Fabric and Materials for Reupholstering a Headboard

A headboard is an important element in any bedroom decor, and it’s often the first thing people notice when they enter your room. If you want to refresh your bedroom decor without replacing your furniture, reupholstering your headboard is a great option. Here are a few things you need to know about reupholstering a headboard.

Choosing the Right Material When Reupholstering a Headboard

Like any reupholstering project, when reupholstering a headboard, it’s so important to pick the right material for several reasons. Here are some points to chew on.

Construction and Shape of Your Headboard

The construction and unique shape of your headboard will affect the type of material you choose. For example, if your headboard has curves or intricate details, you may want to choose a flexible material that can be easily manipulated to fit the shape. A thick or tough fabric like leather or velvet might not work best.

Fabric Durability

Consider how durable the fabric is. If you’re going to be resting your head against the headboard or sitting up against it, you’ll want a fabric that can withstand wear and tear. If this is for a child’s headboard, you definitely want something that will stand the test of time.

Stain Resistance

If you’re prone to spills or have kids or pets, stain resistance should be a priority. Look for fabrics treated with a stain-resistant finish or something like leather that won’t stain and can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

Cleaning and Care

Consider how easy the fabric is to clean. Can it be spot cleaned with a damp cloth, or must it be dry-cleaned? A headboard might not seem like a high-traffic item in your home, but you’d be surprised. Oils and dirt from our bodies build up on headboards more than you think.


Ensure the fabric is colorfast, so it won’t fade or bleed when cleaned or exposed to the sun. If you have a beautiful fabric headboard with a different color behind the pillows, that won’t do.

What Does Your Bedroom Currently Look Like?

Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a fabric matching your style and home decor. Consider the color scheme of your bedroom, as well as any patterns or textures that you like. Don’t create a beautiful, tufted headboard covered in leather if you’re bedroom is more country, for example.

What’s Inside?

The stuffing and batting material used in your headboard beneath the fabric will affect the comfort level, especially when leaning against it. Consider whether you want a soft or firm headboard, and choose your materials accordingly. Cotton batting is fairly common with headboards.

Best Fabrics for Reupholstering a Headboard

Here are some of the best fabric options for upholstering a headboard.

  • Linen: Durable, breathable, and easy to clean, but can wrinkle easily.
  • Velvet: Luxurious and soft, but can be difficult to clean and may show wear over time.
  • Leather: Durable and easy to clean, but can be expensive.
  • Cotton: Affordable, breathable, and easy to clean, but can wrinkle easily.
  • Faux Leather: Affordable, easy to clean, and durable, but not as luxurious as real leather.

Tips for Reupholstering a Headboard

Not all headboards are created equal, but these tips and steps should help you configure a plan to recover yours.

Materials Needed When Reupholstering a Headboard

  • Headboard
  • Upholstery fabric (measure your headboard to determine the amount needed)
  • Foam or padding (optional)
  • Batting (optional)
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver or drill (if needed to remove hardware)
  • Pliers (if needed to remove old staples or tacks)
  • Fabric marker or chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Spray adhesive (optional)
  • Buttons or tufting hardware (optional)
  • Upholstery needle and thread (if adding buttons or tufting)

Step 1: Prepare the headboard

  • Remove the headboard from the bed frame if attached.
  • Take note of any existing fabric or padding that needs to be removed.
  • Using a screwdriver or drill, start removing any hardware or brackets, if necessary.

Step 2: Remove any old fabric and padding

  • You’ll want to carefully remove the existing upholstery fabric from your headboard while trying not to damage it. You’ll use the footprint of the old material to make a template for the new fabric.
  • Use your pliers to carefully remove any staples or tacks holding the fabric in place. You won’t want stragglers left behind to snag your new material or cause potential harm.
  • Remove any remaining old padding or foam if you plan to replace it. But if it’s still in good shape, leave it be.

Step 3: Measure and cut the new fabric

  • Measure your headboard to determine the amount of fabric needed, adding a few extra inches for seam allowances and wrapping around the edges.
  • Lay the new fabric on a flat surface and place the old fabric on top as a template, aligning the patterns or grain as desired.
  • Use a fabric marker or chalk to trace around the old fabric, adding seam allowances as needed (typically 2-3 inches).
  • Cut your new material by following the lines you’ve drawn.

Step 4: Add or replace padding (this is optional)

  • Measure your entire headboard to figure out the size of the foam or padding you need.
  • Cut the shape from the padding to size and place it on the headboard. To keep it in place, you can use a simple spray adhesive, and it won’t slip around while you’re recovering it.

Step 5: Add some batting (also optional)

  • Measure and then cut a piece of batting large enough to cover the padding you’ve added and wrap it around the edges of the headboard. This softens the edges.
  • Use a staple gun to secure the batting to the backside of the headboard. Begin near the center and work outward to keep a nice, tight, uniform look.

Step 6: Attach the new fabric you got!

  • Position the new material over your padded headboard and make sure it’s centered and aligned with any patterns or grain before you secure it.
  • Pull the fabric tightly over the padding and batting. Use the staple gun to secure the fabric to the backside of the headboard as you did with the batting.
  • When you reach corners or curves, fold the fabric neatly and staple it before trimming any excess fabric.

Step 7: Add buttons or tufting (optional)

  • If you want to add buttons or tufting, mark the desired locations on the fabric.
  • Use an upholstery needle and thread to sew the buttons through the fabric, padding, and headboard, pulling the thread tight to create the tufted effect.
  • Secure the thread on the backside of the headboard with a knot or staple.

Step 8: Reattach any hardware and then install the headboard

  • Reattach any hardware, like pins, brackets, nail heads, embellishments, etc., to the headboard using a screwdriver or drill.
  • Install the headboard in place, and voila!

By following our simple step-by-step tutorial, you’ll be able to give your headboard a fresh, new look and enhance the overall appearance of any bedroom.

Reupholstering a Headboard FAQs

These are quick answers to the most common questions about reupholstering a headboard.

How do you go about reupholstering a headboard?

To upholster your existing headboard, you’ll have to remove any old fabric and possibly the padding, add new foam or cushioning if necessary, and then staple the new fabric in place. It’s a fairly easy DIY project as long as you do each step carefully.

Is reupholstering a headboard easy?

Reupholstering headboards can be a bit challenging, but it’s doable with some basic DIY skills and the right tools. Plus, our helpful tips!

How do you upholster a simple headboard?

To upholster a simple headboard, you’ll need to cut your fabric to size, lay it over the headboard, and staple it in place, starting from the center and working out.

How do you cover an existing headboard with fabric?

To cover an existing headboard with new fabric, you’ll need to remove the old materials with care. Then, cut your new fabric to size, and staple it in place.

Reupholstering a Heardboard: Anchor Your Bedroom with a Great Headboard

Reupholstering your headboard is a great way to refresh your bedroom decor without breaking the bank. With these tips, you can choose the fabric best for you. Be sure to look through our huge selection of quality fabrics for all your projects!

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