After sleeping on an air mattress for 3 weeks, we finally upgraded to a plush mattress/box spring set with, get this, a bed frame! But spoiled little me still wasn’t happy. I felt that in our first adult place, we needed an adult bed. That required a headboard. My male counterpart didn’t see the necessity nor did he want to spend hundreds on a headboard to match my theme of “tranquil dream bedroom.” I agreed, and therefore set out learning how to make a custom headboard.

After deciding on 5 feet wide by 4 feet high, I marched over to Home Depot to get a large piece of plywood cut ($12). Next to Joann’s I bought white velvet fabric ($10), upholstery batting ($6), and 2 inch thick foam ($20 for two 5-ft pieces).

For an easier tufted look, try this bench pad idea from BHG

To achieve the tufts, I measured and pre-drilled holes in the plywood before stapling anything onto it. Next I lay down the batting in the middle of my living

Bed set from Steinmart, 19 pieces for $129

room, carefully aligned the foam on top of the batting, and finally dropped the plywood down without disturbing the 2 layers. My staple gun took over from there, securing the batting, and therefore the foam, to the back of the plywood. Next I stood it up and fastened the velvet fabric in the same way, making sure it was smooth and free of snags and ruffles. That part was easy and looked great too. I had never tufted before and was set on it, but I would have been content with just an upholstered headboard.

The tufting was the hard part and I spread it out over 2 days. I bought a string of pearl beads and thin clear beading wire from Potomac Bead Company. With a sewing needle I strung the wire from the back (through the pre-drilled holes) to the front, through the bead, and back through the same hole again. The hardest part was going from the front through velvet, foam, and batting, to find the same hole that it had come through, without disturbing the set location for the bead. Once in the back, I secured the wire with 3-4 staples, looping the wire in a criss-cross pattern. 21 times later, my headboard was complete!

Love this drape idea from BHG

The velvet is bright white, but the green foam bleeds through a little to make the headboard match the light blue wall. To achieve some contrast, I’m thinking of either framing the headboard in gold, or adding a cornice and sheer gold drapes above the bed.

There are inexpensive ideas that don't involve stealing items from your neighbor's front yard.

Easy headboard (Sacrificing Design): Drape a towel over existing metal bars

Headboards don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful. Even a sanded and oiled piece of plywood can make all the difference in your bedroom.

All headboards pictured here are from Better Homes and Gardens (except for the 2 of my own bed).

See more ideas, good and bad, at