Headboards and Adjustable Bed Guide

Headboards and Adjustable Bed

An adjustable bed is a bed frame that is hinged in several places and powered by motors that allow the segments of the bed to be raised and lowered for maximum comfort for the sleeper. This type of bed is becoming increasingly popular because it aids with nighttime breathing and decreases back pain and heartburn symptoms. Any type of soft, flexible mattress can be used on top of the adjustable bed frame.

Adjustable beds can be used with nearly any headboard. This means that bedroom design style does not have to be sacrificed when choosing an adjustable bed for comfort and therapy. The adjustable bed base needs to be fitted with either a bolt-on bracket or a slot bracket to pair to any headboard.

Most adjustable bed manufacturers have a selection of headboards that are specially designed to pair with the adjustable bed frame. Other manufacturers sell an additional kit that can be purchased and installed on the adjustable bed frame to allow it to pair with a headboard. This guide will take a look at various options for pairing adjustable beds with headboards.

Headboard and Frame for an Adjustable Bed Base

One advantageous option is to buy a complete headboard and bed frame that will fit around the outside of the adjustable bed base. This allows buyers to purchase a complete bed set that works with the style of the room. There is no need to sacrifice the luxe appearance of a well-appointed bedroom to accommodate an adjustable bed.

The adjustable bed base is inserted into a standard bed frame of the same size. The slats are removed, and then the base can be hidden inside the headboard, footboard, and side rails of a regular bed frame. This will not work with a platform bed frame with a solid base, such as one with drawers.

This option is the best option of all because it allows adjustable bed buyers to save money by using their current bed frame. It simply must be a bed frame that is the same size, i.e. a queen size bed frame for a queen size adjustable bed base, and it must not be a platform style bed frame. 

  • A platform-style bed frame raises the entire mattress on a single sheet of plywood or similar material. This creates a solid raised surface that supports the entire mattress.
  • A platform-style bed frame often includes pull-out storage drawers inside the space that is created under the mattress.
  • A platform-style bed frame usually sits flat on the floor around all sides. It does not have legs. 
  • A platform-style bed frame will not work because the adjustable bed needs the space underneath for the legs, motors, wire harnesses, and to accommodate the various bed joints as they adjust up and down. 

Conversely, a regular bed frame is made of a headboard and footboard that are joined together by two rails that run perpendicular to both and join them together. They most typically join together with slot brackets on the ends of the side rails that slip into slots that are cut into the headboard and footboard. Occasionally beds are instead made with bolt-on brackets to join the side rails to the headboard and footboard.

The regular bed frame will have slats that sit flat inside the side rails and create a surface to hold the box spring and mattress of the bed. When retrofitting to accommodate an adjustable bed, these slats are removed and the adjustable bed is inserted. Once the adjustable frame is inserted, mattresses are placed, and bedding is put in place, the adjustable bed frame is completely hidden.

Finally, for those who are shopping for a brand new bed, this knowledge allows them to purchase a beautiful bed frame that will harmonize with the bed furnishing and also purchase the perfect adjustable bed base that allows them to get a great night’s sleep. Buyers should always take measurements before purchase. Double-check that the finished size of the adjustable bed is smaller than the interior space of the bed frame assembly. 

A Complete Adjustable Bed Base and Headboard

Many companies now offer specially designed headboards and bed frames that will accommodate the adjustable bed bases that they offer. While it is not necessary for buyers to purchase the entire setup from the same retailer, and they often pay a premium for buying them as a complete package, there are distinct advantages to doing so.

  • The headboard, bed frame, and adjustable bed base can all be delivered and set up by the same crew, saving a lot of time and money on delivery and assembly.
  • There is no question about the suitability of the adjustable bed base and its ability to fit inside the selected bed frame.
  • Warranties often cover both the adjustable bed base and the bed frame when they are purchased together, though the length and coverage may vary per piece.
  • One-stop-shopping saves a lot of time, even if it costs a bit more money. This is not a purchase that will be repeated within a decade, possibly longer, so a little extra money spent is typically not missed overall.

Certain online adjustable bed base retailers also offer headboards that are compatible as well as complete bed frames. These online orders will arrive packaged and buyers will need to arrange for help with assembly. Typically two people can assemble the entire bed without much problem. These are made to be as headache-free as possible.

Some online retailers offer installation with delivery. There may be an additional cost for installation services, and they are sometimes provided by unknown third-party providers, but this does remove the responsibility of assembly and setup from the buyer.

How Do You Put a Headboard Bracket on an Adjustable Bed?

How you put a headboard bracket on an adjustable bed depends on the make and model of the adjustable bed frame that was purchased. Installing a headboard bracket onto the frame of the adjustable bed is a quick and easy way to upscale the adjustable bed without using an entire bed frame. Most brackets use either a Phillips head screwdriver or an included Allen wrench for installation.

  • Many adjustable bed bases have headboard brackets pre-installed. Those who doubt their ability to install a bracket should consider purchasing an adjustable bed base that is headboard-ready. Then purchase a headboard that is compatible with the adjustable bed base brackets.
  • Adjustable bed base bracket assemblies may include pre-drilled holes to accommodate a bolt-on headboard, or a slot-bracket to accommodate slot-style headboard brackets.
  • If the adjustable bed base does not come with brackets pre-installed, then the manufacturer usually has a bracket kit available for purchase as an accessory. All hardware will be included in the kit to install the bracket so that the headboard can be fitted to the adjustable bed base.
  • If a bracket will need to be installed on the bed base to accommodate a headboard, then first choose the headboard that will be paired with the adjustable bed base. Then shop the manufacturer for a bracket assembly that will pair the adjustable base to the chosen headboard.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installation. Some brackets can be installed with the adjustable bed base sitting on the floor. Others require that the bed base be turned over to access the inner part of the legs, but this is not a common requirement. Most brackets include online installation notes, so buyers can double-check before buying.
  • Always remove the bedding and mattresses before attempting to install a headboard bracket. It is nearly impossible to access the area where the bracket fits with the bedding and mattress on the adjustable bed base.
  • Always position the adjustable bed base in the upright-sitting position to access the headboard bracket for installation. Keep it in this upright position when installing the headboard on the brackets.
  • Have a helper who can aid with mattress removal and reassembly, lifting the headboard onto the brackets, and adjusting the position of the bed unit as necessary.

For those who intend to purchase both a headboard and an adjustable bed frame that will require a bracket installation, it is wise to purchase the headboard ahead of time and have the bracket kits delivered at the same time as the bed, or have them ready at the time of installation. Then the installers can install the headboard brackets and position the headboard at the time of the adjustable bed installation and setup. 

Types of Headboard to Adjustable Bed Brackets

For those who are purchasing an aftermarket headboard and bracket to retrofit an adjustable bed frame, multiple brackets are available online from marketplaces such as Amazon, that will allow any bed frame to be paired to any headboard. Most brackets and adapters cost about $20 to $30 bucks for the pair.

An additional reason for purchasing a bracket would be for those who have the right style of brackets on both the adjustable bed frame and the headboard, but find that they do not match up. This is somewhat common because the adjustable bed frames are often more narrow than the headboard, requiring an adjustable adapter to make up the space.

  • Hook on bed frame adapters. These include adjustable brackets that allow the side rails to be installed on the headboard at varying heights. They bolt onto the end of the bed rail and convert a bolt-on to a slot-style bracket that will slide into a slot bracketed headboard.
  • Straight slot adapters that convert a bolt-on bed frame to one that is adjustable for both height and width. This can be used to convert a solid headboard to one that can be bolted straight to the bed frame.
  • Smart base brackets that bolt onto the adjustable bed frame and provide an adjustable surface to bolt the headboard directly to the bed frame using the legs of both the headboard and the bed frame. These include a myriad of slots and holes for various sizes of hardware as well as height adjustments.
  • Hook conversion brackets to convert older hook-style bed frames to new bolt-on or pedestal base bed frames without getting rid of the old headboard. These types of brackets are a great way to save a lot of money by reusing the original headboard with the new adjustable bed frame.

There are brackets and adapters for every style of adjustable bed frame to fit every style of headboard. It is just a matter of identifying what is needed for each side of the installation and buying the bracket or converter to join the two. Installation of the brackets is easy. The kits include all needed hardware as well as installation instructions.

This is a good option for those who are sure they can DIY the project for a cheaper cost than purchasing a specially made bracket from the manufacturer. The brackets that allow a direct bolt-on conversion are especially helpful for those who are repurposing a large piece of wood for a headboard or creating their own tufted fabric headboard. 

Headboard Bolted to the Wall

Another option that will perfectly accommodate an adjustable bed frame and does not require any kind of brackets is to bolt the headboard to the wall. This works especially well for those who intend to repurpose something like an old dresser, bookcase, a slab of wood, or create a tufted fabric headboard for use as a headboard. This method leaves no question about the compatibility of the headboard and adjustable bed base.

The headboard can be bolted into position on the wall before the adjustable bed base is assembled and centered on the installed headboard. Always locate wall studs and secure the headboard to the wall studs using bolts or hidden brackets for safety. Bolting into sheetrock will destroy the sheetrock and also risk the headboard detaching and falling on the sleepers.

First, assemble the adjustable bed frame and place the mattresses and pillows onto the bed. This does not have to be done perfectly. This is to get an idea of how high the headboard should be to look aesthetically balanced. Adjust the mattress to a seated position as well, and note how high it will go up the wall. The headboard should be placed to provide balance and support when the bed is in an upright position. 

  • Locate wall studs in the area where the headboard will be placed. Use them as a guide for ultimate headboard placement. Plan on placing brackets where they can be anchored into the wall studs. Make small pencil marks on the wall studs for reference.
  • Center the headboard on the wall where it should be placed. Ideally, it should be centered where brackets placed in two separate wall studs will be used to anchor the headboard to the wall.
  • Position the brackets so that they will also anchor into a solid wood part of the headboard. Mark the position of the brackets on both the wall and the headboard.
  • Use heavy-duty mounting brackets that include some sort of a hook that will fit on the wall and corresponding loops or rings that will be mounted on the headboard.
  • Pre-drill holes in both the wall studs and the back of the headboard. These pre-drilled holes must be smaller than the installation bolts or screws, or the bolts or screws will not be able to “bite” into the wood and hold securely.
  • Install the hook side of the bracket onto the wall, with the hook facing up and out. 
  • Install the loop or ring side of the bracket onto the headboard with the loop facing up.
  • With help, lift the headboard above the brackets and allow it to slide down over them, catching the loops or rings on the upturned wall hooks. 

Once the headboard is installed, the adjustable bed base can be pushed up against it for a complete look. This is an especially nice setup for the wall-creeper style beds that slide the bed toward the wall as the head is lifted. The bed can use full mobility while remaining flush with the installed headboard.

When repurposing a piece of furniture such as a bookcase, nothing more is needed than something like earthquake brackets or anti-tipping brackets to keep the piece of furniture secured to the wall. The bed is then positioned to the front of the bookcase and given enough clearance for adjustment.

Always keep the ultimate height of the adjustable bed in mind when designing an upcycled headboard from something like a bookcase. The adjustable bed will need enough clearance to raise the head into an upright position. For those models that slide toward the wall as the head is lifted, something like a bookcase may not be suitable because it may be an obstacle to lifting the head of the adjustable bed.


The best way to ensure that a headboard will mesh to an adjustable bed frame is to purchase an all-in-one package from the manufacturer. Most manufacturers include very attractive and stylish bed frame packages that include headboards. These will be installed and set up at the same time as the adjustable bed.

For those who wish to pair a separate headboard directly to an adjustable bed frame, there are brackets available for purchase from the manufacturer, or separately, that will attach both hook bracket and bolt-on headboards to any style of adjustable bed frame. Alternatively, an adjustable bed frame will fit inside of a regular bed frame with the mattress slats removed.


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.

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