14 Headboard Alternatives When Your Bed Has No Headboard

updated Oct 2, 2023
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a white bed has a headboard made of bamboo

Headboards can be a boon to a bedroom, creating a focal point and even adding a storage spot for books. But if you’ve purchased a bed that doesn’t come with a headboard, you’ll need a suitable headboard alternative. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there to help make the space above your bed eye-catching.  

There are a couple routes you could take: fashion something similar to a headboard, or create something entirely different. You’ll find examples of both ideas in our round-up of headboard alternatives.  

1. Substitute greenery.

Trailing vines of greenery stand in for a traditional headboard in this serene scene by @thinkcurated. It’s a clever way to frame a bed with no headboard.

2. Create a DIY version.

Why didn’t we think of that? This headboard alternative is so clever, made with widely available bamboo sticks. Using just five long and seven shorter bamboo rods, @twochicksandahammer created a perfectly usable and rustic-inspired headboard alternative.

3. Make it macrame.

Here, a dramatic, oversized macrame wall hanging serves as a perfect headboard alternative in this room by @mooc_macrame. It fits perfectly with the room’s subtle Western aesthetic.

4. Make it a window seat.

No headboard? No problem! If your bedroom has a big, beautiful window, simply use that as a headboard, like @justmejoeyanne_tita has done here. The bed doesn’t block much light, while the white bedding seems to reflect the light that streams in from the windows anyway. The result is bright, clean and beautiful.

Credit: @itsnottrash

5. Use coordinating colors.

This bed by @itsnottrash butts up against the wall, but with the use of coordinating colors gray and hunter green, you’d hardly notice it’s lacking. Don’t forget that paint colors themselves can serve as a totally effective headboard alternative.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

6. Incorporate shelves.

Add a faux headboard using several 1x1s, as shown in this minimalist Canadian loft. Add some shelving to bring some purpose to your handcrafted headboard.

7. Simply use pillows.

No headboard? No problem! Just prop up a few oversized pillows behind your regular bed pillows like this cute bedroom in North Carolina and you’re good to go.

8. Drape some bright fabric.

In this adorable, global-inspired Australian home, brightly colored fabric hangs from the wall behind the bed, serving as an eye-catching headboard alternative.

Credit: Katie Shears

9. DIY a wooden headboard.

If you’re looking for a good DIY project that isn’t too difficult, fashion a visually interesting wooden structure to rest on the wall behind your bed, like the one shown in this Oklahoma home

Credit: Viv Yapp

10. Use paint to emphasize the space.

Try painting a half circle on your wall in a bright hue to replace a headboard, as seen in Trish Martin’s home

11. Add a dramatic piece of art.

How about hanging a massive piece of art behind your bed in place of a headboard? This idea looks stunning in Tracey Hairston’s home.

Credit: Mille M2

12. Incorporate geometric shapes.

Try painting a rectangular headboard, as seen on Mille M2. It’s a great way to define your bed, and doesn’t take up any space at all.

Credit: Femina

13. Use a combination of paint and a gallery wall.

If you look closely you’ll notice that the bed in this bedroom from Femina actually does have a headboard, but that doesn’t mean this gallery wall, with the painted backdrop behind, wouldn’t work equally well as a defining element for a bed without a headboard.

Credit: Planete Deco

14. Repurpose a vintage door.

This bedroom from Planete Deco actually makes use of a door as a headboard. It’s turned sideways with the doorknob removed, which makes it the perfect size and shape to be a backdrop for a queen-sized bed. What’s more, you can paint or decorate it however you’d like. How crafty!