Buying Guides

Buying guide: Headboards

Buying guide: Headboards Author: Style At Home

Buying Guides

Buying guide: Headboards

Imagine walking into a luxurious hotel room. There’s beautiful fresh wallpaper, an inviting loveseat, a well-appointed writing desk, and a luxe king size bed. But no headboard? That wouldn’t look right at all. We can all agree that a mattress, no matter how fluffy the stacks of pillows or how high the sheet thread-count, just doesn’t look finished when it’s pushed up against a bare wall. The same consideration applies in your home as it would in a hotel; a headboard pulls together the bedroom aesthetically, like a cover for a book. But it’s a practical feature, too. A headboard keeps the mattress in place so it doesn’t slide away from the wall, and provides back support if you want to sit up in bed.

Picking out a headboard really begins with how you use your bed, and your sense of design. Avid nighttime reader? Perhaps you want a padded or quilted headboard so you can prop up against it. Always bumping into your bedside tables? Maybe you want a headboard that features integrated storage or tables built right in. Minimalist? Maybe you want a low headboard with a slim profile. Maximalist? Add an ultra-high wooden headboard or a boldly patterned padded one.

Types of headboards

A bed is a word we often use interchangeably with mattress. But a bed is really its own piece of furniture with an integrated headboard and footboard. Picture a sleigh bed, for instance. A headboard differs in that it is usually a piece of furniture that is purchased to work with an existing bed frame, which is usually a simple steel rack on legs or wheels. Beds usually make a strong impact in a room (and are not easily moved), where a headboard offers some flexibility as it’s usually lighter, visually and physically, and the mattresses can be moved out of the way for cleaning. Some headboards are fixed permanently to the wall, and the bed is simply pushed underneath it. Some headboards sit on legs, and others (often upholstered versions) are basically a large rectangular box that sits on the floor, and the bed is either pressed or fixed against it. None are superior, it really comes down to a matter of what you like and don’t like.

What to look for in a headboard
First, you’ll need to narrow down your material (wood, fabric, lacquer, for example), which will help you immediately eliminate many of the headboards on the market. You can skim right past them, either in person or online, and only look at what you like. Then, it’s worthwhile to dig around about construction.

Here are some elements to consider
  • Is there a warranty on the headboard? If yes, how long is it for and what does it cover?
  • Is the stitching tight and tidy if it’s an upholstered piece, or is it glued together?
  • Will the fabric hold up in your household? In other words, make a choice you won’t be fussing over.
  • Will the headboard work seamlessly with the bed and frame you already have?
  • If it’s wood, is it solid wood or is it a veneer? (There’s nothing wrong with veneer, but keep in mind that chips show more readily).
  • If it comes in one piece, does it fit through the doorways and stairwells of your abode? Many online sites, wise to this concern, offer up these measurements so you can figure it out before you buy.
What to avoid when purchasing a headboard
While you don’t have to purchase a headboard with the intent of keeping it as an investment piece, it’s not something you want to change on a yearly basis. So, like any piece of furniture, be sure that it is well made no matter what the price point, and it’s not wobbly or warped. Check it out from many angles and be sure that the top looks level, and that the body of the headboard has no cracks, deep scratches or bent hardware. Most of all, avoid any headboard that makes you less than happy, seeing as you will look at it every night. Now get shopping! Here are some beautiful examples to get you started.

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6 beautiful headboards

Patterned nailhead upholstered headboard

A neutral linen colour and a nailhead pattern inspired by Art Deco geometrics make this upholstered headboard an instant classic that will look up-to-date for decades. Patterned Nailhead Upholstered headboard, West Elm, from $561. 

By: Helen Racanelli Source: West Elm Credits: Style at Home

6 beautiful headboards

As You Wish upholstered headboard

If you make a big impact with a boldly patterned headboard, you can keep everything else in the bedroom simple and easy. As You Wish Upholstered Headboard, Land of Nod, from $499 USD. 

By: Helen Racanelli Source: Land of Nod Credits: Style at Home

6 beautiful headboards

Storage Bed headboard

Storage drawers on the side of this affordable lacquer headboard make it ideal for tight spaces. It can work alone with a mattress, or it can incorporate a bed frame, too. Storage Bed Headboard, West Elm, from $224. 

By: Helen Racanelli Source: West Elm Credits: Style at Home

6 beautiful headboards

Carolina Cane headboard

Cane is light, summery and fresh, especially in white. No wonder it’s highly coveted by lovers of coastal style, shabby chic and French antiques alike. Carolina Cane Headboard, Pottery Barn, from $539. 

By: Helen Racanelli Source: Pottery Barn Credits: Style at Home

6 beautiful headboards

19th C. French carved doors

You might not have to worry about a decorating for small spaces. So if you’re contending with a large, too-plain bedroom, this solid-oak headboard based on the design of French antique doors will add all the substantial architectural elements you need. 19th C. French Carved Doors, Restoration Hardware, from $2,795 USD. 

By: Helen Racanelli Source: Restoration Hardware Credits: Style at Home

6 beautiful headboards

Mandal headboard

Ikea keeps it modern and simple with this smart headboard. A birch rack holds six adjustable white shelves, which makes this unit customizable for your stacks of magazines and books. Mandal headboard, IKEA, $169. 

By: Helen Racanelli Source: IKEA Credits: Style at Home
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Buying Guides

Buying guide: Headboards