A conventional headboard creates a finished look and focal point above your bed, but it isn't necessary for a polished look in the bedroom. Alternative options add decoration to the headboard area and often cost less money than the traditional furniture piece. Choose a decorative element above your bed based on the overall style in the bedroom.
Curtains or draped fabric add softness above the bed that blends well with the soft textures of the bedding. Choose fabric or curtains that complement the bedding without matching exactly. The contrast adds visual interest and defines the spaces. For a simple hanging method, install a curtain rod on the wall above the bed, and hang the curtains from it. A short curtain rod draws the fabric to a centralized point above the bed while allowing you to fan out the fabric as it gets closer to the bed. For a rectangular look that more closely resembles a headboard, choose a curtain rod the same width as the bed.
Instead of covering the wall with a headboard, use the space to showcase your favorite artwork. A row of framed photographs or artwork maintains the same shape and lines as a traditional headboard. For a more dramatic look, hang two or three rows of framed artwork. Another option is to paint a design directly on the wall. Paint a faux headboard, or design a mural or painted pattern that fits in with the room decor.
Pillows covered with decorative shams add height at the head of the bed. The larger size of king pillows and shams creates a more dramatic look than regular pillows. Prop the pillows upright so they are vertical and leaning against the wall. Arrange smaller throw pillows in front of the sham-covered pillows for more depth.
A freestanding, decorative screen or room divider replicates the look of a headboard. The screens are available in different styles and designs, allowing you to match them with your bedroom decor. Slide the bed away from the wall, and position the screen against the wall. Move the bed back into place so it rests against the screen.
Objects that originally served a different purpose offer a distinct option for a headboard. Find an antique door with intricate detailing or a weathered look, and hang it horizontally above the bed. Windows offer a similar look. Hang one or two windows horizontally above the bed. You can also paint the glass or remove the glass panels and replace them with softer fabric. A section of fencing, such as a picket fence or a wrought iron gate, is an option. For a functional headboard, hang shelving above the bed and use it for decorative items, lamps and your alarm clock.
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