Cheap and Chic DIY Headboard Ideas

Make a personal statement in your bedroom retreat with a pretty headboard for the bed. These DIY headboard ideas will show you how to make a headboard from genius items such as wood shims, old shutters, and upholstered panels.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • Ruffled Fabric Headboard

    Take a fabric-covered headboard to the next level with a pleated ruffle technique. Whip up a matching bed skirt to complete the look.

  • Easy Headboard for Less

    You'll be surprised by what home store staple serves as the foundation for this stylish headboard. Watch and find out, plus see how easy it is to make one for your bedroom.

  • Wood Headboard

    Wood shims aren't just for builders. This inexpensive material is prime for creating a one-of-a-kind, completely on-trend headboard. The gridded design here is unique, but simple to create.

  • Learn the Ropes

    Embrace two trends -- rope decor and industrial accents -- with this DIY headboard. 

  • Upholstered Headboard

    Watch and learn how to upholster a headboard. Our step-by-step how-to makes it easy. You can do this headboard in about a weekend, but grab a partner -- it's helpful to have an extra set of hands for some steps of this project.

  • Salvage Made Modern

    Repurpose barn boards into a new headboard with a modern twist. Cut a piece of plywood to desired size (ours fits a queen bed). Gently clean the boards with a damp cloth, but don’t scrub or sand away the weathered character. Cut boards as needed, and nail them to cover the plywood. For the whitewashed finish, we diluted 1/3 cup white paint with 1/2 cup water and brushed on the mixture. When dry, we taped off boards and created color blocks using a blue spruce hue. The soothing shade works perfectly in a bedroom, and the color blocks add a modern touch to the piece. Screw the headboard into studs in your wall, or hang with wood cleats.

  • Carpeted Headboard

    Look to carpet for more than just flooring purposes -- use it to fabricate a headboard. Cut a pattern from kraft paper in your desired size and shape. Trace the pattern onto plywood, and cut using a jigsaw. Sand, prime, and paint the edges of the plywood using semigloss latex paint, and let dry. Place carpet tiles on the plywood, allowing them to overhang all sides of the plywood. Use adhesive caulk to secure the carpet tiles one at a time to the plywood, and let dry. Use a sharp utility knife to cut the carpet tiles to the shape of the plywood. Use a rubber mallet to nail in large nailheads 1 inch from the edge and around the sides and top. Hang the headboard at the desired height using a cleat.

    Tip: Place a second piece of clean, dry plywood or another heavy object on top of the carpet tiles to weigh them down as the adhesive dries. To care for the headboard, clean with a vacuum attachment to remove dust.

  • Headboard Makeover

    Update an old wood headboard with a fabric slipcover and a tension shower rod. It's a super-simple way to refresh a piece you may already have. 

  • Clever Solutions

    Paneled doors rescued from a salvage shop were repurposed into a handsome headboard. Another vintage find -- a plastic place mat -- created the stenciled design. 

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    Draw It On

    With crafts store supplies, you can make a DIY headboard that nods to a classic wrought-iron bed frame silhouette. Assemble two 36x48-inch frames from canvas stretchers. Positioned side by side, the frames will fit nicely behind a full-size bed. Paint frames and let dry. Cut two pieces of off-white linen, leaving enough material on all sides so it can be pulled tautly across the backs of the frames and stapled. Sketch half of the headboard design on each piece of linen with a pencil, and draw over the outline with a black king-size permanent marker. Lay the linen facedown on the backs of the corresponding frames. Use a staple gun to secure linen to frames. Staple the center top first; stretch the linen and staple at the bottom. Repeat for the sides. Continue stretching and stapling until linen is secure. Mount the framed canvas headboard on the wall with sawtooth hangers -- two per frame -- and secure with removable adhesive strips.

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    Architectural Salvage

    Turn old architectural elements into a stunning headboard. In this cottage bedroom, pairs of shutters topped with decorative moldings do the trick. Shutters, paneling, and other elements can be quite heavy -- be sure to install your finds securely to the wall.

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    Wallpaper Statement

    Create the look of a headboard with wallpaper. Install wallpaper just behind your bed to give the illusion of a grander headboard.

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    Tapestry Headboard

    Hang fabric behind your bed for a simple DIY headboard that packs a patterned punch. Almost any fabric will do -- think vintage quilts or tapestries, drapes, or even a pretty flat sheet. Cut and hem your chosen fabric to be the same width as your bed. Hang the fabric from hooks or a curtain rod.

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    Why Your Bedroom Needs a Headboard

    Thinking of skipping the headboard? You won't want to after watching this video. See all the things a headboard can do to enhance your bedroom.

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    Quilt Headboard

    With a little basic carpentry and a beautiful old quilt, you can create this charming headboard.

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    Fabric-Covered Headboard

    A few tricks make this stunning DIY headboard. The simple square shape makes the upholstery job easy. Plus, the backing is formed by two hollow-core doors.

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    Tin Tile Headboard

    Look up for headboard materials: Use tin ceiling tiles. Cut a pattern from kraft paper in your desired size and shape. Trace the pattern onto plywood, and cut using a jigsaw. Place tin tiles on the plywood, allowing tiles to overhang. Use adhesive caulk to secure tiles one at a time to the plywood. Use tin snips to cut the tiles to the shape of the plywood. Grind down any rough edges. Paint the tin and sides, and let dry. Hang at desired height using a cleat.

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    Industrious Headboard

    Unlikely materials are often the ticket to eye-catching headboards. Here, corrugated metal roofing was fabricated into a headboard by cutting out the shape with a jigsaw. The edges were smoothed with a grinder before the piece was screwed to the wall. Plus, the headboard falls right in line with on-trend industrial decor.

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    Take a Hint

    Emblazoned with the mantra "relax," this headboard gives the invitation to do just that. To build this headboard, scout out old floorboards, barnwood, or other cast-off wood from architectural salvage shops or Craigslist. Check any paint on the wood for lead (testing kits are available at home centers). Remove nails and other sharp objects, and sand well.
    Cut boards to desired size with a table saw. (Our boards are 60 inches long to fit a queen-size bed.) Sand the boards. Cut three 1x2s to 2 inches shorter than the height of your headboard (our headboard's total height is 40 inches, so our 1x2s are 38 inches); these are the headboard's back supports. Position salvaged boards with front sides down; place supports perpendicular to the boards. (Ideally, these supports will line up with the studs in your wall.) Screw the supports into the boards. To add the stenciled embellishment, arrange your letters on the headboard and trace around them with a marker. Use crafts paint (interior latex paint also works well) to fill in the letters, covering the lines. Screw the headboard into the studs in your wall, or screw heavy-duty hangers into the 1x2s to hang the headboard.

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    Squared Off

    Break an oversize headboard into small squares for an easy upholstered headboard project. To make this headboard, cut plywood into enough squares to fit your space. Ours are 18-inch squares. Wrap the front of each square in quilt batting, stapling it to the back. Cut a square of fabric at least 2 inches wider on each side than the plywood square. Stretch the fabric over the batting, and staple it to the back of the plywood. Trim away excess fabric (especially at the corners) to make hanging easier. To hang, place a sawtooth picture hanger on the back of each panel, and arrange them on the wall above your bed.

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    Home Center Headboard

    For less than $100, you can make a headboard out of basics from your local home center. On a piece of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), draw a design that's as wide as the mattress and about 40 inches tall; cut it out. Use wood glue to cover the MDF with a piece of beaded board cut into the same shape. Glue strips of veneer over the rough edges. Glue or screw trim to the top edge and a finial in the cutout. Paint the entire piece. When dry, mount the headboard to the wall with 1-1/2-inch spacers.

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    Plank Headboard

    Go beyond the basic headboard and make the entire wall behind your bed a headboard. Distressed barnwood planks run the length of the wall behind this bed. To create the look, measure your wall to determine what length of planks you'll need and how many it will take to cover the wall from top to bottom. Starting at the ceiling, secure the planks using nails at several points along the board, ensuring some of the nails are driven into studs. Continue down the wall, butting the top of the next board against the bottom of the previous board. You might need to cut a board horizontally when you get to the bottom. Including a regular upholstered headboard with the bed will add comfort to the wall.

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    Easy Headboard

    This no-sew, no-tools-required update is an easy and affordable way to revive a metal headboard. Simply drape a length of fabric -- whether it's yardage, a woven floorcloth, or a blanket -- over an existing headboard. Clip both sides of the fabric together with curtain rings, and loop ribbon through the rings and around the bed frame, securing with a bow. Use several curtain rings on both sides of the headboard.

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    Faux-Bois Faux Headboard

    Instead of constructing a headboard, paint one on the wall behind your bed. To make this faux-bois headboard, you'll need a wood-graining tool -- a rubber roller that is engraved with a wood-grain pattern. Look for the tool in the paint section at a crafts store. Mask off the area where you'll be painting the headboard with painter's tape. Paint a base coat (we used a light blue); let dry. Mix 4 parts glaze medium with 1 part paint in a darker color. Apply the glaze mix using the wood-graining tool and following the manufacturer's instructions of rocking the tool back and forth as you pull it across the surface. Repeat until complete. Remove masking and let dry. Spray with a clear finishing sealer, if desired.

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    Headboard Silhouette

    Trace a curvaceous pattern on a piece of medium-density fiberboard, and cut it out. Paint the edge white, and cover the front with wallpaper. The pattern will look striking against a blank wall, doubling as artwork in a bedroom. If using multiple pieces of wallpaper, take care to match the pattern for a chic, finished look.

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    Vintage-Look Headboard

    Add a vintage country look to your bedroom with a feed sack-covered headboard. A large feed sack provides enough fabric to cover a twin-size headboard. Staple two layers of batting over the front side of a piece of plywood, then staple the feed sack on top of the batting. Pull the fabric taut as you add staples to the center of each side and then as you work your way to the corners. For a stunning finish, nail a piece of architectural salvage to the top of the upholstered headboard.

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    Storage Headboard

    Create a one-of-a-kind headboard with built-in storage using old dresser drawers. Search salvage shops and secondhand stores for cast-off drawers and old dressers. Plan your layout on the floor, using fillers (such as storage cubes) and leaving spaces where the wall can show through. Once you've perfected your design, screw the pieces together. (We also cut plywood doors to fit a few openings and secured them with hinges.) To embellish your headboard, give it a few coats of paint and wallpaper the drawer backs and doors. Hang the headboard on the wall using a few 1x4-inch cleats.

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    Framed Fabric Headboard

    Spice up a bedroom by creating a framed headboard from a graphic print. Stretch fabric over heavy cardboard or foam-core board and secure on the back. Insert the panels into two inexpensive poster frames spray-painted a coordinating color.

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    Wallpapered Headboard

    Scout out a large picture frame from a flea market or secondhand shop and repurpose it as a headboard. Paint the frame to match your decor. Cut a wallpaper piece to fit inside the frame. Apply the paper to the frame backing following the manufacturer's instructions.

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    Shutter Style

    Turn home center shutters into a one-of-a-kind DIY headboard. Paint the shutters to match your room's color scheme, and choose a coordinating fabric.

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    Hip Upholstered Headboard

    With a bit of sewing skill, this high-end designer look-alike headboard can be created in a weekend. Check out our step-by-step instructions for creating this beautiful headboard.

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    Frame It

    Inexpensive picture frames can be found at garage sales or thrift shops and made into a magnificent headboard. Remove the glass from the frames, and cut quilt batting the same size as the frame back. Cut fabric to size, adding 2 inches on each side. Lay the fabric facedown, center the batting on the fabric, and add the frame back. Wrap the fabric and secure to the frame back with duct tape. Insert into the frame. Hang the frames side by side for a picture-perfect headboard.

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    A solid-pine door makes a perfect bold headboard. Cut 15 inches off the bottom of the door. Paint the door and let dry. Mount the door to the wall about 4 inches above the floor using two brackets. Reinforce with one bracket on top. To hide the top bracket, use finishing nails to attach a piece of molding to its top edge, 1 inch above the door. Fill holes with wood filler, sand, and paint.

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    Rustic Influence

    Two single window panels are the perfect alternative to an ordinary headboard. To get this look, find windows that measure about the width of your mattress. Remove the glass and install fiberboard or thin plywood over the back for safety. Cut fabric to fit each section, and secure it in place with spray adhesive.

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    Shabby Chic

    In place of a headboard, a salvaged mantel gives this bedroom architectural flair. The more distressed the better for a vintage look like this.

  • Next Slideshow Art + Headboard Pairings That Go Magically Well Together

    Art + Headboard Pairings That Go Magically Well Together

    Put the space above your bed to work with these artful decor ideas combining the headboard and wall space into your decorating aesthetic.
    Begin Slideshow »

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