print, or get a new one at Calico (choose from hundreds of fabrics) and let them handle the upholstery and delivery. All you have to do is put your custom piece in place and dream on.
Shop Now: Calico Standard Padded Folding Screen with Three Panels, $440, calicocorners.com; Calico Madcap Cottage Monsoon Palace Fabric, in Indigo, $99 per yd., calicocorners.com; Martha Stewart Collection 360-Thread Count Percale Sheet Set, in White, $135, macys.com; Hill House Home "Vale" Duvet, from $225, hillhousehome.com; Hill House Home "Savile" Euro Shams, $130, hillhousehome.com; Rejuvenation Cedar & Moss Table Lamp in Brushed Satin Brass, $249, rejuvenation.com; Made Goods Small "Claudette" Linen Side Table, in Pine, $2,400, mecox.com; Aviva Stanoff Gravity Pillow, in Jade, $245, abchome.com.
Take a guest room from generic to genteel with this easy but impactful headboard idea, which draws inspiration from medieval tapestries. Hang fabric drapes (ready-made or DIY in a print you love) behind the beds from basic eel curtain rods, which are adjustable and quick to in all with brackets. They'll jut out from the wall just so, giving any bed frame a four-star finishing touch—and your visitors a dreamy place to sleep. (Tip: If you have extra fabric, use it to upholster an accent chair or stitch up a few decorative pillows.)
For presidential‐suite proportions, hang your drapery panels so that they skim the floor and extend two inches wider than the bed on both sides. Ours are 66 inches long, but standard 63‐ or 84‐inch ones work, too—just mount the rods accordingly.
Shop Now: Schumacher Citrus Garden Indoor‐Outdoor Fabric, in Primary, fschumacher.com; Crate & Barrel Room Darkening Curtain Rods, from $50 each, crateandbarrel.com; World Market Honey Rattan Daybeds, $550 each, worldmarket.com; Serena & Lily Oxford Stripe Sheet Sets, in Midnight Twin, $198 each, serenaandlily.com; Crate & Barrel Fontaine Cotton Quilts in Mustard Yellow Full/Queen, $170 each, crateandbarrel.com; Jayson Home "Senofo" Carved Stool, $695, jaysonhome.com; Jayson Home Drum Carved Stool, $695,jaysonhome.com; Sargadelos Bird Bud Vase, $32, store.moma.org.
Give your bedroom a brand-new look with Spirograph-inspired accents that we designed. This fanciful "headboard" is actually a removable wall decal that you just smooth in place. In white, the swirly patterns look almost like embroidery or lace, making them particularly fitting for bedding; the pillows were sewn from printed fabric. (The peach pillow does in fact some have some embroidery—we traced a few of the bursts with embroidery thread.)
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Spiral Circles Headboard Decal, fathead.com; Spoonflower Linen-Cotton-Canvas Ultra Fabric, price upon request, spoonflower.com. Martha Stewart Collection 360-Thread Count Percale Sheet Set, in Gray, $135, macys.com; Hawkins New York Simple Linen Pillow in Blush, $85, hawkinsnewyork.com; Area Home "Sally" Blanket in Khaki, $180, areahome.com; Sonoma Baby-Alpaca Throw in Rose Quartz, price upon request, coyuchi.com; Nalata/Nalata "Magewa" Tray Table in Tall '450', $380, nalatanalata.com; Lostine Dot Pendant Light, in Tan, $625, lostine.com.
These tactile squares—available in smooth, suede, faux croc, and more—are surprisingly versatile. The rich, buttery one-eighth-inch-thick sealed cowhide tiles we mounted in this bedroom could also cover a tray, a desktop, or (now we're talking) a walk-in closet's floor. Apply them to a substrate (like plywood) first, then to the surface you want to cover. We adhered these tiles to a four-by-eight- foot birch plywood sheet using contact cement then hung the plywood with two French cleat brackets. Line it up 18 inches from the floor or with the bottom of your mattress, then frame it with whitewashed quarter-round molding.
Shop Now: Edelman Leather Floor and Wall Tile in Very Natural, price upon request, edelmanleather.com; Wilsonart H20 Contact Adhesive, $62.55 for 1 gallon, cabinetmakerwarehouse.com; Ook 200-Pound French Cleats, $19 each, homedepot.com; Blu Dot Clad Nightstand, in Hickory/White, $799, bludot.com; Urban Electric Co. "Audley" Sconce in Truck Black, $1,402, urbanelectricco.com; Eileen Fisher Farmhouse Bedskirt in Soft White, $138, garnethill.com; Eileen Fisher Washed Linen Collection Sheets in Pure White, from $78, garnethill.com; Serena & Lily Woven Stripe Quilt, from $228, serenaandlily.com.
If you have a slide projector in the basement, here's a use for it, or you can use a multimedia or art projector: Prop up your headboard against a wall, with the projector pointed directly at it. Set a container of botanical cuttings between the headboard and projector to create shadows. Experiment with the distance between the headboard, cuttings, and projector until you like the arrangement of shadows. Then, working in sections, trace outlines of shadows, and color them in with chalk pastel. Spray the work surface with 4 or 5 coats of clear acrylic sealant and let dry before displaying in your bedroom.
Shop Now: EX31 Multimedia Projector, $350, epson.com, or Artograph Tracer Projector, $36, dickblick.com. Koh-I-Noor Toison D'Or Extra Soft Pastels, $22.95 for set of 36,jacksonsart.com; Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating, in Satin Finish, $4; dickblick.com.
You can visually anchor your bed with a faux-headboard that's easy and inexpensive—to put together. The trick: window- or door-casing molding, available at any home center or hardware store. The length of each strip will depend on the width and size of the bed. Here, we created a 48-by-70-inch frame for a queen-size bed, using three 5-inch-wide strips (the vertical strips should reach the baseboards). Cut the strips to size with a miter box and saw. Tack them in place every six inches with a trim nail, then spackle the holes. Finally, paint the strips the same shade as the wall, but in a different finish for a subtle pop. Play with the height. Try a shorter version for a modern look, or go tall for a traditional feel.
Wallpaper may be flat, but it's far from one-dimensional—especially when you think outside the floor-to-ceiling box. So try this shortcut: Using the lines in a graphic wallpaper as your guide, cut out a silhouette that serves as a virtual headboard. Shoot for about 4 inches wider than your mattress, to accommodate the extra width the bedding will add.
Shop Now: Studio Printworks "Grille Modern Grande" Wallpaper by Hinson & Company, $170 per roll, Pacific Design Services, 310-360-6418.
Lay your head to rest beneath a headboard that you personalized yourself. The stencil's intricate design will have everyone thinking you custom-ordered this beautiful piece. When working on a large project, it is best to make paper copies of the stencil and lay them out in a pattern. Tape the copies to the surface until you have the desired layout. Paint headboard with two coats of Ink paint using the flat sash brush. Let dry completely between coats. Stencil the first section of Batik pattern with Wedding Cake paint; remove and replace the paper copies with the Batik pattern one at a time, stenciling as you go. Let dry.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Crafts Batik Laser-Cut Stencils, $7.99, amazon.com. Martha Stewart Crafts Home Décor Paint in Wedding Cake and Ink, $11.97, amazon.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Large Stencil Brush Set, $11.10, amazon.com.
Make a whimsical focal statement in your bedroom with this faux headboard. It's a great way to add a splash of color on the wall without the commitment of an actual headboard. After positioning your bed against a wall, find the center of your bed with the tape measure and lightly mark that spot on your wall with a pencil. Measure out 17 ½ inches from that point to the left and to the right, and make a small mark (as shown by the two large black dots in Figure 1). Those two marks are where the bases of the two outside bedposts will be. Follow the diagrams—Figures 1, 2, and 3—to mark and tape the remaining dimensions of your headboard. (Tip: To easily cut the washi tape, place a piece of tape on parchment paper, measure, and cut.) Feel free to get creative and add finials or stripes to make it your own style.
Shop Now: MT Washi Tape in Shocking Red, 0.6" x 33', $3.50, mt-tape.us.
Check yard sales and flea markets for a door, and modify the steps below if you find one with a different design. A strip of crown molding along the top edge offers a neat finish and a handy spot for a small alarm clock. To start, trim the bottom or top of the door so the rails (the ladderlike crosspieces that separate the door's panels) are equal in width; on most old doors, the bottom rail is thicker than the others. A standard-height door will be tall enough for any size bed; trim as needed. Sand, prime, and paint the door. To mount the headboard, cut a 1-by-4 to the headboard's width, and then cut it lengthwise on a 45-degree angle into two equal strips. Securely screw one strip to the back of the door and attach the second to the wall, so the angles interlock to hang the headboard. Keep the bottom of the headboard the same distance from the wall by screwing a 1-inch-thick strip to the back. Finish the top of the headboard by nailing on a mitered crown molding.
A makeshift curtain acts as a headboard in this cozy quilt situation. Some of the most distinctive and beautiful bedclothes can be found at tag sales and flea markets. Paint the drapery rod and brackets to match the bedroom walls, and let dry. Install the brackets above the bed, positioning them at the desired height, and put the rod in place. Drape the quilt over the rod, lining up the bottom edges so that it hangs evenly.