DIY Headboards For Renters

DIY Headboards For Renters

Interior Designer Ashton Horejs (pronounced HOR-esh), joins WYLR? to continue her series on design inspirations especially suited to renters. She thought of this when realizing that, “many renters may not have a bed frame because they are either too expensive or they may not want to invest in something that won’t fit their next place. This headboard can be easily installed at an affordable cost, perhaps using things that people already have at home.”

Traditional headboards leave less room for the imagination. “What I love about this idea, Ashton explains, “is that you can mix it up with the seasons or even the months! I'm very fond of revolving interior design and decor.” 

This also shows the interest created by design layering and flexibility. In most of the photos  both air plants and a hanging textile are pictured. But depending on personal taste, either of these ideas work equally well on their own.

Cropped PurpleBed3.jpg


Hanging Plant Installation: 

Air Plants
However many the heart desires

Fishing line is best for a floating effect, but try any other string for a different effect (i.e. jute rope, colorful yarn,cording, white rope, etc.). Anything works as long as you can tie the string around a tendril of the air plant and have it hold. 

Small flathead nails, tacks, or small ceiling hooks (color of choice)


Textile Headboard:

This could be one large piece or a layered composition of several pieces.

The dowel can be the width of your bed or longer! A shorter dowel would turn this treatment into wall art above the bed rather than a headboard, but that's not a bad idea! 

Hardware to hold the dowel
Among many available choices we used metal closet rod, wall mount hardware for this example. 

Substitutions: Instead of a dowel you may also use a metal bar or something more natural like a thick tree branch. Just make sure whatever you use fits the theme and most importantly, can hold the weight of the textile chosen.

Local Treasure Hunt

Ashton encourages exploring new stores and buying local whenever possible.

"When you live in a city like Portland, it's hard not to support the local makers and craftspersons. There are so many shops popping up to reduce, re-use, and recycle amazing product that is easily affordable. Not to mention supporting a non-profit organization. When you shop local you start new conversations. What is Portland looking for? Where can we get it? How can we celebrate it? It's a chain reaction. One person tells another, who tells another, and then the whole city knows about it and it becomes this treasure that is shared by all.” 

Air Plants: Head to your local nursery or plant shop. Here are some ideas: 
Portland Nursery
Pistils Nursery
Solabee Flowers

Others I found: 
Air Plant Supply Co (Online Source)


Ashton: Check out the air plant selection. There could be small, medium, large, or even ones with variety of color tones to them. Some may even be flowering! Remember, this is a 'art piece' as well. You are creating a look. That could be one monochromatic green tone with one size plant, or it can be an array of hues, textures and sizes. Find your air plant vibe! If you only have the budget for three air plants, start with that and work your way toward more. 

Fishing Line:
Any hardware or sporting goods store will carry this, but if you want to look for other options try

Fabric Depot 

Head to your local lumberyard or hardware store. If you want to avoid the usual big box stores stop by:
Mr. Plywood
ReBuilding Center
Your hardware to mount the dowel on the wall. Depending on the gauge of the dowel, it will have an affect on the hardware you choose. Make sure they fit together. Some places to go for the hardware:
Do It Best Hardware
Hankins True Value Hardware


Ashton: Here's where it gets fun! You may already have a beloved textile you'd like to hang over the dowel. If you don't have a favorite quilt or length of fabric, there are lots of options to explore. Check out the great antique marketplaces we have around town. Search the wide inventory of blankets, and worn rugs the vendors sell. Go to Pendleton Woolen Mills and get a great blanket you can display AND use. Maybe you hang a plethora of silk scarves that fall at long and short lengths. You can literally hang anything over a dowel. Experiment with different ideas! For one of our examples we used a collection of gray wool blankets I snagged from Andy and Bax, a local army surplus store.
Some spots to explore:
Monticello Antique Mall
Grand Marketplace
Andy and Bax


Air Plant Headboard:

Head back home with all your treasures. If you are layering both headboard ideas together, as we are showing in the pictures, start by hanging the air plants first. 

Lay the air plants on the ground in the way you'd like them to hang from your ceiling. Maybe they are all hanging at the same length, same distance from the wall, or maybe you prefer them hanging at various heights closer or further from the wall (as seen in photo).
Tie your preferred choice of string or rope to a tendril of the plant making sure the plant is balanced and showcased in a way that pleases you. In the photo we tied the fishing line midway around the center of the plant to show off the curling tops rather than the side body. 
Next you have a few options on installing these featherweight beauties. For safety, move the bed and use a ladder to reach the ceiling. You can use a flathead nail, tack, or small ceiling hook. Take the stringed air plants one at a time and hammer, tack, or screw these hardware pieces in the locations previously laid out. Not necessary, but if you prefer to mark the proposed spots with a pencil or painter's tape prior to install it a good way to visualize your design. 
Voila! You have an implied headboard that creates a creative view from any angle. 
Remember: When you water these plants, mist away from the wall and out into the room. You can always throw a towel or plastic sheet over the bed to avoid damp bedding. Water once a week in the summertime and once every two weeks during winter unless otherwise stated. You can also create this headboard idea with faux air plants, but I'm all about the real movement of these curly greens. 

Textile Headboard:

Make sure the brackets to hang your dowel are spaced for the effect you want, they are level, and they are anchored securely to the wall. In our example we had a lower bed and hung the dowel about 5 feet from the floor. Hanging the dowel higher creates a more dramatic effect, but if you are using air plants too, make sure the plants don’t disappear into a bold-patterned fabric. Also, it may be awkward if the textile leaves a gap showing between the top of the mattress and wall. Experiment with the height before anchoring brackets on the wall. 

Tip: Can’t tell what height you like best? Have a friend or family member snap photos with their phone while you hold the dowel and fabric at a few different levels. It won’t be a perfect representation, but you’ll avoid a blind guess. 

After selecting your favorite textile simply drape it over the bar of choice and play around with the composition. Scrunch it up, layer it, leave some negative space, make it symmetrical, or asymmetrical. The few ideas we’ve included in these images are just the beginning. The possibilities are endless!


Final Thought: Kid Friendly Project!

This application is perfect for a school-age child or teen bedroom. Kids are naturally creative and with this affordable idea they can get involved by choosing objects they’d like to see floating over their beds (model airplanes, spaceships, anything light-weight). The textile headboard can easily be changed as kids grow or change the theme of their room. Of course, choosing a washable blanket, quilt, or fabric, makes it an easy care solution. 


Ashton Ford Horejs, Founder, ASHTONFORDESIGN    


Ashton has a strong focus on connecting with the local community and collaborating on projects both large and small. Her interior design improves and elevates a space while catering to the needs of the end-user.