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Creative headboard ideas to jazz up a bedroom

From the Resene decorating blog

When decorating a bedroom, personalising it with paint on your furniture and walls is the go-to way of stamping your style. Then come the soft furnishings for added colour, such as curtains and bedlinen. You may even want an occasional chair for a decorative touch.

But there's one more way you can make a statement on the style front in your bedroom. A key method to harness character is with a headboard. Painted neutral, bold or patterned, a headboard can transform an ordinary bedroom into something uplifting and dramatic – why not slumber in style?

A spicy terracotta headboard

The spicy warmth of this terracotta headboard makes a colourful escape against the stony grey walls in this bedroom. Coupled with repeated curves, the result is harmony and visual ease.

Walls painted in Resene Eighth Tana, timber floor finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, headboard in Resene Prairie Sand, round drum side tables in Resene Tana, bowl in Resene Lemon Grass and vase in Resene Prairie Sand. Duvet cover, pillowcases, sheets, cushions, throws and clock from Citta. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A regal blue bedroom with a headboard made of simple classic lines

A peaceful palette of regal blue with the simple, classical lines of this headboard in a powdery neutral brings tranquillity to this bedroom. Furnishings and décor in the same pale colourway reflect this serene mood.

Wall painted in Resene Atomic with painted design in Resene Half Concrete, grooved floor and bedside table in Resene Half Concrete, breakfast tray in Resene Atomic, lidded containers in Resene Half Concrete (tall) and Resene Loblolly (low) and rounded vase in Resene Gecko. Bedding from Ezibuy, rug, table lamp, teacup and sugar cellar from H&M Home, linen slippers from MUJI. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Wendy Fenwick.

The beauty of a headboard is that it accentuates the colour scheme of your bedroom. It anchors the space, bringing another dimension to the décor, whether you have a pale headboard against dark walls or a bold headboard against light-coloured walls.

The key to a headboard's role is what it does spatially to a room. It provides a focal point, drawing the eye in. If you can place your headboard in a symmetric place to the rest of the room, it brings a sense of order and harmony, giving the room a sense of ease – just what you want in a bedroom, right? This helps if there is no structural character or architectural elements.

When making your headboard choose a shape to suit the room's look. A romantic, soft interior invites a design with curved edges, drawing on a feminine look. This would also suit a room where fluid forms define the furniture. A more traditional-style bedroom might have plenty of straight lines and square shapes, which can be repeated in the headboard.

Pivotal to a successful headboard colour is a shade echoed throughout the room. This may exist in lighter or darker tones of your primary colour. Use the same hue of your headboard on other elements in your room, such as your mirror frame, light shade or decorative bowls.

A light shade on a headboard will beautifully complement a wall in a dark colour, bringing a stunning contrast. Use the gentle grey-blue of Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue on a headboard against walls in dark yet soothing Resene Smoky Green. Go for a headboard in dark tones of Resene Blue Night against walls in Resene Halcyon, with its seafoam hue. Be inspired by the natural world and go for the restful green of Resene Ottoman Eagle against walls in the olive of Resene Waiouru. A milky neutral on a headboard brings a freshness to a room, even against a pale pastel such as Resene Dust Storm, which brings warmth and interest without dominating a room.

A colourful headboard design

The beauty of a headboard is the opportunity to play around with colours your love. Choose one hero Resene colour you’ve always adored and accompany it with three or four other hues that let it shine and make the room full of interest. One might be a bold hue, another cool and another earthy to ground them all.

Wall painted in Resene Triple Merino, floor in Resene Merino, headboard in (from left to right) Resene Tide, Resene Tussock, Resene Nepal, Resene Americano and Resene Smooth Operator, vases in Resene Blank Canvas (small round flat), Resene Tussock (larger round flat) and Resene Nepal (large arch) and bedside tables in Resene Nepal (large) and Resene Tide (small). Duvet cover, bedspread used as throw, cotton cushion and pillowcases from Citta, blue cushion from Adairs. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Melanie Jenkins.

A patterned headboard with sky blue vertical lines

Textural finishes and sculptural shapes lend a cosy feel, whether they’re in the lines of your patterned headboard or your furniture. This headboard is in a calming sky blue and its vertical lines are repeated in the stripes on the wall behind. Nothing’s too perfect, comfort never looked so good.

Back wall painted in Resene Mystic with stripes in Resene Relax, tongue-and-groove panelled wall in Resene Surf Crest with trims in Resene Astronaut, floor in Resene Mystic with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Dusted Grey, headboard in Resene Relax with uprights in Resene Quarter Iron, bedside table in Karen Walker Chalk Colour in Resene Dusted Grey, small blue vase in Resene Astronaut, chair in Resene Surf Crest and lamp base in Resene Astronaut with hand-painted shade details in Resene Zephyr. Bedspread from H&M Home, navy and white stripe pillowcase from Thread, green pattern cushion and round rust cushion from Collect Living, white pillowcases and navy cushion from Places & Graces, artwork by Bioattic from Endemic World, David Bust from Ornament, green bowl and wooden stool from Tony Sly, dice from French Country Collections. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Reverse this and bring in dark bold tones on your headboard against lighter walls, such as a headboard in rich red of Resene Cab Sav against walls in Resene Quarter Villa White, or Resene Permanent Green against walls in the pale tones of Resene Norway. For a soft look, pair a headboard in the gentle grey-green of Resene Pewter against walls in Resene Duck Egg Blue. Bask in the pretty hues of something sweeter, using Resene Eighth Canterbury Clay on your headboard with Resene Eighth Joss on the floor. If you feel your bedroom is too visually cool, inject a warm colour in your headboard to give it a lift with pink or brown undertones. Orange always invites, with an energising atmosphere by day and a soothing feel by night.

The most basic way of designing your headboard is by brainstorming the shape you want. Then draw it on the plywood or MDF you wish to use.

Measure the width of your bed to ensure it is of the right width and height. It can look better if the headboard extends approximately 5cm from each side of the bed. You don't want it to be too high, aim for about 1.2-1.6m. If you can't cut it yourself, a builder or your timber supplier can do it for you.

Once your material is cut, apply sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or splinters. Then apply your chosen paint colour, waiting for it to dry before coating it with another. Once you have completed painting and it's all dry, using a drill and screws, secure your headboard against a wall.

If you are cutting a patterned design, ensure the patterns are evenly spaced and of the same dimensions. Three is the magic number here, whether you're repeating a curve three times or overlapping three circles of different colours.

Your room might be defined by classical lines, in which case, echo these in the shape of your headboard.

With such a small space as a headboard, it's the ideal chance to play around with more than one colour. Select a group that work together, combining to enhance the room and surrounding walls.

Of course, if you have space, build storage shelves around and above your headboard and bed combined, framing them. Then paint it a complementary shade to the headboard and wall itself.

And if you aren't inclined to craft your own headboard out of wood, paint your shape directly onto the wall. The beauty of this is that you can get creative with block shapes, patterns or simple lines.

Or paint the entire wall, from floor to ceiling in a chosen colour, keeping it the same width as your bed.

Complementary finishes are important too. Think about your bedroom lighting when choosing your headboard style, ensuring it matches any sconce lighting, table lamps, or bedside tables. Consider your bedding too, opting for a high thread-count for a hotel feel in colours that visually celebrate your painted headboard.

Whatever the shape of your design – patterned, rectangular or curved, your headboard will provide an eye-catching statement and personality from the moment you wake up.

Resene Halcyon

December 25, 2021

For more ideas and inspiration for your bedroom decorating, see the habitat plus – bedrooms book, free to view online or pick up a free copy at your Resene ColorShop.

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