Do Beds Need a Headboard? [The answer may surprise you!]

Are headboards really necessary? We have done our research to see if a headboard is truly an essential part of the bed and the bedroom. Stay tuned to see if you should be in the market for a headboard, or if you can do without one.

Practically and aesthetically speaking, headboards are no longer imperative to the structure or design of a bedroom. Headboards were initially utilized to create space between heads and the wall to prevent people from getting cold. Houses are now insulated better, so headboards are not needed to keep people warm. Instead, people choose to use headboards to personalize their bedrooms and showcase their style.

We know we have provided you with a lot of information to take in. Follow along as we break down both practical and aesthetic reasons that will help you decide whether or not a headboard is the right choice for you.

Modern bedroom with a panoramic view of the ocean visible with its huge windows paired with a luxurious dark themed bed and a concrete covered headboard, Do Beds Need a Headboard? [The answer may surprise you!]

What is the Point of a Headboard?

So we have established that you don’t necessarily need a headboard, but why do some people still use them? What exactly is the point? Headboards provide a few practical perks. They might supply support for your bed. Depending on the structure of your bed, a headboard might be a good option. Headboards also protect your wall from damage caused by the bed hitting the wall. 

luxury modern style bedroom in red and pink tones, Interior of a hotel bedroom

Aesthetically speaking, you can use a headboard to spice up your room. If you need a change, adding a headboard might be a perfect idea. There are many different kinds of headboards, meaning there is something for everyone. You can choose from wood, metal, or fabric headboards. If you require extra storage, a bookcase headboard with shelves would be a good option. Depending on material and color choices, a headboard can be an excellent statement piece that will rejuvenate the whole room. If you want the bed to be a statement piece, consider a tall, bright-colored headboard that will stand out amongst the rest of your furniture.

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Should a Headboard Sit on the Mattress?

If you’re wondering about the logistics of headboards, they should not sit on the mattress. Generally, a headboard should be hidden behind the mattress, and the bottom of it should be positioned right above the mattress, with the legs reaching to the floor.

Do Headboards Touch the Floor?

brown Vintage wooden headboard isolated on white

Generally, headboards sit on the floor. There are a few exceptions. If the headboard is purely decorative, there is a chance it will not have legs that rest on the floor. Wall-mounted headboards, also called floating headboards do not touch the floor. Wall-mounted headboards are attached to the wall instead of sitting on the floor.

The 3 Main Types of Headboards 

luxury modern style bedroom in red and pink tones, Interior of a hotel bedroom, Do Beds Need a Headboard [The answer may surprise you!]

Structurally speaking, there are three main types of headboards. Each kind is different in its way.

Structural headboards support the bed frame. Bolts, washers, and nuts secure the headboard to the central part of the bed frame.

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Decorative headboards can be attached to the bed frame, just like structural headboards. However, they may not have legs. Legs are unnecessary for decorative headboards because they are not essential to the structure of the bed. 

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Wall-mounted headboards or floating headboards attach to the wall, not the bed frame itself. Once the wall-mounted headboard is appropriately fastened to the wall, the headboard appears to be floating as it does not have any legs. 

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How High Should a Headboard be Above the Mattress?

Headboard height is typically personal preference, but there are a few general guidelines to follow if you want to follow the lead of interior designers. Headboard heights depend on the size of the mattress. Twin-sized beds usually have headboards that are around fourteen inches above the top of the mattress.  King and queen-sized mattresses are usually about twenty-nine inches taller than the mattress, or more.

Headboards can generally be as long as you want. The only interior design rule is that it shouldn’t be taller than the bed is long.

What Should I Put Above my Headboard?

luxury modern style bedroom, Interior of a hotel bedroom

So you bought the headboard, but what now? When it comes to interior design, this is the big question. What should occupy the space above your headboard? A photograph? A painting? A series of paintings? Plants? A tapestry? String lights? Wallpaper? Which is the right choice? 

This depends on personal preference and the style of the room. If your bedroom is bohemian, hanging a series of baskets or hats can provide a chic bohemian vibe to match the aesthetics of the rest of the room. For a more hotel-like feel, a chandelier or large art piece might be a good statement piece. You can decorate with pieces of driftwood, a colorful gallery wall with a series of paintings, a geometric mirror, dried flowers, or a faux deer head. If you want to add some greenery, considering installing a floating plant shelf with some of your favorite plants. 

Another option is to decorate the whole wall that your headboard sits on. Wallpaper, reclaimed wood, or a painted accent wall are all good design options that will showcase the bed and particularly the headboard.

We know there are a lot of items to choose from, but the good news is you can easily change up the style of the whole room any time you want just by changing the focal piece hanging above your headboard. 

What Can I Do With a Bed Without a Headboard?

Bedroom room with illuminated lit lamp light and closeup of white pillows with sheet on mattress bed headboard in modern hotel with nobody

Styling a bed without a headboard might seem like a challenge, but consider it a fun challenge. Having a bed without a headboard can provide the bedroom with a modern and contemporary feel with the help of a few decor items. Check out these hip headboard alternatives to help your room go from drab to fab.

Headboard Alternatives For Everyone

  • Rug
  • Tapestry
  • Painted head area
  • Wallpaper
  • Curtains
  • Macrame wall hanging
  • Shelves
  • Wood paneled wall
  • Windows
  • Large map

All of these options can provide the feel of a focal point behind a bed without having an actual headboard. Deciding the style you want your bedroom to have will help you decide what to decorate with if you do not have a headboard.

For more great bedroom design ideas, check out these other posts on!

25 Wall Decor Ideas for Your Bedroom

27 Rustic Storage Benches That Will Look Great In Your Bedroom

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