Looking for a headboard you can build yourself for cheap? It’s easy to create the look of a headboard with some paint, but adding an easy to build wood shelf creates a finished look. Adding pictures, objects, and frames to the top creates the visual look of a headboard without spending a lot of money.
I love figuring out ways to change up my decor without spending a lot of money (or time, if I’m being honest). The easier the project, the better, because the greater the likelihood that I’ll finish it before I get bored and want to move onto the next project. Thankfully, this headboard shelf fits the bill – it’s both inexpensive and super easy to create a completely new look for your bedroom.
Of course, you can see that I created the headboard across the length of a wall that has two beds, but this look would work just as well with one bed along the wall. There are two parts to this project: painting the wall and building the shelf ledge.
How to Build a Headboard Shelf
Sizes of boards needed (length should measure the length of your wall)
To build the shelf, you’ll need three sizes of wood that span the length of your wall. The length of my wall was longer than 12 feet (and my minivan only holds 10 foot boards anyway), so I decided to join together pieces to create one long shelf that spanned the entire length of the wall.
If you look closely at the photo above, you can see where the two boards in each size came together. It’s important to keep the seams in different places along the shelf, to maintain the integrity of the wood to allow it to span the long length.
First, attach the 1×3 back board to the 1×4 board. To do this, pre-drill pilot holes every 12 inches or so on the back of the 1×3, apply wood glue between the boards, and then screw through the back board into the 1×4 board.
To attach the 1×2 to the front, apply wood glue between the boards and nail finish nails through the front of the 1×2 and into the 1×4 board.
How to Paint a Headboard and Attach the Shelf
After choosing where I wanted the shelf to hang (right below the window in my case), I painted the wall up to that point.
Next, I used a stud finder to mark the studs in the wall with painter’s tape.
Using the tape as a guide, I pre-drilled holes into the shelf, and then attached the shelf to the wall with screws.
Styling the shelves was definitely my favorite part of this project. It was fun to try to bring in my grandpa’s artwork, vary the height of objects, and still create the illusion of a headboard, drawing the eye up from the bed.
Of course, basically everything you see in this room was left or made by my grandparents (I’ve been trying to find a place for that statue for years!, built by muah (the bed frames!), or thrifted (hello vintage!).
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