Headboards are a classic feature of a traditional bedroom layout, but not all beds come with headboards. In fact, my own storage bed at home sits flush against the chimney breast without a headboard separating it from the wall.
But a headboard would help create a focal point, add a bit of height, interest and texture to the room. Not to mention that it would actually protect my wall, stopping it from getting scuffed and dirty. I've tried to emulate the look with a collection of carefully curated cushions, arranged to give that coveted headboard look and offer a comfy place to lean, although it's not quite the same.
But speaking to the interior designers, there are a host of tricks that could give me that headboard look in mere moments. Here are 8 of my favorite bedroom looks.
1. Use a room divider for a quick DIY job
I've seen a couple of examples of room dividers used in place of headboards, and it's such a quick and easy trick. Dividers are typically very slim, offering the perfect thickness to sit them flush against the wall. A lot have intricate engravings and detailing, like this example, but even if it is a simple wood divider with no detail, bringing more wood into your bedroom is always a good idea, bringing warmth, a natural look and texture.
'For this look, I needed an affordable, quick solution and repurposing this screen divider was the perfect solution,' explains designer Jenna Sue. 'The carved wood detail gives the appearance of a high end, one-of-a-kind bed that makes a statement in the room.
'When it comes to headboards, you can get really creative and think outside of the box to find something truly unique without spending a fortune.'
Just be careful to get your measurements right, with the room divider look you might not want the divider peeking out either side of your bed frame.
2. Try a simple bolster cushion
The bolster cushion is having a bit of a resurgence at the moment, in fact I've noticed a bed bolster trend for placing them at the head of the bed. Simple and sleek, the basic bolster brings a minimalist bedroom aesthetic which is quite soothing.
Used in lieu of a headboard will add that comfort to the head of your bed, giving you spongy place to lean against. You can use them on the bed, or even mount them on the wall as Los Angeles interior designer Sally Breer has done here.
'For small spaces, a wall mount bolster on a french cleat offers the right amount of cushion to read against without taking a larger footprint in the room.' So it's a space-saving solution too, giving that look and dividing up the wall without taking up too much space.
3. Try wall art instead of a headboard
Go big and bold with your art work hung above the bed for a more personal approach to your DIY headboard.
'For me, using headboards feels too formal,' says Brooklyn-based interior designer at Hovey Design, Porter Hovey. 'They often makes the room feel smaller and the ceiling height shorter since visually it's dividing the room into two parts.
In my apartment, a studio, no headboard allows me to use a large painting that's much more visually appealing and leads the eye up.'
Bedroom wall art in this example also allows the bed to feel like a part of the apartment and you don't lose valuable square footage which is important in a smaller space.
4. Add a panel to the wall above the bed
Try textured wall panelling across the wall in your bedroom for a modern take on headboards. This simple look from Barcelona-based design studio, Bloomint Design brings a focal point to the head of the bed, but isn't overly obtrusive and keeps things feeling calm.
'We designed the made-to-measure panels with local craftsmen,' explains Caroline Savin of Bloomint Design.
'The structure is made of wrought iron and they wove a two color thread on top of it, creating a soft and vivid texture. It takes all the bedroom width and is a great trick for how to make a small bedroom look bigger.'
'It also creates a canvas for the pendant lamps, we like to play with layers and textures, it gives richness to the bedroom.'
While this might not take five minutes, it's a simple project you can easily undertake at home. Get your hands on a wood chipboard and measure it so it measures around the width of your bed, or wider if you like the look of the panelling going across the wall. For a king size that you might have in a master bedroom, the width is 76 inches wide.
Get your hands on some soft foam and glue it to the board, ensuring it has a two inch boarder around each edge. Place your sheet of chosen fabric measuring the same as the soft foam over the top and pull over each side, stapling with a staple gun on the side that will be flush against the wall.
While stapling, make sure you're pulling it taught so it doesn't bunch up, you want clean and smooth edges. Find some lining to cover the back and hide the unsightly wood chip and staples, and it's ready to be mounted!
5. Create the illusion of a headboard with a paint job
Sometimes, creating a headboard look is just about the color and focal point. If you are short on space and designing a small bedroom, why not simply use paint to draw attention to the head of the bed. This will give you the freedom to get creative with any color you like that works for your bedroom color palette, and even play around with shapes.
‘Instead of a typical headboard, you can opt in for a more dramatic and visually engaging feature wall behind the bed. By doing so, you can create an artistic focal point that would elevate the overall design aesthetic of the room,’ says Houston-based designer, Nina Magon.
‘By selecting a simplistic and low-profile bed frame, you can allow the supporting wall to take center stage and infuse the room with a heightened sense of drama and visual interest.’
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Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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