DIY Headboard

Hi Everyone,

So we've been posting about our staircase overhaul lately, and wanted to take a bit of a break from that to tell you about one of the many other projects we've been working on.

In the midst of the dust, paint and everything else going on around here, we had a headboard sitting around for months that we had been meaning to upholster. Honestly I think anyone who has been to our house in the last year and come upstairs, has seen that wooden headboard sitting in one of our spare rooms just waiting to be madeover.

The main reason why it took us so long, was because we were waiting for just the right fabric to come along. Designer rule #1, always pick your fabrics first and design your room around them. Well, we may have gone against that rule with this room. We found some chairs that we loved, used the fabric on those chairs to pick our paint colours and everything else for the room, however this made it difficult when we needed to pick a headboard fabric. We wanted this fabric to tie everything together- the paint colours, drapes, furniture, floors, etc. Yes, we know that was expecting a lot, but guess what?! We found it! One day we were checking out the Tonic Living site for some fabric for another project and came across this fabric: "Fleur, Summer":

This fabric perfectly combined the teals, whites, greys and brown in our floors together.
So we started with a plain wood headboard, which I thought I had taken a picture of to start, but apparently did not (oops!). We bought the headboard off Kijiji thinking we would paint it if the upholstering didn't work out, since we liked the shape of it.
Once we found the fabric, it was actually a lot easier to do that we thought.
Here is a list of supplies that you'll need:
- Old headboard OR piece of plywood cut to the shape and size you want
- Fabric (we bought 3 yards just in case, but only really used 2 and a bit)
- 2 inch thick foam (enough to cover your headboard plus a bit of extra)
- Batting (enough to cover your headboard)
- Hammer
- Spray glue
- Staple gun
- Marker or pen
- Utility knife and scissors
- Dust mask
- Iron
- Optional: Nailhead trim- we got ours from Lee Valley Tools here
- Mounting hardware
The first step you want to take, is to iron your fabric and set it aside. You want to make sure its wrinkle free when you place it on the headboard for attaching.
I would then suggest placing your foam on the floor and tracing out the shape of your headboard onto it. Then cut out your foam shape and trace the shape again, but move in 2 inches from the edge all the way around. So the shape you end up with, will give you a boarder of 2 inches all the way. This is really only necessary if you plan on adding the nailhead detail. If you're not adding that, then skip the second part of this step.
You then want to spray the foam with the glue (use a mask) and attach the foam to your headboard.
Place your batting on the floor and set the headboard on top (face down). You now want to stretch the batting all the way around and staple it tight. Make sure you pull it around to the back and staple into the back of the headboard all the way around. Cut any excess batting from the back of the headboard.
Next step is to carefully set your fabric on the floor face down (make sure its clean first!) and then set your headboard on top, again face down. Staple your fabric onto the headboard again pulling it tight as you go all the way around. Cut away any of the excess fabric and use a glue gun to glue any other excess fabric to the back of the headboard.
Lastly you will want to attach your nailhead trim (if doing so). Simply place the trim on the headboard and use the edge of your foam as your guide (you will feel it through the fabric and there will be a noticeable space where you edge your trim up against). The way it works, is that every 5th nail or so, they provide you with a tack you will actually have to hammer in, so you will not need to hammer in each and every nail.
You're done! You'll want to mount your headboard to the wall using whichever method your prefer (brackets, etc), but make sure the hardware you use can support the weight of your headboard. We chose to use the OOK Hangman 200 lb. French Cleat Picture Hanger from Home Depot, which worked out really well for us.
We found this tutorial from The Marilyn Denis Show really helpful as well.
Here is our finished product:
The nailhead trim turned out a lot better than I expected it to:
We also chose to mount it slight up from the top of the bed, based on the height of the headboard itself:
We also wanted to make sure the top of the headboard was close to the same height as our bedside table lamps:

For us, this seemed to be a good height for the room and wasn't too far up from the top of the bed. Plus, its not noticable from the front, once the pillows are on the bed and everything is all made up.

We're really happy with how it turned out and think it really helps to finish off the bed in this space:

And a sneak peek of the headboard in our finished bedroom (which we'll also be posting about soon!)

Here's the cost breakdown:
Solid wood headboard: $50.00 (purchased from Kijiji)
Fabric: $60 (3 yards purchased at $30/yard, but only 2 yards used)
Nailhead trim: $15 (4 bags at $5.00 each, only used 3)
Foam: $10.00
Batting: Had on hand (free!)
Mounting Hardware: $15.00
Total Cost: $150.00 (approx)
Definitely a cost savings in our books...since most of the headboards we've seen have been at least $200+. You could still cost costs by using a piece of plywood or wood on hand, going with a less expensive fabric and cutting out the nailhead detail if you choose.
Headboard: Kijiji
Fabric: Tonic Living
Nailhead trim: Lee Valley Tools
Batting: my mom's closet :)
Mounting Hardware: Home Depot
Have any of you upholstered anything lately? Have you used nailhead trim? If so, we'd love to hear how it worked out for you! Its almost Friday everyone! Happy weekend :)
Melissa and Ian


  1. Going to start the studding on my chair soon. John is teaching me. Can't wait.

  2. Beautiful color combo's! And I love the floral pattern...

  3. I need to create some kind of headboard for my son's room. He switched rooms and the headboard he used to use doesn't fit under the eave of his new room. He says his pillows fall back between the bed and the wall all the time. :(

    I love Tonic Living's fabrics. The one you chose is really lovely. And the nailhead trim is a great add.

    By the way, I am staring at the same turquoise lamp right now at my house. Mine is in my living room. Did you get it at HomeGoods? I did! I don't know why some lamps can be so expensive and others that are just as cute can be sold for super reasonable prices.

    1. Thanks Hollie! I hope you can find a new headboard that works in his new space.

      Our lamps were from HomeSense (same as HomeGoods but in Canada),but it was over a year ago that we got them. It wouldn't surprise me to see them there again though! Goodluck!

  4. this looks so good!! and the light fixture you have is beautiful.

    1. Thank you! The fixture is from HomeSense...always great finds there!


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