Ideas for Alternative Headboards

A beautiful, standard headboard can get expensive. If you want to fill in that awkward space above the bed that makes your room incomplete, there are a lot of alternative ideas that will cost less and make your bedroom extra pretty. Make a stylish sanctuary with these headboard alternatives:

1. Artwork

Placing a large scale art above your bed is an easy way to draw attention to your bed and make up for the absence of a headboard. Hang it high enough so your head won’t hit the frame or canvas while sitting up. If you’re an artist, get a large canvas and paint an art yourself. But if you’re not, then have a pair of your favorite photos and have it printed in a size large enough that when it is hanged together, it would be as wide as your bed. Make sure to properly secure the pieces as you hang them so you can ensure a good night’s sleep.

2. Fabric

A fabric with an interesting pattern, print or texture can easily liven up your bedroom. Incorporate it into your bed – not by transforming it into a bedsheet – but by using it to your DIY headboard. Get a plywood board that is wide enough to rest on the frames of your bed and high enough to support your back when sitting. Wrap one side of the board up to the edges with quilt batting and staple it to keep it in place. Then, using your fabric, cover the side with the batting and staple it to the back as well. Slip it on the wall on top of your bed, or attach it to the wall for a stronger bond. You may also sew a pillowcase using the same fabric as an accent pillow to tie the whole look of the bed together.

3. Carpet

Carpets are not just for flooring – they’re perfect for the headboard, too. Cut the desired headboard pattern from kraft paper, then trace it onto plywood. Cut the wood using a jigsaw, then sand, prime and paint the edges. Stick carpet tiles on the plywood using adhesive caulk to secure it, then let dry. Use a utility knife to cut carpet tiles to the shape of the plywood board. Then, nail the carpet 1 inch from the edge and around the sides in a way that the nails would serve as a decorative border. Finally, hang it on the wall as you would hang a painting. Make sure it reaches the mattress of the bed so it would look like a real headboard.

4. Shutters

Turn your old shutters into a stunning headboard. For a home decorated with vintage or repurposed finds, this idea is a perfect addition. Shutters add texture and pattern to a plain and seemingly incomplete bed wall. You may paint it to match your room’s color scheme, but it can also be distressed or worn out for a shabby chic effect. Position them vertically to add a dimension of height, but you may also place it horizontally if your bed is wide. Either way, you must install them securely to your walls since they can be heavy.

5. Large mirrors

Large framed mirrors make a great headboard. It can instantly double your space visually, plus it can give an instant answer to the question “How do I look?” after getting up in the morning. For a classic and antique look, go for a gilded frame on gold or brass. If you want a coastal or shabby chic look, go for a distressed wooden frame. If you want a different take, hang a collection of small mirrors that are tightly arranged together. Choosing mirrors also reflect more light into your bedroom. Just be sure to secure them properly to your walls to avoid accidents.

6. Textiles

For a cheap and easy way to draw attention to your bed is to hang textiles from a rod attached above the bed. Place the rod close to the ceiling to create an illusion of height. It’s a good way to introduce colors and patterns to complete the look of the bedroom, plus it’s a decoration that will surely make you forget that you don’t have a headboard.

7. Wood slab

If you like to add a wooden element in your bedroom, you may attach a piece of live-edge wood slab to the wall. The contrast between hard and soft makes a balanced effect. Also, it adds a part of the outdoors to your space. Make sure the wood slab is treated or fully varnished to prevent infestations. To create more impact, pick a piece of wood that is long enough to extend beyond the bed frame so it can serve as a backdrop for your nightstands too.

8. Vinyl flashing

Being headboard-less truly creates an opportunity to be more creative with your items at home. Vinyl flashings are typically seen in exteriors of the home, but it is rarely used inside. But because you have no headboard, you can find a way to use it on your interior! Get an MDF cut to the desired size of the headboard. Lay out vinyl flashing strips horizontally on the board, bend the loose edges on the back side and staple it there. Make sure the strips are laid flat. Then, start weaving strips vertically through the horizontal strips, covering the staples. Continue weaving and stapling until you have covered the whole MDF. After you’re done, hang it on the wall with a cleat.

9. Corrugated metal

Speaking of items rarely used in the interior, here’s another idea. Why not use corrugated metal usually used for roofing as a headboard? Unlikely materials make the most eye-catching headboards. Get a shiny, corrugated metal and have it cut to your desired shape. Smoothen out the edges with a grinder to prevent injuries. Then, let it stand between the wall and your bed to keep it in place. It looks best against a wood plank accent wall paired with pallet furniture, blending in farmhouse style and industrial style décor. It’s also a cheap but surefire way to add sparkle and texture to your space.

10. Framed fabric

There’s a lot to do with picture frames besides putting in pictures on them. This time, you will be framing fabric with a bit of stuffing. Get a couple of large picture frames from thrift shops or garage sales. You may find a good-looking antique at flea shops. Remove the glass from the frames, then prepare quilt batting with the same size as the back of the frame. Cut your chosen fabric to the size of the frame back, adding two inches for each side. Lay the fabric with the right side down, place the batting on the center of the fabric, then attach the frame back. Wrap the fabric and stick it to the frame back using duct tape. Then, insert it into the frame. Repeat for the other frame. Hang them side by side on top of your bed.

11. Doors

Yes, your old wooden doors can be put into use as headboards. Since they can be available in many different sizes and styles, you can always find something that would suit your bed, if in case your old doors do not suit your room’s style. Strip them of unnecessary parts like the doorknob, and fill the hole with wood filler. Cut around 12 to 15 inches off the bottom of the door so it won’t be too long. Sand and paint the door according to your preferred color. Using two brackets, mount the door to the wall 4 inches above the floor. Strengthen the hanging by using one more bracket on top.

12. Raw plywood

Be simple yet original with classic raw plywood. If you’re a minimalist or a fan of the Scandinavian or industrial interior style, this simple headboard is for you. Get a 4’x8’ plywood board for your actual headboard – yes, it is wider than your bed – and some ¾” thick plywood boards in smaller pieces for the floating shelves. The floating shelves would serve as your nightstand beside the bed and extra shelving for storage and decoration. Using a power drill, drill 3 holes that are equally spaced on each of the smaller shelves, and 5 holes on the larger shelves. On the plywood board, mark where you will place the shelves considering the bed position, height and the distance of the holes you drilled on the shelves, and start drilling. Then, on the back of the plywood board, screw structural wood screws through the holes in the board and into the length of the shelves. Tighten the screws and let your new headboard stand against the wall.

13. Cork wall

For a more functional headboard, try putting up a cork wall behind your bed. This idea is great for a children’s bedroom, where the kid can display their own drawings and doodles, or perhaps some calendars and notes for the older child. Cork is a very versatile material and it can come in different shapes and sizes. One tip: Use cork flooring material rather than cork tiles because it is cheaper. Simply attach it to the wall against the board to make up for the lack of headboard, and make the wall serve as a focal point. The bonus is that your child can have his personal bulletin board at home.