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Upholstered Headboard

Here's how to redo an existing padded headboard with upholstery fabric. This DIY home project is done by pulling off the old fabric and staples. 

padded headboard in a bedroom

Photography: Stephen Kent Johnson

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2020


Learn how to redo an existing padded headboard with upholstery fabric. We made this padded panel in under an hour. It's one of many home projects you can try after learning how to reupholster furniture. For more ideas, scroll through our entire collection of DIY headboard ideas.


Also pictured: Arteriors Kamile Side Table, $1,820, West Elm Arc Mid-Century Sconce, in Antique Bronze, $80, Garnet Hill Solid Relaxed-Linen Shams, in Agave Green and Light Grey, from $59 each, Garnet Hill Duvet Cover, in Agave Green, $229, Casper Mattress, in Full, $995,


  • 1/2-inch-thick plywood

  • Spray adhesive

  • 2-inch-thick foam

  • Batting

  • Staple gun (Arrow Fastener T50ACD Compact Electric, $29,

  • Fabric (Designers Guild Geo Moderne, in Pewter FDG2938-02, price upon request,

  • French cleat

  • Fabric scissors


  1. Have 1/2-inch-thick plywood cut two inches wider than your mattress and to the desired height. Coat one side of it with spray adhesive. Top it with two-inch-thick foam cut to the size of your plywood; press to adhere. Let dry.

  2. Spread batting on the floor. Lay the headboard on top, foam-side down. Trim the batting, leaving five inches of excess all around. Using a staple gun, fasten it to the plywood on one side, pulling it tight as you go. Repeat on the opposite side, then the remaining sides. Trim excess.

  3. Smooth your fabric with an iron, if needed, then repeat step two with it. When you reach the corners, fold and tuck it in neatly, as you would wrapping paper. Trim excess.

  4. Screw one bar of a French cleat into the center of the headboard. Screw the other into the wall at your desired height. Slip the headboard cleat into the wall cleat.

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