Should A Headboard Sit On The Mattress?

Headboard Sit On The Mattress

Headboards can be an amazing attachment for your bed that double as decor and allow you to sit up against the end of your bed. But should a headboard sit on the mattress? What’s the best way to install a headboard?

A headboard should not sit on the mattress because it won’t provide the right support if you’re sitting up in bed. You should attach the headboard with its bottom edge falling below the mattress. Normally, it should end 14-58 inches above the mattress, depending on the mattress size.

So you’ve decided that your bed would be better with a headboard and you want to know how to attach it? Let’s look at your options.

Should A Headboard Sit On The Mattress?

No, headboards aren’t purely decorative; they also serve the purpose of allowing you to sit up in bed. So, if you sit your headboard on the mattress, your back will be misaligned when in a seated position because the headboard won’t be aligned with the wall that it’s attached to.

Therefore, the most important thing is to ensure that the headboard is behind the mattress. It is best to attach the bottom edge below the mattress for the best support. And installing it so that it can be seen a few inches above the mattress creates the best aesthetic.

How High Should A Headboard Be?

Most people prefer to attach their headboards to be seen above the mattress with their pillows leaning against it.

The headboard height that you should attach your headboard to the wall behind it will depend on the size of your mattress.

So, if you’re using a twin mattress, you should place your headboard where 14 inches can be seen above the mattress. If you’ve got a headboard for a full or queen-sized mattress, it should be attached where 28 inches can be seen above the mattress. And if you’re using a King or California King-sized mattress, you should place your headboard 58 inches above the mattress.

Bear in mind that, while you do get headboards with adjustable heights, most headboards cannot be adjusted, so when you mount them on the wall, that’s where they will stay. So make sure that you get your measurements right.

How High Should A Headboard Be
Mattress sizeHeadboard height
Cal King 58″

What’s The Right Headboard For Each Mattress Type?

Just like you have to pick the appropriate height to place your headboard, you have to pick a headboard size that’s appropriate as well. 

Choosing the right headboard to match your bed means that you need to consider the headboard’s end width and make sure it matches the width of the mattress.

But this is not to say that you cannot have a wider or narrower headboard if you prefer that style. In that case, though, you have to make sure that the headboard is perfectly centered to maintain symmetry. 

When it comes to the height of the headboard, it should be smaller than the length of the bed. However, fortunately, headboards are made in standard sizes, so you aren’t going to have to meticulously measure the size of your bed. These are the dimensions you should use for each mattress size:

Mattress sizeHeadboard size
King 80” x 58”
California King74” x 58”
Queen62” x 28”
Full56” x 28”
Twin41” x 14”

How To Attach A Headboard

So, if you’ve got the right headboard size and know how high it needs to be mounted, the hard part is still ahead of you; you need to mount it. The goal is to mount it on the wall so that it appears to look like it and your bed are one piece. If you don’t feel secure in your DIY skills, you can hire a professional to do the drilling for you. For the DIY enthusiasts, however, here’s a simple step-by-step guide that you can use to attach your headboard to the wall:

Step 1: Locate where you should mount the headboard.

Position the headboard on the bed and push it up against the wall. Use the bed and the headboard to align everything perfectly for visual reference. Then measure the appropriate height for the headboard. 

Mark the bottom edge on both sides of the headboard, using a level to ensure that it will be sitting straight and parallel to your bed’s edge.

Step 2: Measure for the mounting fasteners

Lay the headboard down on the bed and locate the centerline, using the bottom and the top of the headboard to create a straight line. Consider using tape on the dark fabric where you can’t see the lines.

Step 3: Examine headboard for backing

Find a piece of solid wood in the headboard that’s sturdy enough to install a fastener. Bear in mind that headboards vary, and so do their mounting mechanisms. Some may also use a bracket rather than fasteners.

Step 4: Mount brackets/fasteners

Attach your headboard bracket/fasteners to the part of the suitable headboard and hold the headboard against the wall in alignment with the places you marked out. Mark where the bracket/fasteners are. Lay the headboard down against and drill holes into the wall where the /bracket/fasteners need to be screwed in. 

Place the bracket/fasteners up against the holes and screw them in securely

Step 5: Attach the headboard

The final step is to pick up your headboard and place it where it fits on the bracket. It should be perfectly centered and aligned with your bed. 


So, if you were wondering whether a headboard should sit on the mattress, you now know that you should be mounting it flush against the wall to ensure that it provides proper back support. It is also important that you buy the right headboard size and mount it at the right height. And once you’ve figured it all out, it’s a pretty simple process to mount your headboard. In no time, you’ll be glad that you added this great feature to your bedroom!


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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