How To Make A Padded Headboard

Padded headboards can offer more than just a decorative touch to a bedroom. Padded headboards allow for more comfort and support when sitting up in bed by providing a cushion from hard walls or other types of non-padded alternatives. Making a padded headboard yourself may seem like a daunting task, but we researched this topic and streamlined the information to create an easy-to-follow set of instructions for you. 

Making a padded headboard can be an easy, cost-effective weekend DIY project that consists of a few general steps:

  1. Decide on a location to hang your padded headboard. 
  2. Make the frame for your headboard.
  3. Cover the frame with padding and fabric.
  4. Hang the headboard.

Details of each of these steps, along with your choice of materials, will vary depending on what options you choose to create your customized padded headboard. We will discuss, in detail, how to do each step. Please keep reading because we'll also cover related options to make your headboard project simple, successful, and tailored to your needs.

Luxurious master bedroom with padded headboard on bed, How To Make A Padded Headboard

How To Make A Padded Headboard

Let's go over the steps in more detail.

Materials Needed

Materials needed for this project can be found around your home and at most fabric and home improvement stores. The materials you will need, depending on the details of your project, include some or all of the following:

  • plywood or MDF board 
  • level
  • saw
  • drill
  • screwdriver
  • screws (anchor screws if hanging headboard on a wall without using studs)
  • clamps
  • staple gun and staples
  • batting fabric and/or
  • foam padding 
  • spray adhesive (if using foam under batting fabric)
  • scissors
  • utility knife
  • the fabric of your choice
  • headboard wall mount (if using this method to hang headboard)
  • flush mount bracket (if using this method to hang headboard)
  • 2" x 4" or 1" x 4" piece of wood (if using either 2" x 4" or 1"x 4" method to hang headboard)
  • mallet (for studded headboards)
  • optional accessories (buttons, trellis wire, or nailhead trim for tufted or studded headboards)

Luxury hotel room setting with bed and pillows

1. Decide on a location

The first step in deciding a location to hang your padded headboard is measuring the available wall space to ensure the headboard will fit as desired. You will also want to consider the layout of the room. Keep in mind that the headboard should sit a couple of inches below the top of the mattress so that wall space will not show between the headboard and the bed. 

Stud placement isn't necessarily a deciding factor when choosing a location; anchored screws provide enough support to hang your headboard pretty much anywhere you want on your walls. 

2. Make a frame

For most padded headboard frames, plywood is a cost-effective and lightweight material. Three-quarter (3/4) inch plywood sheets are recommended, but 1/2-inch sheets or MDF boards are also cost-efficient options. You will need a saw to cut the plywood to the size of the bed and shape you want.

If a tufted version of the padded headboard is your vision, use a pencil to mark your desired design pattern for buttons. Then, use a drill to drill holes in the plywood where your marks are. Pegboards can also be a handy alternative to plywood for pre-drilled holes for a tufted look. 

3. Cover the frame

The front of the frame will be covered in padding, followed by the fabric of your choice. The padding in a padded headboard can be applied to the frame using several layers of batting fabric or foam covered with batting fabric.

Batting fabric should initially be cut with 1-foot of excess material all the way around the frame. Once the edges of all batting layers are wrapped around the frame and temporarily clamped down, cut the excess fabric down to 4- to 5-inches from the frame and staple to the back of the frame. When using layered batting fabric as the sole means of cushion, use at least three layers or three to four batting fabric bags.

Click here to see batting fabric on Amazon.

If you opt for foam under a batting fabric layer, spray adhesive provides the perfect medium for gluing the foam to your plywood. After tracing the wood frame's shape onto the foam, cut foam to the frame's size and glue down. Then wrap the foam covered frame in one layer of batting fabric and secure it to the back of the frame with staples.

Click here to see multi-purpose (including fabric) spray adhesive on Amazon.

After applying the padding of your choice, it is now time to cover your headboard in fabric. It is suggested that you start with the top and bottom edges, ensuring that these are nice and tight (again using clamps) before stapling to the back of your headboard. Once the top and bottom are secured, work on the corners to get them to lay down flat before securing the sides. 

Studded or Tufted headboard

Blue capitone tufted fabric upholstery texture

With the use of some trellis wire and some buttons, you can change the entire look of your padded headboard. Using the pre-drilled holes in your frame, as discussed in earlier steps, thread the trellis wire from the back of your headboard through the padding to the front of the headboard. A decorative button can be placed on the wire before feeding it back through the same hole to the back of the frame again. Tighten the wire to the desired look of creases around the button in front, and secure the trellis wire by twisting and stapling it to the back of the frame.

Click here to see trellis wire on Amazon.

Nailhead trim can be used along with a rubber mallet to create a studded look for your headboard. Use the rubber mallet to hammer in the first nailhead into the corner of your project. Using a ruler and a marker or pen, mark off equal spaces to place the remaining nailheads around the edge of your headboard for a studded look.

Click here to see nailhead trim on Amazon.

4. Hang the headboard

Several methods of hanging a headboard are available, such as headboard wall mounts, flush mount brackets, and the 2" x 4"/1" x 4" method. Let's discuss these options in-depth: 

Headboard wall mount

This method of headboard mounting involves an aluminum bracket, called a headboard wall mount. One bracket is secured to the wall using anchor screws (included), while the other bracket is secured to the headboard frame with regular screws (also included). The two brackets will interlock when the headboard is hung. Using a level to ensure the headboard will be straight is recommended. 

Click here to see a headboard wall mount on Amazon.

Flush mount bracket

Flush mount brackets are another alternative for securing your headboard to the wall. Flush mount brackets come as a set of male and female adaptor parts, and at least two sets are recommended for hanging a headboard. Depending on the size of your headboard, a third set may be necessary.

The male adaptor pieces are secured to the wall with anchor screws. A level is recommended to ensure male adaptor pieces are straight. The female pieces are secured to the back of your frame to interlock with the male adaptor pieces on the wall. When installed properly, flush mount brackets offer a tiny gap between your headboard and the wall. 

Click here to see a flush mount bracket on Amazon.

2" x 4"/1" x 4" method

If ordering hardware is not an option, consider either the 2" x 4" or 1" x 4" methods. Using either a 2" x 4" or 1" x 4" board, cut a 45-degree angle about two-thirds of the way up the 4-inch width of the board. Cut all the way down the length of the board to slice into two long pieces.

The bigger (bottom) portion of the board is screwed into the wall, leaving an angled gap between the top of the board's portion and the wall. The smaller (top) portion of the board is screwed into the headboard, with an angled gap facing down between the bottom of the piece of board and the frame. The two, secured boards will interlock when the headboard is hung, creating a wooden bracket. 

Check out this video tutorial for a look at how to hang your headboard:

What Kind Of Padding Do You Use For A Headboard?

Batting fabric is the most commonly used material for padding a headboard. It can be layered or wrapped over foam fitted to the headboard frame, as discussed above. While three layers of batting are recommended to provide cushion, additional layers will only enhance the look and feel of your headboard. When using foam under a layer of batting, a 1-inch foam is recommended. 

Click here to see 1" foam on Amazon.

How Much Does It Cost To Reupholster A Headboard?

Most experts estimate that the average upholstered headboard project ranges from about $100 to $200, depending on the materials and tools available to you. Individual choices in fabrics and optional accessories will affect the overall cost. Keep in mind, though; high-end upholstered headboards can cost anywhere from $600-$1000 when purchased.

Is It Worth It To Reupholster A Headboard?

Reupholstering a headboard is a cost-effective and easy to do yourself project that can create a unique, personalized look in your bedroom. Most upholstered headboard projects take less than a day to complete and can change the entire look of your room and bed.

Double bed with upholstered headboard

What Are The Best Colors For A Padded Headboard?

The fabric you choose to cover your headboard can reflect your personality and compliment the colors already present in your room or create a bold, contrasting look. While soft, natural colors like taupes and greys can create a calm and cozy look, bright colors like pink or yellow can be a bold contrast to neutral walls.

Bed with quilted headboard

Patterned fabrics can also spruce up a bare wall or a boring room. Flowers, stripes, and geometric designs are popular choices in patterned fabrics.

A neat double bed with lit floor lamps on the nightstands and a geometric pattern on the wall

Please read, 5 Most Relaxing Bedroom Color Combos, to get soothing ideas for your bedroom color scheme.

In Summary

When considering making a padded headboard, there are many factors to consider and options to choose from. Ordering hardware may be necessary for the desired look of your project. While making a padded headboard can be an easy, cost-effective option to update a room or bed, planning your project ahead of time will ensure a smoother, more successful project. 

Check out, Do Beds Need A Headboard [The Answer May Surprise You], for even more stylish decor ideas for your bed.

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