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How to Install a Headboard

    Last Updated
    October 17, 2021
    min read

    You’ll likely spend quite a bit of time considering different mattress types, before deciding on your preferred combination of support and style for a comfortable night’s sleep. After you’ve settled on the right mattress, it’s time to give some thought to the headboard.

    A headboard does more than segment your bed from the wall. Whether your bed’s headboard is made of metal, wood, upholstery, or another unique material, the right headboard can help bring a room together. You can use a headboard to further a room’s rustic look, complement paint coloration, or make your bedroom’s feng shui even stronger.

    Different Ways To Attach a Headboard

    Different types of bed styles will require different headboard attachment techniques. You can attach some headboard types to beds with screws, bolts, or other provided fasteners. If your headboard doubles as a storage space — or if you have a non-traditional bed type like a daybed or round bed — your headboard might not connect to your bed at all.

    Wall Mounted Headboard

    You’re likely familiar with wall mounted headboards, which are attached directly to the wall of your bedroom. While some headboard types are joined to your bed frame, wall mounted headboards are screwed or otherwise fastened to the wall for a firm hold.

    Many wall mounted headboards aren’t meant to be attached to a bed at all. Instead, you’ll simply push your bed up against the headboard. After mounting this type of headboard to the wall, you can still choose to secure it to your bed’s frame.

    Wall mounted headboards are ideal for small and medium-sized rooms, where a larger headboard might take up too much space. Wall mounted headboards also feature a straightforward installation process, one that you can complete in minutes.

    How To Install a Headboard Attached to a Bed Frame

    If your headboard comes already attached to your bed frame, you’ll only need to place the finished furniture in your room. However, many “pre-attached” headboards are delivered as a separate piece, and require simple installation.

    Follow the following steps to install a headboard attached to a bed frame:

    1. Make sure you have all materials — including screws, bolts, washers, and other fastener types — before beginning. You might also need to find a wrench or drill not included in your headboard set.
    2. Attach headboard legs to the bed frame using provided installation materials. Make sure to test one leg’s stability before beginning installation on the next.
    3. If you need to drill your headboard into the bed frame, mark your headboard before drilling to ensure your measurements are correct.
    4. Drill into pre-made holes, or drill your own pilot holes into the headboard at appropriate intervals.
    5. Remove drill bits and move your headboard into place.
    6. With the right-size screws or bolts, secure your headboard into your bed frame.

    Bed Frame Headboard

    Bed frame headboards rise directly out of your bed’s foundation, adding more of a classic look and feel to your room. Unlike wall mounted headboards, bed frame headboards are often installed during the bed frame assembly process.

    Sometimes, bed frame headboards come pre-attached. If you do need to attach your headboard to your bed frame, the headboard itself likely comes with posts or metal screws that make the process quick and easy.

    Freestanding Headboard

    If you want the freedom to choose what to do with your headboard, freestanding headboards might be your best option. A freestanding headboard is delivered without any pre-drilled holes or pre-decided attachment instructions. Unlike both wall mounted and bed frame headboards, you can decide what to do with your freestanding headboard.

    Freestanding headboards are great options if you want to create a fully customized bed aesthetic in your room. Some people purchase freestanding headboards and choose to attach them to their beds, drilling their own holes and using their own screws, bolts, nails, or other fastening supplies. Other customers take freestanding headboards and secure them firmly to their wall.

    How To Install a Wall Mounted Headboard

    Consult the following steps to mount your headboard securely to the wall:

    1. Identify where on the wall to mount your headboard and mounting hanger. Use a measure to make sure your placement will be even. Mark the wall to ensure you’ve left enough space for the bed beneath the headboard.
    2. Use a stud finder to locate your wall’s studs before drilling.
    3. Use a tape measure to make sure you’ve left enough space for your headboard and mattress above your bed’s foundation.
    4. Attach any provided mounting hangers to the wall.
    5. Attach the headboard to mounting hangers.
    6. Slide your headboard into place using any provided brackets.
    7. Use a level to confirm your headboard is mounted evenly.

    How To Install a Freestanding Headboard

    Given their design flexibility, there isn’t one right way to install a freestanding headboard. When you purchase a freestanding headboard, you assume responsibility for deciding where it ends up in your room.

    Reference the steps below to install your freestanding headboard on a wall:

    1. Mark any surfaces before drilling.
    2. If you’re drilling into the wall, use a stud finder to find secure attachment points.
    3. Pre-drill holes before attaching your freestanding headboard to a wall.
    4. Using your wall markings as a reference, mount your freestanding headboard to the wall. Make sure to secure each bolt or screw before continuing to the next.

    If you decide to attach your freestanding headboard to your bed frame, you might need to get a little creative with the attachment process.

    1. After pre-drilling, line up holes in both your headboard and your bed frame.
    2. Keeping your headboard parallel to the wall, attach the headboard to the frame with fasteners to keep it in place.
    3. Slide your bed against the wall for added support.

    If you’re going to place your freestanding headboard against the wall, installation is simple: slide your bed away from the wall, place your freestanding headboard between the bed and the wall, and slide your bed back into place.

    Other Installations To Consider

    Your headboard provides a way to make your room unique. You might consider other options when installing your headboard, to further separate your room from the rest.

    To better suit your bed frame or complete your room’s design, consider the following alternative installation options.

    How To Install an Outlet in a Headboard

    Installing an outlet into your headboard allows you easy access to electrical power. If you like the idea of charging your phone or plugging in a lamp without leaving your bed, follow the below steps for easy outlet installation.

    1. First, you’ll need to wire an electrical connection from the nearest electrical box to your headboard.
    2. Guide wires from your box along your bed frame, using staples to keep the cord off the ground. If you prefer, you could even hollow out portions of your headboard and run the cord from the box through the headboard.
    3. Run both your “hot” wire — the one carrying an electrical current — and your neutral wire from the box to the back of an empty outlet. Make sure your connection is long enough to reach the headboard-mounted outlet before you cut any wires.
    4. Use wire nuts to connect the wires.
    5. Screw a wall plate onto your outlet, and test your product to ensure the outlet receives a steady current.

    If you need help with the wiring process, consult an electrician for guidance.

    How To Install Headboard Brackets on an Adjustable Bed

    You can still pair an adjustable bed with a headboard that adds flavor to your room. Depending on the manufacturer, your package might already come with provided headboard brackets. Even if headboard brackets are included in your packaging, make sure they’re compatible with the design of your adjustable bed before continuing.

    Some come with already-installed brackets. Search your bed frame for a headboard bracket to see if they’re already attached.

    Take time to examine your headboard as well. Most headboards will come with holes that are already compatible with headboard brackets. See if you can discern which headboard-bracket type — if any — it’s been fitted for.

    1. After you acquire the correct headboard bracket type, elevate the adjustable bed so that you have room to work underneath.
    2. Securely attach each headboard bracket to the base of your adjustable bed. Make sure that each headboard bracket is fastened into place before beginning work on the next one.
    3. Tighten bolts on any bracket channels and flanges.
    4. Slide the brackets at least an inch or two away from the edge of the bed for sufficient clearance.
    5. Line up headboard brackets with your adjustable base.
    6. Push bolts through the holes and tighten them into place to complete the attachment process.

    Make sure that the holes in your headboard and your bed frame are fully compatible. If they are not, take steps to alter the holes in one or the other so that both match.


    About the authors

    Cecilia Gillen

    Cecilia brings over five years of writing experience primarily centered around lifestyle and health topics. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota. She’s both an advocate for sleep and a night owl at heart.