Some people swear by padded headboards, essential for comfortable bedtime reading. And DIY upholstered headboards are one of the easiest projects around; for step-by-step instructions on how to make your own, go to Real Simple.
Photograph from Living Etc.; headboard upholstered in Rapture & Wright's Birds and Butterflies.
Alternatively, buy a simple headboard and create a slipcover with fabric by the yard (or a staple gun if you're in a rush).
(N.B. For more fabric headboard DIY ideas, see "DIY: Burlap Headboard.")
Below: Duck Plain Front Headboard; $225 from Home Decorators.
Below: Walton Headboard; $449 from West Elm.
For more DIY upholstered headboard ideas, see "5 Quick Fixes: Instant Headboards."