A bed without a headboard is essentially an elevated mattress. The place you sleep takes up a lot of real estate in your bedroom, and the best headboard gives you something beautiful to look at while bringing the design elements of your room together.
Considered an accessory for the bed, a headboard may offer more than just visual appeal. Headboards come in a range of materials, sizes, and shapes that can be comfortable to lean on, offer a storage solution, or be designed in a way to trap warmth. Ranging from simple designs to functional art, a headboard expresses your aesthetic. This guide can help you narrow down the best headboard for you.
- BEST OVERALL: Andover Mills Dax Upholstered Panel Headboard
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mason & Marbles Upholstered Panel Headboard
- BEST WOOD: Winston Porter Xochitl Panel Headboard
- BEST METAL: Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse Harlow Slat Headboard
- BEST FAUX LEATHER: Zipcode Design Francis Upholstered Panel Headboard
- BEST TRADITIONAL: Charlton Home Camptown Open-Frame Headboard
- BEST MODERN: Orren Ellis Sevenoaks Upholstered Panel Headboard
- BEST WINGBACK: Three Posts Achenbach Upholstered Wingback Headboard
- BEST WALL PANELS: Vänt Upholstered Wall Panels
- BEST WITH STORAGE: Three Posts Edmont Bookcase Headboard
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Headboards
Selecting a headboard relies greatly on how pleasing it is to the eye, but there are other factors you should consider. The right headboard fits in your room, matches your decor, is easy to install, and doesn’t require much upkeep. Here are some criteria to help you decide what truly makes the best headboard.
The majority of headboards are freestanding, bed-mounted, wall-mounted, or wall panels.
- Freestanding headboards are propped up between the bed and the wall without any mounting hardware. Many freestanding headboards include predrilled holes in the legs, providing the option to mount the headboard to the bed.
- Bed-mounted headboards bolt directly to a bed frame. The headboard specs should indicate which type of bed frame it works with (metal bed frames are standard).
- Wall-mounted headboards attach to a wall. Wall-mounted headboards are not intended to bolt to a bed frame and vice versa.
- Wall panels also attach to the wall. These upholstered panels can turn an entire wall (or a great portion of it) into a headboard or accent wall behind your bed.
Some types of headboards come with storage options and can be freestanding, bed-mounted, or wall-mounted. Storage headboards have shelves or small cabinets built in to them to store books and other items.
Headboards come in a variety of materials for the frame and upholstery. Common frame materials include wood and metal.
- Wood is a sturdy material that’s easily carved and matches many design aesthetics. A popular choice, wood is traditional, timeless, and lasts a long time.
- Metal also creates a strong frame and is lighter and less expensive than wood. Metal materials go well with a modern or minimal aesthetic that has clean lines.
Headboard upholstery can be many different materials, including faux leather, polyester, and linen.
- Faux leather is a synthetic version of leather. It’s waterproof, hypoallergenic, looks great, and is easy to clean. Over time, this material gives way to wear and tear or UV exposure, which may cause cracks.
- Polyester is a synthetic fabric that’s durable and soft and resists stains. It absorbs oily stains, which can be minimized by coating the upholstery in a stain-resistant product.
- Linen is a natural material with antimicrobial properties. It’s a soft fabric that’s available in a variety of colors and patterns and durable enough to last years. This quality material is harder to clean than other materials.
Style and Accents
The best headboard matches your bedroom decor. Headboards are available in a variety of styles, such as modern, traditional, rustic, and industrial.
- Modern style relies on sleek simplicity and clean lines, achieved using materials like metal or fabric.
- Traditional style goes into the details, with ornate construction and wood elements.
- Rustic style is inspired by nature; these pieces are generally made of wood or other “worn” materials.
- Industrial style uses raw or exposed materials, such as worn metals, in its design.
Different style accents come from design elements such as tufted headboards, wings, and nailhead trim.
- Tufted headboards have buttoned upholstery stapled in different shapes, such as diamonds or squares.
- Wings are found on the wingback design, giving two short walls on each end of the headboard. These “wings” used to function as a heat trap but are now a design element.
- Nailhead trim is a studded design, usually around the edge of furniture.
Some upholstered headboards have a soft, pillow-like padded feel that’s meant for more than style alone—they can be quite comfortable and sturdy to lean on. A headboard with foam padding gives you an extra layer for lounging in bed instead of piling up several pillows. Consider the material of the headboard if you want to lean against it, as the stiffness of metal or wood does not provide a relaxing place to recline, and some upholstery, while beautiful, can be scratchy or uncomfortable. Some materials, like polyurethane, may be comfortable to lean on, but this type of use can cause wear and tear and shorten the lifespan of your headboard.
Size and Height
The size of your bed dictates which size headboard to purchase. Beds come in single, twin, full, queen, and king size; a headboard for a king-size bed is way too wide for a twin, so having the correct size is essential. This is especially important for bed-mounted headboards, as they need to fit the bed frame correctly to work properly. There is some leeway with wall-mounted bed frames and freestanding bed frames as they don’t need to attach to a specific-size frame. However, aesthetically, you should purchase the headboard that fits your bed frame so it matches the bed visually.
The height you need for a headboard depends on a few factors. If you have high ceilings, taller headboards may fit nicely. Headboards with a lower height give the option for more room for shelves, art, or photos to be placed above the headboard. Some headboards have adjustable height options for bed-mounted headboards, and wall-mounted headboards can be adjusted for preference as well.
Ease of Cleaning
You may not imagine cleaning a headboard when you purchase it, but this should be a factor in your selection. The material of a headboard influences how it should be cleaned. Cleaning your headboard helps it look better and prevents dust and allergens from building up.
Which tools you use to clean your headboard will depend on how it is constructed. Wood, metal, leather, and faux leather can usually be wiped off easily with a clean cloth. Upholstered headboards can be cleaned with the upholstery brush on a vacuum, a steam cleaner, or a lint roller. Upholstery typically requires a bit more care to help it last longer and stay clean. Fabrics can absorb oil from your hair and skin, sweat, and moisture from spills, which may mean you need to spot clean or deep clean to bring it back to a pristine appearance.
Panel headboards and other upholstery may benefit from a fabric protector, such as Scotchgard.
Often, headboards that are mounted come with the hardware (and sometimes tools) required to get the job done.
A wall-mounted headrest doesn’t connect to the bed but attaches to the wall to give it the appearance that it’s floating. It needs to be connected to the wall securely in areas where the wall can support the weight of the headboard, either in the wall studs or by using anchors to hang the headboard.
A bed-mounted headrest bolts directly to the bed frame. These types of headboards generally have predrilled holes that line up with the connection sites of the bed frame. If there are multiple holes in the legs of the headboard, the headboard can be installed at different heights. Mounted headboards do not need installation if you use them as freestanding headboards. You can also convert a freestanding headboard into a bed-mounted headboard by carefully drilling holes into the legs of your bed frame.
Our Top Picks
The top picks take the above considerations into account and are based on the criteria of what makes the best headboard. Of course, the design style of each individual’s bedroom varies, leaving the determination of visual appeal in the hands of each consumer.
Andover Mills Dax Upholstered Panel Headboard is available in 11 colors and sizes for twin, full, queen, and king beds. A headboard height of 38 inches and a leg height of 29 inches makes a total height of about 5.5 feet. If you decide to attach the headboard to a bed frame, there is adjustable mounting height on the legs to fit your bed. Made of an eco-friendly, solid maple frame with a camel-shaped top for aesthetic value, this bed offers stability and visual appeal.
Padded with 100 percent linen-covered foam upholstery with a tufted diamond pattern, this headboard has a classic style that fits smaller budgets. The Andover Mills headboard can be mounted to a bed frame and is compatible with adjustable beds; however, mounting hardware is not included. Keep it clean easily using a clean cloth and a fabric protector.
This Mason & Marbles Upholstered Panel Headboard checks the boxes for appealing style and modest charm. This trendy headboard, available in three color options, including brown, black/brown, and cream, offers a tall and classy design. A deep diamond-tufted design in the upholstery gives this headboard an elegant style at a lower price than similar products. This headboard is available for twin-, full-, queen-, and king-size beds and is 52 inches high. Made of a wood frame and foam fill for comfort and covered in faux leather or fabric upholstery, this is a simple design done well. This headboard comes with predrilled holes, giving it the option of attaching to a bed frame if you prefer.
The Xochitl Panel Headboard is a simple design based on a classic look that can suit many tastes. Built to fit a queen- or king-size bed, this headboard has an overall height of 48 inches, giving you space to hang art or photographs above the bed. There are four colors available for this design to give you options to match the headboard with your style and decor. Constructed of composite wood, particle board, and medium-density fiberboard, this humble design offers a timeless look. A rectangular silhouette with streamlined moldings and two straight slat legs make it easy to prop up against the wall. You also have the option of attaching this headboard to a standard metal bed frame for adjustable beds thanks to the predrilled holes in the legs.
The Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse Harlow Slat Headboard makes a significant yet “lighter” impact on a room—its vintage-style vertical steel posts are generously spaced to allow you to see the wall between the posts. This vintage metal style is available for twin-, full-, queen-, and king-size beds and caps out at a height of 54 inches. A minimal-style headboard like this pairs well with art or photos on the wall because the headboard doesn’t compete for visual attention. The modern farmhouse look is available in dark bronze or white and crafted from steel. Metal headboards are easy to clean with a simple wipe with a cloth or duster. This headboard meets the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, adding an extra layer of confidence in this purchase. Like many types of headboards, this design comes with predrilled holes that attach to a bed frame, or it can be propped up between the wall and the bed.
Zipcode Design’s Francis Upholstered Panel Headboard offers understated beauty in a headboard. A versatile rectangular silhouette that’s available in seven colors, this design reflects a relaxed, contemporary style. The panel headboard is made of a solid and manufactured wood frame, foam padding for support and comfort, and easy-to-clean faux leather or linen. The upholstery design is biscuit tufting, which creates a square-shaped pattern. Using eco-friendly materials, this headboard has an overall height of 52.5 inches and a leg height of 30.5 inches, so it fits in many rooms. The two post legs can freestand between the bed and wall, but they also have predrilled holes, with various-height mounting positions, which can attach to most standard bed frames.
For those searching for a statement piece inspired by traditional style, Charlton Home’s Camptown Open-Frame Headboard features scrollwork details that demand attention. For full-, queen-, and king-size beds, the height of the headboard depends on the size you select; the overall height is 62 inches or 66 inches, making it a taller piece suited for master bedrooms or rooms with high ceilings. The solid wood legs, complete with traditional finials, are coated in cinnamon cherry finish. Your headboard will be unique because of natural factors in the wood that set it apart, including wood grain or knots in the wood. The metalwork is brushed with aged gold finish over steel to add richness to the curves and straight lines. Intended to be a freestanding headboard, this piece also comes with hardware to bolt to a metal bed frame or adjustable bed.
Orren Ellis Sevenoaks Upholstered Panel Headboard provides a modern take on a classic look. This modern design boasts subtle class as it’s made with channel tufting, soft texture, and a squared profile. The upholstery is covered in a soft performance velvet made from polyester that covers solid wood and particle-board construction, keeping it sturdy and soft. The materials provide a durable, long-lasting, and stain-resistant option in a beautiful panel design. Because it is stuffed with dense foam padding, you can lean back on this headboard comfortably.
The upholstery is available in six colors that will likely match any room’s palette. Available in twin, full, queen, or king, this budget-friendly option allows updating your headboard at a minimal cost. An overall height of 55.5 inches and an adjustable mounting height make this headboard versatile. This headboard comes with hardware for installation so it can be mounted to the wall or a bed frame or left freestanding between your bed and the wall.
Three Posts Achenbach Upholstered Wingback Headboard is an elegant design for twin, queen, and king beds. A wingback silhouette offers a classic look with button tufting to give it texture and nailhead trim on the sides for some flash. With a leg height of 23 inches and an overall height of 54.25 inches, this headboard fits many bedrooms. Made of a solid and manufactured wood frame, foam filling for padding, and linen-blend upholstery, this headboard is secure and comfortable to lean against. With predrilled holes, it’s compatible with a standard metal bed frame, but it can also serve as a freestanding headboard if that’s your preference, though you may need to reinforce the base with some additional wood. Three neutral-tone color options are available, which work with any colors already incorporated in your bedroom design.
Vänt Upholstered Wall Panels fit with any bed size or style and are available in six fabric types and 31 colors. With so many options, you can create a statement headboard panel that fits your room, style, and need. Each panel measures 30 or 39 inches by 11.5 inches. Fabric types include polyurethane (PU) leather, a cotton/linen blend, velvet, and suede—some of these panels, such as cotton weave, velvet, and suede, have a 0.95 NRC Rating, making them soundproof acoustic panels. Panels are sold four to a box with the required mounting hardware; you choose the wall configuration so you only have to buy what you need. These panels come with a proprietary mounting system, which doesn’t require studs or anchors. The mounting system uses patented anchorless screws with extra-wide threads to grip drywall; alternatively, strong adhesive strips can be used to mount the panels if you don’t want to drill into the wall.
The Edmont Bookcase Headboard combines the aesthetic of a headboard with the function of a bookshelf. This contemporary accent piece is available for twin-, double-, full-, queen-, and king-size beds. Available in five color options and crafted with eco-friendly manufactured wood, plastic, and metal, this headboard is a storage solution for books, decorative objects, your phone, and other items. At a height of 43 inches, this freestanding headboard doesn’t need to attach to a bed or wall—it’s a sturdy stand-alone unit. If you choose to attach it to a metal bed frame or adjustable bed, you need to drill holes to connect the headboard to the bed frame. For an easy-to-clean option, this headboard only needs to be wiped with a damp cloth and dried with a clean cloth.
FAQs About Headboards
In the search for the best headboard, you may be left with some questions about the function, selection process, and placement of a headboard. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about what to look for in the best headboard.
Q. How do I choose a headboard?
Choose a headboard based on the size of the bed you have, your design aesthetic, any appealing additional features, and ease of cleaning. Make sure that your headboard looks good with your sheets and comforter.
Q. Can you put a headboard on any bed?
Some beds, such as certain adjustable beds, aren’t built to have a headboard mounted to them. You can use a wall-mounted headboard or freestanding headboard on any bed (as long as the size is appropriate).
Q. Should a headboard touch the floor?
Not all headboards touch the floor. A wall-mounted headboard or panels and some bed-mounted headboards do not touch the floor.
Q. How thick should a headboard be?
It depends on the needs you have in a headboard and the style you like. For example, bed-mounting headboards can be thin, while headboards with storage should be thicker. Stability is more important than the thickness of a headboard.