How to Attach a Headboard to a Bedframe

A lot of people consider a headboard nothing more but a space filler… and they wouldn’t be totally wrong. Headboards are aesthetically pleasing and provide some functionalities for those who like to get kinky in bed, but they aren’t that versatile or provide any exceptional benefits for the sleeper. They can sometimes prevent your pillow from falling in between the bed and the wall and they provide head support for those who like to sit in bed and read or watch TV and need to lean their pillow against something.

If you’re one of the people who want to attach a headboard to a bed frame, then this how-to article is going to guide you through the process.

How To Attach A Bolt-On Headboard

Although there are some general steps to follow in attaching a headboard to a bed frame, different models that come from different manufacturers have their own set of characteristics and you should always read the instructions first.

Step #1: Move the bed frame into a more open space, as you won’t be able to work if it’s too close to a wall.

Step #2: Use a bunch of cardboard sheets or some other form of protection and place it on the ground, to avoid causing any damage to the floor.

Step #3: Align the headboard to the bed frame, making sure that the bottom screw holes that are drilled in the bed frame match the holes in the headboard. You might need an extra pair of hands for that.

Step #4: Take one of the bolts that’s delivered together with the headboard, place a washer onto it and then slide it through the headboard and the bed frame holes aligned at the previous step.

Step #5: Slide another washer on the bolt at the other end and then screw a nut on the bolt until it’s super-tight.

Step #6: Repeat the process for the other side of the headboard/bed frame, so you’ll have at least two screws keeping the headboard in place before you proceed.

Step #7: If your headboard has a flat top edge, use a carpenter’s lever to see if it’s evenly placed.

Step #8: Once you’ve checked to see if the headboard is in place, use a wrench to tighten all the bolts. Step #9: If the bolts on the outside of the headboard stick out too much, cover them to avoid scratching your wall.

How To Attach A Hook-On Headboard

If a bolt-on headboard is characterized by holes drilled into its legs, a hook-on headboard has slits for attaching the hooks.

Steps #1 & #2 are identical to the ones for attaching a bolt-on headboard.

Step #3: Ask someone to help you by holding the headboard against the bed frame, while making sure that the hooks in the brackets are aligned to the slots in the legs.

Step #4: Pick a side of the bed and slide the hook’s end into the designated slot in the leg.

Step #5: Repeat the process for the other side of the bed.

Step #6: Once all the hooks have been connected, apply pressure on the bed frame by pressing it down until the brackets are locked into place.

How To Attach A Headboard On The Wall

Attaching a headboard directly on the wall is a common hotel practice that a lot of homeowners have adopted over the past years. The benefit of choosing to mount a headboard directly onto the wall is that it saves you the trouble of having to take it apart if you switch to a new bed frame.

Unlike mounting the headboard directly onto the bed frame, which required only the tools included in the package plus a wrench, for this process you will need a basic stud finder, which should be available at your local hardware store (alternatively, you can purchase one online). You will also need at least four sets of flush mounts, that you can find here.

Zircon StudSensor

Flush Moun

Step #1: The first step is to determine the purpose of putting a headboard on the wall in the first place. Is it purely for decoration purposes? Do you intend to use it as a head or a back rest? The answers to these questions will determine the mounting height.

Step #2: If you want to use the board as a headrest, then place it at the height of your head as you sit in position, leaned against the wall.

Step #3: For this next step, you will have to pull out your stud finder. There are typically 16 inches in between wall studs, so finding them is an important part of planning your headboard mounting. To continue, find the stud with the greatest distance in between them.

Step #4: Depending on the size of your headboard, you will need at least four sets of flush mounts to attach the headboard to the wall. The bottom flush mount should be the first one attached to the wall. Drill it all the way through the wall, onto one of the selected wall studs.

Step #5: Align the headboard to the wall and, by using a pencil, mark the spots where all the other flush mount hangers should be drilled.

Step #6: It’s time to drill pilot holes into your previous markings.

Step #7: The flush mounts need to be attached to the headboard, facing either down or in the opposite direction of the wall mounts.

Step #8: Interlock the flush mounts from the headboard and the wall by sliding them down onto one another.

What Else Is There?

Of course, there are other alternatives to having a headboard and some of them are really ingenious. Here are a couple of ideas of what to choose aside from the traditional option:

  • How about adding a large canvas to complement your bedroom decor? Or it could be a collage of family pictures or whatever else you fancy looking at when getting in bed.
  • A lot of people opt for a regular piece of plywood instead of a traditional headboard. This gives the bedroom a more minimalistic look.
  • Wall stickers are now trending, so why not opt for something that really makes your bedroom stand out?
  • For people who enjoy a more rustic look, there’s always the alternative of placing pallets at the head of their bed. To take this one step further, you can decorate the pallets with monochromatic Christmas lights.
  • Tapestry will never run out of fashion, especially if you choose to decorate a single wall with it.
  • Instead of picking a dull old headboard, how about an entire chalkboard wall? This way, you can use your imagination and draw something new at the head of your bed each time you feel like it. Including… a headboard. Just make sure you don’t wipe the drawings with your pillows and get them all dirty.
  • Shelves at the head of the bed? Now that’s a lovely idea! First of all, it gives you enough space to place all your favorite decorations right next to you. Second, it opens up a world of possibilities as far as decorations are concerned (you can add potted plants, family pictures, books, trinkets, toys, whatever you like). Just make sure the shelves are fixed in place and nothing can wobble and smack you in the head.
  • Since this section is all about letting your imagination run wild, how about adding rugs on the wall, instead of a headboard?
  • If you have a really small bedroom, consider adding a mirror to replace a headboard. Mirrors always provide the sense of extra space, but you need to be really careful with breaking it and getting yourself hurt.
  • One idea we came across and really fancied is adding a stack of books at the head of the bed. This will add a lot of color to the bedroom, but if you like to move a lot during the night, there are chances you’ll knock the books over.
  • When everything else fails, you can always replace a traditional headboard with… other pieces of furniture. Choose a cabinet, a set of drawers, high nightstands or whatever else you see fit.


Attaching a headboard to a bed frame or directly onto a wall is fairly easy process, but you might need an extra set of hands to do it (besides, DIY stuff is so much fun when you’ve got help). If you’re planning to attach the headboard to a bed frame, you won’t really need much else other than what’s already in the package (perhaps a pair of pliers or a wrench, if these are not included). The entire process shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes. To attach a headboard directly to a wall, you’ll need some additional tools, but it’s not rocket science in the end. Alternatively, you can choose some of our other ideas for headboard replacements and turn your bedroom into a regular haven of ideas and DIY projects.