12 Headboard Alternatives for Your Primary Bedroom (2023)

12 Headboard Alternatives for Your Primary Bedroom (1)

The headboard can create a focal point in your bedroom. Depending on its size and style, it can make your room appear large or small, and it can add comfort especially when you want to lean back while reading your favorite book. But headboards can also be expensive which doesn’t sound practical considering how there are plenty of DIY headboard options to turn to.

These headboard alternatives promise to save you money, but you’d have to bank on your creativity and a bit of time and effort. Some options turn the idea of a headboard upside down, some merely replace it with an inexpensive alternative, while others are entirely off the beaten path.

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1. Reclaimed Wood

12 Headboard Alternatives for Your Primary Bedroom (2)

Reclaimed wood make a wonderful alternative to traditional headboards and they are relatively easy to make if you are crafty. However, there are many custom and pre-made options online that come in the standard bed sizes, as well as a variety of finishes and colors.


  • Unconventional looking headboard that can be easily mounted to any bed frame.
  • Easy and cheap to make with upcycled materials.
  • Readily available pre-made.


  • Most designs require mounting to a bed frame or the wall.
  • Both pre-made and custom options may be costly to ship.
  • Homemade versions require some technical skill, time, creativity, and competence with tools.

Custom and pre-made reclaimed wood headboards cost on average $200-$500 plus shipping. I like the idea of gathering wood from local livestock feed shops and using the reclaimed wood to build out a unique and functional piece of art for far less than having one custom built by a stranger.

2. Painted Murals

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Painting or hiring an artist to create a stunning backdrop on the wall behind your bed infuses the room with color and your unique personality.



  • Gives your bedroom a custom look and feel.
  • Simply paint over mural if you move or redecorate.
  • No heavy furniture to assemble or move.


  • Requires artistic talent and some creativity.
  • Hiring an artist can be costly.
  • Not ideal for renters because of landlord and property management restrictions.

The cost associated with painted murals varies from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars depending upon whether an artist is hired or you decide to buy paint and get creative.

3. Curtains and Tapestries

12 Headboard Alternatives for Your Primary Bedroom (4)Source: Etsy

A backdrop of curtains or a decorative tapestry is a fantastic means to decorate the wall at the head of your bed. There are many different fabrics and patterns choose from as well as options for hanging them.


  • Easy to change on a whim.
  • Inexpensive option for any do-it-yourself home decorator.
  • Limitless pattern, color, and fabric options.


  • Curtains and tapestries must be regularly taken down and washed to maintain cleanliness and eliminate dust.
  • Potential for spiders to take up residence.
  • Not the best option for small children as they can become tangled and injure themselves.

Curtain and tapestry based headboard alternatives can be found at any quality home store and cost on average $20-$100 depending on the material, dimensions, and any required mounting hardware.

4. Open Books

12 Headboard Alternatives for Your Primary Bedroom (5)Source: Etsy

If you are looking for something unique, I would recommend the open book headboard. It consists of rows of open books glued and tacked to a wall or sheet of wood.


  • Fairly simple to do yourself with a couple of pre-made options available online.
  • Inexpensive to source materials.
  • Interesting backdrop that also serves to provide reading material.


  • Caution must be used with very old books due to the possibility of mites.
  • Pages can rip or curl and cause an untidy appearance.
  • Heavy and can be difficult to move around.

Books provide a very cheap, unconventional headboard option because they can be bought for pennies and the materials required for making one at home can be easily purchased from a local home improvement store at minimum cost. Expect to spend anywhere from $30-$100 on materials, a pre-made option can be purchased via marketplaces such as Etsy for upwards of $300 plus shipping.

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5. Barn Doors and Window Shutters

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Rustic farmhouse and shabby chic looks are easily done with recycled barn doors and vintage wooden window shutters arranged to create a custom look.


  • Can be mounted to a bed frame or attached directly to a wall.
  • Barn doors and window shutters can be purchased new or recycled from old barns and homes.
  • Durable, long lasting, and easy to maintain.


  • Requires basic technical and carpentry skills.
  • Time consuming project that can take days to complete and can be an expensive pre-made option.
  • Heavy and difficult to move without help.

Barn doors and window shutters rearranged to create a headboard can cost up to and over $500 plus shipping. Expect to pay upwards of $200 for materials and tools to make one yourself.

6. Coastal Theme

12 Headboard Alternatives for Your Primary Bedroom (7)Source: Etsy

Beach cottage looks are one of my absolute favorites and anything beach-specific can be used for achieving the look. You don’t even need to spend a penny for making such a headboard. The best part is you can turn your coastal-themed headboard into an opportunity to display your favorite sports equipment such as paddles or surfboards.


  • Simple, classic décor that ties into any nautical or beach themed space.
  • Abundant supply of new and used materials.


  • Can be heavy so make sure they’re well-mounted against the wall.
  • Can be difficult to thoroughly clean and keep dust free.

If you don’t have any spare canoe paddles to use, you can purchase a set online from $300 to $400.

7. Decorative Wall Paper and Wall Decals

12 Headboard Alternatives for Your Primary Bedroom (8)Source: Houzz

A lovely and versatile way to create alternatives to headboards is to use sections of decorative wall paper or pre-made wall decals.


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  • Available at any quality home design and repair store as well as online.
  • Exceptionally easy to apply.
  • Great for renters and children’s bedrooms.


  • Can look cheap and unattractive if applied carelessly.
  • Requires removal and cannot be painted over for redecoration or moving purposes.
  • Single use application.

Decorative wall paper and decals are inexpensive and come in a wide variety of options. Some look like a real headboard, while others are designed to be unique backdrops ranging in price fr.om $15-$90

8. Shelves

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An underestimated alternative to traditional headboards is the shelving unit. These can be of almost any material and be made by hand or bought pre-made.


  • Readily available online or in any home improvement and décor store.
  • Easy to install and set up.
  • Provides storage solutions for small spaces.


  • Potentially heavy or cumbersome.
  • Delivery and custom built options are costly.
  • Requires technical and carpentry skill to make on your own.

Headboard shelving is a beautiful and functional way to create a custom sleeping space. They range in price from $500-$1000 for a pre or custom made option. They can be made at home with some technical skill, tools, and proper materials. The costs associated with a do-it-yourself project vary greatly based on how materials are sourced.

9. Wood Fencing

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Unique, utilitarian, functional is how I would describe using wood fencing sections for a substitute headboard. These materials are readily available at all home improvement stores.


  • Requires little technical skill.
  • Easy to find materials can be purchased or upcycled from old fencing.
  • Fun project for the whole family.


  • Materials do not fit well inside a traditional car so a borrowed truck is necessary.
  • Requires painting or staining so this adds a couple days of drying time.
  • Completed project may be heavy and difficult to move.

Using fencing for a head board is relatively inexpensive if done on your own with materials ranging in cost from free to over $100. Various pre-made options are available on handicraft sites and the occasional craft fair; they range in price from $80-$300 plus shipping depending on size and complexity of design.

10. Macramé and Area Rugs

12 Headboard Alternatives for Your Primary Bedroom (11)Source: Etsy

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Popular materials that are easy to source and fun to arrange are macramé and area rugs. Macramé consists of beautiful patterns knotted from rope cord and can be made with some degree of technical skill.


  • Easily arranged and put into place.
  • Pre-made options require little technical skill.
  • Perfect for renters or college student dorm rooms.


  • Difficult to keep clean and free from dust.
  • Attractive to spiders and other insects.
  • Rugs and macramé can hold unpleasant odors.

Hanging a decorative rug or macramé design is a unique and beautiful bedroom decor option ranging in price from $30 to well over $400 depending on the source, size, and quality of rug or macramé picked out.

11. Paintings and Wall Art

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I absolutely love a large framed painting hung over a bed in place of a headboard. Paintings can be arranged in an innumerable array of patterns and create the mood for a bedroom.


  • Limitless possibilities and artists to choose from.
  • Paintings can be easily hung and removed.
  • Perfect for teens and dorm room décor.


  • Large or famous paintings are expensive.
  • Some paintings can be heavy and awkward.
  • Environmental considerations must be considered like exposure to direct sunlight and humidity levels negatively affecting the quality and value of the painting.

Paintings and wall art vary in price from less than $100 to well over $1000 depending on the size, quality, and artist chosen.

12. Shadow Boxes

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Funky and functional shadow boxes are perfect for taking up empty wall space above the bed. They hold knickknacks, mementos, photographs and other treasures.


  • Relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online or in a wide variety of home repair and décor stores.
  • Functional and fun to fill.
  • Does not require much in the way of technical skill to hang.


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  • May require some assembly.
  • Potentially bulky and difficult to keep free from dust.
  • Solid wood boxes of large size are quite heavy and require assistance to hang securely.

Shadow boxes have numerous applications as headboard alternatives and bedroom accessories. They are relatively inexpensive, ranging in price from $20 to well over $100 for a custom built option.


Is it OK to have a bed without a headboard? ›

A headboard is an optional part of your bed, so it's completely fine to go without. Most people today consider headboards a decorative piece of furniture, even though there are other uses for them.

Can you use a picture as a headboard? ›

If you don't have a headboard, don't worry – you can create one with pictures. It can be a temporary solution if you'll be moving or adding a headboard later. Or, you might just like it so much that you'll decide to keep it that way. It's also stylish and inexpensive.

What are beds without headboards called? ›

While more traditional platform beds feature a sleek, minimalistic look – sans headboard or footboard – modern platform beds today incorporate a variety of style and design features (including both headboards and footboards).

How can I make my bedroom more attractive? ›

12 Ways to Make Your Bedroom Sexier, According to—Who Else? —a Sex Therapist
  1. Hide The Tv. ...
  2. Organize The Cords. ...
  3. Keep Work Separate. ...
  4. Turn Down Those Lights. ...
  5. Light The Candles. ...
  6. Paint An Accent Wall. ...
  7. Invest In Good Sheets. ...
  8. Upgrade Your Pillows.
13 May 2020

How can I make my bed look good without a bed frame? ›

Hanging a quilt, painting or even a striking throw rug on the wall above your bed for a punch of color makes it easy to forget your bed lacks a frame. If space allows, create a reading corner with a comfy chair, side table and lamp, or relax on a love seat or fainting couch placed at the foot of your bed.

What's the point of a headboard? ›

A headboard gives support to your bed, but most importantly it protects your wall against abrasion. As well as a headboard's practical uses, a headboard can also give your bedroom a very personal touch.

Can you use a body pillow as a headboard? ›

No, you cannot use large pillows or body pillows instead of a headboard as a functional “headboard” while you're sleeping, because pillows are not designed to be firm and unyielding — they are fluffy and can be compressed (unlike a headboard).

Do beds have to face the door? ›

Positioning your bed in line with the door is the worst possible position, according to the principles of Feng shui. People who practice Feng shui call it the 'dead man's position' or the 'coffin position' because the feet or head face the door and resemble how we carry the dead through open doors from the house.

Should you put pictures above your bed? ›

Artwork is a good idea in almost any open space, and above the bed is no exception. If you have the space, consider a large square statement piece or a long, horizontal piece to make an impact and create a focal point. For tips on hanging artwork correctly, read our full run-down here.

Should you hang a picture above a bed? ›

By nature of the space, the wall above your bed will likely be bare. So, there is no reason you should not hang pictures above your bed. In fact, this is a great way to display some of your collection in an interesting and stylish way, elevating the feel of your bedrooms or your guest room.

Does a headboard make a room look bigger? ›

Make the room look bigger

Speaking of saving space on the floor, utilizing your headboard for attached nightstands makes the space look bigger. Anything you can do to reduce the bulk of furniture gives a lighter visual weight to a room.

Can I make a headboard out of plywood? ›

We recommend you use CDX or ACX plywood. Regardless of which you choose, make sure it's a flat piece. Your local Dunn Lumber yard will let you hand-pick your plywood. We made a king headboard, so we had ours cut to 78" x 35." You can customize this headboard to your heart's desire.

How high should a bed be for an elderly person? ›

Ideal Bed Height for Elderly People

But a rough ballpark figure for safe bed height is between 18” to 23”; approximately the same height as a chair.

What is a floating rail bed? ›

A floating bed is a bed frame that gives the appearance of not being supported by traditional wooden or metal legs. The legs seem invisible as they are usually closer to the center of the frame. Floating beds have a modern design and may appeal to those looking to furnish a smaller bedroom space.

What is a hidden bed in the wall called? ›

A Murphy bed (in North America), also called a wall bed, pull down bed, fold-down bed, or hidden bed, is a bed that is hinged at one end to store vertically against the wall, or inside of a closet or cabinet.

How can I make my bed look luxurious on a budget? ›

“One easy way to make your bed more luxurious is to purchase all-white bedding with lots of layering,” he says, “If your goal is to turn your bed into a luxury hotel heaven, try layering a plush mattress pad, buttery bamboo sheets, a thick comforter, soft duvet cover, and lots of pillows.

How can I make my bed feel like a hotel room? ›

  1. Stick to white linens.
  2. Always go with the highest thread count possible.
  3. Don't use a fitted sheet.
  4. Use a down comforter with a cotton duvet.
  5. More is more when it comes to pillows.
  6. Go with a featherbed.
  7. Sleep on a quality mattress.
  8. Warm up your lighting.
15 Sept 2017

Is it OK to have bed on floor? ›

Keeping a mattress on the floor can result in unwanted moisture issues, which can lead to mold and mildew. To counter this, it's wise to periodically prop your mattress up against the wall to allow it to air out. Whenever you move your bed, be sure to check for signs of moisture, excessive dust, and bugs.

Are headboards outdated? ›

Short answer is: no, headboards are far from outdated. They've got a long lifespan and will have a place in our homes for years to come. From a stylistic perspective, it all comes down to the look and feel you want to have in your room and choosing a headboard that compliments your vision.

Do people use headboards anymore? ›

Most headboards and footboards today are often more of a decorative piece of furniture that enhances the overall aesthetic of a bedroom. A stylish headboard can make an entire bedroom seem cozier and more comfortable than just a bare wall.

What is a floating headboard? ›

A floating headboard, also known as a hanger headboard, is a headboard that is mounted on the wall at the head of your mattress instead of being attached to your bed frame. They add no stability to the bed itself, but create a beautiful accent with little to no hassle.

Can I use curtains as a headboard? ›

Quilts and curtains don't have to go on beds or cover windows, in a pinch, you can use either to make a textile headboard. Add a curtain rod that spans the width of the bed to the wall just below the ceiling if you want your curtain or quilt headboard to cover the wall.

Can you use a door as a headboard? ›

Most doors will work very well for a headboard for a king or queen sized bed. A king bed is 76″ wide, a California king is 72″ wide and a queen is 60″ wide. Doors typically measure 80″ in height so for a king it's likely you won't even have to cut the door.

Why should you not put your bed by a window? ›

It can make you feel more vulnerable as glass is not as solid as a wall. The sunlight can intrude on restful sleep as it is brighter near the window. The temperature is more varied next to the window. Feng shui bed placement principals warn against it because it leads to a loss of positive energy.

Why should your bed not be under a window? ›

Feng Shui rules warn against placing your bed under a window as it is believed that energy flows out of the room through these openings. Leaving a bed in the flow of these energies could result in a restless sleep and prevent you from having a Feng Shui bedroom that increases luck.

Should a bed be under a window? ›

Most people avoid the bed under the window at all costs. Further, feng shui rules warn against it as too much energy flows out of the room causing restless sleep. Even traditional designers discourage the positioning of a bed in front of the windows.

What should face your bed? ›

To achieve balance, your head should point southward while you sleep, in line with the Earth's electromagnetic pull. Ideally, your entire bedroom would be oriented south as well.

Which picture should be kept in bedroom? ›

Family Photographs

Vastu for photos in the bedroom suggests keeping family photographs on the southwest wall of your bedroom. Doing this will help strengthen family relationships. You should avoid keeping pictures of your family in the north or east corner of the bedroom.

Should pictures be centered over furniture or wall? ›

When hanging your pictures, always hang them in relation to the furniture sitting below. With your couch off-centered on the wall, focus on hanging your painting centered above the couch to create a great focal point for your living room.

Where should you not hang pictures? ›

Avoid hanging art in direct sunlight to prevent damage to the artwork. Artwork should be properly lit, but avoid using Earth's most abundant light source—sunlight. Direct sunlight can lead to irreparable damage. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause artwork to fade, crack, or warp.

Should a bed always be against the wall? ›

Most experts that a bed should be at least 24 inches away from a wall. Following this measurement creates breathing room, makes space for a headboard, and reduces the chances of the bed scuffing or running into the wall.

What colors make a room look bigger and brighter? ›

Lighter paint colors like off-whites, light neutrals, pales, and pastels give the illusion of larger, brighter rooms.

What color makes rooms appear larger? ›

So, what colors make a room look bigger? For an optimum effect, go with soft tones like off-white, blues, and greens, and always remember that brighter rooms feel bigger and more inviting. And here's another hack: Try painting your wall trim and moldings in a lighter color than your walls.

What can I substitute for a bed frame? ›

Milk crates or reclaimed wood pallets can also serve as a DIY bed frame. These modern beds can work for a range of styles, from rustic to boho. For a twin bed, you'll need two standard-sized pallets, while a double or queen bed requires four.

Why is a headboard necessary? ›

A headboard gives support to your bed, but most importantly it protects your wall against abrasion. As well as a headboard's practical uses, a headboard can also give your bedroom a very personal touch.

What's the thing called that hangs above your bed? ›

Canopy: A framed rooflike structure suspended over a bed by the bed rails. Casters: Wheels attached to a bedpost or feet.

How do you make a free standing headboard? ›

Freestanding headboards can be supported by attaching them to the bed frame or by attaching them to the wall. Some headboards can stand alone without any support between the wall and the bed, but they need to have a depth to them that will allow them to stand without tipping.

Can you use pillows instead of a headboard? ›

No, you cannot use large pillows or body pillows instead of a headboard as a functional “headboard” while you're sleeping, because pillows are not designed to be firm and unyielding — they are fluffy and can be compressed (unlike a headboard).

How can I sleep without a bed frame? ›

A wooden board under mattress could be helpful. You could also use a mat or layers of mats to give a little extra height. A platform base could be a solution if you don't want to sleep without a bed frame.

Should you put your bed against the wall? ›

Most experts that a bed should be at least 24 inches away from a wall. Following this measurement creates breathing room, makes space for a headboard, and reduces the chances of the bed scuffing or running into the wall.

Are wood headboards out of style? ›

Classic look: Wood bed frames have been around as long as we can remember — and for good reason. The look of clean, natural wood never goes out of style, so it's the perfect option for those who want to balance aesthetic and practicality.


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