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Beds Without a Headboard That Still Make a Fabulous Focal Point

No headboard? No problem! These rooms prove beds can be just as beautiful without

Houzz Contributor. I’m a freelance journalist and editor writing for nationals, magazines… More

Going headboard-less leaves the bed as a mere sleeping platform, right? Well, no, it’s not necessarily so. Although employing a standout headboard is a great way to draw attention to the central feature of the room, it isn’t the only route to that result. Check out these ways to make a headboard-free zone a knockout.

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Change the focus
Rather than pattern and colour coming from an upholstered headboard, a display of artwork can fulfil the same role.

This collection has been hung with a bare minimum of space between the frames – which are all in the same style – to make the selection work as an impactful and cohesive whole.

To avoid head clashes, a grouping of art needs to be hung higher than you might plan it when it’s not above a bed.

Like the idea of changing the display frequently? Fix a picture shelf above the bed to show off your artworks instead.

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Favour a feature wall
With the backdrop of a dramatic wallpaper – Cole & Son’s eminently recognisable Woods design – a headboard is definitely not required to draw the eye in this room, and going without maximises the view of the spectacular graphic.

Of course, the bed here definitely is a sleeping platform, but its oversized upholstered base makes its comfort overt, and it has contemporary credentials that mean it’s not simply a functional piece.

Get this no headboard platform bed look by using just the wall behind the bed for your feature paper and echoing its colours with paint for the remainder of the walls.

Discover some fabulously decorative wallpapers in the Houzz Shop

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Turn to black
This restful Scandinavian scheme proves a headboard isn’t compulsory for comfort or style.

Here, black has been used as an accent shade in the neutral room to give the bed the starring role and to define it – it features in a throw, pillows and the bedside lights.

Putting a bench – also in black – at the bottom of the bed is an idea worth noting as well – it gives the bed the solidity a footboard would provide.

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Prioritise pattern
Positioning the bed against a chimney breast wall with a blocked-in fireplace can sometimes be the most space-efficient way to arrange a bedroom, with the feature standing in for the headboard.

If that’s the case in your home, follow the designer of this room’s lead by piling up pillows and cushions against the wall during the daytime as an attractive headboard substitute. Let them spill over the edges to visually widen the bed, too.

Small spaces can also benefit from a gentle neutral colour scheme like this one that will promote a spacious feel. A dose of pattern, like the zigzag cushions and windowpane-print throws here, will ensure there’s no lack of decorative interest.

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Fake it
Here’s another alternative headboard idea for a bedroom that’s short on space, leaving it nonetheless strong on style. This decorative feature has been created by cutting patterned wallpaper into a headboard shape, giving the bed presence but allowing it to be pushed right up against the wall to maximise the floor area in the room.

Planning is everything with a DIY headboard like this one – from marking the centrepoint of your design and its overall width, to figuring out how many drops of your chosen paper you’ll need to create a continuous design (this one took three) and how you’ll cut the paper into your desired shape.

Seek out one or two of the many online guides before you get stuck in to avoid wasting precious wallpaper.

Create any shape you like. This design’s lines are the equal of the wallpaper’s ornate detail, but simpler curves or serpentines would work just as well.

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Divide and rule
In this master suite, a dividing wall between the sleeping and bathing zones takes the place normally occupied by the headboard.

Niche shelving above adds the display space that makes the partition a feature, and pendant lights frame the bed and provide a smart solution for the lack of bedside tables.

Bear in mind that you’ll still need space to sit up in bed if you’re copying this idea, so the first of the nooks needs to be positioned high enough to still allow you to lean back in comfort. Keen accessorisers should take a lesson from this room, too – space between the decorative objects avoids visual overload.

How to use light to showcase features in your home

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Work in wood
It’s not just wallpaper that’s a viable headboard alternative to draw the eye to the wall behind the bed. In this room, wood cladding creates a feature and, introduced into an all-white scheme, it’s a warming element.

If you’re using wood cladding like this, consider which way the boards run to play with the proportions of the space. Laid horizontally, they’ll make the space look wider; laid vertically, they’ll make it look taller.

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Stretch space
This bedroom may be diminutive and headboard-free, but it doesn’t lose out style-wise, with a vivid blue painted wall behind the bed instead. In fact, the colour is an effective distraction from the narrow space – imagine the wall in white, matching those alongside, to get a very different picture.

With no room for furniture alongside the bed, this room also uses the niche-above-the-bed tactic to add in display space. Painting the nook in white is a simple way to make the objects on display more attention-grabbing.

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Try tiles
Tiles are kitchen and bathroom staples, but this bedroom shows they make a good-looking addition to a bedroom scheme hung where a headboard would usually go.

The hexagonal designs have been used to make a feature that’s headboard height and width, but the irregular edge gives a more rustic appearance that’s complemented by the crate bedside table.

Plain white bedding lets the emphasis fall on the tile pattern, and raw wood and the industrial metal table lamp create a strong textural contrast to the soft linen.

Find tile suppliers across the UK on Houzz

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Paint wood
Headboards lead the eye upwards to make the bed a more substantial presence in a room, but a freestanding element behind the bed can do exactly the same job and make a scheme strongly individual.

In this shabby-chic home, the decorative grey panels behind the bed pick up the shades in the duvet cover and stand out against the white, wood-panelled walls.

If you have a bed with no headboard, scour reclamation yards and second-hand shops to achieve your own twist on the look, and sand back and repaint the wood to blend the new addition into your scheme. Shutters and old screens could work equally well.

Tell us…
Have you gone headboard-free? Do you have an alternative or a plain wall? Share your thoughts, ideas and photos in the Comments section.


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