13 DIY Headboard Ideas Guaranteed to Give Your Bed a Boost

Photo: Lucas Allen

Holding court at the center of the room, your bed has a presence that extends far beyond its four posts. But behind every stylish sleeping spot is a headboard that elevates an already eye-catching display of sheets and pillows.

Although it's an often overlooked design element, a headboard is what ties your frame to the rest of your bedding. And you don't have to stray far to get one—the piece is simple enough to DIY. By tinkering with different colors and textures and even fashioning a custom piece or two, you can produce a headboard that awakens a room—even as it lulls you to sleep.

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Upholstered Headboard

DIY changing screen headboard

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—then all you have to do is put your custom piece in place and dream on.

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Fabric Drapes

fabric drapes as a headboard for the bedroom
Kirsten Francis

Take a guest room from generic to genteel with this easy but impactful headboard idea. To make the medieval-inspired tapestries, hang fabric drapes (ready-made or DIY) in a print you love behind your bed from basic eel curtain rods. 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.

For presidential suite proportions, hang your drapery panels so that they skim the floor and extend 2 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.

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Spirograph-Inspired Headboard

spirograph-decorated headboard and pillows
Lennart Weibull

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.

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Leather Headboard

leather headboard
Pernille Loof

These tactile squares—available in smooth, suede, faux croc, and more—are surprisingly versatile. The rich, buttery sealed cowhide tiles we mounted in this bedroom could also cover a tray, a desktop, or even 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 4 x 8 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.

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Silhouette Headboard

silhouette headboard
Roland Bello

If you have a slide projector in the basement, here's a use for it. 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 four or five coats of clear acrylic sealant and let dry before displaying in your bedroom.

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Moulding Headboard

moulding headboard
Aaron Dyer

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 x 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 6 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.

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Woven Headboard

woven headboard in a bedroom

This boho-inspired, woven headboard is the perfect addition to a room that makes use of earth-tone bedding and plant life. Simply use a plain wooden headboard frame and fill it in using sturdy cotton straps and a basic, yet unique tabby weave.

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Upholstered Headboard

padded headboard in a bedroom

Using an already padded headboard, you can easily re-create this modern design. To do so, start by pulling off the existing fabric, then attach the newly purchased pewter fabric to the headboard with a staple gun. Smooth the fabric with an iron if needed before placing it behind your bed.

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Wallpaper Headboard

William Abranowicz

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.

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Batik Headboard

John Armitage

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 of your chosen stencil design to the surface until you have the desired layout.

Paint the 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 paint; remove and replace the paper copies with the Batik pattern one at a time, stenciling as you go. Let dry.

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Washi-Tape Headboard

washi-tape headboard
Angie Cao

Make a whimsical focal statement in a children's bedroom or teenager's dorm room with this faux headboard made of washi tape. 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 1/2 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 template). 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.

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Door Headboard

Wendell T. Webber

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 ladder-like 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 x 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.

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Quilt Headboard


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.

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