Furniture designer Randall Kramer used an old balcony railing to create this headboard.

A. We suggest you leave this project to a pro like Randall Kramer, owner of Kramer Design Studio (773-588-8523; He has made headboards from sheet metal pediments and balustrades that were cut and assembled next to each other.

Kramer recently used a 75-year-old forged steel and wrought iron balcony railing from South America to create a distinctive headboard. He started by cleaning the railing with a wire brush. Then he removed several unnecessary pieces of curved metal so he was left with one flat panel. While the width of the railing was the perfect size for the bed, Kramer needed to attach metal legs to raise the piece to the right height. He also added brackets to the back so the headboard could be secured to the wall. Finally, he gave the headboard a burnished rust patina and treated it with a sealer to give the entire piece the same authentic look. The railing-to-headboard transformation cost approximately $495, not including installation or the cost of the original artifact.

As long as you’re thinking outside the box, think even further. Kramer says you can use all kinds of found materials, like a series of old hockey sticks or yardsticks, to create a one-of-a-kind headboard. The process and cost, of course, depend entirely on the materials used.
—Monica Ginsburg