Designing Your Own Headboards

Looking for a way to give your bedroom some more style and elegance but can't afford to buy a brand new bedroom suite. How about designing and building your own custom headboard ? The project isn't overly difficult, requires only minimal DIY skills and tools and, you get to make your own decisions about size, color, material, and best of all design. Here's some ideas about designing your own headboard .

Start by finding a design you like

  • Look in home decorating magazines, architectural magazines and furniture stores to find headboard designs you like and think would look good in your room. Remember you're just looking for a shape and style you like, since you're designing your own headboard, you can modify the basic design to suit your own tastes.
  • If you're a beginner and are going to building the headboard yourself, you might be better off staying with a rectangular style. However, if you are more confident in your DIY skills, multiple curves, different shapes (triangles, circles) and special cutouts all become options.

Be sure the design actually works for you

  • Before you go out and start buying supplies to build your headboard, consider if the design you like is practical for you. For example, if you want to be able to lean against your new headboard while watching television or reading, your headboard's design should have it extending at least 24 inches above your bed to allow you to comfortably rest your head against the headboard, rather than against the wall above the board.
  • As well when choosing the color and fabric for your new headboard, remember it will be sitting beside your bed and against your wall, so both your wall color and your bed linens should coordinate (or at least not clash) with your headboard's appearance.

Verify your design

  • If your chosen design is simply a square or a rectangle, quite likely all you need do is take some measurements around your bed to determine if the design fits with your perception. However, if your design incorporates curves, cut outs or is a special shape, you'd be smart to make your self a template that exactly recreates your plan.
  • Make a template from thin cardboard or even Kraft (brown) paper. Cut the design out in manageable sized pieces, tape them together and place them on the wall behind your bed. Having the proper sized template in place will allow you to be sure your design will really fits your room.

Gathering your materials

  • The final step before actually building is gathering your materials.
  • You will need a piece of 1/4” or 1/2” plywood or MDF large enough to accommodate your design, a sheet of closed cell foam (large enough to be cut to exactly match your wooden base), batting (or fiberfill) to cover the foam and lastly, the material you've chosen to cover your headboard.
  • Ensure the fiberfill and material you buy is large enough to extend 8” to 10” beyond the edges of your headboard so it wrap around the foam and the board and be fastened securely.
  • When deciding on your covering fabric remember, durability is important, so choosing a thicker upholstery fabric will be well worth the slight extra expense.
  • For tools your will need a saber or jig saw (for cutting curves), good scissors (for cutting material and batting) and a construction stapler.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer with over 800 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to He can be contacted at [email protected]