8 Playful Headboards

Goodbye, boring headboards. Hello, headboards with fun shapes, colors and extra flourishes.

By: Lori Johnston and Marena Galluccio

A great vision for a bedroom often wraps around the headboard, usually the largest piece of furniture in the room and one with a key role to anchor the bed. Charming silhouettes and bold punches of color and pattern make these headboards worthy of their prime position in a children’s room, guest room or master suite.

Bedroom with Colorful Geometric Painted Wood Headboard

Bedroom with Colorful Geometric Painted Wood Headboard

The geometric headboard above the bed is a custom walnut bed and headboard created by Susan Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs using custom paint colors named for dogs (proceeds go to rescue groups). Brass lamps rest on black nightstands and a chunky knit gray throw is at the foot of the bed. The room was designed by Jamieson for a Southeastern Designer Showhouse in Atlanta.

Photo by: David Christensen

David Christensen

Susan Jamieson’s geometric headboard for a boy’s room in a Southeastern Designer Showhouse in Atlanta is a bold demonstration of dimension, depth and design. For another fun touch, she used custom paint colors by her firm — Bridget Beari Designs, which she named for beloved pet dogs and from which she donates proceeds to animal rescue groups.

Rustic Beach Guest Bedroom Wall-Mounted Rock Accent Headboards

Rustic Beach Guest Bedroom with Wall-Mounted Rock Headboards, Leaf Bedding, Wood Beams

A rustic guest bedroom is full of browns and oranges. The leaf bedding and the ceiling’s wood panels bring natural elements into the space. Designer Sandra Espinet used Light gray and black river rocks and pebbles to create the wall-mounted headboards.

Photo by: Sandra Espinet

Sandra Espinet

Designer Sandra Espinet arranged light gray and black river rocks and pebbles in a mosaic-like fashion to create wall-mounted headboards in a rustic guest bedroom.

“Beds have become taller and more important than in past years. Some modern headboards are dramatic and go all the way to the ceiling,” she says. “And creating these unique headboards gives a bedroom a bit of wow factor.”

The headboards evoked the feeling of the beach, appropriate for the room, which faced the Pacific Ocean, Espinet says.

“The pebbles are fun to use and much more fun than a standard upholstered bed,” she says. “I like using variation in materials and textures.”

Upholstered headboards are also taking on more interesting shapes, such as more curves and arches, says John Loecke, who with Jason Oliver Nixon owns interior design firm Madcap Cottage and published the 2017 book, “Prints Charming by Madcap Cottage: Create Absolutely Beautiful Interiors with Prints & Patterns.”

“Where headboards pretty much used to be a solid, you’re seeing people start embracing using a pattern on a headboard,” he says.

Blue Green Master Bedroom Floral Accents Woven Rug Canopy

Blue and Green Master Bedroom with Floral Accents, Woven Rug and Canopy

This blue and green master bedroom is filled with floral accents such as the canopy, dust ruffle and hold backs. A woven rug lay underneath while a canopy designed by Madcap Cottage takes the headboard to new heights.

Photo by: Jason Oliver Nixon

Jason Oliver Nixon

Madcap Cottage stretched the headboard to the ceiling with a canopy in a blue-and-green master bedroom filled with floral accents.

“Trim is really having a moment,” Nixon says. “People are using tassels on things, on headboards and everything in between. It's about having some fun, and people are willing to have some more fun with things. It doesn't have to be serious and beige and kind of quiet and boring. Let's enjoy this ride and use their headboards.”

Purple Blue Green Master Bedroom Patterned Rug Accent Headboard bed

Purple, Blue and Green Master Bedroom with Patterned Rug, Upholstered Headboard and Neutral Bedding

A colorful master bedroom includes a Hickory Chair bed upholstered in Schumacher fabric with purples, blues and greens. The patterned rug picks up some of the headboard patterns in the room designed by Mitchell Hill.

Photo by: Nancy Nolan

Nancy Nolan

A Hickory Chair bed upholstered in Schumacher fabric with purples, blues and greens set in motion a whimsical, yet airy master bedroom by designer Mitchell Hill, who felt that the cathedral ceilings demanded a tall headboard. His client wanted lots of color, and Hill says he liked how the headboard played off the existing rug.

“A lot of times, the headboard can represent the character of the room,” he says.

Gray White Bedroom Custom Headboard White Comforter Footboard Bench

Traditional Gray and White Bedroom with 18-Foot Ceilings, Custom Headboard, White Comforter, Footboard Bench and Accent Door

A traditional gray and white bedroom has 18-foot ceilings. The soft, calming space includes a custom headboard by designer Phoebe Howard, a bench, a bedside table with a lamp, chandelier made of an antique birdcage, white bedding, and a darker accent door.

Photo by: Christopher Oquendo

Christopher Oquendo

In a traditional gray and white bedroom, the stepped shape of a custom headboard by Phoebe Howard took advantage of the 18-foot ceilings and elevated the design.

Classic Blue and White English Bedroom Matching Curtains Bedding Headboard

Classic Blue and White English Bedroom with Matching Curtains, Bedding and Headboard

An English blue and white floral pattern transcends this room, from the wallpaper to the curtains to the bedding to the headboard. A blue vase sits on a two-shelf side table in the room designed by Sarah Bartholomew for a Southeastern Designer Showhouse in Atlanta. The window treatment, upholstery, headboard and coverlet are Bennison Fabrics’ American Resist pattern.

Photo by: David Christensen

David Christensen

An English blue-and-white floral pattern transcended a room, from the wallpaper to the curtains to the bedding to the headboard. Designer Sarah Bartholomew used Bennison Fabrics’ American Resist pattern throughout the room, which was in a Southeastern Designer Showhouse in Atlanta.

Sometimes, however, all you need is a dynamo solid.

Navy Yellow Master Bedroom Upholstered Headboard Nightstands Lamps

Traditional Navy and Yellow Master Bedroom with Upholstered Headboard

A navy, yellow and white master bedroom is emboldened with a navy upholstered headboard in a scalloped design from Ballard Designs. Two nightstands hold gold and white lamps. A wicker woven rug gives feeling below while a footboard bench rests at the end of the bed.

Photo by: Christopher Oquendo

Christopher Oquendo

The scalloped design, inspired by Mediterranean homes, and brass nailheads made a navy upholstered headboard from Ballard Designs a commanding presence in an Atlanta master bedroom.

Modern Bedroom White Bed Blue Headboard Art

Modern Bedroom with White Bed, Blue Headboard and Art

A modern coastal bedroom shines with blue accents in the custom made blue velvet headboard by Parker Kennedy Living, the pillows on the footboard bench and , the gallery wall. Neutral printed curtains drape around the windows while a painting hangs above a metallic miniature drawered table.

Photo by: Christopher Oquendo

Christopher Oquendo

Bright blue velvet added interest to a clean-lined custom headboard, giving a modern edge to the bedroom of an English country home in Atlanta designed by Parker Kennedy Living. While the color was vibrant, the headboard was chosen to soften the room and give it an inviting feel, says designer Lance Jackson, who co-founded his firm with David Ecton. The blues in the artwork popped around the headboard, he says.

“You can add unique headboards to any room as long as you have the space. They can act as an accent piece, much like this one does — it is not a large-money investment and you can actually make one yourself without breaking the bank,” Jackson says. “You can add color like we did or pattern to really make a bedroom interesting.”

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