How to make a West Elm inspired upholstered headboard

So, I was searching for a new bed and came across this fabulous one from West Elm, with an oatmeal linen upholstered headboard.

But at £1200 (without the mattress) it was way above my price range.

Source: Modern Bed – Linen Weave – West Elm

I wondered if I could create a similar look with a much cheaper product and ended up buying the TARVA king size bed frame for £125.

ikea tarva bed
TARVA bed |

It took a while to get around to it, but I found some Colron coloured Beeswax for £10, a remnant of oatmeal linen for £18 and a pack of 100 dome shaped upholstery nails in pewter for £2.

I used:

Here’s how I upholstered the TARVA headboard …

1. First, stain the whole bed frame with the coloured beeswax. You can ignore the centre parts of the headboard, which you’ll cover with fabric.

Upholstered headboard how-to

Upholstered headboard for an almost West Elm bed

2. Measure the height and width of the front and back of the headboard. Measure, sew and trim an old (too hot and barely used) duvet to these dimensions.

Lay the sewn and trimmed duvet over the top of the headboard, so it drapes neatly down front and back.

Staple all duvet edges to the TARVA headboard. Now you have your upholstered base on which to put your fabric.

3. Lay your fabric over the headboard and measure from the horizontal base of the front where you want the fabric to start, to the horizontal base of the back where you want the fabric to end.

4. Turn under your fabric (that will lie on these horizontal edges) and sew to give a neat edge. These edges will lie horizontally across the base of the front and back (not the sides, which have the tacks.)

5. Measure what the width of your fabric will be on your upholstered headboard, allowing enough overlay onto the wooden sides for you to put upholstery tacks in. Iron your fabric, turning the fabric sides under and pressing to give a neat fold. I didn’t bother to sew these sides as I was going to nail them.

Add the domed tacks

Upholstered headboard for an almost West Elm bed

6. Lay your fabric onto the headboard and carefully start hammering in the domed tacks. I started with all the corner ones back and front to make sure the fabric was lying correctly.

Then, I added tacks to the middle areas of the edges. To get the fabric to lie correctly going over the top of the headboard, I had to do a little pleat (facing towards the back) of the fabric, which I secured with a tack.

I didn’t bother adding tacks all the way along the bottom edges either. Just one at each side and a couple in the middle to keep the fabric lying smooth.

Here’s the finished result. It’s not quite as fab as the £1200 bed, but for around £150, I’m pretty pleased!

~ Ruth H.