How to Upholster a Headboard

It doesn’t get much more dated than a 1970s walnut headboard. But HGTV Magazine shows you how it can be made over with minimal effort.


Photo by: Alison Gootee/Studio D

Alison Gootee/Studio D

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Bold fabric really woke up this behind-the-times headboard! In this preppy-chic bedroom, it’s barely recognizable. The blue-and-white print on the rehabbed headboard pairs well with a solid navy coverlet. Yellow-bordered shams and a striped orange pillow add pop. Butter-hued walls are energetic without being overpowering, so the cushy star can really shine.

NOTE: Materials are specified for a queen-size headboard. Adjust measurements as needed. Headboard fabric used here: Annie Selke Links in indigo, $50 per yard,

Materials Needed:

  • scissors
  • handsaw
  • staple gun
  • medium-grit sandpaper
  • extra-loft quilt batting, queen-size package
  • 2.5 yards muslin
  • 2.5 yards upholstery fabric

Step 1

Using a handsaw, cut off the top of both posts. Lightly sand the raw wood with sandpaper so the fabric doesn’t snag on any rough patches.

Step 2

Lay the batting on the floor. Place the headboard on top and trace around it, excluding the legs. Cut the headboard shape out of the batting.



Photo by: Scott Dvorin

Scott Dvorin

Step 3

Lay a new piece of the batting on the floor. Set the headboard-shaped batting on top, then the headboard over it, smooth side down. Cut the batting 6 inches larger than the headboard.



Photo by: Scott Dvorin

Scott Dvorin

Step 4

Pull the batting taut over the headboard and staple it (do the top, then the bottom, then the sides). Cut a few slits in the batting so it can more easily be pulled around the curves.



Photo by: Scott Dvorin

Scott Dvorin

Step 5

Lay the muslin on the floor. Set the headboard on top, batting side down. Cut the muslin 6 inches larger than the headboard. Pull and staple the muslin following the directions in step 4.



Photo by: Scott Dvorin

Scott Dvorin

Step 6

Lay the fabric on the floor, pattern side down. Set the headboard on top, muslin side down. Cut the fabric 6 inches larger than the headboard. Pull and staple the fabric following the directions in step 4.

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