Evolution of a Bed: Headboard & Pillows

Meet our bed.

bedroom makeover2

Meet our bed one month ago. And while you’re meeting it, don’t pretend you aren’t wondering when we moved into a college dorm room.


Seriously, all that’s missing is a shower basket and the lingering scent of the dining hall and a poster of a kitten in a teacup.

college dorm room

In true college-budget fashion, we built the headboard for under $50. The velvet fabric was $8 for two yards on clearance at Joann’s, the wood is really crappy 3/4” plywood that was around $18 a sheet, the batting was on sale, $8 for a giant roll at Joann’s, and the faux nailhead trim was also from Joann’s: 5 yards regularly for $19.99, but only $12 with a 40% off coupon.

velvet nailhead trim headboard8

What’s that? You want a close-up of that sleeping kitten? Okay.


We didn’t follow a specific tutorial, but Kelly has a good one if you’re looking for a step-by-step upholstered headboard process. Overall, it was one of our easiest projects yet. Rick is somehow a professional at curved upholstery and so he upholstered the whole thing single-handedly in about the time it took me to get ready for church a couple of Sundays ago. Seriously, I went into the bathroom seeing plywood and came out seeing velvet. And the addition of the faux nailhead trim took us maybe 30 minutes max. It was seriously so easy to use.

easy and inexpensive nailhead trim

Enlisting a cat is not necessary.

how to upholster a headboard2

I measured one inch from the edge of the headboard, Rick held the trim in place, I held the nail in place with pliers, and Rick hammered it in. It would have been significantly more difficult if we hadn’t been helping each other and I had been, say, taking photos of cats while Rick was hard at work.


You can tell it isn’t the real deal from up close, but that’s okay with me.

velvet nailhead trim headboard5

The fabric for the accent pillow is Jaclyn Smith Clarinet Heritage, also from my BFF Joann. It is regularly $44.99 a yard, which is a bit steep for me, but the colors were perfect so who am I to say no? I got it for 60% off and only needed half a yard, so that plus the batting to stuff inside of it made the whole pillow cost about $20.

jaclyn smith clarinet heritage

And if you thought the college bed “before” was pretty darn ugg (just getting my vocabulary ready for the teenagers I will be reacquainted with in less than 2 weeks…) remember what that half of the room looked like when we bought the house?

bedroom makeover

If you have a few hours with nothing better to do, you can read about the whole de-closeting, de-birding, de-carpeting, de-texturing process here.

Have you used faux nailhead trim? What did you decorate your college dorm room with? Who wants to crack “You might be a cat lady if…” jokes at my expense? Go ahead. I can take it.

***Linking up to Thrifty Décor Chick, Serenity Now, The Shabby Creek Cottage and Embracing Change!***


  1. Anonymous8/22/2012

    Golly it's gorgeous! I've got to get me some of that trim. Lovely work.
    I love it when you show before pictures of your house. I often forget just how wacky it was. The bathroom is my fave but the birdboxes are great too. They really committed to that theme and you have to admire that!

  2. I kinda miss the picket fence, but that headboard is beautiful!! It's hard to believe it only cost $50 to make. Well done! And $46/yard? Wowza...thank goodness for coupons ;)

  3. oh i love it! love the red accents! i think you should take a pic of your kitty in a teacup and have it blown up on canvas- that kind of "grows up" the dorm room poster, dontcha think?

  4. That looks so great! We have to make our bed look fancier as well and since we have a headboard, I think I am going to go with fancy pillows instead :) Your room tho, is such a major and great transformation from the bird house cave...lol

    By the way, your floors are AMAZING!

  5. Joann and I are BFFs too! This project turned out AMAZING. I love the fabric, love the shape and love the faux nail head trim. I am also incredibly impressed that your husband did that in a matter of hours by himself. I had my husband help me finish upholstering my Goodwill chair this weekend, let's just say, we are better NOT crafting together...in the end, he felt compelled to buy me flowers.

    That pillow is a focal point. Love it! And, that kitty is pretty darn cute too.

  6. First ,I hear you AMY on the not crafting together with your husband ,lol. Seem to have the same problem over here ;> .(unless we are working on something in seperate rooms!)
    I love the headboard!The price you did it for is amazing !!!
    I also love love love the floors!!!!
    You have a awesome hubby for helping you whilst you take pics of the kitties,lol.You wont get any cat lady jokes from me seeing as I have 4 of my own,yyyouch!:o
    Joanns is further from me then micheals but i think ill make the treck from now on.You seem to get better deals there plus mikes doesnt have fabric.
    thanks for the lesson and laughs ;]

  7. Cool, I have never seen that before! It looks like the real thing to me! And hopefully, nobody else would be that close to your headboard, so they will never know...

  8. Wow, the headboard turned out great! I can't believe you did that for fifty bucks. Jo-Ann sales are awesome.

  9. It's a million, gazillion times better than before! I didn't know they made faux nailhead trim, but I wouldn't have known the difference until you showed it up close.
    I should send you this picture my sister posted of some cat stickers my mom sent her. You'd be in love!

  10. Hello, bed. Nice to meet you! You sure are pretty...

  11. Love the new headboard and pillows! You know it's cozy when the cat takes over the space! You know what they say: Home is where the cat is.

  12. I have been thinking about getting some of that trim for a some chair redos...or a table redo, or a headboard...everything!

    my college room had a big britney spears poster, a sparkly canopy over the bed, and purple pintucked bedding.
    LOL oh boy.

  13. I bet you miss that picket fence mural ;).

  14. Wow, what a difference! That headboard looks uh-mazing, and I don't see what's wrong with it when you look up close! You guys did a wonderful job! Thank you, Joanne Fabrics.

    And since 99% of my blog posts contain a picture of my cat, I would never make a cat lady reference to you. You know, the whole, "don't throw stones..." reference haha. :)

  15. I really like it...although I think the fences should have been kept, they were a classic addition to your house...just kidding. Stupid question alert...How did you attach the headboard? I am going to be making something similar but am unsure on how to attach it!

    1. Not a stupid question! I didn't know either. It has leg supports, which you can see in the first picture (not painted yet) that screw into the bed frame just like a store-bought headboard would have. This post has some other ideas:


      Hope that helps!

  16. Love the headboard! It looks so fancy and elegant! Much like that cat in a teacup poster! ;)

    I am attempting a headboard project of my own this weekend- hoping mine comes out just as nicely as yours did!!

  17. Love the headboard! And your use of slang, you are so hip ;)

    My dorm was decorated with giant posters of Zac Efron, all of which magically disappeared when I got married...

  18. the headboard looks great! definitely more than $50 worth : )

  19. I've been pondering a college dorm room post. We made people color coloring book pages and had a border of them. This went along with my little girl in a bonnet quilt. Oh my.

    Love the headboard. I still find it crazy how a headboard can class a place right up!

  20. It turned out fantastic!! We used those same tacks when we made ours a few months back. I love the shape of your headboard too. Megan

  21. The nailhead looks amazing. i liked the headboard before but the nailhead really makes it look finished.

  22. You guys make everything look easy. Just whip together whole closet organization systems, or just sneeze and there's a headboard! Craziness. I love it and I can't believe you made it for $50!

    (PS - thanks for the link!)

  23. omg it looks SO good! and i can barely even tell in that up close pic that the nailhead trim is faux. I love the velvety texture too! it's very grown-up-and-not-dorm-like. and the cat, i guess it's cute too ;).

  24. Ah!! I love it!! The headboard looks so professional, like you would have bought it at a big store!

  25. You guys are seriously freaking amazing. SERIOUSLY. That pillow is KILLER!!!! I love it!

  26. The nailhead trim is so sophisticated and classy. LOVE IT! I'm so glad it was easy to use, I'm planning on making an ottoman, and using nailhead trim. Thanks for sharing.

  27. It is best for comfort and can also look striking when you use colors and patterns creatively. You can use buttoned headboards that give your room a modern look with its sleek lines and streamlined shapes.

  28. This looks simply amazing, a comfortable bed is necessary to have a good sleep, you should make sure that the bed you are sleeping on can provide that otherwise you won't be able to perform your daily duties properly.


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