City skyline painted as faux headboard

A headboard often makes a bedroom look complete, but sometimes, space or other factors won’t allow for a majestic headboard. You can create one with a little bit of paint and creativity. Not only can this create an illusion of a headboard, but it might also be that touch of colorful, outside-of-the-box “wow” your bedroom needs.

  • Step 1: Design Your Headboard

    Choose a design for your headboard. Read through interior design magazines or go online and peruse websites for headboard design ideas. Pay close attention to shapes. Try to match the shape and style to other furniture or design elements already in your room. For example, if you have ornately carved furniture in the room already, match your headboard to that style. Sketch the design out on paper if it helps you visualize it. Measure the height and width of your bed, determining what you want the headboard size and shape to be. It can be as simple as painting a rectangular headboard shape, or you can do something more complex and creative.

    Keep color in mind, when deciding on a headboard idea. Choose those that complement your room’s existing color scheme. Or if it’s time to refresh your walls, you can paint the room to match your new headboard idea.

  • Step 2: Prepare the Wall

    Easy Mask Tape and Drape

    Prepare the surface prior to painting. Before you do anything, wash the wall surface using a damp cloth, mild detergent and water. Note: Don’t use dishwashing liquid containing lanolin because it will leave a residue on the surface, decreasing paint adhesion. It’s a good idea to spot-prime if you're painting a lighter-colored headboard over a darker wall color. If your design idea requires many colors, priming may also give you better color results. Use True Value® EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer.

    Draw your desired shape on the wall behind your bed with a pencil. Use a ruler to keep your lines straight and to keep the dimensions consistent, and then mask the outline with painter’s tape. You can also employ a stencil if you have a more intricate design in mind and could use a guide to help you. You can find stencils at decorating and craft stores. If using a stencil, spray mounting adhesive onto the back and then align it with your guidelines. You can also use painter’s tape to secure the stencil.

    Helpful Tip

    Before painting, move the bed away from the wall so you have room to work and won’t splash paint on it; or cover it and anything else nearby with drop cloths.

  • Step 3: Apply Paint

    Apply EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint inside your headboard outline with a small roller or medium-sized brush, using a small paintbrush for edges and in detail work. Apply two coats.

    If you’re using a stencil to create your faux headboard, start from the outside and paint in toward the center of the design. Do not paint outward, as this could cause your brush to catch the edge and push paint underneath the stencil.

    Be careful about keeping the stencil's reverse side clean for neat results. Let each coat dry for a few hours before continuing.

  • Step 4: Install Molding Border (Optional)


    Install strips of molding around the perimeter (if you painted a rectangular-shaped headboard) to frame your painted headboard and make it appear more like a traditional headboard. Use a tape measure to measure the pieces of molding to fit the dimensions of your headboard and miter-cut the ends so they meet to form a corner with the adjoining pieces. Ensure each piece is straight by using a level. Then use wood glue to connect the pieces at each corner and then nail each piece to the wall at the joint with finishing nails. Add more nails to the molding at intervals, making sure you sink the nails below the surface. Cover the holes with wood putty. Paint the molding in the color of your choice.

  • Step 5: Clean Up

    Scotch blue Painters Tape

    Seal up your paint cans and dispose of used paint appropriately. Clean paint brushes and other tools with warm, soapy water. Store brushes and roller covers in their protective sleeves or hang them on nails or hooks. Pick up drop cloths carefully, being careful not to spread around any paint that may have gotten on them. Remove all painter's tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid stripping any of the fresh paint. Remember, the longer painter’s tape stays on, the harder it is to remove.

    Great job! Now you have a fantastic-looking, DIY painted headboard to complement your bedroom décor.

Project Shopping List

Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.