You might have thought that, after thousands of years of bedroom design, we'd seen everything, but that's where you'd be wrong. Today's steel bed frames are lighter and nimbler than the wood ones of old, which frees the bed up for a lot of design possibilities. One design possibility that I've recently been alerted to is the 'built-in' headboard, a piece that mounts to the wall and extends far beyond the boundaries of the bed. In doing so it gives the bed a finished, permanent look, but also becomes a feature of the room itself, unifying bed and bedroom together into a single architectural statement.
Below are a few of my favorite examples. These may look imposing, but they're actually quite easy to DIY — essentially just a piece of plywood covered in batting and fabric. The level of commitment is certainly higher than with a traditional, bed-wide headboard — but the upside is that you have a piece that really makes the room. Add a few accessories, a lamp, and a nightstand, and your bedroom design is done.
The channeled headboard in this bedroom from Emily Henderson (also leage image above) makes a really big statement, stretching the entire length of the room — but it's also a DIY you can do at home. Follow the link to get the instructions.
The wall-length headboard in this bedroom from Casa de Valentina is upholstered in a jaunty stripe that adds a touch of pattern to the space.
In this bedroom from Architectural Digest, the headboard wraps all the way around a small nook, enveloping bed and bedside table alike. It's an architectural feature that adds interest to the space, but also coziness and comfort to the bed.
The big, beautiful headboard in this bedroom from A Beautiful Mess was another DIY.
This bedroom from Houzz offers another version of the channel tufted headboard seen above.
The options above are all upholstered, but this bedroom from Red Magazine embraces a more natural look, with a piece of unfinished plywood serving as both headboard and wall treatment.
What about plexiglass? This example from Adore Magazine is particularly striking.
In this image from El Mueble, the headboard becomes quite literally part of the architecture of the room itself, being built into the wall. This one, which even wraps around a corner of the wall, has a clever built-in shelf that functions as a nightstand.
In this Paris apartment from Milk Magazine, a built-in ledge behind the bed serves as the headboard. Since this would require actual framing, it's definitely a bigger commitment than some of the other examples, but it is a really nice, minimal look.
Another way to give your bed a bit of presence, while adding architectural interest to the room, is with a fireplace mantel, like this one in a bedroom spotted on Design*Sponge.
This headboard situation, at an Italian B&B spotted on Sight Unseen, looks similar to the Paris one, but with the addition of tile. Tile makes everything better.
A particularly ambitious example of the style is this one from Kinfolk, where the built-in headboard also includes two built-in nightstands. This is a great solution for a small bedroom, or anywhere you want to make a bit of a statement with a bed that's clean-lined but also sure to catch the eye.