Design Inspo

Top DIY Headboard Ideas for Beginners

A new headboard in one weekend? Yes, it’s possible, even if you’re not crafty. Check out these top DIY headboard ideas that are perfect for beginners.

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If hearing the term “DIY” makes you think of a floor covered in sawdust and your hands glued together, you might want to start with something a little less intense. Headboards are a fantastic way to makeover a bedroom and create an instant focal point. 

If you are a DIY project novice, ease yourself into the world of weekend home improvement projects with one of these headboard ideas that are perfect for beginners. 

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We are probably stating the obvious here, but it doesn’t get easier than just using a headboard you already own and covering it for a fresh look! It’s essentially the home decor version of dyeing our hair when we need a refresh.

Here’s how:

Paint It an Eye-Catching Color

Painting an old headboard, even one that has been stained and finished, is easier than ever with modern primer and latex paints. Water-based paints (like latex ones) are made to be as durable as oil-based varieties without fumes and long drying times.

Rough the surface of your headboard up with sandpaper, then apply the appropriate primer for your paint type. After it has dried, apply two coats of your paint color for a new take on your old headboard. 

Wallpaper It

Who says wallpaper is just for the wall? If you have a wooden headboard, apply wallpaper to your headboard, starting from the center outward. Paper up to the trim pieces of the headboard and (safely) use an Exacto knife to cut i right at the edge of the trim. If there is no trim, paper all the wall over the board and fold it over to the back. 

For the faint of heart, you can use peel-and-stick wallpaper in case you’re worried about making a mistake. In this case, peel-and-stick wallpaper is the design equivalent of wearing clip-on bangs before cutting your own for real. No judgment here!

Penny Tile It

Penny tile sheets are a flexible and affordable take on papering over an old headboard. Apply an adhesive tile mat to the surface of your headboard.

Lay out your penny tiles up to the edge of your trim pieces (or just to the edge for a plain piece of wood), clipping any bit that hangs over with tile nippers. Grout your tile as you would for a bathroom floor, following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Slipcover It

Add fabric ties to a tapestry or a swatch of fabric to create a slipcover and drape it over your headboard to give it new life. As an added benefit, slipcovers can be swapped easily with the changing seasons (or style whims).

The Upholstered Headboard: A Unique Design Idea

Since we’re talking fabric, let’s not forget that one of the easiest ways to transform the impact and softness of a bedroom completely is to add fabric to the headboard.

Quilt Rack

Since we are aiming for low-maintenance projects here, we have to mention hanging a high-quality curtain rod above the bed and draping an heirloom quilt over it in place of a traditional headboard.

The quilting of the fabric lends warmth and texture to the room, and it’s a great way to show off a prized possession without worrying about everyday wear and tear. A repurposed quilt gives off the vibe of a tufted headboard that you didn’t even have to tuft yourself.

For a more modern headboard, trade in the curtain rod for a length of iron or copper pipe. 

Fabric Headboard

There are plenty of tutorials for covering a piece of wood with batting and foam for an upholstered headboard (and you can totally do that!). Still, the more straightforward idea is to use a king or queen-size comforter that is already plump or tufted. Create a backing with MDF (medium-density fiberboard), stretch the comforter around the front, fastening the back with a staple gun. 

You can shape your wood into a dramatic trefoil arch by drawing up a newspaper template that you fold in half and cut for perfect symmetry. Or stick to clean, straight lines for a traditional look that you can trim with nailheadupholstery tacks.

Check out our recommendations for family and pet-friendly fabrics for some more inspiration. 

DIY Tufted Headboard

Take your fabric-wrapped headboard one step further by creating a channel tufted headboard and wrapping individual boards that span the width of the bed or even the entire length of the bedroom wall.

These channels are made by gluing half-dome pieces of foam to six-inch boards and stapling fabric around them. Once all are covered, attach them to a metal bracket that runs across the back of all of the boards to hold them together for a luxurious, custom piece. 

Repurpose Antiques

A trip to your local high-end antique or flea market may give you some DIY inspiration. There is no rule that says your headboard has to have been made as bedroom furniture. Give found objects new meaning with your newfound DIYer ethos. 


Repurposed shutters, stacked horizontally or vertically, make a unique headboard because there are so many styles in various states of distressed paint. Top yours with ornate wood molding for a vintage look that’s perfect for a guest bedroom (or any room for that matter, if you’re a vintage lover). 


Vintage mirrors — you know, the kind with beveled edges that have a hazy, dream-like quality — make a striking headboard. One large art deco mirror may be enough to command attention in your space, but hanging several panels of mirrors to the wall behind the bed can create opulent depth in your room. 

Tin Ceiling Tiles

The beauty of using tin ceiling tiles for a wall-mounted headboard is the versatility they offer. Find them at an architectural salvage shop with signs of age like rust and peeling paint, or buy them new and paint them yourself.

Arranged in a grid pattern behind your bed, the polished surface of the bare metal can have a similar effect as a mirror but with more texture. 

Create a Wood Headboard

These wooden headboard projects won’t require you to bust out your woodworking skills but will still give your bedroom a warm, natural touch of wood.

Wooden DIY headboard in bedroom
Designed by Melanie Thomas in Spoak

Wooden Headboard From Doors

Attach a pair of carved vintage doors to your bed frame or directly to the wall for an easy DIY wooden headboard with lots of visual interest.

Arched doors are a stunning compliment to traditional cottage-style bedroom decor. You can trim the height of the doors to the proper scale of your room. You can also use barn doors for a rustic pairing with simple striped bed linens and a wool throw. 

Live Edge Rustic Headboard

Sometimes one large live-edge piece of wood with natural character can make a minimal bedroom special. Affix it to the wall or get a piece large enough to reach the floor and sandwich it between your bed frame and wall.

There’s no reason your live edge has to stop with the width of the bed. An oversized, stained headboard with interesting wood grain creates a dramatic backdrop for any style of bedding decor. 

Pieced Together Pallets

Working with pallet wood is essentially the same as any woodwork, but it is cheaper, and there are low stakes if you don’t love the results. Pallets also come in a variety of colors and can create multi-toned headboard designs without stain.

Add trim to an MDF board cut to fit your bed. Play with piecing squares of pallet wood together inside the frame in geometric, random, or herringbone designs.

Use pallet wood slats of different shapes to layer over one another for a beautiful headboard in the brutalist style. When stained in one color, this affordable design has a high-end mid-century look. 

Use Wall Art as a Headboard

Not sure you are up to cutting, gluing, or sewing? No problem.

Hanging a large piece of wall art or macrame behind your bed gives structure to the room with no construction needed. Swap a flat canvas or rope display for three-dimensional collections, like multiple baskets in similar shades, to create a relaxed boho effect. 

Paint an Accent Wall

We can’t finish this list without mentioning the simplest and most affordable option for a DIY headboard: just painting the wall behind your bed.

Introduce shape and color while anchoring the room decor by painting a stenciled shape on the wall. Consider painting multiple geometric shapes that overlap in coordinating colors that either soothe or energize you with a bold pop of color

To keep your entire home design cohesive, bring a sample of your current home color palette to a local home improvement store so they can color match and mix your paint right there. 

Time for a Little DIY

You can try one or blend several of these techniques for an affordable and quick homemade headboard project that even hardcore weekend DIY warriors would love.

Photo Credit: (Left) Emily Henderson


Art deco still popular design style today | Las Vegas Review-Journal

What Is Brutalist Design? The History of This Raw, Minimal Design Theme | Realtor


How To Grout a Tile Floor | The Spruce

What Is Brutalism and Why Is It Making a Comeback? | My Modern Met

When you’re ready to visualize your headboard ideas, use Spoak to mock them up with a trial membership and bring your interior design skills up to the next level. 

Date Posted
May 24, 2023



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