Cheap & Chic DIY Headboard Ideas

Make a personal statement in your bedroom retreat with a pretty DIY headboard for the bed.

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Vintage Headboard
Vintage 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, and 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.

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, secure the pieces together with screws. (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.

Framed Fabric Headboard

    Spice up a bedroom by creating a framed headboard from a graphic print. Stretch the 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.

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.

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 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.

Modern & Fun

    Give old closet doors a new purpose as a headboard. Two closet doors mounted on the wall behind the bed create a sleek focal point in this midcentury-modern bedroom. Plus, the tall headboard gives the room a sense of height.

Re-treated & Refreshed

    Revamp an old wooden headboard with a new treatment. Try sanding off the existing stain and refinishing the headboard with a glaze or whitewash.

Hip Upholstered Headboard

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

Modern Mystery

    No one will suspect such an elegant metal headboard was created from a cheap find at a discount home store. Look for metal scrollwork in interesting motifs. Two panels can be hung together to create a modern headboard. These pieces were covered with two coats of brushed-silver paint to give them a soft, chic look.

Frame It

    Inexpensive photo frames can be found at garage sales or thrift shops and make a magnificent headboard. Remove the glass from the frames and cut batting the same size as the frame back. Cut fabric to size, adding 3 inches on each side. Lay the batting on the frame back and cover it with the fabric, wrapping excess over the back. Pull taut and fasten with duct tape. Insert the back into the frame. Hang three frames side by side for a picture-perfect headboard.

Wallpaper Wonder

    Turn a ho-hum headboard into a charming focal point simply with wallpaper. Trace the outline of the headboard on a large scrap of paper and cut it out. A light coating of wallpaper adhesive is all it takes to make your bed ready for some sweet dreaming in style.

    DIY Tip: Make sure your piece of wallpaper is large enough to cover the headboard. If using multiple pieces, take care to match the pattern for a chic, finished look.

Smart Stencil

    Love the look of wrought-iron headboards, but not the price? Get the look without the cost by painting one on your wall. Find a stencil at a local crafts store or make your own. Cut the stencil from acetate with a crafts knife, affix the stencil to the wall using a spray adhesive or low-tack tape, and apply paint inside the stencil. Use acrylic paint or specially formulated stenciling cream.

Tall Order

    Create a custom headboard that rises to the occasion by covering an inexpensive artist's canvas with fabric. Just pull the fabric tightly across the frame and secure with a staple gun. Then prop the canvas behind your bed -- no power tools required. When it's time to change out your bedding, simply re-cover the canvas with new coordinating fabric for a fresh look.

Chic Screen

    Cozy up your bedroom by unfolding a fireplace screen and hanging it on the wall behind your bed as a headboard. For an antique look, use spray paint to cover the screen in blue. After it?s dry, dip a sponge in bronze paint and wipe a light coat on the screen. Repeat with copper paint. Finish with a clear spray-on sealant.

Modern Masterpiece

    Adhesive decals make it easy for anyone to become an artist. Create your own masterpiece by attaching designs to painted foam-core board. Surround the creation with a black metal frame. (We customized our frame with a coat of bronze spray paint.) Finish the look by using ribbon as trim and hot-glue it along the inside border of the frame.


    A solid pine door is the perfect way to make a bold statement with a 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 bar-holder 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.

Window of Opportunity

    Create an elegant headboard like this one by spraying two shutters with two coats of primer and 2 coats of metallic paint, then finishing with two coats of sealant. Allow the shutters to dry between coats. Measure the inside of each panel and cut fabric to fit each opening, adding 1/2 inch on all sides. Place batting inside the panel to cover the entire area. Cover with a piece of fabric and attach to batting along the edges with hot glue. Secure the corners and along the top with a staple gun. Use ribbon as a trim to finish. Repeat for each panel.

Paint Update

    Stencils are available in all shapes and sizes. With a little paint, they easily add new character to a tired headboard. Try adding a leafy vine across the top of the headboard for a fresh look.

Garden Inspiration

    Bring the serenity of a garden to the bedroom with a headboard fashioned from two trellises. Cut away the ends on one side of each panel so the trellises abut. Secure them together with wood screws. Staple a paper square to the back of each opening. Use hot glue to attach art prints to the front of some of the panels.

Spreading the Word

    Make a bold statement with a headboard created from a curtain panel. Use fabric markers of different thicknesses or colors to write favorite quotes, poems, or lyrics on the panel. Hang the creation from a curtain rod using clip rings.

Pop of Color

    Add a splash of interest to a plain metal headboard by draping a panel of pretty fabric over it. Simply cut to size and tuck the ends under the mattress to help it stay in place.

Door Do-Over

    A trio of painted closet doors dresses up a plain bed. To start, measure your bed to determine the number of doors you will need. (We used three doors for a full-size bed.) Next, use painter's tape to mark off stripes. Paint all the stripes of one color. After the paint has dried, remove the tape. Repeat the process for each color. Once all the stripes are painted and dry, attach the doors with hinges or brackets on the back, lean against the wall, and brace with the bed frame.

Easy Canopy

    Create this dreamy headboard from a DIY cornice, window treatments, and a padded board. To make the padded headboard, choose a piece of plywood the width of your bed, top with a layer of foam, cover with fabric, and secure to plywood with a staple gun. Find the center of the padded headboard and attach curtain panels to the wall at the center point. Use MDF to make a cornice. Cover the tops of the window treatments with the cornice. Arrange the panels to frame the padded headboard and pull back with window treatment hooks.

Stuck on You

    Add a touch of whimsy to any smooth-surface wooden headboard by adhering simple wallpaper decals. For an unexpected windblown effect, we carried the colorful leaf-motif decals from this headboard onto the wall. To apply similar delicate stickers, slowly peel away the backing while smoothing the decal onto the surface. Once the design placement is permanent, burnish the decals using the edge of a credit card.

Rustic Influence

    Two single window panels are the perfect alternative to an ordinary headboard. To get this look, find windows that measure approximately 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.

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.

Painted Florals

    Upgrade a plain wooden headboard with paint. First, sand all surfaces and coat with a water-base sealer. Using a household trim brush, base-coat the entire headboard with white satin paint. Next, apply a stripe-and-dot border. For the flower, download the pattern below, transfer onto the headboard, and paint.

Elegant Illusion

    For a fanciful flourish, paint your own trompe l'oeil headboard. This handcrafted beauty mimics the ornate scrolls of a wrought-iron version without any hard edges to impede peaceful slumber. Not an artist? No problem. This look was created with a two-layered stencil. Look for stencils like this one at your local crafts or hobby store.

Perfectly Padded

    For a new take on an upholstered headboard, hang a bench cushion by its ties from wall-mounted hooks. Top the hooks with a piece of over-door molding, which you can find at a home center. To create a tufted look, sew covered buttons to the cushion with ribbon, poking both ends through the bottom of the cushion. Pull the ends tight and tie.

Letter Perfect

    Create an alphabet headboard from letters found at crafts stores or flea markets. Choose a variety of letters, sizes, and fonts for an interesting display. Arrange letters graphically or spell out words.

Naturally Modern

    Make this ultramodern headboard in an hour. Buy a piece of plywood from your local home supply store. Sand it, stain it, seal it, then set it behind your bed. The clean lines will help you sleep in style.

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