How to Upholster a Headboard and Frame

Give your bed a new look with the help of upholstery. No sewing required. 

Before you run out and buy all new furniture for a complete bedroom makeover, consider the small changes that could make a huge difference. Your headboard, for example, can easily be transformed with just a few hours of upholstery work. An upholstered bed will put a modern, clean twist on a dated bed frame. And the best part? You don't need to be an accomplished seamstress to do this project. Take the plunge this weekend with our easy-to-follow steps to make your furniture look as good as you've always dreamed it could.

Check out the rest of this weekend bedroom makeover.

  • Working Time 3 Hours
  • Start to Finish 3 Hours
  • Difficulty         Projects Kind of Easy
  • Involves Driving Staples, Cutting Fabric

What you need

Tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Bread knife
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Fabric scissors
  • Staple gun

Materials

  • Headboard
  • Footboard
  • Side Rails (x2)
  • Upholstery foam
  • Double-sided carpet tape
  • Batting
  • Spray adhesive
  • Staples
  • Fabric
  • Fabric fuse glue

How to do it

Step 1 Deconstruct Headboard

To begin rehabbing your headboard, you first need to disassemble the pieces. First, remove the mattress and, if necessary, use a screwdriver to carefully separate the headboard, side rails, and footboard. If your headboard has small parts or hardware, be sure to take a photo of how they're installed and label them so you can reassemble the pieces quickly.  

Step 2 Cover with Upholstery Foam

When upholstering a piece of furniture, you'll need to start with a layer of upholstery foam. Without this layer, whatever you're upholstering will look flat, harsh, and uncomfortable. Start by laying the bed pieces on a clean floor and placing upholstery foam over each piece. Make sure the front of each surface is covered. Next, use a serrated bread knife to cut the foam to the shape of the furniture. 

Use double-sided carpet tape to adhere the foam to the bed pieces. Make sure all edges are properly secured. Do not place upholstery foam over screw holes or on top of the joints that will connect to other sides. 

Step 3 Cut Batting to Size

The next step is to wrap each piece in batting. This layer beneath the fabric is what gives upholstered furniture its fluffy, soft edges and cushiony touch. If you want an extra plush look, double up the batting layers.

Place the batting over each piece of the bed topped with upholstery foam. You'll want about 8 inches of extra batting around all edges to fold over and staple to the back. Cut batting.

Step 4 Attach Batting

To secure the batting to the pieces, you will use a combination of spray adhesive and staples. First, cover a 1-foot section of the batting with spray adhesive. Carefully press onto the upholstery foam in place and hold for a few seconds. Continue spraying and placing the batting until the entire surface is covered.

Wrap the excess batting around to the back of the headboard and use a staple gun to secure in place. Put the staples about an inch away from the edge of the board to keep the batting taut. If you need to wrap the batting around rounded corners or arches, you may need to cut slits in the excess batting to make the process easier.

Step 5 Wrap with Fabric

With the batting attached, it’s time to place the fabric over each piece of the bed frame. Cut the fabric to size, leaving about 8 inches of fabric around the edges, just as you did with the batting. Lay the fabric on the floor or table with the pattern side down. Place the bed frame pieces on top of the fabric and begin folding over the excess fabric. Hold taut and use a staple gun to secure the fabric over the batting. Be sure to staple close to the edge and place staples 3-5 inches apart.

Remember to avoid placing fabric too close to screw holes or joints where the headboard pieces meet. If necessary, use fabric fuse glue on any of the fabric’s exposed edges to prevent fraying.

Step 6 Reassemble Bed Frame

Finally, reassemble the headboard, side rails, and footboard back together. Reference the photo from the first step to make sure the pieces are properly secured.

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1 Comment

  1. Very poorly done. Not one picture to indicate how to do a fairly complex project? Go back to the drawing board Good Housekeeping!

    1. Pictures would help!!!

    2. I agree. For each step there should have been a picture. It appeared from the instructions that the footboard and side rails were also covered....where are those pictures? Disappointed.

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