how to attach a headboard to a bed: 5 quick and easy steps - Mainland Furniture NZ
Basic Installation (Estimated time: 15 minutes - 1 hour)

Step 1: What Tools Do You Need?

This may seem like a given, but having the right tools before you do a job can save a lot of headaches down the line. If you’ve got a free-standing headboard, then all you will need will be a set of working hands and a bit of strength to move the bed out from the wall.

However, for a mounted headboard, make sure you have the correct type and amount of screws/washers you need. Many manufacturers will also include smaller tools such as Allen keys and even small wrenches as well to save some headache, however, we would also say that using your own tools is also beneficial as they are more likely better made and will avoid unnecessary strain and hand cramps

two wrenches

Step 2: Find the Mounting Holes

These mounting points are typically found at the top of the bed frame, if you’ve found them either at the bottom or side of the bed frame then do we have news for you!

If you’ve got a wooden base bed, these should be clearly visible screw points, whereas on a box bed these points will be obscured by fabric and need to be made accessible by tearing the fabric at these points (as such, mounting a headboard to a box bed might not be the best solution and a free-standing headboard is heavily recommend as discussed below.)

It may also pay at this point to measure the distance between the mounting points to see if it’s the same as the headboard.

Step 3: Prepare the headboard for installation

Now, this next step depends on the type of headboard you are installing. If you’ve got a floor-standing headboard, then just lean it against the bed and you’re ready to go.

If you’ve got a headboard that attaches via struts, then we’d recommend laying the headboard face down, then with the supplied screws and washers, attach the strut legs to the headboard body. Then you should be able to lay the headboard against the bed and proceed to the next step.

guy fitting on the headboard to the bed

Step 4: Line Up the Headboard and Bed Frame.

Now that everything is ready, locate the mounting holes in the bed frame, if the bolts are already inserted, remove them now. Next, line up the headboard with the mounting points in the bed frame.

Then simply secure the headboard to the bed frame, make sure to tighten the bed frame so there’s no wiggle room between the headboard and bed, but avoid tightening too much as this could thread the screw and create issues when removing the headboard in the future.

girl putting on slats to the bed

Step 5: Adjust to your liking

Before you tighten the headboard and call it a day, inspect how the headboard looks attached to the bed frame to make sure it’s attached “correctly” (even try ‘sleeping’ on it). Is the headboard sitting too low or too high on the bed frame? Simply loosen the back again and shift the headboard till it fits right.

This is also a great time to look at other issues that might arise from attaching a headboard such as how the headboard rests against the wall in its final position, or if the marginal increase in length causes issues within the room layout.

These are small things but it’s ideal to make sure that the desire of having a headboard doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment of the rest of your room!

Step 6: Enjoy!

If you’ve attached your headboard with zero issues and it looks great in your bedroom, then congratulations, you did it!

Now enjoy a complimentary nap in your fresh-looking bed.

What is the benefit of adding a headboard?

Headboards were originally intended to seperate the bed from the wall as earlier homes had terrible insulation making walls massive attractors of the cold. However in the current day, headboards are more intended to give your bed a more focal look and add some extra style into your bedroom. Here's another article discussing other things to consider when purchasing a headboard.

How to attach headboard to bed frame without holes

If you want to add a headboard to your bed frame but your bed has no holes to attach one to, or you don’t want to risk damaging your bed in the process of doing such, we would highly recommend looking into a free-standing headboard.

These are, as the name implies, free-standing, and sit wedged between your bed and the wall. This makes them a great non-committal and versatile option as well for those who might be in the process of buying a new bed frame or people who live in rental properties and as a result move houses often.

cork headboard attached to bed

How to attach a DIY headboard to a bed frame?

When attaching a DIY headboard, the same rules apply. Make sure the headboard size is the same as the bed frame it’s attaching to, and line the mounting holes of the bed frame with the appropriate holes on the headboard.

Make sure that if it’s a free-standing headboard that it clears your bed frame and mattress. Most importantly, if it’s you that is making it or someone else, make sure that the build quality is good enough.

A headboard has to be able to survive a night’s sleep, so make sure the build quality is enough to last a thousand’s worth.

How do I attach a headboard to a metal bed frame?

Attaching a headboard to a metal bed frame is a little different but the fundamentals are the same!


Step 1: Remove the Mattress/ Padding from the Bed Frame

As the title implies, remove anything extraneous from the bed frame (e.g. the mattress, sheets, bed skirts etc.) Then, move the frame away from the wall where you want to attach the headboard.

Step 2: Line up the Headboard

Now, move the headboard where you would like it within the room and make sure it stands up straight (feel free to bring in an extra hand for this step to really make sure.) Line up the headboard so that the holes on the frame line up with the bolt holes in the headboard.

As mentioned earlier, many bedframes will have bolts pre-installed in these holes so remove these first.

Step 3: Installation

On one side, press the frame firmly against the headboard. Then drive the bolts through the headboard so they poke out through to the bed frame.

Then attach the nuts to the bolts and tighten as much as you can. Repeat on the other side of the bed and your headboard should be installed.

Step 4: Test

After attaching the headboard, replace the items removed from the bed and lay down on it to ensure the headboard is attached correctly and make sure the headboard has no wobble or added creaks.

If the bed has passed this test then congratulations, you have successfully installed a headboard to your metal bed frame.


FAQ:

Can a headboard be attached to any bed frame?

In short, yes a headboard can be attached to any bed frame given the sizes match. Where things get more complicated is whether the bed frame has the appropriate mounting solution. If your bed frame has no mounting holes, or are obscured by fabric like on box beds, then a free-standing headboard is what you’re looking for. If your bed frame has a mounting solution, then you can purchase any type of headboard, given that the headboard is the same size as the bed. 

How do I fix a wobbly bed frame?

First, it’s worth checking all the joints of the bed frame itself. Are the wheels/feet screwed on tight? or are they all there? Are all the joints of the bed secure with no give? If all of these are a yes, then a mounted headboard may add some more rigidity to your frame. However, other solutions such as adding felt pads to the bed legs might provide a better result.

Can you attach a headboard to the wall?

There are headboards that do attach to the wall rather than the bed. These are often seen in hotels/motels where the bed won’t be moving often. While looking clean and not damaging the bed, these also have their own cons, namely that they screw into your walls. Not only does this limit your ability to move your bed around the room, but it also creates another debate on whether you would like to risk damaging your bed frame, or damaging the walls of your house (if you live in a rental, these would definitely be a no go depending on the landlord.) However, if you would like to attach a headboard to the wall, here's a guide to show you how.

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