'Waking feeling drained' - bad Feng Shui headboard choices explained

According to Feng Shui, the material, shape, and color of your headboard can have a big impact on sleep

Green bedroom with dark green velvet headboard
(Image credit: Billy Bolton)

How much thought do you give to your headboard? Chances are it's not enough. Even for the more design-conscious among us who spend time agonizing over our bedroom aesthetic, it's rare to spare a thought to how the material, shape, and color impact of our headboard impacts our sleep. For Feng Shui experts, however, these decisions are crucial, and they urge us all to think twice about them. 

The ancient practice of Feng Shui is all about creating a harmonious environment in our homes to promote a happy, peaceful life. 'In traditional Feng Shui there are some fundamental pieces, like our beds, that are important in supporting us and the energy of our space,' explains Laili Kafi Gonzalez, a Feng Shui designer and owner of The Meazured Life. 'Our bedrooms are where we rest and recharge, and so our beds need to be supportive of this.' 

Understandably, our headboard plays a big part in that. If you struggle to drift off, have wild dreams, or regularly experience a broken sleep that causes you to wake up more exhausted than when you went to bed, you might want to rethink your headboard. Even if you doubt its plausibility, Feng Shui-ing your modern bedroom is well worth a try. Here's how to do it. 

Why is a headboard important in Feng Shui?

A fabric headboard

(Image credit: Bradley VanDerStraeten)

There are plenty of rules surrounding bedroom Feng Shui, from choosing the right position for your bed to where to place mirrors. With so much to keep in mind, adding headboards into the equation may seem too much to bear, but experts say it's an element we shouldn't skip. 

That's because headboards serve multiple purposes when it comes to Feng Shui. 'First, it provides support and stability for the sleeper's energy during rest, enhancing a sense of security and comfort,' explains Sylvia Li, an interior designer at Open Spaces Feng Shui. 'Moreover, it acts as a symbolic "mountain" or protective barrier behind the bed, creating a solid foundation for personal growth and relationships. Without a headboard, the energy might disperse, leading to restlessness and instability.' 

As with any Feng Shui principle, this is all linked to the flow of chi (energy) in your space and, apparently, a solid headboard is key to promoting the positive kind. As Laili Kafi Gonzalez of The Meazured Life explains: 'A solid headboard helps to ensure that the energy you are surrounded by when sleeping is solid, grounded, and supportive.'

What headboard style should you choose for a Feng Shui space? 

a burled wood headboard in a new york bedroom

(Image credit: Husband Wife)

With that in mind, how do you choose the right headboard to promote a positive Feng Shui bedroom that helps you to sleep better? According to the experts, the key things to consider are the material, shape, and color. 

'For a Feng Shui space, it's best to choose a headboard that is solid and made of natural materials, such as wood or upholstered fabric,' Sylvia says. 'Wooden headboards are ideal as they represent the wood element, which is associated with growth, vitality, and harmony.' 

It's worth noting that if you have an upholstered headboard, you should ensure that the frame has wood inside (as opposed to foam) so that it's solid. 'The headboard should also have a gentle curve or be rectangular to promote a smooth flow of energy (Qi) around the bed, fostering tranquility and better sleep,' adds Sylvia.

Color is also an important aspect to consider. 'Choosing activating colors like reds, deep pinks, and burnt oranges can contribute to more restless sleep, while deep blues and blacks could contribute to more worry and feelings of overwhelm,' says Laili. 'Think restful - soft neutral, pale, or pastel colors that don’t interfere with your energy as you sleep.'

Which headboard styles should you avoid for a Feng Shui bedroom?

a sage green bedroom headboard

(Image credit: Kris Piotrowski. Design: Whitstable View Interiors)

Wondering if it's worth ditching your headboard completely and buying a new one? Well, you might want to if it's angular, metal, or made of a material that's not solid, such as rattan. 

'It is advisable to avoid headboards with sharp edges or angles, as they create a harsh and aggressive energy that can disrupt the harmony of the sleeping area,' Sylvia notes. 'Headboards made from metal or mirrored materials should also be avoided, as they may cause energetic disturbances and reflection of negative Qi.' 

Don't forget to keep colors in mind so avoid invigorating shades like bright reds, and stay away from any headboards that are woven, flimsy, or have holes. 'They’re not common so it’s usually not a problem, but triangular headboards would be best to avoid, too,' adds Laili. 

This list of considerations might seem fussy, but when the matter in question is a good night's sleep, it's not worth taking a gamble on one that's subpar. Invest in the right headboard and you'll be one step closer to a Feng Shui bedroom - after all, you owe it to yourself. 

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Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.