Upholstered Headboard Tutorial


So first off,  2 things:

1. Thanks.  Big, huge, sloppy thanks.  You have no idea how much I love every single one of you who subscribes/reads my Musings & leaves comments, & pins my projects, & connects with me on FB & Pinterest.  Seriously, it blows my mind.
From down-deep-where-I-live, thank you.

2. Read #1 again.  I mean it that much. 

Making your own upholstered headboard is not only a mucho dinero saving decision, it is also a really, really basic to do.
There are a few power tool essentials, like a jigsaw and a drill, but all the other larger cuts could be done at your lumber supply store.  DIY-ing it also means you can create exactly what you want – from fabric choice to tufting & trim options. 

For our upholstered headboard Re-DO, we chose a greige linen (same fabric as drapes), used pewter nailhead trim (same as bench), and opted not to tuft.  If you decide tufting is necessary for your well being, here’s my Tut on that process.  Linen can be a little bit bad tempered and run if it’s not happy – hence our lack of tufted-ness.

This is how it turned out:


Material list for headboard:

1/2” MDF – cut to desired headboard size.  Ours is King, so we used 2 horizontal pieces of MDF and attached them with a bracket.  Our headboard is 6” wider than the mattress on each side, and sits about 6″ below that mattress. 

2×4’s – used for mounting system

1×2’s – used to ‘thicken’ up the profile of the headboard

fabric of choice, batting, foam (we used 4”)


Okay, let’s get down to bidnezz:

The Mister master-minded the ‘frame’ for the headboard to attach to – the goal being that it would be supported by this frame, AND affixed to the wall.  He clearly wanted a very sturdy headboard.  Safety first I suppose.

Here’s how he made the frame, all just 2×4’s screwed together, lengths appropriate to the overall height & width you’ve decided on.  There are ‘D’ hooks attached to the top of each tall support – you’ll see why.

Cut out your foam to fit on your MDF, use spray adhesive to adhere it.

Use kraft paper or cardboard to draw out a template for your half of your coveted headboard shape.  Trace it onto the MDF (then flip it to do the other side) & use a jigsaw to cut out the MDF & foam.

Here’s a more detailed view of the way ours is constructed:

The 2 middle pieces are the support brackets holding the 2 MDF pieces together.  The 1×2’s at each end (front & back) are added to give the profile of the headboard some weight.  It’s not required, I just wanted it to look more substantial from the side.  So our foam sits between those on the front.


Lay everything out – starting with your fabric, then your batting, then your huge wooden soon-to-be-headboard:

Now comes the ridiculous amount of staples.  This part is much easier with two people – one to pull the fabric tightly and evenly, and the other on staple gun duty.

Keep your corners tidy by stapling one side, then folding the fabric and wrapping it around.


Then, because I’m crazy, I went back over the whole thing and folded the raw edge under and stapled it again.


Okay, flip that baby over and marvel at your skill.  Having a drink at this point, though optional, is a nice celebratory thing to do.

Measure the distance between the ‘D’ hooks that you fastened to the frame, as well as the height, and put your screws in the wall.  Once you’ve centered and screwed the mounting frame to the back of the headboard, you can ‘hang’ your headboard on the wall.

Nailhead detail added.


The second picture shows well the ‘thickness’ that the 1×2’s added to the profile.  And my pillow abundance.


Mission Accomplished….

I’m certain that bloggers live in some time space continuum where we telepathically share ideas….Kate @ chiconashoestring posted her Upholstered headboard tutorial on recently which is almost EXACTLY the same as ours.  We probably made them the same weekend. Go visit over there and see hers too.  And maybe her tutorial gives some details that mine doesn’t.  


So the ‘Completely Unnecessary Master Bedroom Re-Do’ is pretty well complete.  We still plan on replacing the mouldings and painting the floor, but those life altering events will happen together at a later date.
And if I can ever manage to win on eBay, or source elsewhere a pair of vintage-y vibe hanging lights for either side of the bed, the lamps will go. 

On that, whoever you are that beat me by $1 on ebay for these beauties, just know that you will never love them like I would have.

For now, I am madly in love with how the room turned out.

And the Mister (though in denial about how he started this ball rolling) really likes it too.  And in case you’ve ever noticed that my bedroom pictures don’t show any of the room to the right of the headboard, it’s because there’s a little ‘Vanity’ space there that has been under re-invention too.  Unveiling soon.

If you’re planning to re-decorate, re-design, or renovate, I can help you create the extraordinary. Fall in love with your home again.

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  1. What a beautiful room! I especially like your headboard–you did a great job on it. I’ve made several upholstered headboards; I just love them. The shape of yours is smashing! And I like that nailhead trim. Great job!

    Thank you so much for linking to Grace at Home. I really appreciate it!

  2. That is beautiful! Your bedroom is gorgeous. I might just have to come over and take a nap.

  3. mary beth says:

    Love the headboard you’ve made here! I’ve made two so far {collaborating with my husband of course} and I’m kind of addicted. 🙂 I really like the look of linen on yours…great job!

  4. thefarmhouseporch linsey says:

    What an AMAZINGLY romantic, gorgeous room!

    I would love for you to come share this at my linky party, Cowgirl Up! going on right now!

  5. I love your bedroom and the headboard is perfect! Thanks for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday!

  6. thefarmhouseporch linsey says:

    this room is truly beautiful. Thank you so much for linking up to “Cowgirl Up!”. I really appreciate your participation. See you next week!


  7. Goodness, If I did not love my iron bed so much I would do this!! It turned out great. Your whole room looks really comforting, and serene, a good place to fall asleep.

  8. sighhhhhh. soaking up the inspiration.

    come visit anytime–great giveaway right here: http://hellolovelyinc.blogspot.com/2012/04/april-giveaway.html



  9. I have been accumulating pieces to make my own headboard, too. I like the slight curve of your headboard that I hope to duplicate. I’m using a bleached drop cloth for my fabric so I hope it looks as nice as yours. Thanks for the additional inspiration!

  10. LOVE your room and the headboard looks amazing! I am head over heels in love with that chandelier! I have been searching for the perfect chandelier for months and still have not found it until I stumbled upon this photo of yours of Pinterest! I would love to know where you got it if you don’t mind sharing??
    ps – excited now too see the unveiling of the vanity space 🙂

    • Hi Denese! THANK YOU! The chandelier was (finally) found at a local Antique market (here in Ontario) called Southworks….IMO it was a steal at $90. I removed all the prisms, spray painted it with a dull metallic silver, and a champagne metallic – to make it look more ‘aged’. I will make one suggestion though – take a picture BEFORE you take all the prisms off – it will save you a lot of “where the hell do all these go now” figuring out afterwards! Good luck with your chandelier hunt!!!

  11. Tracy, I’m in love with your bedroom! You wouldn’t mind if I snuggled in with y’all at night. LOL! Okay, that would be a little creepy. But, I really like your room, nice job on the headboard.

    Thanks for joining the DIY Talent parade!


  12. Ohmygosh! Your room is so beautiful, and your headboard is rockin!! Awesome job and tute! I had to pin this baby!
    xo Becca

  13. wow the room looks so clean / fresh and soo cosy !! love it

  14. Oh I love your room! It’s so beautiful and welcoming. I was wondering if I could inquire about the bedding. I love the duvet and french pillows combo. Thank you so very much =)

    • Thank you Jo! I found the duvet cover & shams at Home Sense (if you’re in the U.S., Home Goods), but there are very similiar ones at Pottery Barn. xoT

      • Thank you so much Tracy! I will be hitting Home Good ASAP! =) Oh, did you find those beautiful French themed pillows there as well? Thanks again for the info!

        • Good luck! PB has the similiar ones online, so gives you a back up! The linen pillows (believe it or not) are pillow covers and down inserts from IKEA, and I used a fabric Sharpie to stencil on the words! You can totally do that too! xoT

  15. HI Tracy! Your bedroom reminded me of mine today. Hope you can come visit and tell me what you think. Be honest now girl! XO http://www.redheadcandecorate.com/4/post/2013/02/white-master-bedroom.html

    • I visited, left you love, and it’s awesome – And I can tell you 100% factually that you will be MUCH happier in a white bedroom than a green bedroom….okay, maybe not actually FACTually, but mostly factually. You rocked it. xoT

  16. ps…your comforter is to die for. The head board is unbelievable!!!

  17. Do you make these for customers?

    • Hi Petra – No, I’m sorry, I don’t….but I hope the tutorial is easy enough to follow along so that you could do it yourself! xoT


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