West Elm Emmett Headboard tout
Credit: westelm.com

The 10 Best Headboards to Spruce Up Your Bed

We like Pottery Barn's Elliot Square Upholstered Headboard for its classic silhouette and various upholstery options.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The bed is the main attraction of any bedroom. While many beds come with a headboard attached, others are simple platforms, which means you need to purchase a headboard separately.

"Headboards make the bed," says interior designer Isabel Ladd. "They define the bed, give importance to a space, and add interest to a wall."

To find the best headboards, we thoroughly researched the market and analyzed aesthetic factors like style and material, as well as practical details like assembly and adjustability. We also asked Ladd to share her best tips for selecting a headboard for your bedroom.

Our top pick is Pottery Barn's Elliot Square Upholstered Headboard because it has a classic silhouette and comes in 33 different upholstery options to fit any bedroom's style. We appreciate its versatile design, which still has thick padding for extra comfort while lounging in bed.

Here are the best headboards.

Our Top Picks

Pottery Barn Elliott Square Upholstered Headboard
Credit: potterybarn.com

Best Overall Headboard: Pottery Barn Elliott Square Upholstered Headboard

View at Pottery Barn (From $399 for queen)

Who it's for: People who want a clean-lined classic headboard.

Who it isn't for: People who need a headboard ASAP.

If you're looking for a classic headboard that adds just a touch of visual intrigue to your bedroom, this upholstered option from Pottery Barn is it. The headboard has a low-profile rectangular shape that can fit practically any design style, whether more traditional or more contemporary. Its versatility continues with its upholstery: There are 33 different fabric options, ranging in material from boucle to chenille and in neutral colors from charcoal to oatmeal. All sizes and colors of this headboard are made-to-order, so it won't be available to ship immediately unless there are Quick Ship options available in your area. The headboard itself is made from kiln-dried hardwood, but it's thickly padded for extra comfort—it's great for leaning against while watching TV or reading a book.

Keep in mind that this headboard is not adjustable, so you'll need to make sure it's the right height to attach to your bed frame—the pre-drilled holes for connecting to a bed frame sit at 4.25 inches above the floor. That said, the headboard is designed to work with the brand's Metal Bed Frame, and it works with adjustable mattress bases, too. For a fee, Pottery Barn offers White Glove Delivery, which includes the assembly of this headboard, as well as the removal of packing material. 

Product Details:

  • Material: Polyester, boucle, velvet, chenille
  • Assembly Required: Yes
  • Adjustable: No
  • Sizes: Full, queen, king, California king
Tbfit Upholstered Wall-Mounted Headboard
Credit: amazon.com

Best Budget Headboard: Tbfit Upholstered Wall-Mounted Headboard

View at Amazon (From $55)

Who it's for: People who don't want to deal with the assembly of a headboard.

Who it isn't for: People who want a traditional headboard with legs that connect to a bed frame.

Most headboards are pretty heavy and bulky, which makes assembly (not to mention moving) a bit of a burden. For a budget-friendly shortcut, try these upholstered panels, which can simply be stuck onto a wall to create a faux headboard. The panels are made from 1.4-inch-thick high-density foam, and they can be arranged either vertically or horizontally to create different patterns. We love the channel tufting look when they're lined up vertically.

The panels are upholstered in linen that comes in three colors: light gray, charcoal gray, and beige. They're sold in packs of four, six, nine, and 12, so you can purchase the right quantity for your headboard. Each panel is approximately 24 x 10 inches, so you'll need to do a bit of math to get the quantity right for your space. (For reference, a set of nine panels should accommodate a queen-size bed when placed horizontally.)

The adhesive that comes with the panels is extra strong, which is great for installation but could pose a problem for removal—there's a chance it could rip the paint off your walls. One hack to work around this is to use Command strips instead of the included adhesive, which should be gentler on your walls.

Product Details:

  • Material: Linen
  • Assembly Required: Yes, must be stuck on the wall
  • Adjustable: N/A
  • Sizes: DIY to fit your bed

RELATED: We Spent 3 Months Testing Linen Sheets—Here Are the 10 Best Sets We Found

Bayou Breeze Deloris Wicker/Rattan Open-Frame Headboard
Credit: wayfair.com

Best Rattan Headboard: Bayou Breeze Deloris Open-Frame Headboard

View at Wayfair ($785 for queen)

Who it's for: People who typically go for a boho or beachy style.

Who it isn't for: People who want a headboard that stands on its own.

Nothing exudes coastal elegance more than rattan furniture. Whether you're decorating a beach house or simply looking to add a little boho style to a bedroom, a rattan headboard might be the best option for you. We love this pick for its sculptural design that can easily become the focal point of a room. We also appreciate that it comes in four colors—white, mint, black, and natural—in all five major bed sizes.

Best of all, there's no assembly required for the headboard itself. It does, however, need to be mounted to the wall, as there are no brackets to attach it to a bed frame. That's why it works with pretty much every type of bed frame, including adjustable beds. While the headboard itself isn't adjustable, its design would allow a bed frame and mattress to sit as low as 13 inches, though it's best optimized for bed frames and mattresses that are about a foot higher. This kind of flexibility is ideal for a headboard that doesn't have height-adjustable brackets, as you don't need to worry too much if it'll perfectly suit your bed.

Product Details:

  • Material: Wicker/rattan
  • Assembly Required: No, but must be wall-mounted
  • Adjustable: No
  • Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king, California king
Ikea Brimnes Headboard With Storage Compartment
Credit: ikea.com

Best Storage Headboard: Ikea Brimnes Headboard With Storage Compartment

View at Ikea ($150 for queen)

Who it's for: People who don't have space for a nightstand in their bedroom.

Who it isn't for: People who aren't willing to anchor their headboard to the wall.

If you live in a small space, you're probably always on the lookout for more opportunities to maximize storage. We love that this headboard has adjustable shelving space on each side, which is perfect for things like a glass of water, a wireless charging pad for your phone, or a stack of books that you're currently working through. You can even place items along the top of this headboard, such as a reading lamp or artwork. Not only does the headboard provide ample storage space, but it also eliminates the need for a nightstand, which saves even more valuable real estate in your bedroom.

The Ikea Brimnes headboard comes in three sizes and two colors. It's only available in black and white, but as with many Ikea products, you can always paint it yourself if you're craving a pop of color. Just note that this headboard is quite deep—11 inches to be exact—so make sure you account for that additional bed length when laying out your room. Also, the headboard must be wall-mounted, as it doesn't stand on its own or have brackets to attach to a metal bed frame. It works with most bed frames, but you can get even more hidden storage space by using it with the matching Ikea Brimnes bed frame.

Product Details:

  • Material: Fiberboard, particleboard
  • Assembly Required: Yes
  • Adjustable: No
  • Sizes: Full, queen, king

RELATED: The 25 Best Storage Furniture Pieces for Every Part of Your Home

The Inside Classic Wingback Headboard
Credit: theinside.com

Best Upholstered Headboard: The Inside Classic Wingback Headboard

View at The Inside (From $955 for queen)

Who it's for: People who want a wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from.

Who it isn't for: People with California king beds.

This headboard is all about versatility in color and pattern—in fact, that's what The Inside's products are best known for. Each product can be upholstered (by hand, we might add) in more than 100 different fabrics, which range from neutral solids to bold patterns. The Inside has even partnered with design houses and artists on special prints, such as CW Stockwell's iconic Martinique print and Sheila Bridges' Harlem Toile De Jouy line. You can even buy pillows that match your headboard.

What we love about this wingback headboard is that its simple form—a slightly arched shape with wings—lets the upholstery speak for itself. But if you pick a simple pattern or a solid, the headboard still has an elegant shape on its own. Plus, the upholstery continues down the legs of the headboard, which makes the whole look feel more complete. The headboard requires some assembly (attaching the wings, for instance), and it screws into a bed frame via brackets, which have adjustable heights. It's also compatible with adjustable bases.

Product Details:

  • Material: Polyester velvet, cotton, polyester linen, boucle
  • Assembly Required: Yes
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
West Elm Emmett Headboard
Credit: westelm.com

Best Tufted Headboard: West Elm Emmett Headboard

View at West Elm (From $475 for queen)

Who it's for: People who want options when it comes to material, color, and even tufting style.

Who it isn't for: People who want a splashy headboard.

It's not often you get to pick the tufting style when you buy a headboard, but that's exactly the chance you have here with West Elm's Emmett Headboard. It's available in five different tufting styles—vertical, horizontal, grid, border, and diamond—as well as a non-tufted version that's just regular upholstery. What's more, nearly every other aspect of the headboard is customizable, too. For instance, there are tons of different fabrics, from mauve velvet to frost gray chenille tweed. You can also choose between two heights for the headboard, either standard (46 inches) or tall (58 inches).

Unlike most headboards, this one doesn't have two long legs. Instead, it extends nearly all the way to the ground, with just two small feet supporting the structure. It still, however, mounts to bed frames. Rather than unwieldy brackets, it has straightforward mounting holes, which are set at five fixed heights: 13.25 inches, 10.75 inches, 8.25 inches, 6.75 inches, and 5.75 inches. While those heights should cover most bed frames, you should still double-check to make sure you'll be able to attach this headboard to the frame you own.

Product Details:

  • Material: Polyester, velvet, linen, chenille, twill, boucle
  • Assembly Required: Yes
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king, California king

RELATED: The 10 Best Pillows for Every Type of Sleeper, According to Our Tests

Inspire Q Giselle Antique Graceful Victorian Metal Headboard
Credit: overstock.com

Best Metal Headboard: Inspire Q Giselle Metal Headboard

View at Overstock (From $350 for queen)

Who it's for: People who love vintage-style home decor.

Who it isn't for: People with an adjustable bed.

This headboard takes its design inspiration from the Victorian era, but your room doesn't need to be Victorian-style to make this headboard work. This pick would also look great in a slightly industrial farmhouse-style bedroom. The headboard comes in three different finishes—dark bronze, antique white, and dark gray—which make it more versatile in terms of style.

It's important to note that this headboard doesn't come with brackets to connect to a bed frame, though it does have screw holes in its legs. It's primarily designed to be used with the brand's own bed frame, but you can still use this headboard with other metal bed frames—you'll just need to buy a headboard adapter kit separately. On the plus side, that makes this headboard adjustable. But unfortunately, the manufacturer does not advise using this headboard with an adjustable bed.

Product Details:

  • Material: Metal
  • Assembly Required: Yes
  • Adjustable: No, unless used with a headboard adapter
  • Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
The Citizenry Hanging Leather Headboard
Credit: the-citizenry.com

Best Leather Headboard: The Citizenry Hanging Leather Headboard

View at The Citizenry ($695 for full/queen)

Who it's for: People who prefer artisan-made home decor.

Who it isn't for: People who rent and would rather not drill holes in their walls.

If you're looking for an artisanal headboard, here's your pick. This headboard is handcrafted in Portugal by the Alcanena Leather Workshop, which is owned by a family who has worked in the industry for seven generations. Made from ethically-sourced cow leather, the caramel-colored headboard is designed to hang from the wall above your bed, making it a great space saver (you don't have to worry about the extra length added to your bed by a traditional headboard). The extra-soft leather covers a foam pad, which makes it comfortable enough to lean against.

Attaching the headboard to the wall is a simple process. Two circular straps hold the headboard in place, each of which has two grommet holes, through which you drill screws into the wall. Take care to measure precisely before drilling the screws—we recommend using a level to make sure everything is even. While you can hang the headboard at any height, the manufacturer suggests leaving a three-inch gap between the headboard and the top of your mattress.

Product Details:

  • Material: Leather
  • Assembly Required: No, but needs to be hung from the wall
  • Adjustable: N/A
  • Sizes: Full/queen, king/California king

RELATED: The 9 Best Beds for a Perfect Night's Sleep

Opalhouse Velvet Channel Headboard
Credit: target.com

Best Velvet Headboard: Opalhouse Velvet Channel Headboard

View at Target ($630 for queen)

Who it's for: People looking for a luxe headboard.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want a high-maintenance headboard.

Velvet is an opulent choice for a headboard—and a very popular one at that. The sumptuous fabric creates a richness not found with most other types of textiles, and that extends to any furniture upholstered with it. This headboard features a deep channel tufting that creates a pillow-like effect, which can be made even more dramatic by selecting one of the rich jewel tones it comes in. There are also neutral colors available for people who prefer a softer look. (Pro tip: You can order a free swatch from the manufacturer to determine whether or not the color works for you before buying the whole headboard.)

The velvet headboard is adjustable in terms of the brackets that connect it to your bed frame, and it works with most (but not all) adjustable beds. The overall height of the headboard is adjustable too, ranging from 51 inches to 54 inches. The only downside is that the velvet material tends to collect dust easily, so you'll need to vacuum your headboard often to keep it clean.

Product Details:

  • Material: Polyester velvet
  • Assembly Required: Yes
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king, California king
Gracie Oaks Savla Panel Headboard
Credit: wayfair.com

Best Wood Headboard: Gracie Oaks Savla Panel Headboard

View at Wayfair ($293 for queen)

Who it's for: People searching for a modern wood headboard.

Who it isn't for: People who are looking for a very rustic wood style.

You might think wooden headboards are only for rustic design styles, but that's most certainly not the case. Just take a look at this headboard from Gracie Oaks as an example. Though the wood does lend a touch of rusticity, the geometric design is more midcentury modern. The headboard comes in three neutral colors and is made out of strong rubberwood coated with an MDF veneer, which adds to the product's durability. 

Though there's quite a bit of assembly required for this headboard, its bracket system can be adjusted to connect to bed frames of all heights. It's also compatible with adjustable beds. Plus, maintenance is a bit easier with this headboard than with upholstered ones—you can simply wipe it down with a damp cloth rather than break out the vacuum cleaner to remove dust.

Product Details:

  • Material: Manufactured wood
  • Assembly Required: Yes
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Elliot Square Upholstered Headboard by Pottery Barn. We love its simple design that works with a variety of decor styles, as well as its vast selection of upholstery options across colors and materials. But if you need something more affordable, we recommend the Tbfit Upholstered Wall-Mounted Headboard from Amazon. Made with linen upholstery, these individual panels can be mounted directly to the wall in the way that best fits your space.

How to Shop for Headboards Like a Pro

Material

Headboards can be made out of pretty much any material under the sun, but some of the most common options include soft textiles, leather, wood, metal, and rattan. "I prefer fabric headboards to give you the opportunity to add drama with patterns and color," says Ladd, who notes that many other materials like wood and metal don't always allow you to get as creative. 

Upholstered headboards are also ideal for leaning against while sitting up in bed since they provide more cushion than other options. But if you're someone looking for a classic style—and you don't mind leaning up against a hard, uneven surface—a wood or metal headboard would be just fine.

Shape

Many headboards have a rectangular shape that mimics the bed and mattress, but you can get creative with more sculptural designs, too. "Choose a shape that evokes the mood you are trying to create," says Ladd. "Curves for a feminine look, straight and sharp for a utilitarian or masculine look, dramatic arch for a boho mood, or simple and squared off if you want to steal the show with a vibrant pattern that would best stand out against a simple shape."

Assembly

Pay attention to the manufacturer's directions for assembly. Some headboards come in a single piece, but most require a bit of assembly, especially when it comes to attaching the headboard to your bed frame. Many furniture companies also offer white-glove delivery services that include assembly for a fee—if you're looking to save time and aggravation, it may be worth the splurge.

Adjustability

For headboards that attach to a bed frame via brackets, you might want to look into ones that are adjustable. Bed frames come in different heights, so a headboard's fixed-height brackets might not align perfectly with the rest of your bed. But some headboards have adjustable brackets so you can tweak the height to match your bed frame. That's why it's important to look for adjustable options if you aren't going to measure the height of your bed frame before buying a headboard. 

Questions You Might Ask

Is a headboard necessary?

From a practical standpoint, no. Headboards are not necessary for the function of a bed—you can still get a good night's sleep without one. That said, bedrooms may look somewhat unfinished without a headboard, so many designers consider it a necessity. Plus, headboards provide "an opportunity to showcase your personal style," according to Ladd. "So many other rooms in a home may reflect several home dwellers, but a headboard and bedroom could be a direct reflection of the one or two occupants in that space," she says. 

Do you have to attach your headboard to your bed?

Most headboards must be attached to your bed frame to stand upright. But there are some alternative options on the market, such as hanging headboards, peel-and-stick headboards, and standalone headboards.

How do you clean a headboard?

Cleaning instructions can vary based on the material that your headboard is made of. For example, upholstered headboards might need to be vacuumed down, whereas wood and metal headboards might need to be wiped down with a damp cloth. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning a headboard before using any cleaning products. 

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Stefanie Waldek, a contributing writer for Real Simple with seven years of experience writing about home and three years of experience reviewing products. To come up with these recommendations, Stefanie spent hours researching headboards and ultimately narrowed down the list based on style, price, and assembly. She also tapped interior designer Isabel Ladd for expert input.