A bed without a headboard is essentially an elevated mattress. Typically the bedroom’s biggest item, the bed deserves an attractive headboard to express personal style, serve as a focal point, and tie the design elements of the room together. Beyond visual appeal, a headboard can increase bedroom enjoyment, giving folks something to lean against comfortably while reading or watching TV. Some even offer storage solutions—a boon to small bedrooms.Headboards come in a range of sizes, shapes, and materials—some even designed to hold warmth for extra coziness. Ranging from simple designs to functional art, a headboard expresses an individual’s aesthetic. This guide can help narrow down the best headboard for any bedroom decor.
- BEST OVERALL: 17 Stories Kroeker Upholstered Headboard
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Modway Region Linen Fabric Upholstered Headboard
- BEST WOOD: AFI Richmond Headboard
- BEST METAL: August Grove Darsh Headboard
- BEST TUFTED: Willa Arlo Felicienne Upholstered Headboard
- BEST WINGBACK: Three Posts Achenbach Upholstered Wingback Headboard
- BEST MODERN: Vänt Upholstered Wall Panels
- BEST WITH STORAGE: Charlton Home Devonport Headboard
How We Chose the Best Headboards
There are literally thousands of headboards available in a vast array of sizes, colors, and materials. During our research, we looked not just at the aesthetics, but construction and fitting options. Our aim was to provide the widest possible choice, helping people to find solutions that would fit anywhere from a large master bedroom to a modest basement bedroom.
We looked at many headboards from well-known merchants like Amazon, Pottery Barn, and Wayfair but also lesser-known brands that offered versatile design ideas and good value. Of course, price is always a consideration, but in making our choices, we were careful not to sacrifice quality, durability, or practicality.
Our Top Picks
The top picks here take into account all the criteria of what makes the best headboard. While the design style of each bedroom varies, leaving the determination of visual appeal in the hands of each consumer, we’re confident that shoppers will find some viable options in our lineup.
Selecting a single best headboard is extremely challenging and is naturally subject to individual tastes, but we chose the 17 Stories Kroeker upholstered headboard because it can satisfy a wide range of needs.
The Kroeker comes in two upholstery choices: brown faux leather or light gray fabric. Both are easy to match with modern, industrial, rustic, or retro decors. The thickly padded surface makes for excellent comfort when sitting up for reading in bed. As a wall-mounted option, it can suit all types of beds since it needn’t be fitted to the frame or suit a particular bed height. Despite the reassuringly solid appearance, the cushions are actually lightweight and can be fixed with or without the steel rail.
- Material: Metal and fabric
- Sizes: Twin, queen, king
- Fitting: Wall-mounted
- An extremely popular design that can complement many types of decor
- Wall mounting means there are no issues with bed-frame material or mattress height
- Lightweight but deeply padded cushions can be fixed with or without rail
- Holes must be drilled in the wall for installation; not an option for every user, particularly renters
Get the 17 Stories headboard at Wayfair.
Many people will be quite happy to invest in a premium headboard for the primary bedroom but may understandably want to spend less on a guest bedroom. The Modway Region linen fabric headboard offers a solution that looks good and comes at a very competitive price.
The Modway Region is easy to match with a room decor scheme thanks to five subtle, neutral color choices. Sturdy solid wood legs are predrilled and slotted to allow flexible height position. While designed for Modway’s own beds, it should be simple enough to fit almost any bed frame. Fixing hardware, Allen wrench, and spanner are included, and minimal drilling may be required.
- Material: Linen polyester
- Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
- Fitting: Bed frame
- Offers sleek, contemporary linear design at a very competitive price
- With 5 unobtrusive neutral color choices, it can suit a wide range of decor schemes
- Adjustable brackets make it easy to alter height to different bed sizes
- Some drilling may be required, which can be challenging on metal-frame beds
Get the Modway headboard at Amazon.
Wood has been the classic headboard material for generations. It looks great and has a tactile warmth that’s particularly appropriate for bedrooms. The AFI Richmond comes with a rich walnut finish applied in a five-step process that makes it very hard wearing. It is designed to fit standard steel bed frames, though adapting it to wooden frames shouldn’t be difficult.
The underlying structure is solid rubberwood that is sustainably forested, rather than true walnut, which is considered endangered. For modern practicality, a “turbo charger” power pack is included that attaches to either upright, providing two USB ports for charging personal devices. Prefer a finish other than walnut? The AFI Richmond is also available in caramel, espresso, gray, and white.
- Material: Solid wood
- Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
- Fitting: Bed frame
- The undeniable charm and warmth of wood with a hard-wearing 5-step finish
- Includes a surface-mounted “turbo charger” with 2 USB ports
- The woods used in AFI headboards come from eco-friendly sources
- Though intended for standard metal-frame beds, additional adjustable brackets may be required
Get the AFI headboard at Amazon or The Home Depot.
Steel is known for its strength and durability, and tubular steel has long been used for headboards; despite its toughness, it remains relatively lightweight. The August Grove Darsh headboard follows a traditional pattern with geometric finials that add a touch of class. The hard-wearing black finish has a slight texture, giving a subtle industrial feel.
Uprights are predrilled at 5, 7.5 and 9 inches from the floor, and with the brackets provided, will suit a variety of bed frames. The headboard comes in two parts that are easy to put together using the supplied bolts, though frustratingly the required Allen wrench is not included.
- Material: Steel
- Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
- Fitting: Bed frame
- Features strong tubular-steel construction with geometric finials and a hard-wearing finish
- Easy to assemble with all hardware included (Allen wrench required)
- Adjustable brackets with predrilled holes will fit a variety of bed heights
- The black finish will suit many decor styles, but no alternative is available
Get the August Grove headboard at Wayfair.
A tufted headboard like the Willa Arlo Felicienne adds a touch of luxury to a bedroom. The linen polyester fabric looks plush while being easy to care for. The headboard is thickly padded, providing comfort for sitting up in bed to read or enjoy a morning beverage. There is a choice of five colors, so it can match almost any decorative scheme.
The Willa Arlo Felicienne headboard can be adjusted anywhere from 46 to 58 inches in height, and the king-size version comes with brackets to adapt it to the California king bed size. Predrilled holes allow fitting to most bed frames, though this model can also be wall-mounted. Uprights need to be attached, but the job takes just a few minutes.
- Material: Linenlike polyester
- Sizes: Twin, full, queen, California king, king
- Fitting: Bed frame or wall-mounted
- Luxurious buttonless diamond tufting made of linenlike polyester fabric that spot cleans easily
- Versatile design can fit to bed frame, box bases, or be wall-mounted
- Headboard height can be adjusted anywhere from 46 to 58 inches high
- Does not come fully assembled, although the work required is minimal
Get the Willa Arlo headboard at Wayfair.
Three Posts Achenbach upholstered wingback headboard is an elegant design for twin, queen, and king beds. A wingback silhouette offers a classic headboard 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 beds.
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, though buyers may need to reinforce the base with some additional wood. Three neutral-tone color options are available, which work with many colors already incorporated in the bedroom design.
- Material: Linen blend
- Sizes: Full, queen, king
- Fitting: Bed frame
- Button tufting and nailhead trim combine the traditional with modern accents
- Linen-blend fabric has tactile appeal while being easy to spot clean
- Multiple predrilled holes and adjustable brackets allow fitting to most bed frames
- The manufacturer warns that “hardware may loosen over time,” so stability should be checked periodically
Get the Three Posts headboard at Wayfair.
Sleek, simple, and stylish, 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, it’s easy to create a modern statement headboard that fits the individual room, style, and needs.
Each panel measures either 30 or 39 inches wide by 11.5 inches high. Fabric choices include polyurethane leather, a cotton/linen blend, suede, and velvet; some panels, such as the cotton weave, velvet, and suede, have a noise reduction coefficient rating of 0.95, making them soundproof acoustic panels. Panels are sold four to a box with the required mounting hardware; users choose their desired wall configuration. The panels feature a proprietary mounting system, which doesn’t require studs or anchors. Instead, patented anchorless screws with extra-wide threads grip drywall; alternatively, strong adhesive strips can be used to mount the panels.
- Material: Assorted
- Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
- Fitting: Wall-mounted
- 30 choices of fabric, texture, and color provide versatile design options
- The opportunity to buy small quantities makes it economical for a guest bedroom
- Can be fitted using the patented screws or strong adhesive strips
- Calculate costs carefully, as creating large paneled areas can become expensive
Get the Vänt headboard at The Home Depot or Wayfair.
A good storage headboard provides invaluable extra space for family photos, books, lamps, a clock, and decorative items. The Charlton Home Devonport is a freestanding version, so it needn’t be affixed to the wall or the bed frame. It also provides back support for reading in bed.
The core is made from manufactured wood for stability. This is covered in a decorative laminate that gives the appearance of real wood, without the care required. In addition to cherry, four other finishes are available to suit individual tastes. The Charlton Home Devonport storage headboard comes packed flat, so assembly takes some time. While not difficult, patience is required.
- Material: Manufactured wood
- Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
- Fitting: Freestanding
- Manufactured wood core resists warping and comes in 5 veneered finishes
- Provides useful shelving for lamps, pictures, books, and other items users may wish to keep close at hand while in bed
- Freestanding design means there’s no need to bolt it to the bed frame
- Significant assembly is needed requiring 2 people, and tools are not included
Get the Charlton Home headboard at Wayfair.
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 that should be considered. The right headboard fits with the room, matches the decor, is easy to install, and doesn’t require much upkeep. Here are some criteria that will help 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 and are not intended to bolt to a bed frame.
- 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 the bed.
Some headboards have storage capabilities with shelves and/or small cabinets built in 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 suits many design aesthetics. A popular choice, wood is a classic headboard style that 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 option that’s waterproof, hypoallergenic, looks great, and is easy to clean. Over time, this material gives way to wear and tear or ultraviolet light exposure, which may cause cracks.
- Polyester is a synthetic fabric that’s durable and soft. Though largely stain-resistant, it can absorb oily stains—this can be minimized by coating with a stain-resistant product.
- Linen is a natural material with antimicrobial properties. It’s a soft fabric available in a variety of colors and patterns and durable enough to last for years. This luxury fabric is harder to clean than other materials.
Style and Accents
The best headboard matches the bedroom decor. Headboards are available in a variety of styles, such as modern, traditional, rustic, and industrial.
- Modern headboards rely on sleek simplicity and clean lines, achieved using materials like metal or fabric.
- Traditional headboards are often made of wood and typically feature ornate elements such as carving.
- Rustic headboards are inspired by nature; these pieces are generally made of wood.
- Industrial headboards feature raw or exposed materials, such as worn metals.
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, cushionlike padded feel that can be quite comfortable and sturdy to lean on. A headboard with foam padding gives an extra layer for lounging in bed instead of piling up several pillows. Consider the material of the headboard if it will be leaned against, as the stiffness of metal or wood does not provide a relaxing place for sitting up in bed, 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 the headboard.
Size and Height
The size of the 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, people should purchase the headboard that fits their bed frame so it matches the bed visually.
The height needed for a headboard depends on a few factors. In rooms with 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 on the wall above. Some headboards have adjustable-height options for bed-mounted headboards, and wall-mounted headboards can be adjusted for preference as well.
Ease of Cleaning
While it may not be an obvious consideration, ease of cleaning should be a factor in the selection process. The material of a headboard influences how it should be cleaned. Cleaning the headboard helps it retain its good looks and prevents dust and allergens from building up.
The tools and products required to clean the headboard 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 hair and skin, sweat, and moisture from spills, which may mean spot cleaning or deep cleaning is needed 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 headboard 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 its weight, either in the wall studs or by using anchors for hanging.
A bed-mounted headboard bolts directly to the bed frame. These 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, it can be installed at different heights. It may be possible to convert a freestanding headboard into a bed-mounted headboard by carefully drilling holes into the legs of the bed frame.
In the search for the best headboard, you may be left with some questions about the function, selection process, and placement. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about what to look for in the best headboard.
Q. Which headboards are in style now?
That’s always a difficult question to answer because style is a very personal choice, and fashion can change rapidly. Wall-mounted models like our pick for Best Overall are very popular at the time of writing this article and can suit modern, industrial, and retro aesthetics. However, that doesn’t make it the right headboard for every bedroom. It’s worth taking time to consider all the style and fabric options before deciding.
Q. How do I choose a headboard?
Choose a headboard based on the size of the bed, your design aesthetic, any appealing additional features, and ease of cleaning. In general, it’s a good idea to make sure that your headboard looks good with your sheets and comforter. However, if a full makeover is being undertaken, you have the advantage of a blank slate. The considerations section above will prove helpful, as will reference in magazines and websites that deal with bedroom decor.
Q. Can you put a headboard on any bed?
The simple answer is yes, any bed can be paired with one or more types of headboard. Some beds, such as certain adjustable beds, aren’t built to have a headboard mounted to them. However, in cases like this, a wall-mounted or freestanding model may work, as long as the size is appropriate. With a little thought and ingenuity, creative solutions can usually be achieved regardless of the type of bed in question.
Q. Should a headboard touch the floor?
Not all headboards are designed to touch the floor. A wall-mounted headboard or wall panels, and some bed-mounted headboards, do not touch the floor. There are two key issues. First, and perhaps most important, is the visual result. If the headboard will be visible from the side of the bed then legs or struts that don’t reach the floor may appear unsightly. Second is the weight of the headboard, which can be an issue on storage headboards. In these cases, it needs to reach the floor to have sufficient support.
Q. How thick should a headboard be?
Once again, it depends on the needs you have from a headboard and the style you prefer. For example, bed-mounting headboards can be thin, but if they will be leaned against regularly (for reading in bed, for example), enough padding to make them comfortable will often increase the thickness. Headboards with storage will typically be thicker to accommodate items such as books, a clock, lamps, etc. The thickness of the headboard is another of those buying decisions that requires careful thought. Sometimes a thin headboard will be the right solution for a particular decor, while at other times stability and capacity will be key factors.
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