How to Upholster a Pre-Existing Headboard

If you’re looking to update the look of your bedroom, reupholstering your pre-existing headboard is a great way to do so.

Not only is it cost-effective, but it also allows you to customize the look of your headboard to your liking.

With a few basic tools and materials, you can easily reupholster your headboard in just a few hours.

Before you get started, it’s important to choose the right fabric for your headboard.

Consider the overall aesthetic of your room and choose a fabric that complements it.

You’ll also want to choose a fabric that is durable and easy to clean.

Once you have your fabric, you’ll need to remove the old fabric from your headboard and clean the surface.

To reupholster your headboard, you’ll need a few basic tools, including a staple gun, scissors, and foam padding.

You’ll also need to measure and cut your fabric to fit your headboard.

Once you have everything you need, you can begin the process of reupholstering your headboard.

Understanding Upholstery Basics

When it comes to upholstering a pre-existing headboard, there are some basic principles you should keep in mind to ensure a successful outcome.

Here are some of the most important things to understand about upholstery:


Before you begin, you’ll need to gather the necessary materials.

This will typically include foam padding, batting, fabric, and a staple gun.

You may also need additional tools like scissors, pliers, and a measuring tape.

Be sure to choose high-quality materials that are appropriate for your specific project.


Preparation is key to a successful upholstery project.

Start by removing any existing fabric or padding from the headboard, and clean the surface thoroughly.

Measure the headboard carefully, and cut the foam and batting to size.

Lay the foam on top of the headboard, and then wrap the headboard with two layers of batting.

Attach the batting with a staple gun on the back of the headboard.

Upholstery Techniques

When it comes to upholstering the headboard, there are several techniques you can use.

One common method is to lay the fabric on the floor with the right side of the fabric side down, and then lay the headboard face down on top of the fabric.

Pull the fabric taut, and staple it to the back of the headboard, working from the center outwards.

Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles as you go.

Finishing Touches

Once the fabric is attached, you can add any finishing touches you like, such as decorative trim or buttons.

Be sure to trim any excess fabric, and tuck in any loose ends.

Choosing the Right Materials

When it comes to upholstering a pre-existing headboard, choosing the right materials is crucial to ensure a comfortable and long-lasting result. In this section, I will discuss the two main materials you need to consider: fabric and foam/padding.

Fabric Selection

When selecting a fabric for your headboard, you want to choose something that is both durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Consider the style of your room and choose a fabric that complements it.

For example, if your room has a modern feel, you might choose a sleek, solid-colored fabric.

If your room has a more traditional feel, you might choose a patterned fabric with a classic design.

In addition to style, you should also consider the durability of the fabric.

Look for fabrics that are easy to clean, and that can withstand wear and tear.

Some popular options include cotton, linen, and polyester blends.

Foam and Padding Choices

The foam and padding you choose for your headboard will affect its overall comfort level.

Consider whether you want a soft or firm headboard, and choose your materials accordingly.

One common option for padding is cotton batting, which provides a soft, plush feel.

Another option is foam, which can be cut to fit the shape of your headboard.

High-density foam is a good choice if you want a firm headboard, while low-density foam is better if you prefer a softer feel.

It’s important to note that the thickness of your padding will also affect the look of your headboard.

Thicker padding will create a more plush, rounded look, while thinner padding will create a flatter, more streamlined look.

Preparation Steps

Before beginning the upholstering process, it is important to prepare the headboard properly. This will ensure that the new upholstery adheres properly and looks great. Here are the preparation steps that I recommend:

Headboard Cleaning

The first step is to clean the headboard thoroughly.

This will remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may be on the surface of the headboard.

To clean the headboard, I recommend using a soft cloth and a mild cleaning solution.

Be sure to avoid using anything abrasive, as this can damage the surface of the headboard.

Removing Old Upholstery

If the headboard already has upholstery on it, you will need to remove it before you can begin the upholstering process.

To remove the old upholstery, use a staple remover or pliers to carefully remove the staples holding the old fabric in place.

Be sure to remove all of the staples, as any remaining staples can cause bumps or lumps in the new upholstery.

Once the old upholstery has been removed, inspect the headboard for any damage or wear.

If there are any areas that need to be repaired, now is the time to do so.

Patch any holes or cracks with wood filler, and sand the surface of the headboard until it is smooth and even.

Upholstering Process

Upholstering a pre-existing headboard is a great way to update the look of your bedroom without having to buy a new bed. Here are the steps to follow:

Cutting the Fabric

First, measure the dimensions of your headboard and add a few inches to each side to ensure you have enough fabric to work with.

Then, cut the fabric to size using sharp fabric scissors.

Be sure to cut the fabric with the pattern facing the right direction if applicable.

Securing the Fabric

Next, lay the fabric over the headboard, making sure it is centered and straight.

Starting at the top center of the headboard, staple the fabric to the back of the headboard.

Work your way down the sides, pulling the fabric taut as you go and stapling it to the back of the headboard.

Once the sides are secure, work on the corners. Fold the fabric neatly and staple it to the back of the headboard. Repeat this process for all four corners.

Finishing Touches

Finally, trim any excess fabric and add any finishing touches you desire.

This could include adding decorative nailhead trim or buttons.

Maintenance Tips

As someone who has upholstered a pre-existing headboard, I know that maintaining the fabric is just as important as the initial upholstery process. Here are a few tips to help keep your upholstered headboard looking its best.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the appearance of your upholstered headboard.

To keep your headboard looking its best, use a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to remove dust and dirt from the fabric.

If your headboard is stained, use a damp cloth to gently blot the stain, making sure not to rub it in.

Fabric Protection

To protect your headboard from spills and stains, consider applying a fabric protector. These products create a barrier between the fabric and spills, making it easier to clean up any spills before they can stain the fabric.

Be sure to read the instructions carefully before applying any fabric protector, and test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the entire headboard.

Overall, keeping your upholstered headboard clean and protected is essential to maintain its appearance and prolong its lifespan.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can ensure that your headboard looks great for years to come.

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