How to Make an Oversized Wooden Headboard - Åben

How to Make an Oversized Wooden Headboard

If you’re looking to make a statement in your bedroom, then an oversized headboard might just be the ticket you need.

You might have been recently inspired by a recent stay at a boutique hotel, or perhaps you’ve seen a headboard design online that you want to try and recreate but aren’t quite sure how to go about it.

Here we’ll explain how we created a bespoke, wooden, geometric, oversized headboard for one of our client’s bedrooms. You’ll learn each step you need to take and how to achieve the final finish.

Let’s get cracking.

Planning

The first and most crucial part of any DIY task is planning. In this case, that involves deciding the design of your accent wall; are you going to do something like the geometric pattern we will talk about here or something more freestyle? Either way, it’s always worth doing a quick sketch of how you want the accent wall to look so that you can use it to estimate how much materials you’ll need and to guide the construction.

Secondly, you need to decide whether you want the accent wall to take up the whole wall or create the look of a full-height headboard like this one. Our client wanted theirs to look like an oversized headboard covering the bed’s width and the bedside tables. You can easily adjust your design for what you have in mind, though.

Calculations

Now that you have your sketch and outline plan, it’s time to start working out how your headboard will look in reality. It’s time for some calculations!

To calculate the width that the headboard needs to be, you should consider your bed’s width and add 125mm on either side to allow for the duvet cover. If you want the headboard to stretch to the bedside tables, then add 125mm to either side of those. The extra allowance on either side allows the headboard to be seen in all its glory and stops the wall from looking cramped.

The height of your headboard will depend on the finish you want to achieve. In our example, we wanted the headboard to look full height, so we measured the distance between the skirting boards and cornice.

Example Calculations:

Bedside Table (500mm) + Bed (1500mm) + Bedside Table (500mm) + 125mm x2 = 3,000mm

Hand drawn calculations of geometric headboard design

Construction

First things first, you will want the accent headboard to be central. Find the centre of the wall that the headboard will sit on and mark a vertical line on the wall.

The headboard will be constructed of two sets of wood: the backboards and the wooden slats, which create the geometric pattern.

Note: It is possible to skip the backboards and nail the slats straight into the wall; however, this creates two potential problems. Firstly, you’ll need to find the studs in the wall to nail the wooden slats. With a backboard, you can fix the wooden slats wherever you need to. Secondly, if you ever wanted to remove the accent wall/headboard, it’s much easier to take down a few backboards rather than pull off each wooden slat from the wall individually.

1) Cut your wood to size. We used 12mm MDF for our client as it provides a more uniform finish and is easy to work with. We also wanted a chunky frame appearance to the design, so we chose 12mm MDF to create this look. The MDF sheets do not come in the size that would have covered the entire wall, so we had to use 3x 1m boards to make up the required 3m.

2) Fix the headboards to the wall using the required wall plugs and screws. We put several fixings in to create panels tight to the wall with little give, which will help get the joins on the boards level. You’ll want at least one fixing in each corner, as well as one on each side, top and bottom, so at least 8. We also chose to fill the gaps between the sections and the screw holes to provide a smooth finish when painted. Make sure the filled areas are level before you move onto the next step.

Note: This headboard design also included the bedside switches, plug sockets and a reading light. Therefore, we made cuts to account for these while fixing the sections to the wall.

3x 1m backboards which the headboard design will be fitted to

3) Find the very centre of the wooden backboards – this is where your starting point will be for your wooden slats.

4) Start cutting and attaching your wooden slats. For this design, start with the middle diamond. The middle of each wooden slat should be 100mm away from the centre point along the vertical and horizontal axis (creating a 200mm gap between any two wooden slats in the diamond). You will want a 45-degree angle cut for each end of the wooden slats, and you can use standard panel pins to attach them to the wall, one on each end of the wood (as the slats get larger, more pins will be required to fasten them to the boards).

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Diamond design starting from the centre

5) Continue to create 200mm gaps as you work out from the middle diamond. Once the diamond is complete (5 slats, in our example), it is time to add a border to the sides of the headboard. Adding a border makes it slightly easier to fit the rest of the wooden slats on, rather than putting it on after and needing to cut down several of them to get the border to fit straight. Then, start the next diamonds from the end of the original diamond. Our design required three due to the overall width of the design.

6) Once your diamonds are complete, you then add your border to the top and bottom edges. If you have windows on the wall, then it’s worth adding a border around those as well (depending on the position of the windows, you may have to add these borders earlier).

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Borders fitted to the sides of the headboard

7) Complete the rest of the design, keeping the 200mm gap between slats. Keep checking from the other side of the room that the design looks centred and level and make any adjustments if needed.

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Final design almost ready for painting

8) Once all the wooden slats are attached to create the pattern, you can fill any holes and joins in the wood. We used a nail punch to bury the pin a little into the slat and filled over the top. You may need to fill and sand down a few times to get a truly smooth finish (the extra work is worth it, so stick with it).

9) Finally, it’s time to paint. We went with a bold colour to draw your eye towards the accent wall. We also stuck with this colour for the rest of the colour scheme, which tied together very well.

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Final design once painted

Note: If you are using MDF as we have in this example, it would be better to prime the MDF edges before sanding and again after sanding to create a smoother finish. Otherwise, you might end up having a fuzzy edge that occurs when MDF is cut.

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And there you have it! If you have any questions about creating this headboard design or would like some help in creating something bespoke, please get in touch.

P.S. Take a look at the full case study for this Master Suite design!

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