before & after: painted plank headboard

I may have discovered my new favorite color palette, thanks in no small part to this painted headboard from Heather. Doesn’t  the gold, wood, cream and ochre combination look fantastic? So rich and warm, and incredibly soothing. The untreated wood gives the gilded stencil design so much character, and I love the accessibility of the simple plank construction. Wonderful job, Heather! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read more about how Heather made her painted plank headboard after the jump!

Time: 8 hours

Cost: $78

Basic Steps:

1. Buy supplies.

2. Have hardware store cut wood to desired length.

3. Sand all rough edges on wood pieces, and wipe down to remove excess sawdust and dirt.

4. Choose which wood pieces you want to be visible. Then lay out the pieces with the visible side facing down. Remember which end is the top and which is the bottom. You can write on the boards if it helps.

5. Evenly spread out the brackets across all seams in the wood and screw them in. Make sure your screws aren’t too long!

6. Position stabilizer boards so they run parallel to your seams, and attach them with nails.

7. Carefully lift your finished headboard and lean it against a wall. Prep your work area for painting. (Put down a drop cloth, and/or protect the wall your headboard is leaning against.)

8. Use store-bought stencil and spray paint to embellish your headboard. I used a pattern and repeated the stencil across the entire headboard. You could also do one big stencil or just a border along the top plank.

9. Let paint dry.

10. We just leaned the headboard at an angle against the wall. It’s heavy enough to stay in place, and we didn’t want to damage our apartment walls. I’m sure there are ways to mount the headboard to the wall or bed frame, though.

    My advice for anyone attempting this project is to have a strong friend or loved one around. I was able to do every step myself except carry . . . ahem . . . well, push the headboard through the apartment and put it in place. You’d need some serious lifters to get it up any stairs, so make sure you think ahead before assembling. — Heather


    Sarah L

    That is beautiful! And bargainous! And when I finally have my own place I want one!


    Love it! Can you provide the dimensions? and also what kind of brackets did you use? Is your bed a queen? Very clever! Thanks so much for sharing. : )


    Simple yet elegant…love it! Thanks for the inspiration, Heather!


    Love it! I’d use reclaimed wood though, instead of fresh. I’m on the lookout for a good headboard DIY for my own bed and this is officially at the top of the list!


    My paint color was a custom mix. I bought an Anthrolopologie duvet cover a few years ago purely based on the yellow wall pictured behind it in the catalog. I took the Anthro photo to Lowes and had them match the color for me so it would go with my duvet.


    Amazing job! I’ve been looking for a headboard for such a long time now and here is the perfect idea.

    Janan W

    Am I the only person seeing one paint color? Cream, Gold and Ochre are mentioned…am I blind?


    That really is lovely. Well done! And I think it could make a great variation on the woodclad walls you like so much.


    I’m just redoing my bedroom and realized I hate (well, am really disappointed with) the headboard I finally purchased after trying to find something to make myself with my limited artistic (painting) ability. Now you come to the rescue! Thanks so much, this is exactly the look I wanted. I especially like the raw wood, which I realized I really needed in the room with all the other smooth-finished materials. Thanks, too, for the link to the picture of the back. You’re the best! I’ll return the headboard this weekend and make this one!


    I’d love to see a photo of the back to see how you positioned the stabilizer boards. Great project!


    I posted a link to the photo showing the back of the headboard in one of the above comments. I hope it helps!


    I’m also interested in the stencil and would love to know where you bought it!

    Sarah Moses

    So brilliant. I’ve been looking for a way to have a headboard like this in my apt, but I didn’t think it was possible. How brilliant!

    Deedra J

    i am so in love with this! i am totally doing this, this weekend!!


    So did you just have a basic metal bed frame and then screwed it in please. Let me know because I’m trying tO update my bed frame and want to make my own headboard please help :(


    Love it! Just went to the home improvement store and bought the supplies. Rather than paint on the wood, we’re going to stain it. Can’t wait to see the outcome.


    I’m def going to try this out! Also, am I blind? I can’t PIN this site or pic??? I want to show everyone!


    Utterly fantastic idea ! I too am curious about the frame and how you attached it. Well done, thanks for sharing :)


    Amazing!!! Just found my Sat. Project.. And I am do exited!! Thank you!! Heather, you are my hero!

    Teresa kimbro

    Love this we just got a new king bed from a queen and I’m doing this but I’m staining it a dark color!


    This is just soo beautiful. I was thinking of making my owm rustic headboard using some recycled wood from industial businesses around my area (its free so why not) your giving me more inspiration. I must admit am a lil afraid but am soo gonna go for it.


    It was heavy enough to just slightly lean against the wall and it never budged. I did not screw it into the bed frame. Also, I got the stencil at Michael’s.


    Heather, your link to show the photo with the back of the headboard is no longer there. Could you provide a picture of the back of the headboard? Also, do you have a list of supplies that is needed?