Thursday, March 31, 2011

Headboard: Now That's Using Your Noggin

I've recently challenged myself to spend some time focusing my attention to our guest room. Although it remains empty three quarters of the year, except as a stomping ground for my two kids, there is a definite need to spruce it up a bit. You never know, maybe if I make it desirable, more people will come to visit?? Let's just say, for the first eight months we lived here, I used one of our moving boxes with a tablecloth as a nightstand (I can't believe I am admitting this, call the design police!!!)

Another thing happened that spawned this idea as well..... my husband moved a TV into the room. (why is it that most men are obsessed with TV, and most women can care less if we have one in every room???? No need to answer this question, I'm just thinking aloud.) This required us to move some things around the house and bring in a cabinet for the TV to sit on. This also created the need to move the bed around for proper viewing, and now that we did this, the lack of artwork in this room became more apparent. I realized at this point that I should focus on the bed. I would love to buy a bed frame and call it a day, but since we are renting, I'm not sure I want to invest in a good piece that may not fit in somewhere else. So my next thought was .... I should try a diy headboard project.

Now, every website and every blog has an article/post on headboards. Just google "diy headboard" and you get a billion listings. There are many ideas on what can replace the traditional headboard or bed. For one, you  can paint and accent above the bed, shadowing the idea of a headboard (since I can't paint in our rental, that was out). One can also hang a beautiful Suzani, or tapestry over the bed (this can be done really cool, however, if it's not authentic, have some personal meaning or at least have a great story, it better be fabulous.

 I had none of these options, so on to the next idea). Wall decals have been increasingly popular and clustering a few fun graphics or even a decal "bed" is an option, but I find that it can be a bit juvenile and also surprisingly expensive for the end result so I set that idea aside.

 I often see fabric-draped treatments done well, and though I love how they look, I think it would become an expensive avenue for me to explore. The fabric cost alone would be a small fortune when you add up about 8 yards to make a decent treatment, in addition to the hardware to install it.

An upholstered headboard could be fairly easy to make and install with minimal cost, definitely attainable, but not very original. There are also many whimsical and creative ideas that are cost effective such as fabric covered canvas, fencing, chunky mantels, even shelving, which led me to my next concept.

This is just a plain piece of plywood that is taped off with a circle stencil and painted. So easy.

Thank goodness there is no mirror, yikes!

This is very clever, just a simple roller shade. It can't get any easier than this.

A fabric covered canvas.
This is easy to do, creates a little more dimension than a piece of plywood.

Fireplace mantel is clever but can't be that inexpensive unless you find one at an architectural salvage yard.

Not my style, but very creative, just a gate, with a padded fabric.
I love how this looks, but I question how comfortable a wood crate is....head splinters???
I love the wallpaper headboard. This is a great idea.
This picture spawned my next thought. Using a shelving unit behind the bed.

I thought if I placed a grid-like shelving unit, such as the Expedite from Ikea, which has the same width as a queen size bed, I could create dimension and interest, there would be no need for artwork and I could put fun accessories in each cube.
This shelving unit from Ikea is $129.00 and also comes in white.

 I thought I could take it one step farther and line the back with fabric or wallpaper for color and texture. And that's where I left it.....until I walked into my garage and came up with "the big idea".

On an unrelated topic that quickly becomes related, my kids have outgrown the nursery and I've been trying to sell their beautiful crib from Bratt Decor on Craigslist.

This is the only picture I have of the crib, but at least you can see it's shape and style.
No one was interested and I had it listed at a reasonable price. No bites. I was ready to give it away to anyone but now there is a regulation on cribs which requires all cribs to eliminate the drop down feature, (there have been cases in which children have been trapped). Not only do pregnant women not want to take a risk with my crib, but a law will go into effect in May making it illegal to resell cribs that don't have updated standards. So.......that left me with firewood. Or.... my big idea (insert light bulb and "ding" sound).

I grabbed my tape measure and quickly realized that the two ends of the crib were the exact width of a queen mattress and I knew this could work. I also noticed that each panel had an inset which could be upholstered. And that's how I came up with....."the big idea". Is it really such a big idea. Maybe not, but I've never heard of this being done before, so I think it could be an original.

First I ordered fabric for the inset headboard. I needed to work with a really old bedding set from when Brett and I first married.  It's pretty worn, but again, I'm not investing in new bedding, not even bed-in-a-bag!!! I am also working with pistachio colored walls so I have some restrictions on my selections. Also, price was a challenge. I wanted to pick an inexpensive choice not just for the obvious reasons, but because I've never upholstered anything before.  And as I said before, I'm not as handy as it seems, so there was fear of complete failure and ruined fabric. So I picked a neutral color with an ikat/suzani pattern that was contemporary in feel, and the price...perfect at 24.95 wholesale cost. I ordered two yards.

Tiff's Tip:  Take repeats into account when ordering a patterned fabric. If you want pillows to have the same center image for example, or in my case the headboard panels to have the same center image, than you must account for the repeat and order more than you think. I, did not take this into account, not taking my own knowledge, and so the panels DO NOT MATCH, WAAAAHH! It still works, but it's not ideal.

The next step was deciding the finish of the headboard pieces and figuring out what furniture I would put with it. I took a trip to Sleepy Poet's Antique Mall again to see if I could find something that would work. Jackpot!!! I found a cool table/bench that was on sale for $25.00 (can't beat that).

The finish was black so I figured that could be a starting point for me on finishes. I have black accents throughout the house so I could easily incorporate it anywhere. Since this piece is long and skinny, I really needed to compliment it with a round table on the other side of the bed. So, back to "Sleepy" for another looksy. I found an old Bentwood table, in really bad shape and in need of a paint job, but the scale was good and the price, perfect at $49.00. (I also have a Bentwood Rocker looking for a new home, and this would look great together.)

I just sanded down the laquer finish and painted two coats of valspar, semi-gloss.

I still need to paint the rocker black, it's still  navy blue.

Now that I had additional furniture pieces to work with, I could finish up the headboard pieces. I made a final decision to paint them black as well. At first I was thinking of going charcoal gray to compliment the fabric I selected, but with the green walls, I just wanted to keep things congruous. I bought a pint of Valspar from Lowe's, color #3040 for $15.00.

After the headboard panels were painted, all I needed to do was to upholster the inserts. I headed over to Lowe's again, where I purchased 1/4" plywood for $10.00 a sheet, and they were able to cut me the sizes I needed except for the diagonal cuts.

This is the headboard pieces painted.

These are the plywood pieces.
This I did myself, however, when you see what I used to cut them with, you will laugh. (This event made me think of my all time favorite movie, Shawshank Redemption, where the main character dug a hole through a prison with a rock hammer. It's laughable. However, I perservered and it worked out.)

Make sure to make the cut-outs a tad bit smaller than the actual inset size to account for fabric and padding.

Once the plywood pieces were cut to size, I cut out 1/2" foam, which I purchased from a fabric store, about 2" bigger on all sides and wrapped it around the edges and stapled it with a heavy duty staple gun.

I just used a sharpie and drew a two inch outline to cut.

After the foam, I wrapped the plywood again with a sheet of quilt batting for extra durability.

Lastly, I placed the plywood under the fabric and lined up the pattern the way I wanted it. Then I cut at least 3" on all sides of the plywood. I stretched the fabric tight and stapled at the center of each side first, and then worked my way around.

Tiff's Tip: Be sure to cut the fabric at corner before stapling them, it makes it easier and cleaner.

All I had to do was insert the upholsted pieces into the insets. They fit snuggly without even using an adhesive, and the best thing is, any time I want to switch out the fabric, it will be very easy.

So all in all, I spent approximately $105.00 dollars to create my headboard pieces. Half of which was the fabric. I could have possibly found a remnant cheaper if I really scoured the city. (I also could have spent $200.00 on fabric so lets count our blessings!)

I had a some scraps left over  from the headboard fabric to recover some old pillows too.

Now there's using the slogan "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" literally!


  1. i love your headboard and guestroom design. it looks finished! thanks for some great ideas on recycling!

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