Headboards Galore: Easy Room Upgrades

Sleep in style with a headboard that stands out.
Sleep in style with a headboard that stands out.

The right headboard can set the tone for your entire bedroom: Are you using rich, dark wood to create a romantic retreat? Painted wrought-iron in a casual and comfy room? A rich, patterned fabric that’s all about luxury? If you answered, “None of these,” and are still sleeping with the secondhand headboard your parents gave you when you got your first apartment, then it’s time to give that master suite a makeover. Read on to find out how to use wood stain, paint, fabric, and stencils to put your own style on your room’s most defining piece of furniture.

Sand and Paint

The easiest update is a simple coat of paint. Pick a color that will really pop in your room – if your colors are primarily neutral, try turquoise, burgundy or a matte grey. If your bedroom set isn’t an antique or family heirloom, then don’t be shy about trying something out of your comfort zone – whether it’s a jewel-tone color, a fun neon accent stripe, or a two-tone look -- to make a huge design impact and set the tone for your whole room.

DIY Upholstery

Covering your existing headboard with fabric can give your bedroom a whole new look, and doing it yourself is much more budget-friendly than buying an upholstered headboard. Measure the headboard, then pick your perfect fabric (we suggest sturdy and stain resistant) and iron it flat. Spread the fabric out and cut it to size, leaving 5 to 7 inches around all of the edges (depending on depth of the headboard). Make sure the back of the fabric is facing up, and then lay down a piece of cotton batting on top of it and your headboard on top of the batting (front side down). Pull the fabric tightly across the back of the headboard and staple, alternating sides to keep the fabric even. Be sure to pick up the headboard and check on your progress as you go, so you can fix any mistakes.

Try a New Stain

Depending on the grain of your existing headboard -- this won’t work on pressed wood -- you might want to try sanding down the wood and staining it a new color. You can take an antique-looking headboard in a more modern direction by staining it a lighter shade, and give a sleek modern headboard old world charm with a rich, red-toned stain. To completely update the look of your room, stain all of your bedroom furniture to match the headboard and update the hardware, too.

Stencil Accent

It’s simple to dress up a plain headboard with stencils. Search for stencil patterns online (Pinterest is a great place to start) and print out the ones you love. You can tape them to the headboard to get an idea of the look. Use fabric paint – it sits on top of the wood and won’t bleed – to create your design. Start with a very light technique, and brush on thin coats of paint; you may need to apply several times to get your final look. Try metallic paint for a glam makeover, or softer neutrals to create a cozy space.

More Great Links