Building an Upholstered Headboard for the Bedroom Building an Upholstered Headboard for the Bedroom

by Jessica Ackerman

Building an upholstered headboard for the bedroom is a great way to ensure that the style and look desired is the one achieved.  An upholstered headboard is also an economical way to decorate the bedroom.  The steps below give an overview of building an upholstered headboard for the bedroom.




Before running out to purchase fabric for an upholstered headboard, there are some steps you need to take.  Carefully measure the width of the bed to determine how wide the headboard needs to be.  Be sure to measure the height desired also to make sure that it will fit properly against the wall.  After the measurements have been taken it is time to shop and gather tools.




Building an upholstered headboard does not take a lot of equipment, but it will require a simple saw.  An electric saw works best and will drastically cut down on the amount of time needed for the project.  Also needed are the following tools and supplies: Safety goggles, plywood, staple gun, heavy-duty staples, fabric, batting, screws for attaching the headboard to the bed frame, scissors, thread and needle and a pencil or marker.  Once the necessary items are on hand, it is time to begin the project.


The Frame


On the plywood, draw the shape of the desired headboard according to the measurements taken.  Make sure that it is even and properly proportioned.  Cut out the piece using the saw.  Lay the plywood flat across sawhorses, or improvise my turning over two large, sturdy trash cans.  This makes cutting easier and safer. 


Upholstering the Headboard


For fabric lovers, upholstering the headboard is the most exciting part of the project.  With the cutout piece still laying flat, use the staple gun to attach the batting to the headboard.  Most upholstered headboards are heavily padded on the front and only slightly padded on the back.  Attach as much batting as is needed to create the desired look. 

Once the batting has been attached, it is time to apply the fabric.  The trick with the fabric is to fold the edges under, so that all raw edges are hidden from view.  When stapling the fabric to the headboard, always staple it on the back and stretch it taut over the batting.  This creates a smoother, more professional look.  If, after stapling the fabric on, there are areas that are too loose, simply pull the fabric tighter and staple it again in the back.  Try to keep all the staples in a neat line and as inconspicuous as possible. 

Some choose to leave the headboard as is after the fabric is attached.  Others like the look of a buttoned, or indented, headboard.  To achieve this effect wrap a small amount of batting in a small circle of fabric to create a pseudo-button.  Using a needle and thread, sew the button onto the headboard, gathering the layers of batting beneath the area into the stitch.  This will cause the button to lay lower than the rest of the headboard fabric.


Attaching the Headboard


Once the headboard is finished, attach it to the bed frame with the screws.  It will most likely be necessary to drill holes through the plywood to accomplish this.  Make sure that it is level and secure before getting into bed.

Building an upholstered headboard is not a difficult task and it is one that can produce dramatic results in decorating.  Do not be afraid to use different fabric to accent the space.  With a little bit of patience and some crafty know how, building an upholstered headboard will be well worth the effort.

Jessica Ackerman is a freelance writer and works for She shares her wealth of knowledge on beautiful wall art and southwestern wall sculptures.

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