Quick & Easy Headboard Updates

Use what you already have -- plus a few basic crafts supplies -- to make over your headboard. Skip the trip to the furniture store!


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Get Painting
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Get Painting

    Dressing up a headboard doesn't have to spell doom for your wallet. Pep up a plain wood headboard with a fresh coat of paint. Be sure to sand and prime the headboard before you add color.

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Hawaii 5-OH!

    Spend the night in paradise! Or at least feel like you're somewhere tropical with this island-inspired headboard. Cover your existing headboard with bamboo. An inexpensive bamboo rug is ideal for this project. Adhere the edges to the headboard with wood glue. Hide the unfinished edges with a border of bamboo canes cut in half and glued to the headboard.

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Hearts on a String

    Give your headboard a little love. Dress it up with a strand of sweet streamers. Cut and then sew together layers of scrap fabric or felt. String them together with a pretty ribbon and attach horizontally across your headboard. Try the same concept with handkerchiefs, clothespins, and twine for a vintage feel.

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Ready-Made Romance

    Decorative moldings and finials are widely available at home centers; paired with a pretty blue paint finish, they spiff up a plain headboard to create a romantic bedroom retreat. To get the look, apply moldings and finials to an unfinished wood headboard using wood glue. Paint the headboard in a soft blue hue; when it's dry, sand the raised portions of the moldings and finials for a weathered appearance.

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Simplicity's Sake

    Get creative with store-bought moldings. Rather than dressing up an unfinished headboard with lots of detail, dress it down and keep it simple. Here, a single decorative onlay is centered on a cheerful blue-painted headboard. Crown molding attached along the top edge gives the piece a finished look.

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Suite Comfort

    Hard wood headboards make uncomfortable backrests. If you like to cuddle up in bed with a good book, this headboard is a great marriage of functionality and elegance. Start with a basic wood headboard with inset panels. Cut pieces of lightweight fiberboard or plywood to the same dimensions as the panels and cover with upholstery foam. Wrap with batting and fabric, stapling the fabric in place on the back. Adhere the padded panels to the headboard. For extra oomph and texture, drive screws into the headboard at marked points. Cover the screw heads with matching buttons to create the tufted look shown here.

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Go Natural

    Framed bamboo mats affixed to a plain headboard bring a subtle Asian aura to this bedroom. Using an unfinished wood headboard with inset panels, we simply cut two bamboo place mats to size. Wood glue secures the place mats inside the frames. A coat of wood stain in two natural shades gives the streamlined piece even more visual interest.

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Map Quest

    It's easy and cheap to transform an old headboard into an unexpected treasure. Use simple decoupage techniques to add pages pulled from comic books, sheet music, or maps, as shown here. Brush on the decoupage medium -- find it in any crafts store -- add the papers, and allow the glue to dry. Then seal the piece with a coat of decoupage medium or clear varnish.

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Superb Stencil

    Dress up a plain headboard with intricate detail. All it takes is a stencil and a bit of fabric paint. Paint the headboard your desired base color. Find a stencil you love. (The online crafts marketplace etsy.com offers a superb selection of home decor stencils.) Attach your stencil to the headboard using stencil spray adhesive or tape. Brush thin coats of paint over the stencil. It may take several coats to achieve a consistent look.

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Delightful Decals

    Applying a wall decal directly to your headboard offers style without commitment. Because most decals are removable, they're perfect for those who like to change decor often. Attach the decal to a smooth surface, pull away the backing, then burnish the decal to the wall with a credit card to get rid of bubbles or ripples that may have formed during application.

    DIY Tip: Make sure you have your placement perfect before you attach the decals. Though they're removable, some are difficult to reapply after they've been removed.

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Cover It Up

    It's easy to give a plain fabric or wood headboard serious style with a simple slipcover. Just drape your fabric over your headboard to find your perfect length. Next, stitch ribbons for ties down both sides of your fabric. Don't worry about your headboard peeking through the edges. Sew a bed skirt to match.

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Simple Slipcover

    We love this idea for a 30-second headboard makeover. Drape your favorite fabric over the top of a plain headboard to deliver instant color and pattern to your bedding scheme. Swap out the fabric for every season or coordinate your colors with holidays. If you don't want to sew seams, use a patterned tablecloth for finished edges.

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Twice As Nice

    Add visual interest to your headboard with an easy layered slipcover. Cover the headboard with patterned fabric; this will become the base. Next, cut a fun design from a piece of solid color fabric for a second slipcover. Pull the solid layer over the top, so the patterned fabric shows through your cutout. Seeking something simpler? Sew a single slipcover from solid fabric, then applique a cutout design on top.

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Buttoned Up

    File this under "Couldn't Be Easier!" Wake up a tired headboard with a few basic buttons. Sew favorite buttons or other embellishments in a vertical line down the center of the headboard slipcover. Voila! Chic new look in less than an hour.

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Sweet and Simple

    Who says rugs have to stay underfoot? Here's an easy way to cover up a plain headboard without spending a ton of time or cash. Find an inexpensive braided rug in colors that coordinate with your bedroom decor. Stitch ribbons along two edges of the rug for ties. Drape the rug over your headboard and tie the ribbons together in bows.

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