Update your bedroom by creating an easy and inexpensive headboard.
Easy tips and tricks to make a DIY headboard for dorm or bedroom.

If you dread going to sleep at night, your outdated bedroom may be to blame.  Create a spa bedroom update on a budget and freshen your look with this quick and easy DIY idea you can use from dorm room to Master Suite.

From planets to Paris to wall-sized plants, over the years, I’ve exhausted myself creating the perfect habitat for my two little cherubs.  I’ve spray painted, thrifted and DIYed my way through more kid-themed room decor than I care to recall.  

The whole thing started sweetly enough with my son’s newborn nursery and a life-sized tree-painted floor to ceiling in our little rental apartment.  No, we didn’t get our deposit back.

IF YOU HATE YOUR BEDROOM

If you’re seeing the empty nest on your horizon, now’s the time to start thinking about the bedroom sanctuary of your dreams.  Creating a bedroom update can be a game changer, whether you’re staging your home to sell, setting up a dorm room or apartment for your young adult, or just looking to improve your sleeping arrangements.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being.

Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Headboards can make a huge difference in the look of a room and bring that restful atmosphere we’re craving without much effort.  Here a 3 ideas for breathing new life into a master or kids’ bedroom with just a little cash and not much effort.

LEARN TO LET GO

During our recent downsizing move, we made the decision to leave behind anything we didn’t really love.  That included furniture we’d been holding on to for way too long.  Our four-poster bedframe was a wedding gift from a family member, but it no longer fit our style.  We were relieved to lighten the load of our move and donate it to a local charity. 

That left us with a mattress and box spring sitting on the floor of our new bedroom while we searched for just the bedroom update we were looking for.  Simultaneously, our oldest was setting up his first apartment and moving several states away, while our daughter was in the middle of shopping for her freshman dorm room.

The cost of a stand-alone headboard varies widely from $100 to $500, but since none of our situations was permanent, I couldn’t see spending any more than I absolutely had to.  I began by searching our storage room and garage for items we already owned that might work.  Even though my kids were moving out, I felt a strange compulsion to keep decorating their rooms.  Even if a life-size tree mural was no longer appropriate, I could at least contribute a wood-look headboard.

FIRST APARTMENT

First apartment headboard.

Our son was the first to leave, so he took top priority.  I first cut a piece of foam core I had left over from a previous project to fit the size of his mattress.  Since the foam core was blue, I sprayed a light coat of brown spray paint over the surface.

I started by using materials I already had on hand.

Next, I worked with some leftover vinyl peel and stick floor boards we’d used in our basement family room.  I cut the vinyl planks to fit the foam core and glue gunned them on for security.  He opted to lean the headboard lengthwise against his wall and was very happy with the look we achieved. 

I used vinyl “planks” left over from our basement redo.

My take away from this first project was to use a stiffer base for an area this wide.  The foam core had too much give and some of the vinyl planks popped off and had to be replaced. 

DORM ROOM

My daughter was next in line to fly the coop, so I enlisted my husband’s help on her headboard.  The goal was to give her something padded to lean against, since her lofted bed offered only the cement wall behind for support.

Cozy dormroom headboard

This time, my inspiration came from Pinterest, specifically this site.  I purchased a piece of plywood from Lowe’s and had them cut it to fit my specifications for just a little extra cash.

The biggest expense you’ll find on this kind of project is the quality of foam you choose to use.  A really dense foam padding can end up costing as much as a nice piece of furniture.  My solution for this thrifty project was to layer inexpensive quilt batting several times until I got the loft I was looking for. 

Choose a batting you can afford.

I chose a simple cotton polka dot from Wal-Mart, which was only $2.00/yard.  Stretching the fabric to fit was a two-person job.  One of us made sure the fabric was centered and stretched taut, while the other handled the staple gun.

The finished product was a twin headboard my daughter can lean back on comfortably and sell at the end of the year, if she chooses.  It also adds a finished touch to her dorm room.

SPA RETREAT

Our third headboard project was the bedroom update for our makeshift master bed.  I finally decided on a three-panel look with each piece padded for comfort.  Two of the panels use fabric from a flat sheet I had purchased on sale, the third panel is a contrasting décor fabric from Hobby Lobby.

DIY Headboards
Turn your bedroom in a spa getaway.

Before I decided to make this a three-panel project, I was toying with the idea of one big panel.  I started with a large piece of rigid insulation board which was light enough for me to carry and much less expensive that a piece of plywood this size. 

Lowe’s will cut your wood to your measurements for a just a few dollars extra.

Learn from my mistake, friends.  I transported the large board to my SUV on a very blustery day in February.  Picture me wind surfing across Lowe’s parking lot and you pretty much have the idea.  Finally, a total stranger took mercy and offered to help me get the board in my car.  Despite his kind gesture, the board was just too big to fit. 

He finally gave me a pitiful grin, shrugged his shoulders and wished me luck.  I sailed back into Lowe’s and had them cut the insulation board into 3 equal pieces.  I’m sure they can see the DIYers coming a mile away…

BEDROOM UPDATE

Once I had the materials safely home, the rest was a simple process of stretching the fabric over the quilt batting and insulation board and duct taping/hot gluing it in place.  When I was happy with the three panels, I got out my level and stuck each one to the wall with command strips, being careful to keep each panel level- another two-person project.

Sandwich polyfill between fabric and backing and secure with duct tape and glue gun.

The new headboard provided the bedroom update we were looking for, and it’s something we can change whenever we choose.  When we finally get our new bed frame, all I have to do is detach the panels without a trace!  I even had enough fabric and board left over to make a matching valance for our window.

The beauty of these three headboard ideas is that each is portable and customizable.  They were fun projects to do as a couple and could be accomplished in just a few hours over the weekend.

Don’t forget to use a level for each panel.

If you’re holding on to dated furniture for sentimental reasons, maybe it’s time to let it go to a new home.  Nothing will turn a tired room into a spa get-away quicker than new headboard project.

I had enough fabric and insulation board left over to make a valance.

You may love your spa retreat so much that you take to lounging in bed eating bonbons and ready racing novels once the kids are gone.  After all, it’s time to create your own bedroom theme.

Update your bedroom by creating an easy and inexpensive headboard.
Update your bedroom by creating an easy and inexpensive headboard.
DIY Dorm Headboard you can make over the weekend
Create an inexpensive DIY headboard for your collegiate's dorm or apartment.