20 Things You Can Use Instead Of a Headboard

Things You Can Use Instead Of a Headboard

Headboards can be a fun and decorative addition to any bedroom. They are also functional, giving you something to lean against when reading in bed or watching TV. But sometimes, it is not easy or possible to buy, fabricate, or build one of these. 

In such cases, you need suitable alternatives. This post contains 20 items that can replace your headboard, from bookshelves to bed frames with dressers underneath them. These alternatives will give your bedroom an innovative look without the headache! Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Shelving or Bookshelf as a Headboard

Shelving or bookshelves can add to the decor of the room and be used for storage as well! It is also easy to install some shelves with brackets on your wall if you don’t have any furniture sitting around that could work.

So how do you use shelving or bookshelves as a headboard? Use them in a way that suits your needs! Place the bed towards the side of the room and have it lean against one or more shelves for support. Alternatively, place the shelves on either end of your mattress, so they act as headboard posts; from there, you can use decorative items to create a beautiful design above when looking at it from both sides.

To improve the aesthetic appeal of the shelves, you can hang pictures, posters, or other items that are important to your life. Other items that will improve the layout include:

  • Knick-knacks
  • A dream catcher
  • Mirrored artwork to reflect light.

For this look, it’s important to use shelves on either side of your bed instead of directly above it. Be sure not to place too many items on these to prevent the shelves or items from falling on you when you’re asleep.

Neutral Wall with a Statement Art Piece Placed Above the Bed

You don’t have to add a headboard, but if you want to give your bedroom some character, a statement art piece above the bed is a great way to do it. Don’t go for the first art piece you come across. 

Choose one that reflects your personality. Some of the things to consider when choosing an art piece include the style, theme, and size of your wall. Alternatively, you can use a textile piece in place of a headboard. Choose a tapestry that matches the interior décor of your bedroom and a design that’s stunning enough to be the focal point of your bedroom.

Source: One Kindesign


Mirrors also work perfectly as headboard alternatives. You can place the mirrors on the wall or hung them from a ceiling to give your bedroom an extra pop. To give a headboard illusion, you’ll want to use mirrors that are taller than the bed. 

Make sure they’re not too big and overwhelming, though – you want them to fit nicely with the rest of your decor without drawing too much attention to themselves. Some of the best mirrors to use are rectangle, round or oval.

Create an Accent Wall

An accent wall is also an excellent headboard alternative. You have several options here. You can choose to paint the wall a single color, or do an accent wall with two colors. The latter option is best if your room has multiple windows, so it’s more light-filled and brighter. 

Alternatively, consider using family pictures or a vintage map of your hometown to create a collage. Again positioning is everything if you want to create the illusion of a headboard. It’s best to ensure the designs you choose are the length of the bed for the best results.

Place Your Bed Below a Window

Another great headboard idea is to place your bed below a window. Doing this may require you to reconfigure your room’s layout, but it can be well worth the change.  However, we would only recommend this headboard alternative if your room layout already allows you to have the bed there. This way, you won’t invest much into renovations and changing the room layout.

Open windows are a great way to add light and fresh air to a bedroom while also giving an overall impression of openness that may not have been possible with traditional headboards. Besides, you can add decorative elements like fairy lights to the windows to improve the overall aesthetic appeal.

DIY Dream Catcher

Another great headboard idea is to make a DIY dream catcher. This is an excellent option because it’s simple and can be customized to your particular area. It doesn’t need to hang high up on the wall, either – so you don’t have to worry about hammers or ladders! 

To create your dream catcher, you’ll need a few items, including a wire coat hanger, string or yarn, scissors, and a wooden dowel. Don’t be afraid to play around with the designs. After all, you’re going to be looking at it for a long time!

This DIY headboard idea is not only easy on the wallet but can also help you create something that’s uniquely yours. If you prefer some sort of traditional decorating and don’t want to take on this project, then consider using old mirrors in your home as decorative headboards. 

Mural or Wallpaper

Murals and wallpaper are also great headboard alternatives. These two are excellent options for several reasons. For starters, both give your bedroom an instant makeover. They also add texture and depth to a room that often looks pretty flat on the wall with just paint. You can play around with the designs, which means you can create something one-of-a-kind! 

That’s not all. You have the freedom to change the mural or wallpaper whenever you feel like it. Most importantly, it’s a low-budget project, so you don’t have to worry about investing too much on the project then having to move and leave it there. 

Non-Functioning Fireplace

A non-functioning fireplace is another excellent headboard alternative. To use a non-functioning fireplace as a headboard, you’ll need to remove the grates and create a faux headboard behind it. You can do this by using plywood, cinder blocks, or even picture frames. 

The inside of your fireplace should be painted with flat black paint before any other decorating efforts are made so there is no chance for color mismatch in relation to colors on the wall. 

Apart from this, choose a bed that fits well with the size of your fireplace. It may also be a good idea to add decorative items like faux flowers, candles, or even a small mirror to improve the overall aesthetic appeal of the room.

A Fun DIY Project

Fun DIY projects will also not disappoint. You have several options here.  For instance, you can turn an old dresser into a bed headboard. Simply paint it in your favorite color and then add fun stencils or decals to the front of each drawer. 

Another option is to get old mirrors and hang them on the wall. Buy some decorative picture frames and attach one to each side of a mirror. Add different photographs or family photos until you find something that matches your style best!

You could also use an old tire as a headboard alternative. This is very chic, especially if two tires are stacked up high with large mirrors attached to the front. However, ensure you choose small -sized tires because it would not work well if they are too big.

You could also use an old fence to create a headboard alternative. Simply attach the two rails and lay it down on its side, ensuring that you leave about six inches of space in between for your mattress or box spring to fit comfortably! 

Duvet Cover-Turned-Headboard

You’re probably curious about how this would work. But yes, your trusty duvet cover can serve as an excellent headboard alternative. To create a headboard using a duvet cover, you can either attach it to the wall with a rod or put it on hinges. Alternatively, you can pin the duvet cover on the wall with decorative pins. Attaching the duvet to a piece of vinyl also works. 

For even better results, consider coloring the walls in a color that complements the prints you have on the duvet cover to elevate the look further. Don’t use the same duvet fabric on your bed because the patterns may be too overpowering and take away from what you’re trying to achieve. 

If the fabric you’re using as a headboard has numerous prints, a single-colored duvet cover for your bed would be the best option.

Bright Half-Circle

If you have bare walls and you’d like to create an illusion of a headboard, consider drawing a bright half circle on the wall. To do this, use a pencil or pen to draw an arc that starts on the floor and goes up halfway into the wall. Use your head as a guide for where you should start drawing, making sure to place it about one inch from the baseboard.

Then fill in with paint, plaster, wallpaper, paper mache – anything will work! This is a perfect set up for a bedroom that’s lacking a headboard but has an existing bed canopy. Choose colors that complement your interior décor and pay attention to the colors on your bed. The last thing you need is to create a design that overpowers your décor and makes it impossible to add other colors to the room.

Geometric Shapes

Geometric shapes work perfectly if you want to create the illusion of a headboard. Start by painting a wall with geometric shapes using an accent color. Choose a color that complements the rest of the wall colors in the room without overpowering anything you have in the room. 

Once the paint dries, paint it again in another color so that the two colors blend together to form one large shape on the wall. If you don’t want to use paint, there’s an alternative. You can take a large sheet of cardstock in the same colors and glue it to the wall. 

Cardboard will also work for this project. To use cardboard, cut out a shape and glue it to the wall. It’s also a good idea to use different colors for the cardboard cutouts you make to achieve a stunning look. CDs are also an excellent option for this project.

Source: Apartment Therapy

Repurposed Serving Platters

Repurposed serving platters are also great headboard alternatives. You can choose any material from wood to metal and paint them as desired. To achieve a stunning look, use a light color to paint the front of your platter, and then apply a dark wash over that. 

Finish by adding different types of stencils on top to create an abstract design for the headboard. Large serving platters are the best for this project because they are usually longer and can reach the height of a bed.


Do you have old doors lying around your home? These can serve as headboards. To use a door as a headboard, prop it up on one side, and nail a piece of plywood to the door’s back. Then paint or stain it with your desired color before mounting it onto the wall. If you prefer not to mount it, you can screw the door to a wall stud. Alternatively, you can also use two doors placed together back to back and one long piece of plywood for support if you have nothing to hold the doors in place. 

When choosing the paint, it’s best to choose a color that matches the rest of the furniture in your bedroom because the headboard will be the focal point of your room, and you don’t want it clashing with the rest of the furniture. Alternatively, you can use an accent color that blends well with the rest of the colors.

Wall Decals

Another simple headboard alternative is wall decals. These are easy to apply and give a great, temporary look. You have several options here. For starters, you can choose fun quotes for the space. Choose quotes that are specifically about the bedroom so that you have a beautiful reminder of your stay with each glance.

 For instance, if you share the room with your partner, choose a quote that says, “I cannot tell you what the day has in store for us. All I know is to enjoy today,” or if your bedroom is more of an oasis, choose quotes like “be here now” and “a clean space makes me happy.”

Other options for wall decals are to use silhouettes or images from popular TV shows, series, and movies. There is something for everyone!

Wood Fencing

Wood fencing is an excellent option if you prefer rustic-looking headboards. There are many styles and colors of wood fencing that you can choose from. Besides, they’re readily available in most home improvement stores. Look for unfinished fence panels or picket fences to make your own design! 

Other advantages of using wood fencing include: 

  • They’re inexpensive, 
  • Lightweight 
  • Easy to install 
  • Available in many finishes.

Metal fencing is another popular choice for headboard alternatives because of its durability. Besides, there are many metal colors that you can choose from. However, we’d recommend wood instead of metal because metal is quite heavy and may not be the best material to place over your bed.

Window Shutters

Window shutters are also an excellent headboard alternative. You can arrange window shutters to create a custom look. To do this, hang them in a horizontal row and stagger the lengths so that each shutter is slightly shorter than the one above it.

If you do not want to spend money on window shutters, you can also use any other type of wood for this project. Pallets are especially popular because they offer an industrial look without the need for sanding or painting. Consider painting the shutters to match your room’s color scheme.

Board and batten shutters are another option for a headboard alternative that will blend in with any decor style. For this project, you need to measure the height of your bed, then cut boards and attach them horizontally across the top edge. You can use wood filler between each board or leave gaps so that you can get a flawless finish.

Shadow Boxes

Shadow boxes will also serve well as a headboard alternative. You can use a large shadow box or build one in the wall. To do this, measure and mark the desired size. Next, cut out a hole for your headboard. Place it on the wall where you want it to be located, then trace around its edges with a pencil or pen so that you can see what needs to be covered up in order to make it fit perfectly.

To improve the aesthetic appeal of the headboard, consider adding some decorative elements such as knick-knacks, framed pictures, or a painting.

Macramé and Area Rugs

Macramé headboards are perfect for those who want to create a headboard using their own skills and materials, or just don’t have any headboard material lying around the house. Area rugs can be used as headboards by simply attaching them to the wall with some nails. 

Another way is to lay out the rugs on vinyl or plywood for a sturdy finish if you don’t wish to have them permanently on the wall. This is an excellent alternative if you live in a rental apartment because you can take it with you whenever you move. Besides, these headboards are usually very inexpensive and easy to make.

Open Books

Next up, we have open books as headboards. This is a great idea because it’s not only easy to find headboard-sized books, but it’s also a great way for you to display your library of novels. Not to mention, it’s a great way to make headboards that go with any style. Furthermore, it’s a relatively inexpensive project to take on, especially if you have a ton of books lying around.

To create a headboard using open books:

  • You need to find headboard-sized books.  Typically headboards are about four feet tall, so you may want to search for books that measure seven inches thick or higher. 
  • You’ll also need some type of saw (a jigsaw works well) and a drill with an assortment of bits. 


Follow the steps below to create your open book headboard:

  • Gather your headboard-sized books 
  • Cut the pages out of each book using your saw, so you’re left with just one long strip of paper that’s about five to six feet high. You’ll need an even number of papers for a uniform look. Next, drill a hole in the top of each headboard-sized board, and then tie your strip of paper to it. 
  • You can apply some glue on the backside of headboards before attaching them to the wall if you want that extra stability. You’ll also need something like ribbon or string at this point so you can secure the headboard to the wall.

How Do You Make a Homemade Headboard? 

Whether you are working on an old bed or building one from scratch, a headboard is a great way to give your bed the look and feel of a luxurious hotel room. If you don’t want to consider the options above, you have the option of making a headboard from scratch. Here’s how to go about it.

What You’ll Need

The items you’ll need will depend on the type of headboard you’re making. If you’re going for a leather tufted headboard, for instance, you’ll need leather and buttons to create the tufted look, among other things. For a standard headboard without all the bells and whistles, you’ll need:

  • A sheet of plywood cut to the size of your mattress 
  • Lumber – 3/4″x3″ (2’x8′) for the headboard rails, 1.5″x1.5″ (2’x4′) for the slats 
  • Wood screws and a drill with screwdriver bits 
  • Foam
  • Utility knife
  • Nails or staples depending on what type of plywood you are using 
  • Wood glue 
  • Paint or stain
  • Rubber mallet
  • Staple gun
  • Clamps


  1. Cut the plywood sheet to size and set it near your work area.
  2. Lay the foam on the floor and then place the wood over it. Trace the outline of the board onto the foam and then cut the layout using a utility knife.
  3. Repeat the previous step with the batting, making sure to add a few inches on each side. This will allow you to pull the batting over the edge of the plywood when you secure it.
  4. Adhere the foam and plywood with adhesive and leave it to dry.
  5. Next, center the batting on top of the foam. Afterward, flip the headboard over, ensuring the batting is on the floor. 
  6. Afterward, attach to the backside of the plywood with the staple gun, pulling it tightly as you go.
  7. Flip the headboard over again so that it’s right-side up. If your fabric has any wrinkles, iron it. Washing the fabric and hanging it out will also get rid of the wrinkles if it’s not safe to iron it. 
  8. After getting rid of the wrinkles, center the fabric over the headboard, using clamps to hold it in place, if necessary. Flip the headboard back so that the fabric is on the floor.
  9. Starting at the top center and pulling tightly as you go, staple the fabric to the wood. When you reach the corners, fold the fabric neatly, as you would a wrapping paper. Once the entire headboard is covered, trim any excess fabric for a neat finish.
  10. Flip the headboard right-side up again. Line up the nailhead trim in a straight line, starting from the bottom of one side and working your way up. Tap in the nail heads with the mallet.
  11. Screw two D-rings to the back of the plywood to help attach your headboard to the wall and hang them from screws or hooks in your wall.

Note: If you’re not using fabric, the only thing you’ll need to do is to cut your wood, prep it, add any decorative elements if you wish to do so, and use the paint or stain to achieve the color you want. This is a simpler alternative if you don’t want an involving project.

Source:  This Old House

Now Go

As you can see, there are plenty of other options available to you besides a traditional headboard. Some of our top choices include artwork, a mirror, and an area rug. These headboard alternatives are easy to install, and you don’t have to spend a fortune on the project. Besides, you can repurpose some of the things you don’t use in your home, which is a win-win in our books.

What do you think? Which project are you excited to try out? Are you considering making a homemade headboard instead? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

Related Posts