To most people, a bedroom is their retreat from the rest of the world. A bedroom should be a reflection of the person that occupies it, whether they like something light and airy, reflective of a summer's day at the beach or if they like something more romantic and dreamy evoking images of candle light and stars. Adult or child, masculine or feminine or any combination a bedroom should be a sanctuary.
The main piece of furniture in most bedrooms is the bed. It is usually the last thing that is seen at night and the first thing that is seen in the morning. It creates the mood and sets the theme. However, in today's world, unless you want to spend a ton of money, having a personalized bed and more specifically a headboard is out of reach for most people. Right?
WRONG! It takes only a little time and a little money to turn your headboard into something more than just a mass market piece of wood or metal.
The first step into turning your headboard into something more you is to determine if the headboard you have suits your style. A heavy, large headboard does not work in a light and airy space. Alternately, a white wicker headboard does not look good in a room that is to be darkly romantic. Don't throw that headboard away if it doesn't fit your style. Do something with it. Paint it, strip it, stain it. Add something to it or take something away. Anything can be made into something new, with just a little imagination and work.
If you happen to be lucky enough to have a solid, board like headboard, it is a snap to recover it and make it into something new. Take into account the room you are trying to create, look through magazines and watch the home shows on TV, take a trip to a showroom and look at the setups. Find a piece of art or another object that personifies the look and attitude you want. Working with these inspirations, find a material that evokes those same feelings and attitude that you love. It can be any type of material - leather, fur, cotton, satin or anything else that you can sew (for beginners, I recommend a flat sheet in a size one bigger than the mattress). Then follow these easy steps.
First, remove the bedding and mattresses from the bed. Remove the rails from the headboard and footboard. Take the headboard to an area that has great light and a large, clean flat surface to work with.
Second, with mild soap and water, wipe down the surface of the headboard. Don't soak it, just get the dust off. Let this dry.
Third, measure the length and width of the headboard. Measure more than once, and write the measurements down.
Fourth, take your material and determine the best way the fabric works with the headboard you have and the feeling you are looking for in the room. Keep in mind that stripes and large patterns are harder to match than small repeating patterns or solids. Also, darker colors are more forgiving that lighter colors.
Now, take the fabric and measure 2 inches more that the width of your headboard and 6 to 8 inches more than the length. Remember measure more than once, so you only have to cut once. Adding inches to both the width and length allows you to have a one inch seam allowance on each side and to have enough fabric to ensure that the headboard cover will be below the level of the mattress ensuring a finished look.
Cut two rectangles of the fabric so that you can sew them together like a pillowcase. Put the sides of the fabric together that you want on the outside of the headboard. Using a matching thread, sew the sides of the two rectangles together. Remember to use a one inch seem allowance. Then, sew the top of the rectangle together. It doesn't matter which end you chose as the top, just make sure to leave one end open, just like a pillowcase.
Turn the slipcover inside out and fit over the headboard. The slipcover should have a snug fit. Determine the where the bottom of the mattress will hit the slip cover and mark using either pins or a washable fabric seam marker. If there is a small amount of fabric, just roll the edge up and create a pressed seam on each open side of the slip cover. If there is a large amount of fabric, you must cut off some of the fabric so you can create a small, pressed seam.
Refit the slip cover over the headboard, reattach the rails. Carefully put the mattresses back in place. Remake the bed and voila! In a few hours you have changed the appearance of your bedroom without buying new furniture.
A couple of extra tips. If you want to make the headboard more comfortable to lean against, consider adding some foam batting to the headboard. Measure just as if you were cutting the fabric, but add about three inches to each side. Wrap the batting around and staple into place. Keep the batting snug and fold the corners down like you were wrapping a package. Add an additional 2 inches to your width and length fabric measurements to compensate for the batting.
For a more country cottage feel, add ties to the top seam by cutting strips of fabric or ribbon and pining them in between the two layers before sewing them together. Make sure they stay to the inside of the layers when you sew them together so they are visible when you turn the slipcover right side out. You can also mark the fabric with dots in a quilting pattern when it is on the headboard, remove and sew buttons on those dots. Replace and you have a custom quilt like slipcover. Using this technique you can add ribbon, bangles, buttons or anything else you would like that would add to your style and space.
After you have mastered the art of the headboard slip cover, anything is possible, from chair slip covers to creating your own duvet covers or creating a one of a kind headboard from scratch.