How To Choose The Right Headboard
How To Choose The Right Headboard

How To Choose The Right Headboard

From curved and floral to wavy and striped, the right headboard can make or break a bedroom. To help you avoid making an expensive mistake, we asked designer Lydia Horsnall to answer our questions – plus, we’ve rounded up our favourite styles available now.
By Georgina Blaskey

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What are the key considerations that go into choosing a headboard?

Choose something you love because you’ll be sleeping with it every night. Most headboards only ever measure a maximum of 3m, so you can go for a more expensive fabric, too. I love making headboards that are a little bit different – I’m currently upholstering my Wave design in a Fermoie fabric that I spotted in the Marbella Club earlier this year. It will hold pride of place in my bedroom – next to Avalon bedside tables from Trove by Studio Duggan.

What proportions do you need to think about?

If you have the luxury of a high ceiling, you can afford for the headboard to be taller – it draws the eye up and accentuates the generosity of the space. I always feel this gives a bed more of that hotel feel at home, too. For a smaller space, keeping the headboard low but expanding it out past the bedsides tables makes the room feel wider, and still allows for space above to add artwork or mirrors.

So, how far should it come out either side of the bed?

It depends on the look you want, but a winged headboard should only come just past the mattress and still hug the bed base; any other shape should stay in line with the side of mattress.


Which fabrics are best and how can you protect them?

There are some great fabrics out there now that also boast ‘easy clean’ properties. Designers Guild and Romo have some brilliant well-priced options which you know will have good longevity – they’re great for kids’ rooms and any other high traffic areas.

Are there certain materials to avoid?

I personally think velvet doesn’t age well – when you repeatedly rest your head on it, it scars and looks tatty quickly. Finding a fabric you can have steam cleaned will also prolong the life of your headboard.

If you're not sure, how do you decide between patterned or plain fabric?

If you are scared to use pattern, then go for a plain neutral headboard and add the fun through the accessories on the bed, like the cushions. A headboard is a statement piece, so you have to be very confident you like the pattern if that’s the way you want to go.

Are there any headboard trends have you noticed recently?

Stripes are timeless but a great way to add fun into a scheme. I used to work at Buchanan Studio, and it has the best selection. Right now, I’m loving Studio Stripe in Earth, and Stripe Two Paris.


Are buttoned headboards dated these days?

A buttoned headboard is definitely more traditional; today, I feel like people are into a cleaner look and smoother lines. But interiors, like fashion, are cyclical, so I’m sure it won’t be too long before they’re back.

What kind of finishing touches do you like to see e.g. piping, studs etc?

Both have their place – adding a stud elevates the look and I love antique brass or bronze for a more traditional touch. Similarly, using a patterned fabric with a plain piping accentuates the shape of the headboard nicely.

How should you fix it to the bed?

I like to fix a headboard that is on a split batten to the wall; not only does it look better, it’s safer and delivers a cleaner look. It will also cause minimal movement once you’re in bed. 

Finally, is there anything else worth considering?

To give your bedroom set-up that interior design touch, I would always suggest the top of your mattress should run in line with the top of your bedside tables – also, watch this space for my bedside tables, which will be launching in the new year. 


Clemmie Headboard, £475 | Neptune
Clemmie Headboard, £475 | Neptune
Wave Headboard, From £800 | By Lydia
Wave Headboard, From £800 | By Lydia

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