The bedroom is the ultimate sanctuary for retreat and the headboard is usually front and center to make the style statement. But a traditional headboard doesn’t have to define your space. It’s about creating a balanced focal point near your bed. There are lots of ways to accomplish that.

Why spend $1,200 on an upholstered headboard when you can DIY instead of buy? We’ve come up with 25 creative ideas for decorating a bedroom sans headboard.

1. Glue together various size birch slices for an earthy look.

headboard birch slicesPhoto: coffeepaintrepeat/Instagram

Bring your bedroom down to earth with natural materials, right there where your headboard would normally be. Take birch slices (or any other suitable wood) and affix them to a board, hung over your bed. Cozy, earthy and easy.

2. Reclaimed wood wall art will do the trick.

headboard art piecePhoto: eleventyonestudio/Instagram

It’s all about drawing your eye to a strategic spot to serve the décor function of the headboard, and the geometric shapes of this reclaimed wood art do just the trick. Get creative with contrasts, colors and shapes to be most eye-catching.

Browse EleventyOneStudio’s Etsy shop for similar products.

3. Or go with plywood for a minimalist aesthetic.

headboard plywoodPhoto: juthamat_by_jem/Instagram

If you are short on time, or simply favor a clean, minimalist aesthetic, a clean, smooth sheet of plywood will do the job. Simply tuck it in place behind your bed. Since you are scaling back on your headboard area, opt for bold and colorful bedding to add spice to your space.

4. Upcycled shutters look good too.

headboard shuttersPhoto: whimsygirldesign/Instagram

The beauty of the headboard is that it is the perfect spot to upcycle just about anything that is the right size and shape- like the shutters pictured here. Before you throw anything away, use your creative vision and see if there is potential.

5. Start a new chapter with a DIY book headboard.

book headboardPhoto: zombie_polaroids/Instagram

Bibliophiles will have sweet dreams beneath this page-turning headboard. For extra detail in your décor, open pages to passages that are meaningful to you- and will make you feel happy and reflective each night when you head for bed.

6. An oversized piece of art is creatively cool. 

oversized art headboardPhoto: red.rawdesign/Instagram

Art doesn’t necessarily have to be hung on the wall to pack a creative punch. The color and movement in this oversize piece make a bold statement, perfectly balanced by the bed below.

7. Weathered doors look especially pretty.

upcycled doorsPhoto: dreamywhiteslifestyle/Instagram

Again, upcycling opens the door to immense possibility, as these doors do. These weathered doors aren’t just the right size and shape, they are the perfect texture and color to add softness to this sweetly romantic bedroom.

8. A washi tape design takes about $3 and ten minutes of your time.

washi tape headboardPhoto: clematc/Instagram

Quick, easy and inexpensive, taping out your headboard space is a great alternative. And if you get tired of one design, it is equally as quick and easy to swap it out for a new one.

9. Send the right message with a light box headboard.

lightbox headboardPhoto: bxxlght/Instagram

Bright lights big city for this headboard. Who wouldn’t love a marquee promoting tonight’s features, teasing what’s in store in dreamland.

10. A pull-down classroom map is old school cool.

vintage map headboardPhoto: colincabalka/Instagram

Travel the world in your dreams with this map hung over your bed as a headboard. Installed on a scroll, you can pull it up if you feel like a change of scenery. Literally.

11. Upcycled windows have shabby chic appeal.

headboard windowsPhoto: dominomag/Instagram

Arched windows are an elegant choice for a headboard, and the rustic wear on these windowpanes amplify the shabby chic vibe.

12. A pallet headboard is simple yet stylish.

pallet headboardPhoto: andrajos/Instagram

Pallets are versatile, cheap and easy to re-purpose, so they make a great choice for a headboard. Breaking down the pallets can be a chore, but sanding them and painting them (if you like) lets you flex your creative muscle.

13. Seek out good vibes with a tapestry.

tapestry headboardPhoto: uoupstate/Instagram

A flowy wall tapestry will add wide-scale texture and pattern to your behind-the-bed wall space. Make sure to measure your wall space before choosing, and experiment with different colors and styles to find one that really suits your look.

14. Personalize your bedroom with a chalkboard headboard.

chalkboard headboardPhoto: mrswillis050611/Instagram

A chalkboard wall behind your bed lets you change your design on a whim. And if you are someone who gets inspired while they are dreaming, you will have a writing surface ready to go when you wake up.

15. A mirror will make your room appear larger.

mirror headboardPhoto: bsmithdesign/Instagram

Mirrors are a décor element that embrace and distribute natural light and go far to make a smaller room seem larger. An oversize mirror with a big frame will sit nicely behind your bed and open up your entire room visually.

16. Create the perfect #shelfie behind your bed.

shelf headboard-compressedPhoto: Pinterest

You can never have too much shelving, and you can display all your treasures just above your bed in lieu of a headboard. This would be a good spot to store books- or even snacks if you are prone to midnight noshing.

17. Channel the 70s with a macramé wall hanging.

macrame headboardPhoto: retrodentulsa/Instagram

Dreaming of days gone by? Get groovy with 1970s macramé, hung just so over your bed.  You can either fashion one yourself, or buy one ready-made. Be mindful of the length. You don’t want beads and swag tickling you while you are sleeping.

18. Rugs aren’t just for floors.

rug headboardPhoto: theaceofspaceblog/Instagram

They say the floor is your fifth wall and that rugs are artwork. You can use that philosophy here by incorporating rugs on your vertical walls, right over your bed. Choose from a wide variety of textures, colors and fabrics to make your bed area pop.

19. Install a pegboard to hang all the things!

pegboard headboardPhoto: designsponge/Instagram

Having a pegboard as a headboard gives you an opportunity to collage multiple pieces of artwork in different mediums for a truly unique look. And there is also a chance to do double duty here for more storage.

20. On a budget? Paint a headboard onto the wall.

painted headboardPhoto: wannemacherinteriors/Instagram

There is always the option to paint in a headboard, which is probably the cheapest of all. Tape out lines in the desired shape of your headboard and use a contrasting color to create the “frame”. Place something of visual interest in the center of the headboard painting to draw and catch the eye, like this artwork.

21. Cover a portion of your wall in Stikwood.

stikwood headboardPhoto: that_girl80/Instagram

What could be easier than peel-and-stick wood planks to create a headboard? Not only do you have a stylish headboard here on a portion of the wall, but you can use your newfound expertise to create an accent wall that will define your décor.

22. A fireplace mantle looks whimsical when paired with prints.

mantle headboardPhoto: afancifultwist/Instagram

That old fireplace mantel that was destined for the landfill gets a whole new job when it becomes your headboard. This mantel is fun and easy breezy, and as a bonus, it serves as a shelf just over your bed, which is super handy if you don’t have a bedside table within reach.

23. Affix cushions to the wall for a relaxed vibe.

cushions headboardPhoto: hellofixmyroom/Instagram

Seat cushions are the right size and the right material to closely mimic a traditional headboard. Add visual interest by creating an interesting rail to hang on, like here colored webbing.

24. Obscure objects add intrigue.

objects headboardPhoto: mollyruthtompkins/Instagram

You can use anything here. Literally. Think symmetry in color, composition and material and remember headboards are typically centered behind the bed, when you are creating your curated headboard collective.

25. And finally, when in doubt, just add twinkle lights.

twinkle light headboardPhoto: the_interiors_magpie/Instagram

Is there anything that twinkle lights can’t do? Create a starry night just above your bed for guaranteed sweet dreams.

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