Wednesday, August 10

A new bed for a teenage boy

My youngest son Lee and I have been on a journey of re-creating his bedroom space. Picking up thousands of Lego bricks was the first step. Second was a trip to IKEA, where Lee chose the Brimnes bed. The Brimnes headboard is sold separately, but Lee wanted an upholstered headboard. That suited me fine; I knew I could make one.

First I bought a sheet of 3/4" plywood, which cost me about $13.00. I would have gone with a thinner (and cheaper) board, but this headboard is for a queen-sized bed, and I was afraid a thinner board might bend and warp. The nice man at Home Depot cut the board 62" long for me; the 48" width was perfect.

At home, I used a dinner plate as a template to mark the corners,

then rounded them off with my jigsaw. Super-simple cut.

Then my son helped me carry the board into the bedroom. I think it's easiest to build an upholstered headboard in the room where it's going to be used.
I hot-glued an old mattress topper to the plywood. As you can see, the foam doesn't cover the entire board, but that doesn't matter--only the top part needs to be padded. I used scissors to cut off the excess foam from the sides and corners. I've heard that an electric knife also works well for this purpose. My foam was easy to cut with scissors, though.
On the floor of his room, I spread out the fabric with which I covered the headboard, wrong side up. (Lee wanted a solid red headboard. I found it hard to find fabric that was quite what he wanted, but we found a quilt at Target that was just right. It cost $35.) I centered the board, foam side down, on top of the fabric.

Then I simply pulled and stapled and pulled and stapled all the way around the board. A word to the wise: at first, use just a few staples to hold your fabric in place. That way, if you need to shift position of your board at all, you don't have too many staples to remove. Also, be sure you have plenty of fabric to go around your curved corners. You may need to cut out some of the fullness in the corners on the back of your board. But plenty of fabric will allow you to keep the wrinkles on the back of the board where they won't be seen; your sides and front will lie smooth. Keep pulling your fabric taut and stapling until you're satisfied with the way the fabric lies.

Next comes the best part. I simply slid the headboard into its place at the head of the bed, them scooted the bed up against the headboard. No mounting, no cleats, no nothing--the weight of the bed holds the headboard securely against the wall.

And here's the finished product:

See why I love the Brimnes bed? Just look at these drawers! Lots of storage space for Lego bricks.

While I was at it, I made a valance for Lee's window out of cheerful fabric. I had some left over, so I think I'll make some throw pillows for his bed or perhaps a couple of floor pillows. I think it all goes well with the LEGO wall art I created for Lee last year.

Notice the bed doesn't have a fancy duvet or coverlet or bedspread. This is the room of a 14-year-old boy. All he cares about is having a blanket with which to cover up; he certainly doesn't want a fancy bed treatment that he needs to straighten up every morning. And that's fine with me. I put cute bedspreads on his bed back when he was little boy. Some day, when he has a home of his own, there will likely be a pretty bedspread on his bed again. For now, that's not the most important thing in life.

Total cost for the headboard: $48. $35 for the quilt and $13 for the plywood. Foam and staples I already had on hand.

I think it all looks pretty good, and judging from the way he's sleeping, I'd say Lee's happy with it, too! What do you think?

I'm joining these fun parties:

Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories A to Z
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage
Inspiration Friday, At the Picket Fence
Show and Share Day at Just a Girl
Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different, Act Normal


  1. That came out great. I have a 14 year old son who is a LEGO fanatic as well. He can put those sets together faster than the people who work in the stores. I have to show my son this post. Love the valance as well.

  2. I think it looks great! We're planning to do something similar for our bed, so this was a great inspiration for me! Thanks!

  3. looks wonderful & great job on the headboard!

  4. You made that look so easy!! Love how it turned out...and this room certainly looks differently than last week's photo!!

  5. You did a wonderful job!
    And that bed is great with drawers.

    Enjoyed visiting,

    White Spray Paint

  6. Lee's room looks great! I love the color combination you used and especially love the headboard you created. An upholstered headboad is definitely a project that I'd like to try and your directions make is so easy. The curtain you made is the perfect touch to contrast with the blue walls.

  7. That looks fantastic. good job! Love the curtain and the quilt too :)

  8. Wow your headboard turned out so great! I really love that color scheme you have going on in that room. I wish my daughter would go with an upholstered headboard but what she really wants is a canopy bed and there's no way one of those is going to fit in her room!

  9. This came out wonderful~ super great job on it!! :)

  10. I love the bright pops of red, as well as the rounded corners! Great Room.

  11. That is just fantastic!!! You took an Ikea piece and total made it customized for his room! The colors are awesome. What a cool mom you are!

  12. Love your lack of pretty bedspread and the philosophy behind it. I started doing that when the kids were little. Problem is now neither one of my boys will tolerate a top sheet. I think I have some serious apologies to make to their future wives!


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