Your bed is the largest, most important piece of furniture in your bedroom and your headboard is the dramatic statement piece that will highlight your style and bring your look together. For many of us, the headboard is the key design element in our bedrooms and a large investment, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.
The style of headboard you choose will determine the overall look and style of your room’s design. It can be purely decorative or act as a back support for relaxing with a book.
Picking the right headboard begins with how you use your bed. Your lifestyle habits are important so start by thinking about what you need. Do you regularly read or watch television in bed? Are there other strong design elements already in your bedroom? The answers to these questions will all impact your choice, so consider what you need before you begin looking.
To help you along the way and avoid any costly mistakes, our design team have put together everything you need to know to choose a headboard that works for you and reflects your unique sense of style.
You can purchase your headboard as a free-standing piece of furniture or as part of a bed frame – what you decide on will depend on how much storage you need, whether or not you already have a divan frame and how often you like to redecorate. A bedstead is a great fuss-free option for an instantly polished look, while a headboard attached to a divan base is perfect if you may want to redecorate in the future and swap out your headboard.
Divan bases provide support for the mattress and something to attach the headboard to. This is a useful option if you’re short on space in your bedroom and need additional storage – many divan bases can be purchased with drawers underneath, providing valuable storage space for everything from extra bedding to seasonal clothing. If you already have a divan base and are simply shopping for a headboard, measure both the divan and headboard carefully to make sure they will fit.
A bedstead is a traditional bedframe with an attached headboard. Your mattress sits directly within the frame itself rather than on a divan base. The advantage of this set up is it’s easy to create a statement bed; the frame matches the headboard and you can choose dramatic shapes to use as the focal point for your entire design.
The material and finish you choose for your headboard will have a huge impact on your finished design – the right materials will help reinforce your design scheme and create harmony in your bedroom.
Upholstered headboards can quickly transform a relatively simple shape into an elegant and luxurious headboard. Upholstered headboards are the most customisable; you can choose from hundreds of different textiles to create the finish you want, from leather to velvet and linen. This option is highly customisable and versatile enough to fit with any style – a great option if you are working with a unique colour palette or have a very specific look in mind.
Wood is the most common headboard material because it’s durable and affordable. Wooden headboards are perfect for a Chic style for your bedroom, but work just as well with a Luxe styling depending on the shape and finish you choose. Wooden headboards come in dozens of styles, from four poster beds to intricate carvings or simple, clean lines. Wooden headboards can be painted or stained any colour – invest in a good frame made from oak or pine and it will last you decades.
From classic shapes to modern designs, iron headboards are streamlined and versatile and can be ornate and interesting but not too heavy or bulky. These headboards can be painted, but look just as good with their natural finish. Choose from detailed scrollwork or a modern, sleek and straight design.
Next, consider the shape of headboard you want. Take into account your style and whether you’re looking for an understated piece to create a calming space or a bold statement headboard to add drama to your bedroom. Common shapes include:
Panel headboards are made of two or three panels of equal sizes, usually arranged within a rectangular frame. You can choose a simple, straight design or opt for carved or etched designs to add interest to your headboard. Panel headboards are typically made from wood but can also be upholstered.
Perfect for children’s bedrooms and compact spaces, bookcase headboards offer functional storage space in the form of shelves and drawers. This is a great option for storing personal belongings in lieu of a bedside table – you can have the books you read before bed, alarm clock and other accessories all within easy reach.
The curved sleigh style headboard is both classic and elegant. The head and footboards resemble the shape of a sleigh and can add visual interest to a bedroom. You can choose to have headboard wings to create a more structured shape or add detailed carvings and trims to make your sleigh bed even more impactful.
Tufted headboards can be upholstered using a range of fabrics, patterns and colours, from leather to velvet or linen. The tufted effect is created with a series of buttons or firm stitching that creates depth and dimension to the headboard. This style of headboard is usually padded and very comfortable – perfect if you regularly sit in bed to read or watch television.
Don’t forget to consider size and proportion when shopping for your headboard; always choose in the context of the space itself. Consider the wall your bed will be up against and take note of its dimensions – if the headboard is too short it will look small and flimsy, whereas if it’s too large it will dwarf the space. If you have a large wall and high ceilings, consider a dramatic headboard or four poster bed to bring the room into proportion. For smaller rooms, iron headboards or simple panelled frames work well. Think about your own height as well – your headboard should be tall enough so that you can sit comfortably against.