IKEA headboard hacks – how to create a bespoke headboard on a budget

IKEA headboard hacks can transform any space, and can even become the focal design piece in your bedroom - without the high-end price point. Basic styles like the IKEA Malm, Tarva and Hemnes beds offer a fantastic foundation for a customized headboard that looks unique, chic and bespoke.

With a little creative flow, and some clever IKEA hacks, you can produce anything from boho rattan styles and neutral Scandi-worthy upholstered looks to designer-inspired makeovers.

IKEA headboard hacks for a super-stylish sanctuary

We've tapped a host of Insta influencers below to bring you some top IKEA bedhead hacks inspiration for your next weekend project...

1. Weave some magic into a Scandi-style headboard

For a truly design-led piece, take inspiration from iconic pieces and incorporate it into your project. Julie at@lil_ol_lady_design was inspired by Alvar Aalto’s iconic 611 chairs for her IKEA bedhead hacks, and wove nylon webbing around a wood frame from IKEA's Ivar bookcase.

To make it really easy, the Ivar side unit is sold separately in different sizes, so you can create this cool Scandi IKEA bed hack whatever sized bed you have.

2. Cover an IKEA Malm headboard in stylish grey fabric

Photographer Sarah Caldecott of @the_chapel_conversion had tired of her IKEA Malm bed, which had turned an unappealing orange hue over the 14 years she'd had it.

To get a whole new look while keeping costs low, she decided to cover it with some on-trend grey fabric. She covered the headboard with an MDF box frame, which was then wrapped in wadding, stapled at the back.

The wadding was covered in a white sheet before the final layer of fabric was stapled on too. The couple were so happy with the result, they decided to cover the rest of the bed in the fabric for a whole new look, which turned it into a stylish IKEA designer hack too.

3. Transform an old IKEA desk into a cool striped headboard

Would you believe this chic striped headboard started life as a $20 IKEA desk top? Yup. The IKEA LINNMON, to be exact.

Sarah of @prettyprovidenceblog used the Linnmon tabletop on her office desk for three years before deciding she needed a change.

She says:'I had been wanting a headboard for my guest room for a while and one day I decided to measure the desktop to see if it would fit. Low and behold, it is the exact right size for a Queen mattress!

'After I disassembled my desk, I had the grey top. I decided I wanted to add stripes, but didn’t want to paint. I decided to use easy stripe tape from Walls Need Love! I used the 1″ white tape. Since I wanted even stripes, I measured 1 inch of space in between each easy stripe piece.'

'Once I finished that, my husband helped me drill 1×4’s to the back of it. To attach the headboard to the wall, we drilled the boards to the wall.'

And, ta da! A lovely guest bedroom idea at a super-affordable price point of $45.

IKEA headboard hacks – how to create a bespoke headboard on a budget

4. Channel a boho vibe with a rattan IKEA bedhead hack

Work the cane trend with this affordable IKEA bedhead hack that makes a lovely boho meets Scandinavian bedroom idea.

Rebecca of @rebeccadecz had been wanting to upgrade her Hemnes bed frame for some time, but didn't want spend a fortune on a high-end replacement. The solution? A tried and test HEMNES hack – stapling cane webbing to the existing frame.

'Every time I considered what my ideal bed would look like, the cane trend came to mind,' she says. 'And a quick Google showed me that I could easily buy the material for about $10 a foot.

'I put two and two together: Why not just transform my tired Hemnes into the cane-backed headboard of my dreams? After sitting on the idea for months, I pulled it off with way less effort than I imagined. Now, I have a custom bed that I absolutely love, a lot of money still in my pocket, and the newfound confidence to walk around my local hardware store plotting my next DIY.'

5. Create a chic (and easy) button-back IKEA headboard

Robin of @andthenwetried completely fell in love with the stylish tufted West Elm headboard – but wasn't as enamored with the price tag.

'I challenged myself to make the best knock-off version I could,' she explains. 'Enter: my DIY Leather Tufted Headboard. I ultimately went with this IKEA Hemnes bed because it got us a new frame and with the low price tag I didn’t worry about covering the headboard.'

And the final result definitely offers up luxe for less.

6. Upholster an IKEA Malm headboard

'We have a house full of IKEA furniture because it is so affordable,' says Melissa of @littleterracedhouse. 'To make it more me, I tend to paint or otherwise upcycle it to give it a bit of character. The IKEA Malm: great bed, good for sleeping on, but kind of ugly. FRET NOT! This upcycle is one of the easiest ever and gives Mr Malm a whole new lease of life.'

You'll need your chosen fabric, a staple gun, batting, scissors, and a tape measure for this elegant IKEA bedhead hack, which only took 1 hour 15 mins.

Melissa adds: ‘This hack is so easy: I did it one Saturday morning before breakfast and transformed the bedroom without exchanging much cash or time. If you redecorate, you can quickly update the headboard again too!’

7. Use an IKEA curtain to glamorise a Malm headboard

Want to give your IKEA Malm bed frame a sumptuous new lease of life? Transform the headboard with a hotel-smart soft velvet padding created with an affordable IKEA Sanela curtain:

Step1: Measure the headboard. Spread the curtain. Fold it in half. Cut it to the same size as the main end and add about 5 cm extra on each side.

Step 2: Sew three sides of the curtain and leave the bottom edge unsewn. Then you get a cover that covers the headboard.

Step 3: Cut out the foam panels. The team cut out six equally sized panels and a wider panel for the middle. Will the edges become uneven? It does not matter. The foam should still be covered!

Step 4: Attach the foam panels to the main end with double-sided adhesive tape. Attach them in line with the top and sides.

Step 5: Open up the curtain cover and thread it over the main end with the foam panels.

Step 6: Staple a thread to each groove. Start at the bottom of the front. Repeat for each panel. Pull each panel up and over the headboard and staple to the back. In this way, the panels get a rounded and more defined shape. Repeat for each panel/thread until you are done.

8. Breathe new life into an IKEA Tarva bed with sophisticated fabric

Don't be scared by an upholstery project - it's not as hard to do as you might imagine and can add a lovely softness to a rustic bedroom.

Kara @beglorifiedhome created a beautiful IKEA headboard hack with some elegant neutral-hued fabric.

She says: 'I wanted to increase the height of the headboard for a more dramatic look, so I used 2x2s and metal brackets to extend the headboard frame.

'Once I got the desired height, I added plywood to the front of the headboard for stability and also so that I could upholster it. I used staples to attach a few layers of batting and then covered it in upholstery fabric.'

She also stained the frame to give it a full IKEA bed hack, adding: 'After lightly sanding it, I stained the legs and sides with the Flagstone and Special Walnut stains.'

9. Enjoy a modern rustic look with laidback-luxe linen

Not only is linen a sustainable material, it's wonderful to use in the bedroom for its laidback aesthetic and heat-regulating properties.

A chic company called Bemz, which creates beautiful covers for a host of IKEA items, makes it easy to create a stylish IKEA bedhead hack with its universal cover that works for all IKEA headboards and is available in five sizes.

What's more, you can also buy the fabric per meter if you want to create a fully DIY headboard cover.

You could easily fix a piece of foam or cotton padding to a wooden board cut to fit your bed, and use this high-quality fabric by the meter, stapling it to the headboard for a very cool project.