Reupholstering a Fabric Headboard to Update Decor

A fabric headboard.
  • 3-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
Suitable fabric for a headboard
Scotchgard (TM) fabric stain repellent
Polyester or latex foam padding as desired
Measuring tape
Chalk markers
Iron and ironing board
Industrial staple gun
Industrial staples

Reupholstering a fabric headboard in your bedroom will help you update your bedroom decor. You can recover your fabric headboard to complement new decor or make the headboard the foundation piece of a complete bedroom update.

Step 1 - Measure the Entire Headboard Surface

Measure both sides and the width of the edge of the fabric headboard if you will be reupholstering one that is affixed to the bed. Measure the front and edge, and add about six inches for overlap onto the back, if the headboard will be attached to the bedroom wall.

Step 2 - Choose the Headboard Fabric

The headboard fabric should be durable and stain-resistant. Genuine smooth leather and flexible vinyl are ideal materials for fabric headboards. If you want to use a light colored, absorbent fabric, be sure to spray it with Scotchgard (TM) fabric stain and water-repellent treatment before attaching it to the headboard.

Buy sufficient fabric if you have chosen a patterned material to match corners. If the headboard is freestanding instead of mounted to the bedroom wall, purchase enough fabric to cover both sides and the edge of the headboard.

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Step 3 - Choose the Desired Surface Texture

For a flat and smooth headboard surface, a more contemporary style than tufted, choose a low-loft padding. If you are furnishing a traditional room such as French Provincial, choose high-loft latex padding, and purchase a large quantity of suitable buttons for tufting.

You can also apply decorative edging to your fabric headboard, such as studs around a leather or vinyl headboard, beading, or contrasting ribbon, plain, laced or embroidered around the edge of a soft fabric headboard. Be sure to buy enough edging and padding to complete the reupholstery task.

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Step 4 - Remove the Headboard from the Bed or Wall Surface

The headboard should be suspended from the wall by a few anchored screws, so you can just lift it off. Undo the screws at the back of a headboard fastened directly to the bed frame.

Step 5 - Measure, Cut and Attach Padding to the Headboard

Measure and cut the under-surface padding for the headboard. Attach the padding to the headboard with industrial staples.

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Step 6 - Measure and Cut Headboard Fabric

When upholstering both sides of a freestanding headboard attached to the bed, measure sufficient fabric to cover all sides. A hanging headboard needs six inches of fabric to overlap onto the back. Mark the fabric with chalk lines before cutting to ensure straight edges. Press a 1/2 inch fold around the entire outer edge of the fabric.

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Step 7 - Attach the Fabric

Stretch the fabric over the headboard snugly and smoothly. Staple the fabric through the edge fold to hold the staples securely. Tuft the fabric with crossed pairs of staples at the desired locations, and attach buttons, studs, and edge trim. Refasten the headboard to the bed frame or the wall.

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