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Headboard Buying Guide

by Nick, Digital Specialist | March 24, 2021

There are a ton of different options when it comes to buying a new headboard. What type of material? What shape? Check out this handy guide to see what you like the best!

If you’ve been shopping for a new bed recently, you know there are a ton of options for the material, size, shape, style, and more. The options can be overwhelming, so we’d suggest that you consider what it is you’re looking for before you even go shopping. This handy guide breaks down some of the most common types of headboards that you might find as you’re shopping!

Material: you’ll find headboards made of a variety of different materials, including:

  - Wood: this is probably the most common material that you’ll see a headboard made from. They can come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and styles, making them a very versatile choice. You may want to check if it’s made of actual solid wood, a wood core with a veneer, or MDF (also known as pressboard or particle board).

  - Upholstery: a headboard that has upholstery (fabric) on it can make a room look more elegant or more cozy, depending on the shape and material. The most common fabrics are microfibers, velvets, and linens. Upholstered headboards usually have some padding, which make them a little more comfortable to lean against. Sometimes, you find tufting (the little buttons) on a piece like this as well.

  - Metal: you’ll commonly see a metal headboard made of a dark iron, but more contemporary metal beds could feature other metals as well. This is a simple, refined look that can be a great standalone piece with other pieces of furniture. One bonus: the open look of this headboard can create the illusion of more space in a small room.

  - Other materials: You might find a headboard made from a natural fiber such as wicker or rattan, which can lend itself to a country style, as well as leather, which can often present a more masculine look.

Shape: there are a wide variety of shapes and styles that a headboard might come in. Some of the most common:

  - Panel: as the name implies, the panel headboard is a solid piece (sometimes composed of smaller sections) that doesn’t have any gaps or openings. Typically, it’s two or three panels, but it doesn’t have to be. This is a great way to play with the optics of the room, similar to stripes on clothing- horizontally oriented panels would make a room look wider, while vertically-oriented panels would make a room look taller.

  - Slat: This style of bed is usually made of wood, and features narrow pieces of wood spread out across the whole headboard. There are gaps in between the slats which would create the illusion that a room is bigger than it seems. Wooden slats lend themselves to a mission or arts-and-crafts style, but metal slat beds could be used with a variety of styles.

  - Poster: This is more of a traditional style, with tall posts at each corner of the bed to create the illusion of extra height. The posts can be elaborately and intricately carved, which would make the style even a step more traditional. Sometimes, you’ll see a canopy attached to the tops of the posts.

  - Sleigh: If you were to take a step back and look, this would look sort of like Santa’s sleigh. Curved scrolls at the top of the headboard (and oftentimes, the footboard as well) add extra size and weight to the piece, creating a stunning visual as well as a definite focal point.

  - With the matching footboard and rails: this is the best option- not only for aesthetic purposes, but for stability as well. This obviously takes up a little more space in the room, but gives the whole bed a more complete look.

  - With a metal frame: This is the least expensive way, but probably also the least attractive visually. With the right hardware, it isn’t difficult to attach your headboard to one of those basic steel bed frames. Our biggest word of caution: this is not always the most stable. We’ve heard lots of stories about wobbly headboards when people use a setup like this.

  - Anchored to the wall: You see this a lot in hotels, but it’s something that can be done in your home as well. This is obviously very permanent, and will still require some kind of frame to put your mattress and boxspring in, but it solves the issue of stability. Just make sure you attach it to a flat, bare surface and anchor it to a stud.

  - With an adjustable base: if you choose to use an adjustable base under your mattress, you can actually attach your headboard right to the base with a set of brackets. The same issues that we mentioned regarding stability still apply here.