DIY Wooden Headboard Makeover

White Painted Wooden Headboard

Yet another relic that survived the traveling ways of my family is a sturdy wood bed which my parents bought in 1979. It had been passed around for many years until I decided to give it new life with a DIY wooden headboard makeover. While I could have chosen any colour, I decided a bright white would be the right shade to usher the bed into its next incarnation.  The bedroom it rests in is a stormy gray blue room with white and silver accents, so white was a natural tone to include in my sky-themed palette. I am not a psychic per se, but I think this bed might one day take on a bolder hue. Time will tell.


While I had this bed on hand, you can create your own DIY headboard makeover with any sturdy wooden headboard. Look for headboards with interesting lines, silhouettes and decorative details. Browse antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, other peoples attics (providing they are okay with it!) and online market places to find a headboard for makeover.


Another idea for a diy wooden headboard makeover is to paint a pattern on the flat part of the headboard as seen here at Mint Peach. And I adore the first two blue beds in this post at The Cottage Chick! Or, check out this idea for refinishing a headboard that has a wicker panel in it, here at Decorology.


Choose the colour for the headboard according to the existing decor of the room. Or, choose a wild colour and use it as a focal point to design the room around. Bright statement colours like red, purple, blue and green can bring a room together if you unify the look with accents and collectibles in the same colour family.


Here is what you need to complete this project:


Screw driver

Orbital sander

Varying grits of sandpaper 100-400

Dry rag

Primer (spray or paint)



Partially sanded headboard and footboard


1.Take the bed apart and set the pieces you will be refinishing in a well-ventilated area that can withstand dust and paint drippings.


2. Sand the entire bed using the orbital sander wherever you can. Depending on the details of the the headboard, you will need to switch between the orbital and doing it by hand.


3.Begin with the heavier grit sandpaper (100 or whatever you choose for your individual project), once satisfied switch to the lighter grit for a smooth finish (I used the 400).


4.Make sure you use a dry rag to wipe away the dust created by the sanding process.


5.Paint the entire headboard with a coat of primer and let dry.


6.Paint the headboard in your chosen hue. Let it dry and give it a final coat of necessary.


7.Reassemble the bed in its resting place and dress it up!



Dress your bed with a variety of textiles in a range of patterns. The solid backdrop of the headboard will take texture and pattern well. For a bright headboard dress it in all white bedding for one look or mix neutrals with different textures for another look. Or, if you paint the headboard all white like I did, dress it with bright cheery colours and a combination of prints and solids.

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