We all love a piece of furniture that solves for both form and function, and the perfect upholstered headboard is no exception. Upholstered headboards — also known as headboards that have fabric overlaid on a padded cushion — are the ultimate in both comfort and versatility.
With so many avenues for customization, an upholstered headboard can be designed to fit just about any style or aesthetic, unlike their more specific wood headboard and metal headboard cousins. Not to mention, headboards are one of the most common feng shui recommendations, believed to create a safe space for your sleep.
So to help you distinguish between the best headboards on the market, we rounded up ten of our favorites. You’re sure to find one that speaks to you.
One of our favorite fabrics for any headboard is linen. Linen is timeless and can complement just about any bedroom style. If you have bold bedding, a simple taupe linen serves as a neutral background to let the rest of your space do the talking. Or, if you’re looking for a statement solid, a deep yellow, pretty pink, or calming blue will do the trick. One of the best things about linen is that this material is durable. Specifically, a “performance” linen indicates that the material is a hospitality-grade fabric, which stands up to frequent wear-and-tear — a favorite for when kids or pets are frequent nighttime (or first-thing-in-the-morning!) visitors.
If you want your bed to exude richness and elegance, opt for a velvet headboard. What’s better than climbing into bed at night and leaning up against the plush cushioning to feel the softness on your skin? Underscore the soft texture with a soothing color choice, like an ocean velvet, or add to the richness by opting for a deep jewel tone. And even better: “performance” velvet sacrifices none of the softness but offers peace of mind and easy defense against morning coffee spills or nighttime snacks.
Patterns are eye-catching and are often the starting point for the design for the rest of the room. If you want your bed to be the focal point, patterned upholstery is an easy choice. You can choose from a range of patterns — including floral, botanical, animal print, geometric and more — to design a headboard that sets the tone for your bedroom’s design scheme, and at the same time serves as a large-scale piece of art. But pattern isn’t just for the bold maximalist. Many patterns, such as a subtle ticking stripe, add a hint of visual intrigue without demanding immediate attention.
The wingback headboard, with its high-rise silhouette and matching wings, evokes the spirit of a luxury hotel suite. The shape is classic yet incredibly stylish, no matter what fabric you end up choosing to finish off the look. This headboard’s luxe form makes it the perfect place to relax before bed, as the protruding wings provide a cozy place to rest your head and evoke the cozy feeling of being cocooned. A king size or queen size wingback headboard only add to the piece’s oversized effect, making it all the more dramatic.
Leather or Faux Leather Headboard
A leather or faux leather headboard can be very versatile. The natural material is easy to maintain, and depending on the color you choose, your look can vary from edgy and vintage, evocative of a lived-in library, to minimal and sleek, with an organic mid-century modern vibe. Leather furniture also stays cool in hotter months, so if you live in a warmer climate, this could help you rest easier before you hit the hay.
Tufted headboards are characterized by adding depressions throughout the fabric with eye-catching finishes like buttons, for an added visual detail. Diamond tufting can elevate a simple solid-colored fabric like linen or performance velvet and add a strong element of style and timeless elegance to your bedroom. The tufting also tricks the eye into seeing added plushness, for added visual coziness.
Like the tufted headboard, trimmed headboards add a decorative element to your headboard through a visual detail. In the case of trimmed headboards, some sort of material (most commonly nailheads in polished nickel or brass) lines the outer edge of the headboard’s frame. There are many different types of trimmed headboards available, as well as many DIY tutorials if you’re looking to update your current headboard or get your hands dirty by building a custom headboard from scratch.
If you’re a sucker for 1920s glamour, let your headboard reflect the same. Opt for an art deco headboard to make your bed not only a statement piece, but also a glamorous backdrop to your everyday. The headboard’s unique shape makes it a conversation starter in and of itself, and pairs well with either a solid color or patterned upholstery. If you love the bold shape but are hesitant to commit, test the headboard in a guest room to add a playful flare for visitors.
A panel headboard refers to a specific upholstery treatment that creates seams to give the bed a paneled effect, which can feel extra luxurious. The panel headboard is particularly impactful in a fabric like velvet, or in a pattern with vertical stripes, as there are no tricky corners or curves to work around. Like the tufting and trimming, this detail adds visual lushness and conveys the appearance of being overstuffed for maximum comfort.
Shop the look: Modern Wingback Beds in Citrine Cabana Stripe
If you’re looking to design a bedroom for your little one, it’s important to find a headboard that aligns with your child or teen’s lifestyle and interests. Fortunately, most twin headboard and full headboard sizes will do the trick, and are available to customize to tell just about any visual story. On one hand, a large-scale floral or bold abstract can add a pop of playful pattern, while a linen or soft velvet upholstery can create a feeling of relaxation and rest. Many linens and velvet fabrics are also kid-friendly and easily treatable with soap and water spot cleaning. The best part? Your child will have a great time helping you create a space that brings joy and feels like their very own sanctuary.
And there you have it. The next step is yours — let your creativity flow and express yourself through the centerpiece of your bedroom. Pair the perfect shape with your favorite fabric to design the headboard you’ve been dreaming about.
By: Jessica Parekh