12 Headboard Alternatives When Your Bed Has No Headboard

updated Aug 10, 2022
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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 (and not all of them do), 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 go a different route completely. You’ll find examples of both ideas in our round-up of headboard alternatives.  

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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

4. 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

5. Use patterned wallpaper.

Downplay the fact that you don’t have a headboard by incorporating paint or wallpaper in a unique and interesting pattern. 

6. Add a pretty duvet cover.

You read that right: This is actually a duvet cover from H&M Home that has been turned into a beautiful headboard. Amara mounted it onto a piece of vinyl and painted the surrounding walls navy for a high-end look.

Credit: Viv Yapp

7. 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

8. 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.

(Image credit: Mille M2)

9. 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.

(Image credit: El Ramla Hamra)

10. Repurpose serving platters.

Check out how El Ramla Hamra repurposed oversized serving platters by mounting them to the wall to serve as a headboard. Unconventional, yes, but also very beautiful.

(Image credit: Femina)

11. 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.

(Image credit: Planete Deco)

12. Repurpose a vintage door.

This bedroom from Planete Deco actually makes use of a door as a headboard. How crafty!

Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann