Why Does My Headboard Lean Forward?

Adding a headboard to your space is a wonderful way to give your bedroom a finished look. However, one of the downsides to this is headboard tilting, which usually seems to happen at the most inopportune moment.

Headboard tilting is simply when the headboard comes forward from the wall towards the mattress. Why is this a problem? Having a headboard that leans forward can be both frustrating and unsightly. There are numerous reasons why this occurs, but generally fixing it in a way that keeps the issue from happening again is best. Keep reading to learn a few of the best options.

Luxurious bedroom with headboard, Why does my headboard lean forward?

Option #1: Check the Bolts on the Frame

Perhaps the most common reason for headboard tilting is the simplest. When the bolts that hold the headboard onto the frame become loose, it can move around instead of remaining securely in place. Thus, causing the headboard to lean forward.

Pull the bed away from the wall and check the bolts for tightness. For optimum results, there should be at least two bolts per leg attached to the bed frame. If there are less than two or the frame still leans forward, it might be a good idea to consider attaching it to the wall.

Option #2: Look at the Sideboards

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Orange glass vase with a tree branch standing on the wooden table next to bed with colorful sheets

If the bolts of the frame seem tight and the headboard is still tilting forward, it might be a good idea to go ahead and look at the sideboards. In some cases, the weight of these pieces and how they fit together can cause the headboard to tilt unevenly.

Check to ensure all of the sideboards are securely in place. Sometimes making adjustments in this area can help alleviate the issue altogether. If everything looks good, you might need to make adjustments elsewhere. But this is usually one of the more common reasons for a headboard that tilts forward.

Option #3: Consider Securing the Headboard to the Wall

To keep a headboard from leaning forward, you can choose to secure the headboard itself to the wall behind it using special hardware called French cleats. In this situation, you’ll want to begin by detaching the headboard from the bed frame altogether.

Begin by using a stud finder to determine where the vertical supports are in the wall behind your bed. Failure to do this can cause drywall problems, which are much more costly and troublesome to repair than a headboard that tilts forward.

Once you’ve found the studs, lean the detached headboard up against the wall and mark pencil lines where you want to install the two French cleats. These should be on the studs and low enough that they cannot be seen when the headboard is attached. The marks should be evenly spaced apart.

Use a power drill and a wood screw to attach the first French cleat to the wall. Repeat with the second one to create a pair. Once this is done, apply two more cleats to the backside of the headboard in coordinating locations using screws.

When you are done, you should be able to adhere the cleats on the headboard to the cleats on the wall to keep it securely in place without any tilting.

Option #4: Add Shims to the Legs

Sometimes, the issue causing your headboard to lean forward has to do with an uneven floor. In this case, you can usually tell by just looking at where the bottom of the headboard meets the ground and whether or not there are any gaps.

While this is more common on hard surfaces than with carpet, it is still pretty common. To help fix the problem, you can use door stops or cabinet shims to stabilize the bottom of the headboard. Often, this should stop the movement and keep the unit securely in place.

There’s no real need to get fancy with this, as the supplies you’ll need can be purchased at your local dollar store or hardware shop. In fact, you might even have just what you’re looking for already at home.

Option #5: Push the Bed Against the Headboard

Modern white bed and pillow in morning mood

The final option is to eliminate the hardware attachment altogether. If the headboard continually leans forward and nothing you’ve tried works to alleviate it, the next step might be to remove the bolts and try one last thing.

Depending on the style of the headboard, you might be able to simply lean it against the wall and push the bed forward to hold it in place. Many designers swear by this option, especially when they are staging a room for sale and don’t intend on the piece to be permanent for a long time.

Furthermore, sometimes this is actually the intended method of use for a headboard, but well-meaning owners have tried other ways of securing it in place. The easiest way to tell? If there are no bracket or bold holes at the bottom of the headboard and just two wood pieces, it was never meant to secure into the bed in the first place.

Common Causes of a Wobbly Headboard

Now that we’ve discussed potential fixes for a headboard that leans forward, it is important to understand the general causes of this issue and how you can keep them from happening again.

The most common reason for loose bolts or a headboard that leans forward is movement. Throughout the night, your tossing and turning causes your bed to move slightly. Add in your kids jumping in bed with you, your dog taking a slumber when you’re away, and pulling the bed out when you’re cleaning, it is no wonder that various parts of your furniture start to get loose.

The other factor? Time and gravity. As we all know way too well, these are two natural factors that we can’t compete against. In many cases, a loose headboard is simply caused by not checking the bolts often enough. If it has been a few years or you can’t remember how long it has been since you’ve tightened them, it might be a good idea to do so as a preventative measure.

Associated Problems of a Headboard That Moves

A king-size luxury hotel bed with four pillows

So, what are a few reasons why you might want to fix a headboard that leans forward or otherwise moves as soon as possible? Well, for starters the whole thing is just annoying while you’re trying to sleep at night.

But the other really large problem is that it is a safety issue, especially if the bed belongs to a child and the headboard is made from solid wood or another material that is heavy. If the headboard slips forward or falls further in the middle of the night, it can cause a pretty serious injury at most or a bump on the head at a minimum. And that’s something nobody wants to deal with.

How to Keep a Headboard from Leaning Against the Wall

In some cases, you might have the opposite problem. Instead of your headboard leaning forward, it could be bumping against the wall. Not only does this create noise that could annoy your family and an apartment neighbor, you’re running the risk of causing paint or sheetrock damage to the wall.

Instead, here is a super easy and inexpensive fix to keep this from happening. Purchase peel-and-stick vinyl rounds meant to keep doors from banging against the wall. Apply three or four of them low on the wall behind where your headboard normally sits, then push the bed back into normal position.

Next time you move around or your headboard starts to tilt against the wall, the vinyl rounds will act as a cushion to prevent sound or wall damage.

Wrap Up: Dealing with a Headboard That Leans Forward

There’s no doubt that dealing with a headboard that leans forward is frustrating. However, by checking the hardware to ensure everything is secure and making a few adjustments, you can keep yours snugly in place without any issues.

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