A headboard is an essential finishing touch to any bed, practical in protecting the wall behind your head (and stopping pillows slipping down), but also aesthetically essential as a framing device for the head of your bed.
What is the optimum size for a headboard? ‘Bedding will make a bed appear broader, so allow up to 7.5 centimetres extra width at each side of the bed to make your headboard look more generous,’ says Bertie Clayton, director at interior design firm Jane Clayton & Company (janeclayton.co.uk). Avoid anything much wider, unless you want a retro look. Contemporary headboards can be as tall as you like and, if you have a high ceiling, a large headboard makes a great focal point in the room.
What are the best materials to upholster a headboard with? Leather is hardwearing and will last for years, while Alcantara faux suede is also durable and stain resistant, making it a good choice. ‘If you’re using fabric, look for something textural that’s not too lightweight; this will maximise the life of your headboard,’ says Clayton. ‘And don’t forget, all fabrics must meet fire regulations.’ The advice from Ian Lea, CEO at textile company Spruce London (sprucelondon.com), is to choose a tightly woven cloth. ‘This prevents the interlining showing through when it’s stretched over corners,’ he says. In terms of decoration, Laura Kelway-Bamber, creative director at The Headboard Workshop (theheadboardworkshop.co.uk) adds, ‘as a rule of thumb, if you have an exciting fabric, keep the shape of your headboard simple. If the fabric is plain, go for a more exotic shape, or add buttons, studs or contrast piping.’
How should it be mounted? Smaller designs can be attached directly to the bed, but larger headboards should be wall mounted. ‘This prevents movement,’ says Kelway-Bamber. The Headboard Workshop can provide suitable struts or a batten mounting system; alternatively you can pick up a pair of concealed fixing brackets for as little as £5.70 on Amazon (amazon.co.uk). Wall mounting is also space-efficient, as you can push the bed right up against the wall and allow the headboard to sit on top.
How do I protect a fabric headboard from marks and stains? Treat it with an upholstery protector spray such as Scotchgard (scotchgard.com) or choose a model with a removable cover that can be machine washed.
How much would a bespoke headboard for a double bed cost? Expect to pay from around £200 for a simple design in a plain fabric.
Words: Claudia Baillie