How to Make a DIY Upholstered Headboard

Cream upholstered headboard with nailhead trim

Catherine McQueen / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 1 headboard
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $100+

An upholstered headboard is a great way to add a beautiful focal point and extra comfort in your bedroom. They come in various sizes, colors, and styles, as well as price points. Some feature luxurious tufting and rich velvet upholstery, while others have a nailhead trim detail for a stylish touch.

If you want to go the DIY route and make your own custom upholstered headboard, follow our step-by-step tutorial that'll guide you through the process. Let's get started!

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Staple gun and staples
  • Saw
  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric marker
  • Tape measure
  • Mallet
  • Stud finder
  • Drill
  • Level


  • Plywood board
  • Upholstery foam
  • Batting
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Fabric adhesive spray
  • Optional: nailhead trim
  • Screws
  • Heavy-duty D-ring hangers


  1. Create a Design

    Before you get started, do your research. Look through images of different styles of upholstered headboards to determine what look you like best and what will fit in with the rest of your bedroom. Think about the shape and style that you want to recreate, as well as the type and color of upholstery fabric.

    Once you have come up with your design, draw a rough sketch and take measurements of your bed frame to figure out the length and height of your headboard. Jot down all the measurements on your sketch.

  2. Cut the Plywood

    The base of your headboard will be made out of plywood to make it nice and sturdy. You have two options when it comes to cutting the plywood to size—either buy a large enough piece of plywood at the hardware store and bring it home and cut it using a saw or have it cut to size directly at the hardware store.

  3. Add Cushioning

    Once you have the plywood base, cut the upholstery foam to exactly the same size and adhere it to the plywood using a fabric adhesive spray. Before you stick it down, make sure that all the corners and edges line up perfectly for a neat finish.

  4. Cover It With Batting

    Unlike the upholstery foam that you want to be the same size as the plywood, the piece of batting you use will need to have at least a five-inch overhang so that you can wrap it around tightly. Start by laying down the batting on a large flat surface.

    Then, lay down your headboard on it, foam side down (the foam facing the batting), ensuring that it's centered on the batting.

  5. Secure It Using Staples

    The next step is securing the batting using a staple gun. Starting with the top middle section, grab the batting and pull it up and over the plywood tightly, then staple it down. Take the bottom middle section of the batting and do the same thing. Repeat this until you have wrapped the entire piece of plywood and secured the whole length with staples. Cut off any excess batting.

  6. Use Fabric

    This is the fun part where your design vision starts coming together. Using fabric scissors, cut your chosen upholstery fabric to approximately the same size as you did the batting.

    Make sure that there are no creases or wrinkles in the fabric—if there are, steam or iron them out. Lay the fabric down on a clean, flat surface face down, then place the batting-covered headboard on it, face down as well. Follow the same wrapping and stapling process you used in the previous step when you attached the batting. Make sure the fabric is wrapped tightly so that it stays in place, and create neat folds around the corners. Once you have covered the headboard with fabric, cut off any excess.

  7. Add Some Detail (Optional)

    If you want to add some extra detail to your headboard, nailhead trim is a great option. You can purchase strips of this type of trim in various finishes such as brass, silver, or matte black—depending on the style and color of your upholstered headboard. Add the nailhead trim in a straight line lining the face of the headboard, hammering it in using a mallet. Keep a tape measure on hand and periodically measure that you're creating straight lines with the trim.

  8. Hang It on the Wall

    The last step is securing your beautiful new headboard on your bedroom wall. Secure two heavy-duty D-rings on the back of the headboard, one in each upper corner. Using a stud finder, determine where to safely hang it, then mark the spots where you'll need to drill holes in the wall to hold the two D-rings. Drill screws into the wall and hang up the headboard, checking that it's correctly positioned using a level.

    Once it's hung and in place, position your bed frame, make the bed with freshly cleaned bedding, and your bed makeover is complete.