Design Recipes: Making the most of headboards

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

Headboards are sometimes viewed as inexpensive alternatives to a bed ensemble that includes side rails and footboards, but these days they can also provide an opportunity for creativity and even saving space. Why not consider a headboard to grace the head of your bed? Here are some top tips to keep in mind.

1. Add a bed skirt. Typically a headboard is placed against a metal or wood frame in which seeing the frame may be undesirable. A bed skirt will allow you to conceal the bed frame. A bed skirt with a 16- to 18-inch drop typically works best.

2. Consider a headboard that involves stain-resistant fabrics. To help preserve an upholstered headboard, consider having it covered in a stain-resistant or treated fabric. This will help considerably preserve the appearance of your headboard.

Matching twin tufted headboards help to create a harmonious look in this children's bedroom.

3. Opt for batting. A plump and well-wrapped headboard will last longer than one in which the foundation is more thinly wrapped.

4. Consider an alternative to a traditional headboard such as iron. Once considered old fashioned, they are now used in interior settings in which people are looking for a midcentury modern or art deco feel.

A custom-made wood panel is used as modern headboard in this master bedroom.

5. Consider an architectural feature or design element to act as a headboard such as a long wood panel, wall of mirror or upholstered panels that can even be affixed to the wall.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at