Whether you’re moving out of your parents’ house, upgrading to a new home, or just looking for a change, a new headboard can transform the aesthetic of your room. You can add some industrial simplicity with a metal headboard or showcase your classic elegance with soft, tufted fabric. No matter your style, a durable headboard provides support for your mattress and bed frame, ultimately providing you with a more stable and sounder sleep.
Why buy a headboard?
Beds and bed frames don’t necessarily require a headboard in order to be functional, but there are quite a few benefits to having one. Headboards lend extra support and stability to the bed frames that they’re attached to and help protect your wall from everyday wear and tear. If you like to sit up while reading or watching TV in bed, having a headboard to lean back against is far more comfortable than leaning against a wall, especially if the headboard is padded or quilted. A headboard can also help keep your pillow(s) in place as you sleep. You won’t have to worry about them sliding off the back of the bed in the night or ending up wedged between your mattress and the wall. And since headboards come in so many different styles, colors, and materials, they add a personalized, decorative touch to your bedroom as well.
Since mattresses and thus, bed frames come in multiple different sizes, be sure to buy a headboard that matches your bed’s size. If you currently sleep on a full bed, be sure to opt for a full-size headboard. Other sizes will be too big or too small to fit the bed frame properly.
What should you look for in a headboard?
Keep these things in mind when selecting the ideal headboard:
- Construction: The easiest option for a simple assembly is to look for freestanding headboards, as they will only require some pressure from your bed frame and the wall to stay upright. However, most headboards will require small attachments to your current bed frame or will need to be anchored to your wall. People who enjoy rearranging furniture will want to avoid wall-mounted frames, as these will be difficult to move. Most headboards also won’t come with all the necessary tools for the assembly, so consider options that offer expert installation or that can be assembled with items in a typical toolbox.
- Material: A classic leather look is stylish, but opt for synthetic leather for a more long-lasting frame that won’t crack or peel over time. Designs upholstered with linen often come in the widest variety of colors and are antimicrobial. Polyester is less resistant to oily stains but is durable. Metal should be powder-coated to resist scratches and is ideal for kids and young adults who need something more durable.
- Frame Compatibility: If your chosen headboard isn’t part of a full set, ensure that your current frame can attach to your new addition. Basic frames are often designed with universal attachment points that you can secure your frame to. However, it might require you to have specific tools for assembly, and it’s a great idea to measure before buying. Remember, your bed frame must be full-size to correctly fit a full headboard unless otherwise stated.
How tall should your headboard be?
It depends. There’s no real specific standard for headboard height, regardless of your bed frame’s size. It’s also worth keeping in mind that headboard height tends to be measured in terms of how many inches show above your mattress rather than by the full height of the headboard from the top to the ground. Most full headboards are designed to sit at least 14 inches above your mattress, but this can vary from model to model. Some are height-adjustable, some have extra pegs so that you can pick the height that suits you best, and some are one height only.
When picking the headboard height that’s right for you, consider how much space you have in your room and your lounging habits. If you have low ceilings in your bedroom or guest room or you want to hang a framed poster or picture directly above your bed, an extra-tall headboard probably won’t be the best choice. If you’re someone who likes to sit up while watching TV or reading in bed, a headboard that’s too short might not allow you to do so comfortably. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to headboard height, so pick whatever works best for you, your space, and your style.
Prepac Full Bookcase Headboard
Keep your most important items close to you with the 11.25-inch tall built-in shelves of this headboard.
Pros: The biggest benefit to this headboard is that it provides you with three extra shelves/compartments to stash or display your belongings in. It’s an extremely convenient place to store whatever book you’re currently reading, to place an alarm clock, to rest your phone while it’s charging overnight, and more. With five color options to choose from, it’s easy to find a shade that matches your current bed frame and/or bedroom decor. This headboard is designed to fit on both full and queen bed frames.
Cons: Despite its elegant look, this headboard isn’t made of actual wood, but rather, of composite wood with an MDF fiberboard. This means that it’s strong but won’t have a genuine wooden look to it, which might be a drawback for some consumers. And while the extra shelving is quite handy for storage and display space, it also means that this headboard isn’t comfortable to lean against. In fact, you can’t lean back on it unless you want to disrupt or knock off your belongings. And the drilling and mounting hardware that you need to put the headboard together isn’t included with your purchase. You’ll have to provide it for yourself.
Bottom Line: The built-in shelving on this headboard makes it a great choice for people who are living in a studio apartment or a smaller bedroom. Since the shelving is built into your headboard, you get extra storage and display space that won’t take up more floor space and that allows you to utilize an area that otherwise couldn’t be used for storage. Even if you have a decent-sized bedroom, you can still benefit from this headboard if you’ve used up all your floor space but still have extra belongings that need a place. If you like to read or watch TV in bed, you’ll want to pass on this model in favor of a headboard that’s more comfortable for lounging.
Modway Lily Tufted Faux Leather
The square pattern of the tufted faux leather provides symmetry and visual interest to create an elegant frame to your bed.
Pros: Whether you like a tall headboard to lean back against or a lower one to allow for more wall space for displaying posters, this model has you covered. It’s highly adjustable, with seven different height adjustment options to choose from. No matter how much or how little space you have available behind your bed or how low your ceilings are, you should be able to adjust this headboard to the right height for your space and preferences. The vegan leather upholstery is smooth to the touch and cruelty-free, with a dense foam padding interior to make it even comfier. And it’s easy to wipe clean to boot.
Cons: Since this headboard’s body is primarily made out of fiberboard and vinyl plastic, it’s not going to be durable for as long as a metal, wooden, or composite wooden model. While the faux leather look will match a lot of interiors and will provide a timeless look, this headboard is on the plainer side compared to some. It isn’t particularly decorative and is only available in a handful of neutral shades.
Bottom Line: This is the ideal headboard for people who like to lounge in bed. Whether you like to sit propped against your headboard while reading, watching TV, or even working from home, this padded faux leather model is soft and comfortable to lean against. It provides a timeless look that will appear more expensive than it is. And if you’re not sure how tall or short of a headboard you prefer or need, its wide range of height adjustability offers you good flexibility to play around with and figure out what you want. But if you’re someone who likes bright, colorful, and decorative decor, this headboard will probably be a little too simple for your style.
Modway Region Upholstered Full Headboard
With the combination of linen's natural look and the shine of the metal studs, this headboard is ideal for upgrading bedroom decor.
Pros: “Simple” doesn’t have to mean “plain,” as this headboard proves. The border of nailheads trimming the headboard provide a touch of decoration and flair without overwhelming the eye or appearing over the top. The texture of the upholstered fabric enhances the look, and the fabric is also stain-resistant. The headboard has a decent selection of color choices, and it offers six possible height-mounting positions for good adjustability.
Cons: While the fabric upholstery will be softer than a wooden or metal headboard, this model doesn’t come with any foam or other padding. It’s not the most uncomfortable headboard to lean against, but it’s not designed specifically for comfort, either. While it should fit most full beds, the included screws might be too thick for some bed frames. You could end up having to improvise and use your own.
Bottom Line: If you want a stylish headboard for a reasonable price, you’ll likely love this model. The linen upholstery and subtle nailhead design are plenty contemporary but will match more classic or vintage decors, too. It offers decent support for lounging upright in bed, although taller users might find their head resting against the metal trim when sitting upright against the headboard, which won’t be particularly comfortable. Also consider that the back of the headboard isn’t upholstered, only the front, so you might want to look for a different headboard if you don’t plan on resting the back of it up against the wall.
Dorel Living Provo Headboard
A sturdy, durable metal headboard that will fit both full and queen beds.
Pros: Metal headboards and frames are the sturdiest and most durable options you can buy for your bed, and this model is no exception. Not only is it strong, but installation and assembly are quicker and easier than for most other headboards. All the hardware and instructions come included, and it can be attached to queen and full beds, should you ever upgrade to a larger bed frame. You get these benefits at a nice low price, too.
Cons: This headboard doesn’t offer much in the way of comfort, colors, or height options. While it’s height-adjustable to some degree, it doesn’t have the same range as a lot of other full headboards. You have to buy it in either the bronze or the black color, so it won’t match a plain silver-metal bed frame. Since it’s not padded or upholstered and the back isn’t completely solid, it won’t be comfortable or supportive to lean back against.
Bottom Line: If strength, durability, and a long service life are the most important factors for you, or you already have a metal bed frame, this headboard should serve you well. It’s a great choice for rowdy, rambunctious kids getting upgraded to full beds since it’s strong enough to hold up under bed-bouncing, jumping, and rattling. But if you’re looking for comfort and support above all else, look for an upholstered, padded headboard instead.
Zinus Satish Upholstered Headboard
A soft, padded headboard on a sturdy steel frame that won't break the bank.
Pros: This headboard offers a nice blend of sturdiness and comfort. The stitched fabric upholstery is cozy enough on its own, and it’s padded with foam to make it even more soft and comfy. It shouldn’t harm the wall that your headboard is up against, either. The fabric and padding are attached to a sturdy steel frame that offers greater strength and security than plastic or even wood. Plus, this model is extremely affordable, costing much less than the average price for a freestanding headboard.
Cons: If you like the look of this headboard, keep in mind that it’s only available in gray. You have the choice between dark and light gray, but those are the only choices. So if you don’t like the color gray, you’re out of luck. This headboard is less compatible than most, even with some full bed frames of the same brand. Check the dimensions, especially of the attachment brackets, to ensure that this headboard will fit on your frame.
Bottom Line: Why settle for just a sturdy or just a comfortable headboard when you can have both? The steel frame ensures that it’s more durable than many other upholstered models, but the stitched fabric and foam padding also ensure that it’s soft enough to comfortably lean against while you’re reading or watching TV in bed. It’s a great choice for the budget-conscious as well. But you might want to seek out a more colorful option, especially if gray doesn’t match or suit your interior design. If you’re unsure of what dimensions will best fit your current bed frame, spring for a model with wider compatibility to be on the safe side.
While not an absolute necessity, headboards are a great functional and stylish option for beds of varying shapes and sizes. If you want some added support for your bed or a new headboard to spruce up your bedroom decor, a new headboard will go a long way on both fronts.