The bed is the most important feature in any bedroom and designers often choose an upholstered headboard as an attractive alternative to wood or metal versions. Upholstered headboards add softness to a bedroom and are an opportunity to add a beautiful fabric to the room. Upholstered headboards are available in many different designs, and one of the most popular styles is the upholstered headboard with nailhead trim. The nailhead adds a lustrous texture and an air of sophistication to a simple fabric headboard.
Upholstered headboards with nailhead trim are available at all price points, from several hundred to over a thousand dollars. However, there is a way to achieve the same look with a do-it-yourself version that will cost far less.
To make your own nailhead trim headboard, you’ll need a nailhead trim kit, a mallet, needle nose pliers, fabric of choice*, three layers of batting, ¾” plywood cut to size, jigsaw for curved designs, ‘D’ rings or interlocking brackets, and a staple gun.
*A note regarding fabric: most are 54” in width, so with any headboard larger than a twin, choose any fabric with a pattern repeat that will work when you lay it horizontally on your plywood instead of vertically.
For the width of your headboard, measure the width of your bed mattress and add an inch to both sides. For a simple rectangle shape, have the plywood cut to the width and height you specify at your local home improvement store.
If you want to add a curve or notch out the sides, that can be done with a jigsaw. The height of your plywood for a rectangular headboard should be at least 36” inches above the mattress so you allow for room to lay your pillow shams up against your frame, but also have it attached to your wall below the top of your mattress. For curved or detailed headboards, allow for 40 to 48” in height depending on your design. Sketch your design by hand, or create a template with paper to use as your guide.
Once your plywood is cut to form the design, add three layers of quilt batting on top, and then your fabric of choice. Attach the layers of batting and fabric to the headboard with a stapler. Start at the top in the middle, and work your way around to the sides, smoothing the fabric as you go.
With nailhead trim kits you secure the trim with every fifth nail with the help of pliers and a mallet. Use the needle nose pliers to stabilize the nail and the mallet to pound it into the wood. Use a mallet not a regular hammer to avoid damaging the nailhead.
To make turns around the edges, clip the trim and restart, using the same method securing every fifth nail.
Once you’re done, secure your new headboard to the wall studs using ‘D’ ring hooks or interlocking brackets as shown below.
In an afternoon you can have an upholstered headboard with nailhead trim in your own custom design. Plywood will run you between $15 to $25 depending on your region, and the trim kits retail for $20. If you find quality fabric that you love for a reasonable price, a nailhead trim headboard can be yours for between $50 to $100.