9 Tips for Choosing the Right Headboard

Tips for Choosing the Right Headboard

Choosing a headboard is an important decision as it will affect the layout, style, and impression of your bedroom. You probably spend a good portion of the day in your bedroom, so it is important this space is a welcoming and comfortable area. The headboard will complete the look of your bedroom and give you a sense of ownership when entering your bedroom.

Many people wonder if a headboard is necessary, and though they are not an integral piece of the bed, a bedroom will look incomplete without something to stylize the back of the bed. Your headboard will add that extra piece of flair to your bedroom. Check out these nine tips for choosing the right headboard, so you can add that finishing touch to your room and understand each aspect of purchasing a headboard. 

Think About the Focus of the Room

Headboards add interest and depth to a bedroom. Whether it be a textured and tufted style that has a soft touch to it or an iron-wrought headboard that looks bold and impactful, this piece of the room will draw attention. 

  • If you choose a darker color, the headboard will become the focal point, whereas lighter colors provide a more casual look
  • Utilize this tip to design your room based on the color schemed and setup of the furniture

It is important to think about the room’s focus so you can determine how impactful your headboard should be. If you plan on incorporating larger pictures or pieces of artwork, then maybe the headboard should have a more subtle style. If you plan to make the room a more minimalistic style, then the headboard could be a bit more creative and stylish. 

Some of the most popular headboards for people to purchase are wooden headboards that give the room a rustic feel. Another option is fabric headboards that have designs or a textured look, lastly the iron or metal look gives a minimalistic or classic feel to the room. Once you determine what the focus of the room will be you can decide on the material and size. 

Consider How Important Functionality Is

Although aesthetics are something worth considering, they are not crucial when it comes to choosing the right headboard. They serve multiple purposes depending on how you use your bedroom space. Knowing the priorities you have when purchasing a headboard will help you ensure it is as functional as it is beautiful.

Many people use their headboard as a backrest while watching TV in bed or when they are reading a book. If you intend to spend time doing these activities in your bed, then you will want to be sure that your headboard is sturdy and comfortable to sit against. 

On the other hand, if your bed is not used for much other than sleeping then you may not need to invest in a hard set headboard. If the headboard is simply a mechanism to hold up pillows and look aesthetically pleasing, then something a bit more simple will do the trick. 

Another consideration you will want to make is to think about how many people or bodies will be in the bed at a time. If your dog tends to cozy up in your bed, then that could factor into how functional your headboard should be. 

If you have children, then it would be ideal to opt for a sturdier headboard. Children, especially younger children, can become hyper and want to jump around on the bed. It is important you have a headboard that can withstand the activity that will occur in the bedroom.

Think About the Size

The headboard you choose needs to match the size of your bed, if you have a California king then it is silly to purchase a smaller headboard as it will look mismatched. You must factor in proportions, which means a wider bed should have a taller headboard to look appropriate. Here is a sizing guide for a bed to headboard ratio:

  • Small/child’s bed headboard: 6” wide and 3-9” tall
  • Twin bed headboard: 38” wide and 75” tall
  • Double bed headboard: 54” wide and up to 75” tall
  • Queen bed headboard: 60” wide and up to 80” tall
  • Extended queen bed headboard: 66” wide and up to 80” tall
  • King bed headboard: 76” wide and up to 90” tall
  • California king bed headboard: 80” wide and up to 96” tall

It is important to remember that your headboard must sit above the mattress, a standard headboard can be up to four inches wider than your mattress without looking unusual. 

Another aspect to consider when choosing the size of your headboard is not only the bed size but the size of your room. Depending on your house or apartment, your room could be relatively small or huge compared to the average bedroom. 

If you have a small room and your bed takes up the majority of the space, you would want an average sized headboard. If the bed is too big, it could make the room look smaller, but if it is too small, then it would look out of place. If your room is large, then the bigger the headboard the better. You do not want the headboard to be the entire wall, but it should take up about one-third of the space.

Lastly, you will want to consider your own height. If you are a tall person, then you will inevitably need a longer bed and also a taller headboard. You do not want your bed to seem dwarfed by your height. If you are shorter than the headboard height isn’t as important as it will fit your bed size.

Consider Your Creative Side

If you consider yourself a person that thrives during a DIY project then you should think about building your own headboard. There are many tutorials on YouTube that can direct you on making all sorts of styles and looks for your headboard. Whether you want the rustic wood look or an upholstered fabric headboard, there are guides. If you know how to weld there are even tutorials for iron or metal headboards.

Designing your own headboard will first reflect your style and personality as well as give you the pride that you created this look all on your own. Doing your headboard yourself is also a budget friendly way to get the headboard you really want. You simply have to factor in the cost of the material, which is significantly cheaper than buying from a furniture store. 

Choosing the perfect headboard can be hard work, so you will really want to get creative. If you already enjoy the look of your room and the headboard is the final touch then you will simply pick an accent piece and design the headboard around that item.

If you are starting with the headboard, then you can get wild with your design and follow with decorating the bed and the space. If you are looking to completely upgrade your bedroom, then a DIY headboard may be the place to start.

Whether you have a modern style, or prefer a vintage look, there is a headboard for everyone. Your interests and preference will determine how to choose a headboard, as well as your lifestyle. The goal would be to have the perfect mix of aesthetics and functionality when it comes to choosing a headboard that fits your room.

Types of Headboards

There are many types of headboards to consider, some come with the bed itself while others mount to the wall. There are also freestanding headboards that lean or are attached to the wall behind the bed. 

  • Headboards are used to complement the style of your room
  • Headboards also have a functional aspect if you lean on them for back support

You will want to consider the material you are using for the various types of headboards but we will look into each headboard style, how they work, and tips on installation.

Mounted Headboards

Wall mounted headboards attach directly to the wall giving your headboard a floating look. People prefer this type of headboard because it does not attach to the bed directly so it will not get wobbly and move around. It is also easier to change out mounted headboards. 

When you mount your headboard on the wall, you want to ensure the wall is strong enough to support the weight of the headboard. You will also want to find studs in the wall that can securely hold the fasteners. 

Freestanding Headboards

Freestanding headboards do not need to be mounted directly to the wall or the bed, which gives extensive creative freedom on what you purchase as your headboard. You can drill free standing headboards into the wall, and this will give you a sense of security that it will not fall while you are sleeping but it is not always necessary. 

Freestanding headboards offer more customization as it is up to you on where you place it and how you stabilize the headboard. People gravitate towards this option when they want a more intricate design.

Bed-Attached Headboard

Probably the most common option when it comes to headboards, buying the headboard that comes with the bed frame. This can be a cost effective option because you are getting the hardware for the bed along with the headboard that you desire. 

  • The bed-attached headboard will ensure you have a sturdy bed as all the parts are connected
  • You will want to ensure you have all the screws tightened so the headboard doesn’t get wobbly over time

When purchasing this option, you want to ensure the height of the bed and the height of the headboard are to your liking.

Determine Your Material

Though size and height are important, the material also matters a lot. Determining the fabric and look of your headboard will give an aesthetic experience as well as weigh in the comfort level of your headboard. 

Here are some common materials and the advantages and disadvantages of having them in your bedroom.

Wood Headboard

Wood can look rustic or modern, as well as luxurious or traditional, it all depends on the style you pick. Also, if you go the DIY route then wood is the simplest material to use to create your headboard. 

The only downside to wood is that it is not also the most comfortable material to lean against and it can cause snags on your pillows. So you will want to take the potential issues into consideration. You can either check to see how sanded down the wood is, or you can incorporate additional pillows on your bed to lean against. 

Metal or Iron Headboards

Metal and iron give a room a romantic look and can be very beautiful, especially if they are larger. These headboards are typically inexpensive and can be very durable, which is valuable if you are looking for a good investment. 

A disadvantage of using a metal or iron headboard that has intricate designs could mean your pillows fall through the headboard or get crammed into the crevices. Another issue is if you have children and they play on your bed, you will have to be sure they do not hit their head against the hard material. 

Upholstered Headboards

Upholstered headboards bring a sense of elegance and class to your bedroom. They are the perfect option if you inevitably rest your back against the headboard alot. Common fabrics for upholstered headboards include linen, leather, and velvet. 

There are a few downsides to consider with an upholstered headboard. 

  • First, they will get dirtier easier than any other option. You will want to keep a fabric spray close in case finger smudges or other messes get on the fabric
  • You may also deal with the fabric coming undone over time. Upholstered headboards are not the best option for a long-term investment

If you are looking for a headboard that will last long, then avoid purchasing upholstered headboards. These headboards are easily stainable and have limited longevity compared to other types of headboards. 

Consider Storage Options

If you have a smaller bedroom with less storage than you would consider ideal, you may want to look into getting a headboard with shelves, drawers, or other storage options. There are many headboard options that are really stylish but also provide space to set items that would otherwise not have a place in your room.

There are two types of storage headboards. Some of these headboards are meant for hidden storage, so your items will be stowed away and you will still have the clean look of a regular headboard. Other headboards have open shelving for you to create a decorative space that shows off items like photo frames and decor pieces. 

Think About the Long Term Investment

It has been discussed earlier, but there are some headboards that will last longer than others so it is important to consider what type of investment you want to make. 

  • Upholstered headboards tend to not last as long as iron, metal and wood headboards
  • This is due to the material loosening on the board as well as the wear and tear that happens when you are touching the linen or fabric

Though the upholstered headboards get a bad wrap, if you invest in a more expensive and well-made option you can get a long time use out of the headboard. It really depends on the type of financial investment you want to make. 

When looking at headboards, it is important to read user reviews and visit many stores so you can have all the facts before deciding on the best headboard for you. If you are able to get various levels of experience, you will really enjoy your purchase and have correct expectations around the lifetime and quality of your purchase.

Should A Headboard Match The Bed?

Designing a bed can be quite the ordeal, starting at the mattress, then potentially a mattress pad, then you add your sheets, pillows, duvet, and decorative items. When putting together your dream bedroom you have to take into account each piece and align it all so you have a cohesive spread.

  • You first want to think about your color scheme and your style
  • It can be valuable to create a Pinterest board online or a DIY inspiration board by reviewing magazines so you can get an idea of what the end goal would be 

If you want a large headboard, then it is important to start with purchasing the hardware to ensure it will look right in your room and be able to attach to the wall. On the other hand, if you are set on a certain color or bedding style then your headboard can follow suit there.

Once you have an idea of the style you want and you have some inspiration to follow, you will ensure you are able to create the bedroom of your dreams. To get a matching bedroom, you should determine your priority and design around that piece. Do not get overwhelmed with every aspect of designing your room, start with the headboard and a color scheme and move along from there. 


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