Before and After: A Busted Secondhand Bookshelf Transforms into a Show-Stopping Headboard for $100

published Mar 1, 2023
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IKEA black BILLY bookcase before upcycling into headboard

If there’s one thing that DIYers and budget-savvy decorators know, it’s that you can find amazing home decor (or future home decor) in the most unexpected places. Yes, thrift stores have great deals, and Facebook Marketplace is full of treasures — but don’t forget to keep your eyes open wherever you go, because you might just luck into something great.

For me, that luck came from a random Instagram photo shared by one of my favorite local designers, Christy Ramón. She posted a pic of a beautiful vintage Danish chair that had been reupholstered in my very favorite fabrics from design darling House of Hockney: “Hollyhocks.” And if I recall correctly, my comment was something along the lines of “OMG I LOOOOOVE THIS PRINT.” All caps, zero chill. Christy responded, asking if I’d be interested in a Hollyhocks fabric remnant she had leftover from a project. Again, with zero chill whatsoever, I responded with a series of emojis that I hoped would convey the “YES!” I was screaming at my screen. “Hollyhocks” retails for almost $200 per yard; buying designer leftovers helped me snag two whole yards for a mere $40 (an almost 90 percent discount). Then I squirreled it away until the perfect project came along.

What eventually called to me: a custom upholstered headboard with a scalloped shape. I’d seen others in the wild and I wanted to create the look with my gorgeous fabric. Thankfully, I found the perfect thing to use as the base of the project in the form of this busted bookcase I rescued from Facebook Marketplace.

The shelves of this secondhand bookcase were just wide enough that each of the five shelves would line up perfectly to span the width of our queen-size bed. I started by disassembling the whole thing and taking only the shelves to use for this project (the others are standing by for a future project). Then, I traced an arch shape onto the shelves and used a jig saw to make the cuts. Thankfully, the particle board was super easy to cut!

When it came to adding the cushion, I lucked out and found the 1-inch foam I needed on sale at the craft store for just $16. After gluing that in place, I wrapped the board in batting that I stapled into place; I followed with my gorgeous fabric.

After connecting the boards with strap ties, I hung my finished headboard on the wall using a French cleat. You can’t even tell the end product used to be a bookshelf! The grand total of this project came in a little under $100 — a bit more than most of my projects cost, but a wicked deal considering the original price of the fabric would have been about $200 per yard.

I absolutely love how every aspect of the project turned out, and love that the sad old bookshelf has a new life as a beautiful centerpiece in our bedroom. And don’t worry — even in this form, books will still always be close at hand.

Check out the full bookshelf-to-headboard how-to for detailed instructions and step-by-step photos of this project.