The Ultimate DIY headboard guide

I've shared a few different posts over the years on DIY headboard ideas from around the internet, and also DIY tutorials on headboards I've done myself or for clients. I thought it would be helpful to pull them all into the ultimate guide to DIY'ing a headboard for those that need inspiration and/or instructions. Here we go.

the ultimate DIY headboard guide

First up, headboards I've done myself for my own home and clients'.

The easiest way to change up an existing headboard (and thereby leave a smaller footprint on the planet and your wallet vs. buying new) is to reupholster it. Because I always try to choose the simplest (yet quality) version possible in anything I do I did mine without any sewing. I love me a staple gun project! I've recovered my master bed headboard  and sideboards a couple of times now with different fabric. The fabric doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, the striped one below is a duvet cover from IKEA. 

no-sew simple headboard reupholstery

Simple no-sew reupholstered headboard instructions:

Cut out the size needed to cover the front of the headboard and wrap the sides like a present. Pull tight, and staple onto the back, beginning in the middle and working out to the sides. Repeat for sideboards if needed. This obviously only works if your headboard is up against a wall where you won't see the back side. 

A client and I DIY'd this upholstered panel headboard since she didn't already have one for her guest room. 

Queen panel headboard instructions: 

  • Get the hardware store to cut six 21" squares of plywood - the lightest/thinnest you can get without them bowing. 
  • Cover them with foam or batting or any kind of repurposed stuffing you can find and spray glue. 
  • Wrap each square with the foam on top with fabric of your choosing. Pull tight and put a staple in the centre of each side, then work around each of the four sides from middle to corners. 
  • If you'd like tufting, buy a button kit at the sewing store and follow directions to cover 6 buttons with scrap fabric from your panels. 
  • Drill a hole through the centre of the back of each panel board. 
  • Using a special bent tufting needle,thread it through the hole int the back of the board and through the button hole, then back through the board again. Tie off nice and tight, and repeat with the other five boards. 
  • Secure each board to the wall either with picture hooks or by making a french cleat for each (take a look here for those instructions). 

I also created corner headboard from scratch for my guest room daybed. 

Corner headboard instructions:

  • Have the hardware store cut two sheets of plywood to the width of the top of your bed. Length can measured from floor to approx 2 feet above the mattress if you choose for the boards to sit right on the floor like I did. Another option is have them sit just below the mattress if you opt to hang the boards on the walls with french cleats. Your plywood should be medium thickness for stability. 
  • Wrap the boards with batting or foam or repurposed material, and opt for natural cotton if possible. Staple around the edges of the board to hold tight. staples held it tight.
  • Lay the board on your fabric on the floor, foam side down. Cut around the board large enough to pull the fabric tight. 
  • Staple in the middle on each side and then work toward the corners. 
  • Add any detailing you'd like to the edges, such as upholstery tacks like I did, or just keep it plain.
  • Repeat with second board. 
  • Secure to the wall with screws near the bottom (hidden by bed) or with french cleats. 

Next, here are some fantastic examples of creative and budget DIY headboards out there in the universe. I hope this inspires you to try one yourself instead of buying a whole new bed frame!  (Click on photo for source)

Kelly Anderson

Refreshed Designs

A re-designer focused on natural, sustainable and holistic design.