Our “New” Old Headboard – How to upholster an old headboard

Do you know that feeling when you wake up to a newly
renovated room, or a freshly painted wall?  I had that feeling
over the weekend as I woke up to our new headboard.
 This is a project I’ve been meaning to do for about 3 years – having purchased the materials a while back – but for some reason or another, never got around to it.  You know those projects.  I’m so glad we finally got the chance to do it. 

We’ve had the same headboard for about 16 years and it
was definitely time for a change.  Here is a before picture.

This was one of those projects I needed hubby’s help with as he had to measure and pre-drill the holes.  He used a small drill bit (7/64), slightly larger than the needle you will thread the buttons with.  We used mattress foam purchased from Walmart and placed the indented side against the headboard.  Best part?  It was on sale and only cost $13.99 ($19.99 regular), as opposed to the foam that sells at the fabric store for $70.00+.  As I didn’t have spray adhesive, we used hot glue to keep it in place. Not sure if this a big ‘faux pas’, but it worked really well.

Even though I insisted we place the headboard on the ground to complete the process, you’ll see we didn’t take it apart.  That’s because hubby was convinced we could do a better job if the frame was upright, providing more stability (the headboard curves) and allowing us to see the process. He was right (again..ugh).
We placed the batting over the foam and again, used hot glue to hold the top and bottom in place.  We then draped the fabric over the batting and starting stapling.  There are several ways you can staple fabric onto board and honestly, there is no ‘right’ way to do it. 
I had purchased this beautiful thick linen looking fabric at the thrift store for $6.99 and it turned out to be the perfect size for our king headboard.

After covering 23 buttons, it was time to sew them onto the headboard.  This part is a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy.

1. Thread thick needle or upholstering needle with heavy twine (we used baker’s twine because that’s all we had and it worked great)
2. Insert needle through pre-drilled holes in the the back of headboard and out the front (through foam, batting and fabric)
3. Pull needle completely through the front of the headboard and thread through button hole
4. Insert needle back through pre-drilled hole from the front (depending upon the size of the drill hole, this may be a tight fit and you may need to use needle nose pliers to grab the needle and pull it through)
5. Once the needle is completely through the back of the headboard, secure the twine by bringing it upwards, securing with staple and then downwards and secure with a second staple.
6. Tie the two ends of the twine together in a knot.

We used 22 buttons in total (row of 7, row of 8 and a third row of 7) and were worried it might look too busy, but with the size of the buttons, we are very happy with the way it turned out.  

Here is the before and after.
I love the stencil which is from Royal Design studios
(Endless circles Lattice Moroccan stencil), but it drives me absolutely crazy
that the gray (Stonington gray) paint looks blue at times. ugh.
 Here is another shot of our ‘new’ old headboard. 
Do you remember the sunburst mirror I made?
 And here’s the plain IKEA rug I turned into a trendy zebra rug.
The room is coming along nicely and I hope it will be
completed sometime before Christmas, but I never
hold my breath when it comes to that sort of thing. :/   
Here is the price breakdown for the headboard:
Fabric – $6.99 (from second hand store)
Buttons – $11.96 (4 packs @ $2.99/pack)
Foam – $13.99 (Q size – stretched to fit K)
Batting – $11.50 
TOTAL – $50.00 (incl. taxes)
Woohoo! Love that part!
So what do you think?
Do you like the look of upholstered headboards? 


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit!
Hope you have a great day ! 
much love,
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  1. says

    Gorgeous headboard and you make it look so easy! I have a similar issue with my headboard and have contemplated covering with fabric. Some day I will get to it, I hope. The wall color is very pretty even if the grey looks blue.

  2. says

    Wow! It looks wonderful and such a great transformation! Good job and wonderful prices for the materials you used! I like the way the walls change from blue to gray depending on the light, so either way it looks great!

  3. says

    Wow, you rock! I made my own very similar tufted headboard a couple years ago and am still so in love with it. It’s one of those “biggest bang for your buck ever” projects!

  4. says

    It looks amazing Lucy really! I am a huge fan of upholstered headboards. If I didn’t love my wrought iron bed I would definitely have one. Who knows one day I may look at that bed and want a change, I’m prone to do that lol.

  5. says

    I found you through Pinterest and I’m now your newest follower. This headboard came out fabulous. I bet you love it.
    What a fresh, clean look.
    I hate that about gray paints. They always read green or blue to me.

  6. says

    Wow now that is an amazing transformation! I’m gonna think twice now before I pass up one of those headboards! Love when we ask our husbands for help they always have the “best” way to do things :)

  7. Lucy says

    This is exactly what I was looking for! I have a bed with a current headboard and tried googling everything possible but after a bit of time I came across yours and it is absolutely perfect! Looks fabulous, elegant and expensive but so cheap to do! Amazing

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