Need a new headboard, but don’t have a fortune to spend? How about using things you already have or things that others may want to discard to make a custom headboard that is not only stylish and creative, but inexpensive as well!

Here are some ideas to help stir those creative juices (be careful not to spill ’em!)!

1. Use an old door. If you want a classic wood look, sand and stain the door to match existing furniture. Or paint the door and distress for a vintage look. If the door is paneled, the inserts can be painted a contrasting color, stenciled with elegant designs, or decoupaged with fabric or handmade papers.

Old door headboard

2. Use a section of wooden picket or wrought iron fencing. The sections can be painted and fastened with bolts or hooks.

Fence headboardThis old chain link gate was partially covered with a quilted fabric panel, tied on with ribbon to soften…charming! 

3. Use trellis. Decorate with ivy, silk flowers and ribbons for a Country French look or simply paint.

4. Use old window frames. Leave painted window frames as is for a distressed look. Or paint a garden scene (or use a wallpaper mural) behind the frames to give the illusion of looking outdoors.

Window headboard

5. Use folding screens. An elegant folding screen with fabric or painted panels can be easily attached to the wall or left standing for a simple headboard solution.

6. Use vintage napkins or placemats. The linen can be hung on curtain rod which is attached decorative rod holders just above the bed.

7. Use scrap plywood or MDF covered by cedar siding or paneling. The headboard can have a rustic, lodge look if covered by cedar shakes or a more traditional look if covered by tongue-in-groove paneling. ALso consider using salvaged wood…pallets anyone?

Salvaged wood headboard


8. Use shutters. Stain or paint the shutters to create a country or cottage look in your romantic bedroom.

Shutter headboard

9. Use framed photos. Create an arrangement of photos grouped by size, frame color or theme to give the illusion of a headboard.

10. Use a quilt or tapestry. Mount the fabric over a shower curtain or cafe curtain rod using curtain hooks with a clip bottom. This looks great in a country or European-style bedroom.

Quilt headboard

If you use your imagination, tiles, strips of fabric, bookcases, the back of an old sofa, a large poster or wooden shelves can all be used to fashion a headboard. Look around your home! Look in the dumpster! There are hundreds of items which can be used!

Now…what can we make with these margarine tubs? Any ideas?

Article by Pamela Cole Harris. Pamela is a writer with over 35 years experience (Gosh! Has it been that long?). Her expertise on decorating on a budget comes from her own experience (Is Early Graduate Student a style?). Visit her website,

Image Credits: Shelterness, HGTV, Magnet Street, BHG, Salvage Secrets, Completely Coastal, Home Goods

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1 Comment

  1. Maria April 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Nice ideas! Thank you for sharing. I love all of them.


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