HOW TO: MAKE AN UPHOLSTERED BEDHEAD – Designer Finish at a Bargain Price (with buttons)

Designer Upholstered Bedhead

Image: Yahoo 7 (2012) Better Homes and Gardens

A striking upholstered bedhead can be a sophisticated focal point of a bedroom; giving a room a sense of luxury and turning a blank wall into a feature wall without a drop of paint in sight.

Unfortunately however, that ‘expensive look’ can come at a pretty steep price, with upholstered and decorative buttoned bedheads selling in stores from $900 up to $3000 and higher!

However, what might surprise you, is that achieving this high-end look is actually very simple and cost effective when you have the right products, some helpful advice and a little bit of DIY spirit.

Things you need:

  1. Upholstery fabric of your choice: upholstery fabrics
  2. Upholstery Fabric Covered Buttons (If you want to create a button effect on your bed head you will need to have buttons covered in your chosen fabric – available from our online store: upholstery covered buttons).
  3. Sheet of Foam to be cut to your desired size (50mm-75mm thick recommended for this usage, but you can always layer our thinner foams on top of each other) foam sheets
  4. MDF Board (Cut to the dimensions of your bed head – please see below)
  5. Calico to cover foam before chosen fabric upholstered (recommended but no essential)
  6. Long Straight Needle (Our specialty mattress button tufting needle recommended in 300mm or 350mm)
  7. Upholstery Nylon Buttoning Twine
  8. Tape measure
  9. Stanley Knife or Electric Bread Knife
  10. PVA wood glue (Only if your making a non standard frame)
  11. Staple Gun
  12. Scissors
  13. Brackets (for wall mounting or directly to bed base)


(The size of you bed head is up to you, however here are some standard sizes as a guide)

  • Dimensions will differ depending on whether the bed head is floor resting or wall-mounted.
  • When deciding on the dimensions of your bed head, remember that particular bed head designs work better at certain heights.
Single 100cm wide 130 high
King single 110cm wide 130 high
Double 142cm wide 135 high
Queen 160cm wide 140cm high
King 190cm wide 150cm high

Your bed head can have a finished height anywhere between 120cm – 160cm.  


Step 1: Cutting & Drilling the MDF Board

Cut MDF to size using a jigsaw (or have it cut at your hardware store). Measure and mark a grid on MDF, intersecting lines where you want buttons to be positioned. Drill a small hole where lines intersect.


Step 2: Preparing the foam

Mark and cut foam to same size as MDF using a utility knife. The thicker the foam the greater the depth of the bed head as well as the depth of the ‘buttoning effect’.






Step 3: Cutting & Layering materials

Cut upholstery fabric and Calico (lining) fabric to size for front – each needs to overlap MDF by at least 200mm on each side.
Lay upholstery fabric face down on a flat surface. Lay lining fabric on top then foam, then place MDF on top.


Step 4: Attaching the fabric

With fabric pulled tight, fix to MDF using a staple gun. Fix 1 side at a time, checking fabric is tight and even as you staple.



Step 5: Threading and inserting the button

Thread a long straight needle. Working from back, thread needle through 1 hole in MDF. Stitch thread through a button at front of bed head, then feed needle back through same hole. Pull thread firmly to achieve desired look at front of bed head. Maintaining pressure, tie thread in knot to secure. (Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for each button-hole).





Step 6: Ensuring a neat finish (OPTIONAL)

Measure and cut length of lining fabric to cover back of bed head. Allow for enough fabric so edges can be folded over for a neat finish. Affix with a staple gun.



Step 7 (a): Wall mounting (OPTIONAL) or

Find the studs in the wall where the headboard will be hung. Mark on the back of the headboard in pencil where your connectors should be installed to line up with the studs in the wall. Install the mounting brackets onto the wall. Attach the headboard to the brackets with a screwdriver or drill. You can find a choice of 2 here: Brackets & Furniture Connectors



Step 7 (b): Mount directly to bed base (OPTIONAL)

Ezy-Fit Bed Bracket Set

Using our bed bracket sets, it makes it easy to attach your bedhead to your ensemble base, allowing you to move the bedhead as the bed moves. A Step-By-Step guide to install these brackets comes inside the box and is very easy to follow. You can find multiple options here: Brackets & Furniture Connectors

More Information:

For more information on products and prices, visit our online store or call us on (02) 9773 1999.



Home Upholsterer (2012)

Yahoo 7 (2012) Better Homes and Gardens

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17 thoughts on “HOW TO: MAKE AN UPHOLSTERED BEDHEAD – Designer Finish at a Bargain Price (with buttons)

  1. What a fantastic detailed guide to doing a headboard. I have searched high and low for a step by step guide especially with the button detailing. I cant wait to get on to doing this!!!!

    Thank You

    • Hi Dayle,
      Thanks for your comment! The spacing and quantity of buttons always varies depending on customer’s personal taste and how much of a feature they want to make the buttons. What we recommend to do is lay your bedhead flat on the floor and use some 20 cent pieces on the bedhead to try to work out your placement. This way you can determine the pattern, spacing and quantity of buttons without making and firm decisions.

      Any other questions or queries please don’t hesitate to ask!

      Kind Regards,
      The Home Upholsterer Team

  2. Thanks for the great instructions. In the photograph how far from the top and sides are the button centres?

    • Hi Kate,
      Thanks for your comment! The spacing on this particular bedhead was with a 20cm border around the top and sides. Obviously the button quantity and spacing is to your personal taste and discretion so we would usually recommend using some coins on the bedhead to work out your placement before drilling holes and installing the buttons. This way you can determine the pattern, spacing and quantity of buttons without making and firm decisions.

      Any other questions or queries please don’t hesitate to ask!

      Kind Regards,
      The Home Upholsterer Team


  4. Hi Team
    What a brilliant design- l came across this by accident and I truly hope others find it too. I have been looking for a bedhead to make for a couple of years now but they have all been too complex but this is ‘dooable’ for anyone regardless of ability and skill set and doesn’t require going out and buying untold electrical gadgets – can’t wait to get started. Thanks very much!

  5. Hi , I have two questions my bed is 260/240 it’s a huge super king , what would the measurements be of MDF?
    How do I get the nice rounded corners .
    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Loretta,
      Thanks for your comment! The size of the MDF board is totally up to you. Most of the time customers will align the headboard with the width of the base. Regarding getting the rounded corners there are two processes used to make this including layering a couple of pieces of foam followed by using polyester wadding “Dacron”. We have another blog post on making a bedhead where we go into this in more detail. Please find link below: HOW TO: MAKE AN UPHOLSTERED BEDHEAD (with nail trim) Any other questions or queries please don’t hesitate to ask.

  6. Hi, I’d like to make a queen size bedhead and would like it from the floor up, your sizing for queen is 160X140 so a little wider than the bed, I have looked on line for MDF sheets and they don’t come in lge enough sizes so how would I join 2 pieces together.

    • Hi Heather,
      Thank you for your interest in our post. Joining MDF board together horizontally can be relatively tricky if you don’t have the proper equipment to cut it. Most commonly cabinet makers and carpenters will do a join called a “finger” or “comb” joint. We unfortunately don’t have a step-by-step guide on how to do this but I have included a link to another website which breaks it down quite well.MARKING OUT A FINGER JOINT

      I hope that might give you some help or possibly you could look at going to your local timber yard and they may have some bigger sized pieces or be able to join them for you. Any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

  7. Thanks for this, I have been trying to work out how to do this. I have an old mdf door that I’m going to use for the bedhead for our King bed. I bought block out backed fabric for sturdiness, thick wadding for padding and have ordered the brackets from you to hang on the wall. I don’t think I’ll have buttons, or if I do, there will only be one row – minimalist look. Thanks for your help.