How to Upholster the Headboard on Your Bed

What You'll Need
Hardboard sheet, if necessary
Upholstery-quality material
Foam padding
Tape measure
Upholstery pins
Tack hammer

An ordinary headboard can be turned into something special with a little imagination and a few upholstery pins. Putting a nice padded front on the headboard is an afternoon job.

Step 1: Measure the Headboard

To buy the necessary materials you have to know how much you need. You should buy upholstery-quality material that is 8-inches longer and wider than the headboard. For the foam padding you will need to buy enough to give you coverage that is 2 inches longer and wider than the headboard.

Step 2: Provide a Flat Surface

If your headboard does not have a flat surface or has gaps, these must be fixed. If the surface can be leveled off by extra foam padding, do that. If the surface is too irregular, buy a piece of hardboard or plywood to fit over the headboard.

Step 3: Remove the Headboard from the Bed or Wall

To work on the headboard you must first remove it. If it is fitted to the wall, make sure you understand how the wall fittings work and make allowances for them when you are doing the upholstery. If the headboard is fitted to the bed, remove it from the uprights.

Step 4: Add the Foam

Lightly pin the foam padding to the headboard. Let the edge of the foam wrap around the edges of the headboard by 1 inch all round. This will take up the 2 inches over measure.

Step 5: Fit the Upholstery Material (First Edge)

Lay the upholstery material wrong side up on a large enough surface. Lay the headboard foam side down centrally on top of the material. Staple one of the long edges to the back of the headboard, taking up 4 of the 8 inches over measure. It is vital that the first edge secured is dead straight and taut from side to side. Staple it to within 8 inches of each end.

Step 6: Fit the Upholstery Material

Once the first side is fixed you can fix the opposite side and then the two ends. Keep the corners neat to avoid excessive bulkiness.

Step 7: Check Your Work

Make sure that the padding on the headboard has been captured evenly and that there are no lumps or bumps.

Step 8: Quilting the Headboard

A popular upholstery style is similar to quilting. The material is secured to the headboard by upholstery pins in a diagonal checkered pattern. This can be achieved by working out the distances between the lines of pins to get the best effect. Ideally, the lines will run at 45 degrees to the horizontal. The upholstery pins, which are about ½ inch long with a brass-domed head, can be inserted as close together or as far apart as you want. To get the best effect start the pinning from the center of the head board.    

This type of simple upholstered headboard provides that little touch of luxury—especially if combined with a leather or leatherette material.