How to Make a Headboard

Buying a bed can be an expensive undertaking and sometimes if there isn’t a headboard with the bed, it is just one expense too many.  Or it may be you don’t like the supplied headboard and want something unique and different.  Either way, here are a few ideas about how to make a headboard.

Cloth options

Perhaps the simplest option if you have an old headboard or one you don’t like is to cover it with some material and completely change its look.  A slipcover can be made from inexpensive canvas cloth and kept in place by ribbons then accented as you wish.

If you like to sit and read in bed with your back to the headboard, then an upholstered option may be the better choice.  This can be made with ½-inch plywood, 1-inch foam and some fabric.  Cut the plywood to size then do the same with the foam.  Spray and adhesive to the plywood and add the foam, then leave to dry.  Take the covering material, cut bigger than the headboard to allow room to stretch over to the back and then staple it into place there, out of sight.  You can add finishing touches such as nailhead trims or other decorative ideas to personalise it.

Another simple cloth option is to hang lengths of material behind your bed, perhaps attaching a few different colours or patterns together to match the room’s décor.  This is simple to do and easy to change if you decide it need a wash or a freshen up.

Unusual ideas

Nor does a headboard need to be a basic rectangular shape.  Consider different shapes and materials for a completely unique look.

You can take an old headboard or even a piece of wood the right size and alter it to give a vintage look or paint it to match the colour theme of the room.

For the modern, industrial look, consider shining up corrugated tin then cut the top into an ornate shape.  Similarly, metal pipes can be used for a stand out feature and can even be painted if you don’t want too much bare metal around.

Go to local thrift stores or other sources of second hand treasures and see what catches your eye.  An old convenience store sign was one idea, scrubbed up and with the paint touched up to bring it back to new condition.  With the lettering matching the colour theme of the room, it was a real eye-catcher.

Full length

A new design idea is the concept of having the headboard stretch from floor to ceiling.  One such idea for doing this is to take lengths of 1½-inch length of MDF and secure them to the wall then add strips of iron lengthwise to give the impression of a giant blind behind the bed.  Paint the MDF the colour of the wood in the room or other accent colour to stand out.

Similarly, old reclaimed doors and shutters can be used in a similar way to make a full-length headboard.  These can either be painted up new or worked into the weathered look depending on your theme.

While you can buy round the bed shelving which creates a headboard in the gap, you can also assemble these yourself if you are looking to save a little money.  Find tall thin shelves for either side and cubes that can be attached together to go across the top then secure everything to the wall to make sure it says put.


There are a multitude of ideas for what to use as a headboard or how to make a headboard that means you should never be stuck with something you don’t like at the top of your bed.  The only real limit is your room and size and your imagination!

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