Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Are you looking for an alternative to a traditional headboard? We've checked in with our favorite designers and creative types and came up with a list of excellent alternatives for you. Let's take a look!
Here are 11 headboard alternatives for you to get inspiration from:
- Hang Some Large Pillows
- Use Wooden Screens
- Hang A Ledge Shelf And Fill It With Hanging Plants
- Use Foam And Fabric On The Wall
- Hang A Rug
- Use Antique Windows or Repurposed Doors
- Create A Built-In Cubby
- Apply A Wall Stencil Above The Bed
- Install A Macrame Hanging
- Use A Vintage Roll Down Map
- Get Creative With Found Objects
Let's dive into each of these ideas and see just how ingenious they are for headboard alternatives. We'll also answer some of your top questions related to headboards.
11 Headboard Alternatives
These are so cool. From super creative repurposed ideas to simpler ideas like stencils, we've got eleven options for your standard headboard. So let's not waste any more time and jump right into these awesome headboard alternatives.
1. Hang Some Large Pillows
This is a really easy way to create a cozy and comfortable headboard alternative. Use a curtain rod and two to three large pillows to create this look. You'll need to attach tabs or strings to your pillows for attaching to your rod, but once you've done that, what could be simpler. Be sure your rod is attached to the studs in the wall though. You'd hate to be resting your head on the pillow and pull the rod out of the drywall.
2. Use Wooden Screen Room Dividers
Wooden screen room dividers stand on their own and will unfold to make a stunning alternative to the traditional headboard. With your bed pushed back against them, they shouldn't move. But, you'll want to make sure they are secure and perhaps attach them to the wall behind your bed. There are so many styles available, you can find something to match with many decor schemes.
These folding screens would make a gorgeous headboard.
This option provides a contemporary take on the room screen.
3. Hang A Ledge Shelf And Fill It With Plants
Love nature and want to feel like you're sleeping in the forest? Then considering hanging a ledge shelf above your bed and filling it with beautiful house plants that drape down toward your face.
A few considerations to keep in mind are shelf height (you want it high enough that you don't bump your head) and waterproofing for your plants. Make sure to use pots that have drainage catchment so you don't end up watering your pillows along with your houseplants.
This 8" deep shelf gives plenty of room for small potted plants. At 48 inches long, it will work well above many beds. It's made of thick 2" pine and available in four finishes.
4. Use Foam And Fabric On The Wall
A quick and easy way to create an alternative to a headboard is with a piece of foam, a corresponding size piece of fabric, some 1 x 1's for framing, and a staple gun or glue. Simply place the foam on the wall behind your bed, cover it with fabric, then frame it neatly with the wood of your choice. You could also use something like a ribbon for the framing if you don't have access to the tools for cutting wood.
Buy upholstery foam in rolls to create your alternative headboard.
5. Hang A Rug Instead
If you want a quick solution for a headboard, here's another great idea. Find a curtain rod that you love and a rug that you love, then combine the two for a genius headboard alternative. You can even buy curtain clips for the rug for easy hanging or have a channel sewn onto the top of the back of the rug. This channel would then slide onto your decorative hanging rod.
Heavy-duty rug clips like this will hold the weight of a rug. The other end fits onto a 1" square metal rod.
6. Use Antique Windows Or Doors
Antique windows are a cool aesthetic for a headboard alternative. We do recommend removing the glass. It'd be awful to lean back too hard and end up breaking window glass onto your pillow.
Old doors can also get a second life used as a headboard alternative. Here, bifold doors are stained in a rich cherry color and used to cover the entire back wall. Lighted sconces installed into the old doors help create a built-in kind of look to the installation.
7. Create A Cubby For Your Bed With Built-In Shelving
Using standard shelving and cabinetry from your favorite home goods store gives us this idea. Plan out your wall so that your bed slides into the opening creating by a framework of shelving and cabinetry. This cool niche idea provides two side tables and plenty of storage. This is a really clever idea for the smaller bedroom where you're trying to maximize space.
Here's a similar idea of creating a cubby for the bed to back into, but this time is done with commercially available shelving. This is not built-in, so it may give more flexibility in the layout and future use of the room.
8. Apply A Wall Stencil
Maybe you don't really want anything that adds volume to the wall behind your bed, but you know you still want something. How about a wall stencil as an alternative to a headboard? There are so many cute options available to go with pretty much any style.
Headboard Scroll Decal
9. Install A Macrame Hanging
Fabric arts have made a resurgence in the past year or so, with none making a bigger comeback than macrame. This craft of knotting to create textile art has a serious boho vibe that looks great in airy and bright spaces. Combine a macrame hanging with house plants, neutral bedding, and clean-lined Scandinavian furniture for a cohesive look.
Whether you DIY your macrame hanging, support a local artist, or purchase something commercially available, this headboard alternative is great for a natural vibe.
10. Use A Vintage Roll Down Map
If you love to travel, then this idea may be for you. Scour antique stores and thrift markets to find an old school room vinyl roll-down map. These are unique and eclectic and perfect for the bedroom of an adventurer or student of the world. They even come with their own attached hanger to make installation simple. You can even roll them back up when it's time to make the bed.
11. Get Creative With Found Objects
A headboard alternative allows for some mad creativity. Whether you want to use a cast-off picket fence, planks of luscious wood, or a collection of discarded books, you can make a headboard alternative out of almost anything. You just need a solid idea and a little ingenuity.
This idea takes reading in bed to the next level. We suggest using a piece of plywood as the backing for your hardbound rather than making lots of holes in your wall. You'll also need a strong glue or epoxy to hold the pages of the books back and in place.
These gorgeous pieces of hardwood define space as a headboard would, but also give a sense of abstract art. The luscious wood grain draws in the eye. These pieces look refined and elegant above the bed.
Why not re-use a section of wooding fencing for a headboard? Add a wash of your favorite color, then sand it back to keep the rustic farmhouse look while simultaneously adding a pop of color.
Do You Really Need A Headboard For Your Bed?
Way, way back, before houses were insulated, headboards created a barrier between your head and the cold wall. Beds were often wooden and sold with a headboard and footboard. But nowadays, mattresses sell online, often without box springs, and beds can be anything you want. Plus, our insulation is much better in our homes.
So no, you don't need a headboard to have a comfortable bed, but you may want a headboard. Headboards can add visual interest to a space. They can provide soft cushioning to prop up your pillows so that you can watch television or read comfortably while in bed. And they can define your style.
Can You Have A Headboard Without A Bed Frame?
Beds used to be sold as one unit and were made of wood or iron. There'd be a headboard, a footboard, and two rails that the slats, box spring, and mattress would rest upon. Now those types of beds are less common as people move more toward creative headboards. For instance, your mattress can sit directly on the floor but you can create a headboard that attaches directly to the wall behind your mattress.
The one above uses simple lumber to create a visual headboard for the mattress to back up against. Any headboard that attaches to the wall and the floor negates the need for a bed frame.
A commercial wall-mount headboard like this hangs from the iron rods above it. This makes the height adjustable for your mattress height. And you wouldn't need a bed frame.
Does A Headboard Make A Bed More Comfortable?
A headboard can make the bed more comfortable, depending on your habits. If you spend time in your bed reading, working on the computer, or watching television, a headboard can give you something to prop up against. You could prop against the wall, but then your pillows might have a tendency to slip into the crack between mattress and wall. A headboard prevents that.
Plus, if you get a really nice upholstered headboard, it provides as much cushioning as your pillows do.
A tufted velvet headboard provides additional comfort and a soft, cozy spot to rest your head against when reading in bed. This one is in aqua blue but it's also available in other colors.
Does A Headboard Have To Be Against The Wall?
Your headboard doesn't have to be against a wall, but it typically is. Most people choose to use the support of the wall in conjunction with the headboard. If you do have something like a four-poster bed that is very solid, it could sit in the center of the room and still give you the support that a headboard is there for. Just know you'll have less support for your bed, and your head, if your headboard is not against the wall.
Headboards are a great way to get creative with your design ideas. There are so many fantastic commercial and DIY options available. They're also a great way to change up your design without breaking the bank. We hope you found the perfect headboard alternative for your room here and are excited to change things up.
If you enjoyed this post here at HomeDecorBliss.com, please check out a couple of our other posts about headboards below: