Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Easy Upholstered Headboard

"As you make your bed, so you must lie in it." ~ English Proverb

It seems like every time I turn on HGTV (which is a lot), there is someone making an upholstered headboard and crowing about how easy it is. I never really believed them, but our budget didn't allow for big furniture purchases for the master bedroom. And ever since Mad Men premiered four years ago (and I became obsessed with it), I've wanted to give headboards like the Drapers' a try.

Now I know that the HGTV hype is true. Unlike Don and Betty's marriage, making an upholstered headboard is easy! Here's my step-by-step...

First, I motored over to Lowe's and picked up a piece of 3/8" plywood and found a dude to cut it for me. (They have a big machine that does this sooo much easier than you can at home. Also, you don't have to worry about cutting off any fingers. Oh, and it's FREE.) You could also do 1/4" wood for smaller beds, but since ours is a king I wanted something a little more sturdy so it wouldn't bow out when hanging on the wall. I chose 4 x 6' for our size -- obviously you'll want to tailor yours to your bed. And remember -- measure twice, cut once. The cost of our plywood was about $13.

Second, I took myself to the fabric store and splurged on some dupioni silk, which has shine and a wonderful nubby texture. At $15 a yard, it's not cheap, so thank goodness I only needed two yards. Then I bought a roll of batting, 2" foam and a can of spray adhesive. This was my expensive stop: $60. But you could make this step MUCH cheaper by buying less expensive fabric. Heck, I even read about one gal using a beige canvas dropcloth she bought at a paint store on clearance. Genius!

But my main concern was how the board would hang on the wall. I bought this HangMan system, which even has a built-in level so you can be sure you get it straight. We got to work finding the studs in the wall, then drilled the brackets into the wall and the back of the plywood. Their tongue and groove fit ensure that the board won't slide around or (more importantly) fall on your head. Easy!

haha. Gotta love the "Holmes on Homes" serious look.

Anyway, once we got the "hang" of things (sorry, that was lame), I laid the plywood and foam on the driveway and started spraying. It's a good idea to coat both the foam and the plywood to ensure stickyness. Note that I saved some $$ by only buying enough foam to adhere to the part of the plywood that would be above the bed, where our heads would presumably be resting and need the cushiony comfort. (My photographer took lots of really good shots of this step, until he got distracted by that van across the street.)

Sooo -- hope you're getting an itchy trigger finger at this point, because it's time for the staple gun! I brought my plywood inside, unrolled the batting and began stapling it to the board. (I did cover the entire board in batting.) The combination of the foam and the batting makes for a nice, cushy headboard -- but it really just depends on how much plush you want.

After the batting was secured, my fabulous husband helped me staple the fabric on (my trigger finger was a little tired). And since we already got our brackets into the wall and the wood, we were ready to hang.

So here's the finished product -- about two days of off-and-on easy labor and $80 later -- we have a unique, custom headboard! And if you get the urge to redecorate, it's so easy to change -- just pull off the fabric and staple on something else. Since my mural is pretty busy, we went with very simple, clean lines. But curves, tufts, trim, piping, patterned fabric and such give you endless possibilities for this project. Here are some pictures to give you an idea. Thanks for reading -- see ya next time!


  1. I will not rest until I have a piece of mirrored furniture in my home. I will leave no HomeGoods unturned ... I am truly becoming obsessed by it!

    Your bed looks beautiful! But then I've seen it in person!

  2. Oooo -- I saw a sweet mirrored chest at Marshall's last week. I will revisit and tweet a pic!