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DIY Headboard Ideas

Updated on April 1, 2012

There are lots of beautiful ways to make a DIY headboard and below I've detailed several ideas so roll up your sleeves and get ready to make your bedroom gorgeous. Now personally, I prefer an upholstered headboard that I can lean against comfortably but everybody's different and you may prefer something a little more artsy. If so, a painted headboard might be just the accessory your room needs.

  • You don't have to be Picasso to have a beautifully painted headboard. You can use stencils or decals to achieve amazing results.
  • You might also want to try using an art projector to project your desired image onto the medium you plan on painting. This is an easy way to get really tight results. If you don't want to buy one, your local library or school might let you borrow one for a day or two.

Get great results using an art projectorevery time by following these tips.

Hang a Canvas

This is super easy and relatively inexpensive - your major expenses are going to be the pre-made canvas itself and fabric. You can find large canvases at your local craft store, artist supply or ebay. You could follow the advice in the above video and attach foam, batting and fabric or just go the easy route with fabric alone. Either way, it will be light weight and easy to hang.

Of course, you could also go the route of some of the above suggestions and paint it with your favorite colors, stencils or geometric designs.

Wooden Headboards

Wood is an extremely versatile material that is equally beautiful when left natural or painted and makes a great headboard.  Architectural elements also make excellent headboards. They can be as intricate or as simple as you like and range from beautiful fretwork gates to simple paneled doors. Here are some items that can easily be turned into a headboard:

  • Wooden Shutters: shop architectural salvage stores or buy them new then paint them to match the color scheme in your bedroom
  • Frame a one large picture and hang it behind your bed.  If you opt for this decorating idea then make sure that the width of the frame is at least 2/3 as wide as the best otherwise it will just look skimpy.
  • Frame a series of prints.  Think more is more for maximum impact.  For example you could hang a large triptych, or 6 black and white photos, or 12 pages from a beautiful vintage calendar.
  • Pre-made fences and garden gates, whether picket or otherwise make great headboards.   
  • Sticks & Twigs: If you've recently pruned your trees and have a lot of leftover twigs and sticks then consider using them as a headboard for a beautifully rustic look.  Cut them into short segments that are all the same size, say 4 inches, and arrange them on another board so that you create a pattern of circles.  In my opinion this looks best when the diameters of the branches are all different.  You'll end up with a fascinating, one of a kind sculptural headboard that could easily work just as well as a piece of art on its own.  For a less time intensive version of this idea, select long straight branches and arrange them vertically behind the bed.  Or have the trunk of the tree cut lengthwise into long boards.

Think how dramatic and sumptuous any one of these would look behind your bed.  Extra Tip: pick up the colors in the wallpaper and use as accents in your bedroom.
Think how dramatic and sumptuous any one of these would look behind your bed. Extra Tip: pick up the colors in the wallpaper and use as accents in your bedroom.

Use Wallpaper to for a Quick and Easy Headboard

Wallpaper is so versatile and relatively cheap.  If you choose to use wallpaper for your headboard you'll also need to buy a decent sized piece of MDF board.  Cover this with the wall paper following the directions that came with your roll.  Add flush mounts to the back of the board and attach it to the wall.  If you get tired of it you can just recover it.

On the other hand, for a more eclectic look, you could use wallpaper samples to create a patchwork effect behind your bed.  Most wallpaper manufacturers will send you free samples and these are usually about the size of a normal sheet of paper.  You can also find decent sized samples in sample books.  Google "discontinued wallpaper books" for sources or check with your local DIY store or designer showroom.

Blow Up a Photo

Do you have a favorite picture?  How about blowing it up to huge dimensions and hanging it behind your bed.  You could go all Andy Warhol and have it turned into pop art or you could just hang it as is in a huge frame or plaster it to a piece of MDF.

Upholstered Headboard Ideas & Inspiration

If you're looking for something a little more cozy consider an upholstered headboard. I've got lots of ideas, inspirations and how to's in my article>

Beautiful Headboard Inspirations

Have Fun!

When designing your headboard remember that you can't make a mistake - or a least not one that can't be painted over! So have fun, get creative and be bold. Make sure that what every you choose to put behind your bed is strong enough to shine as your bedroom's focal point.

If you're designing a headboard for your child, let them get involved in the creative process as well. You'll both have fun and have something to be proud of.

If this article has inspired you to design your own DIY headboard, I would love to see the results. Send 'em in.

Article by Anne Alexander Sieder all rights reserved. For hardcore interior design fans, check out my blog


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    • CozyPozy profile image

      CozyPozy 4 years ago from USA

      My husband and I upholstered our headboard together. It wasn't that hard, it was inexpensive, and it looks really good. Would love to try stenciling a wooden headboard. Thanks for the cool ideas. Great hub!

    • edelhaus profile image

      edelhaus 5 years ago from Munich, Germany

      I'd love to see it when its finished!

    • poowool5 profile image

      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Great ideas, edelhaus, and the best thing I got from your hub is just your attitude of "try anything, be bold" as you say, you can always change it again. And none of these ideas are expensive. As is so often the case, you don't need lots of money, just a dose of creativity!

      This is my philosophy too, but I hadn't thought of headboards, and I need two for a dreary bedroom at our rental cottage. Think I'll try the picket fence idea, painted, as this will have a "country" look. Thanks for the inspiration, voted up and useful!

    • edelhaus profile image

      edelhaus 6 years ago from Munich, Germany

      You're right, myawn, i think a huge photo or photo wallpaper could also work great on the headboard.

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 6 years ago from Florida

      I like the wallpaper idea sounds so nice Great hub!Or a large photo sounds great!

    • Laura Schneider profile image

      Laura Schneider 6 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      Wow, I'm totally inspired to think outside the box now. I have a red wall that's behind my bed (that came with the house) that I'm looking to jazz up even more. You've given me TONS of ideas that are all zipping around my head now. And, cat on a soapbox, I love your idea, too. Cheers! (voted up, useful, interesting)

    • edelhaus profile image

      edelhaus 6 years ago from Munich, Germany

      You're right Cat, hanging curtains also make great headboards.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      You've given a lot of great ideas! I have a beautiful chinoiserie print curtain panel on a scrolled wrought iron rod. I can easily change it out when I feel the need for a change. I like the padded loo and may try it in a different room. Thanks!

    • edelhaus profile image

      edelhaus 7 years ago from Munich, Germany

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment lindacee!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 7 years ago from Arizona

      These are great inexpensive headboard ideas! Going to check out your Beautiful Headboard Inspirations hub! Thanks!