ISSUE 28  |  Bastille Day

DIY: The Three-Step Painted Headboard

July 15, 2014 11:00 AM

BY Remodelista Team

Confession: For most of my twenties, I slept on a single mattress on the floor (no box spring, and not a very good mattress at that). It was only recently that I came to understand the life-enhancing benefits of a bed with all the right components: a sturdy frame, a luxurious mattress, and an array of natural linens and blankets. 

Here at Remodelista, we’re drawn to personality-filled (but serene) bedrooms that often include a few strategic DIY solutions. We like a good storage headboard, recessed shelving above the bed, and DIY headboard (everything from macramé to old doors). We also place a high premium on restful room designs: see 10 Secrets for a Better Night’s Sleep. In that spirit, I’m happy to report that I’m now sleeping on a platform bed, and to give it a finished look (and a place to prop my pillows), I recently decided to make my own headboard out of nothing more than a birch board and pastel paint.

Photography by Alexa Hotz for Remodelista.


  • A 9-by-12-foot painter’s Canvas Drop Cloth ($26 from Gempler’s)
  • Paint brushes of your choice and a Metal Paint Tray ($6.77 from MSC Industrial Supply)
  • 1 quart of paint; I chose Benjamin Moore’s Ben Interior Paint in Eraser Pink, eggshell finish ($17.99)
  • 1 wooden board; for my queen-sized mattress, I used a panel of birch 50 inches wide and 70 inches tall, a good height to prop up on the back of the platform frame.


Step 1: Stand your panel of wood up against a wall on top of a painter’s drop cloth to catch any drips. Begin painting your board by brush or roller (your choice).

Step 2: Let the first coat of paint dry completely; if you’re painting with a brush, continue with additional coats to create an even surface without visible brushstrokes.

Step 3: I used two coats of paint to get a deep eraser pink. I decided to paint only one side and leave the edges raw to reveal a bit of wood, but you can also coat the entire board.

The Finished Look

Above: The board fits perfectly behind a layering of pillows and provides a finishing touch to the platform bed.

Above: I can switch up the color of my headboard any time I like; I plan to paint the wood in different shades from season to season.

Alexa Hotz