DIY Upholstered Bed

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comWithout giving away too much of our guest bedroom, we finished the upholstered bed and I’m SO happy with how it turned out. As promised, I photographed the entire process to create a tutorial for you. Although, I will say- this bed didn’t manifest out of thin air. In an effort to repurpose the existing bed that lived in this room, we worked with what we had and use the same frame and rails. All of the details are in the post, but it went pretty smoothly and the result is quite gorgeous, if I do say so myself. Click through to see how we transformed our old guest bed and get the scoop on my DIY upholstered headboard…

Ok, let’s do a before… this is what the bed looked like before- maybe you remember it from our previous guest bedroom, pictured below, at our old house? It was a great looking, sturdy bed, but it didn’t fit my vision for this room after we renovated (that reveal is coming soon, BTW).

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comMy plan was to switch up the fabric, add some pattern, and create a bit of drama with a unique shaped headboard. You can catch my initial design plan here. When beginning this room forever ago (last year), I had purchased a custom bed and was planning to sell or donate our existing bed. Insert the pandemic and global shut-down… my bed got delayed, the wrong bed shipped, I ended up canceling the order altogether, and decided to up-cycle the bed we had. Long story short, this bed project cost us $300… it looks strikingly similar to the one I had initially ordered, which cost $1,700- and that was just for the headboard alone. I’m calling this a major win!

Ready for the process? It was honestly pretty easy! It just took a bit of patience. You can find the supply list below:


Step 1 // Determine your headboard shape, then cut it to size. After some careful measuring, I determined the size and shape I wanted the new headboard to be. Here’s the big confession: for the sake of time, I sketched it out in CAD and sent it over to Emmett at work, and he cut it out on the CNC router. It took five minutes, so it worked out well and saved us hours running to Lowe’s and cutting it out with our own saw.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comI realize having access to fancy equipment, like a CNC router, isn’t the norm… but you can easily use plywood, MDF, particle board or wood, trace your pattern, and cut it out using an electric saw for the exact same look. We are just fortunate to have access to cabinetry equipment, so we took that route to speed up the process.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 2 // Assemble the headboard. We wanted our headboard to have some depth to it- it’s about 3 inches deep. Therefore, Emmett cut out an outline of the headboard, knowing that we’d glue and nail it to the backside… giving the impression that it has depth, while keeping it lightweight.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comWe used wood glue and finishing nails to tack the outline to the back of the headboard. We also included a couple braces for additional support. Again- this is totally optional… I just liked the look of a thicker headboard, so we layered the material.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 3 // Adhere the batting to the board. I dug out some very old Super 77 to spray on the particle board to help hold the batting in place. This step is critical in keeping your headboard wrinkle free! It will also prevent it from sagging over time. We used clamps to help with this process, while smoothing it out.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 4 // Cut off the excess batting. Once the batting is totally stuck and secure, you can begin trimming the excess, around the perimeter.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comIt should look something like this (see above)! We cut it pretty close to the edge, for a nice clean look. The spray adhesive was especially helpful in holding the batting to the edges, where it wraps. Once the batting is finished, it will look like this…

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 5 // Prep your fabric. Next, prep your fabric by making sure it is facing the appropriate direction, determine the pattern, and scale everything out. Once you have it planned, you can rough cut it.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 6 // Staple the fabric to the headboard. We began stapling at the top of the headboard and worked our way to the edges.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comPulling the fabric tight, and being carefully not to distort the linear pattern in our fabric, we continued stapling around the perimeter of the headboard.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 7 // Cut off the excess fabric. Once the fabric is stapled to the headboard, clean up the backside by cutting off any excess fabric.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comYour finished headboard should look something like this, pictured above. Next, we’ll move onto upholstering the bed rails.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 8 // Move onto upholstering the rails. The rails are very quick and easy to upholster. Following the same steps, staple the fabric to the rail. We actually ended up upholstering directly on top of the existing velvet fabric. We didn’t even worry about adding new batting.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 9 // Attach the dust cover. Once all of your fabric has been stapled, it’s time to add the black dust cover for a clean, finished look. Cut the dust cover fabric to size and staple it over the upholstery fabric on the backside, concealing any uneven lines or excess fabric.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comStep 10 // Assemble the bed. Once all of our pieces had been upholstered, we reassembled the bed- reattaching the rails and the new headboard. It turned out really beautiful and looks wonderful in the space! I love the height the headboard adds.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comOne last thing to note… when upholstering the rails- if you’re using a patterned fabric, make sure your pattern aligns where the rails connect. We made sure to upholster each rail in the same way, using the exact pattern repeat. Alignment and little details like this make a piece of furniture feel custom, high-end, and thoughtful.

DIY Upholstered Bed - roomfortuesday.comI’d love to hear your thoughts on our new guest bed! I’m incredibly happy with how it came together. Emmett and I are both thrilled we saved a lot of money, and I think it’s going to look fantastic in our finished guest room. I’m just waiting on accessories to arrive, and then we’ll be able to wrap things up, photograph, and share the newly renovated room here on the blog. Exciting stuff! Let me know if you have any upholstery questions. I’m working on an IG video for this project as well. PS: if it wasn’t obvious- I haven’t dressed the bed yet… this is just the box spring and mattress, in the photos.

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  1. Beautiful! I honestly can’t get over how much it looks like the bed in your original design, and I love the idea of repurposing a piece. Adding depth the way you did is genius; a thicker headboard definitely seems more luxe. Love the little peek of the bubble chandelier! Can’t wait to see the entire room! I bet you’ll be pleased to get this wrapped up. I’m sure you’ve already started scheming for the dining room. Not to mention your birthday and Tuesday Made…lots of excitement in the Gibson house! Have a spectacular Thursday…I’m off to strategize and bake cakes!💜

    1. Thanks Peggi! I’m glad we were able to make our existing bed work with this little makeover :) We installed the window treatments last night and started moving furniture in. It’s looking so beautiful in this room already! I can’t wait to photograph it and share soon. Lots of fun and exciting things happening around here lately!! It’s all going to happen simultaneously. Haha! Happy cake baking on this beautiful Thursday- that sounds like the PERFECT day to me! Enjoy. xo

  2. Oh wow – loved seeing this process. It looks easy to do, and came out looking fabulous. Can’t wait to see the entire room!

    1. Thanks Monica! It really was easy and I’m glad we were able to save a lot of money taking the DIY route. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I can’t wait to share the entire room! :) Have a great day! xo

  3. This is gorgeous! I love the upholstery and the shape of the head board. Excited to see the room reveal! Could you share the shop the upholstery came from? I’m Utah local and I’m always on the look out for local sources.

    1. Thank you, Anne! I can’t wait to share the final reveal soon… just waiting on some accessories and art to be framed. The fabric came from Designer Resource Center in Salt Lake City :)

  4. Looks soooo good. This is just in time for my master bedroom project where I REALLY want to try and do an upholstered bed like this. Save so much money. Were also going to attempt wall molding like you did in the last picture! Sorry you had so much craziness with your order, but I think this DIY was meant to be! Can’t wait to see the full reveal!

    1. Thanks, Katie! Perfect timing :) I vote yes to trying an upholstery project. It’s well worth the savings! I’m sure you’ve already seen it, but we shared a wall moulding tutorial here (in case you need it): I also think this DIY was meant to be… it was actually pretty fun, too. Happy Thursday!! xo

  5. Adore the fabric! Love.

    It’s funny, my first big (relative now) DIY project was making a headboard and upholstering it. I had my dad cut the curves and we did all the steps you did in this tutorial, but I used a dropcloth (very frugal at the time on a college graduate budget) and nail heads on the side (not my style anymore but remember being very impressed that it looked lik the Pottery Barn option at a fraction of the price). Now, I’ve upholstered (and constructed in some cases) two beds, an ottoman, bench, etc.! It’s really a cost effective option if there isn’t too many details (this girl CANNOT sew!)

    I am planning on redesigning our guest bedroom this late fall/winter and reupholstering that first DIY headboard I every made. I was going to go for a lovely velvet green but now thinking maybe a plaid after seeing your headboard…I’ll have to play around in my moodboard and try different combinations now.

    1. Thank you, JoNae! I love that you tackled this project with your dad and used drop cloth. It sounds beautiful and the savings can’t be beat! I’m also a fan of reupholstering to give pieces new life. I think it’s a fun project, too :) Happy guest room designing this fall! That sounds like a super fun project. Have a great day! xo

  6. Cyreesa M Wiechman says:

    OMG, I’m so inspired! I have a headboard almost shaped just like this, and she’s ready for her makeover! And, thinking I could now order an upholstered platform frame and reupholster it to match & go with. Genius! Dying over wall color, details, and light fixture as well!

    1. I love hearing that, Cyreesa! You could definitely order an inexpensive upholstered bed (or maybe even just the rails) and upholster them to match. Thanks so much for your kind words :) Hope you’re having an awesome day! xo

  7. Holy Moses!! This headboard turned out incredible!! I would love to do my own headboard but I’m nervous with fabric selection. Is there a difference between regular fabric and what you should use for upholstering? I adore the shape of this- it’s actually similar to what I’ve been looking for myself. The fabric is to die for and gives me all the Ralph Lauren vibes. I truly hope some horse artwork ends up in this room!! Can’t wait for the reveal!! I see a sneak of the bubble chandelier and I know I’m going to love what you’ve done in here. Serious inspiration on the horizon, and I can’t wait for the rest of our birthday month! Cheers to Thursday!! Xo

    1. Thank you, Lauren! I’m really thrilled with how it turned out. The pattern had me nervous for a minute, but it honestly wasn’t bad once we got started. You definitely need upholstery weight fabric to make this work… but not too heavy (it’s more difficult with super heavy textiles- like leather), but it could be done. You MADE MY DAY by saying this is giving you Ralph Lauren vibes. Yessss! Love that, and thank you! Ha. You know there will be horse art somewhere in here. There is at least one horse in every room in our house (true story). The bubble chandy is looking cute, window treatments went up last night, and I can’t wait to pull it together and share! Cheers to October- the best birthday month :) Hope you’re having a lovely day my friend! xo

  8. Chloe Fernandez says:

    Hey Sarah! What a fun project! I honestly LOVE how much you incorporate stripes & plaid into your home. Quick question…how to plan on covering the box spring? I just re-did my master room and the box springs sit above the side boards just like yours. I don’t think a bed skirt is appropriate in this situation (do you?) and I already have a king comforter, and its not long enough to cover the sides. I have considered purchasing a Cali King comforter, but based on measurements that will not be long enough to cover either. Can’t wait to see your finished project!

    HELP please :) -Chloe Fernandez, Ft. Worth, Tx

    1. Thank you, Chloe! Amazing question (and good eye on the box spring)… I purchased a box spring cover to match my bedding, so it shouldn’t stand out once the bed is dressed! I wouldn’t recommend a bed skirt if your bed has upholstered rails, but it’s a good solution to hide a basic metal frame with a box spring. You could also purchase a larger duvet or comforter. Lots of options :) Hope this helpful! xo

    2. Chloe, I’ve always used an extra fitted sheet to cover my box spring. Good luck!

  9. This is absolutely beautiful! It turned out so well and seems really doable. I will have to keep that idea in my back pocket. Funny story, I had to cut the dust cloth off of my upholstered bed (Crate & Barrel Colette found on FB Marketplace!)…my cat started playing with it and tearing it out, and the dust cloth staples came with it! Then I had to pay for a kitty endoscopy…good thing she’s insured! If I ever upholster a bed I think I’ll feel more confident that the staples are really in there! I can’t wait to see the full reveal!!

    1. Thank you, Brittany! It wasn’t difficult at all- it just required time and patience. OMG!! Your poor kitty. I’m so happy to hear she was ok after the staple incident! That is terrifying. I definitely think you’d feel better knowing they’re in there really good. Some of the vintage pieces I’ve reupholstered in the past have had their staples falling out… they must just loosen with age. Happy Friday! xo

  10. This is so beautiful – absolutely love the fabric!! Do you know how much fabric you purchased? Queen size?? Love your posts and DIY.

    1. Thank you so much, Lynn! We purchased 5.5 yards of fabric for the headboard and rails.

  11. Is the headboard attached to the bed frame somehow or just hung on the wall?

    1. It’s attached to the bed frame! Since we used our existing bed frame, we just unscrewed the old headboard and replaced it with the new. Therefore- the bed is freestanding (no need to be attached to the wall). Hope this helps to better clarify that! :)

  12. Your headboard looks so good! You and Emmett did such a fantastic job. Lining up the stripes was brilliant and does make it look high end. Love the fabric choice and all. Can’t wait to see the rest of the room.

    1. Thanks Danna! The space looks SO good- I can’t wait to share it soon :) I’m just waiting on a few more accessories to arrive.

  13. Thank you for sharing! You’ve inspired us to try it out as well. Did you consider doing the headboard all the way down so there was no gap? Is that possible?

    1. I love that, Karen! Let me know how it goes :) Yes- you can definitely continue it all the way down