A: Headboard-only beds are a great solution in smallish rooms, or any time you don’t want the visual disruption of a footboard. (Tall people aren’t crazy about footboards, either.)

Headboards can be part of a traditional bed frame or wall-mounted; made of wood, metal, or other materials; covered with fabric or not; padded or not; modern, traditional, or in between. They can be made out of shutters, trellises, doors, or folding screens. They don’t even have to be a piece of furniture, but can be implied with drapery, molding, architectural detailing, or even simply with paint.

Interior designer John Robert Wiltgen (312-744-1151, jrwdesign.com) says there are no set rules for using a headboard or deleting one from a room’s plan. “In some cases a headboard is needed to soften a bedroom, make it quiet and inviting,” he says. For a whole other kind of look—in a modern high-rise, for example, “it might be fun to use a mirrored headboard to reflect the exterior view.”

Lisa Becker of Lisa Becker Interiors (312-953-2267) is a fan of upholstered headboards. “They’re versatile and comfortable—softer than a metal or wooden frame, and they lend themselves to a cozier bed,” she points out. Padded models are good if you like to read in bed. Becker also likes the idea of slipcovers. “You can change a slipcover on your headboard as easily as you change your sheets,” she points out. One company that makes customized slipcovered headboards and beds is Los Angeles– based J. Latter Collection (jlatter.com). Headboards start at $750 for a twin-size.

Susan Brunstrum, owner of Libertyville’s Sweet Peas Design (847-816-1296, sweetpeas-inspired.com), recommends virtual headboards painted with contrasting wall color for people who like to change the appearance of a room frequently. “Use the width of the bed as a guide and paint up as high as you want, or up to the height of a dresser or something else in the room,” she suggests. Wallpaper is another possibility. If you like, you can add a third-color painted trim or wallpaper border around the headboard.



Porto wrought-iron headboard with hammered oval finials

1 Porto wrought-iron headboard with hammered oval finials, $349 (queen), at Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com.


Lorraine padded headboard

2 Lorraine padded headboard combines classic curves with a bold ikat fabric, $1,998 (queen), at Anthropologie, anthropologie.com.



Darby headboard

3 Darby headboard has a carved-driftwood frame and a linen inset, $1,998 (queen), at Anthropologie.


Silk-upholstered Wingback headboard

4 Silk-upholstered Wingback headboard is styled like an elegant wingback chair, $475 (queen), at Urban Outfitters, urbanoutfitters.com.


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