UPDATE: We’re going to be recreating this bed with full tutorials, measurements and cost breakdowns, so if you want more step-by-step tutorials, start here and follow the links at the bottom of the post.
This is a story about a project spiraling out of control. All I really wanted was a different look for our bed.
We have a simple rectangular upholstered headboard that I picked up a few years ago from a big-box store somewhere, and I decided I’d just pick up some fabric, throw it over that headboard and call it a day.
At this point, I was already out of my league.
But then, I saw this blog where a guy actually upholstered his entire bed himself. Um, you can do that?! I’m in. We need that.
The inspiration? This beauty from Jonathan Adler, priced at $2,500:
So I called my handy contractor (who was sitting next to me on the couch) and put in a request. He cut this for me out of plywood using a router which I very wisely bought him for Christmas a couple years ago.
(You know those horrible people who buy you gifts secretly hoping to personally benefit? That was me! My evil plan was working!)
He beefed up the sides by adding some MDF. This would give us the depth we needed to screw the headboard to the bed frame, and I think a chunkier headboard looks better anyway.
Then he cut away the extra using some kinda jig or wizardry or something.
This is a good time to interject and say that if you want to attempt this yourself, this is a really, really hard shape to upholster. A little rectangle would entice much less self-hatred than this shape. I promise.
This project would also be easier with a fabric which doesn’t show every single imperfection. Bad call, Kelly. (But it was on clearance!)
We picked up six yards of very difficult fabric, six yards of upholstery lining fabric (a MUST-HAVE), four million staples and an electric staple gun, and some thin batting.
The thin batting was a bad idea too. We needed seven layers to get to a comfortable cushiness. I’d recommend about 3 layers of the 8-ounce stuff in the future.
Then we laid the upholstery lining fabric on the ground, plus a million layers of batting, then the headboard, and started stapling.
It was not smooth sailing, my friends. Those inside corners next to the half circle on top? IMPOSSIBLE. At this point, I thought we should throw in the towel, cut off that top circle and start over. Andy was more insane confident, so we kept going.
I should also say that this is absolutely not a one-person job. You need a buddy. A good buddy, who is required by law and marriage to remain your buddy when this project is over.
Upholstering a headboard is a lot like taking a long road trip – if your relationship can survive this, you’re set.
Next, we upholstered with the real fabric.
Starting with the upholstery lining was clutch. It made upholstering with the real fabric sooo much easier, and having a little practice under our belts didn’t hurt.
Turns out there are three secrets to upholstering around the curves.
The first is tug and staple as tightly as you can on one side, then do the same to the other, then return to the first side, remove your staples and start over. It’s the only way we could get it all tight enough.
When we had the headboard all upholstered, I got another harebrained idea that we needed nailhead trim. They sell this stuff that comes in strips, so you only have to nail in every fifth nail. GLORIOUS!
Still, it was not was not easy keeping the nailhead lined up with that outside edge, but I just knew this baby needed some bling.
Meanwhile, Andy was busy building the bed frame. He created a simple box out of 9-inch wide MDF strips.
(Disclaimer: we had just painted when I took this picture, so tools and furniture were everywhere. Plus a tornado had just blown through. This is not what our bedroom normally looks like.)
We added a rail across the center, and 1×4 boards across the sides to hold the mattress, so the frame looked like this:
Time for the legs! You can buy them pre-made at Lowes or Home Depot, orrrr, you can have your husband make your own tapered legs out of wood and manliness, then stain it yourself. I did the latter.
UPDATE: We’re going to be recreating this bed with full tutorials, measurements and cost breakdowns, so if you want more step-by-step tutorials, start here.