Make a Mantel Your Headboard

Straight from the salvage lot comes a nifty new idea for your bed.
Sara Anderson / Photography Laurey W. Glenn

If you've been shopping recently for bedroom furniture, you know it doesn't come cheap. Christen Colvert figured there had to be a way to punch up her bedroom without a hefty price tag. Lucky for her, one man's trash became her treasure.

Braking for Bargains
It was actually Christen's mom who spotted a worth-saving mantel on the side of the road. The owner was redoing his home and had kicked the splintered and peeling piece to the curb.

Redesigned on a Dime
First, Christen and her husband, Cam, sanded the mantel and put on a fresh coat of white paint. The next step: filling in the center with fabric. They measured the area, and then cut a piece of plywood about an inch smaller on each side. The couple glued thick foam to the wood, and then wrapped a few layers of cotton batting around the foam, securing it to the back with a staple gun. Caramel-colored velvet was placed on top of the batting and also secured with staples. The fabric panel was affixed from the back; in the corners where the mantel and plywood meet, one end of a small piece of wood was nailed to the mantel and the other end was attached to the plywood. (Imagine how the tabs on the back of a picture frame keep a photo in place.) "The whole project cost less than $100,? says Christen.

 

Hang It Up
Typically, you want a fabric headboard to be 2 to 4 feet above the top of the mattress. To make theirs the right height, the Colverts set the mantel on top of wooden posts. Then they mounted it to the wall using construction adhesive and wood screws drilled in at an angle. Now the Homewood, Alabama, couple has a unique headboard design they can truly call their own.

 

More Design Ideas
Just think of all the decorative objects that can be made into a headboard--the list is endless.
 

  • Hang large square floor cushions on your wall, then push your bed up against the cushions.
  • Purchase an inexpensive fuzzy rug at a home store; using a staple gun, attach it to a section of medium-density fiberboard. With screws, attach the fiberboard to your bed frame, like a regular headboard.
  • In a kid's room, mount a section of white picket fence flanked by two small fence posts to the wall. Push the bed against the "fence."

 

"Make a Mantel Your Headboard" is from the November 2004 issue of Southern Living.