Headboard Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right One

October 26, 2022

Kouboo Rattan Petal Headboard

Source: KOUBOO

You know the importance of a good bed, but if you haven’t considered the benefits of the right headboard, you might just be selling your bedroom short. Your headboard isn’t just an accessory to your bedframe and mattress; it’s a key design element and, more often than not, the focal point of your entire bedroom.

The purpose of a headboard

Style trends may come and go, but headboards are certainly nothing new. In fact, the use of headboards dates back to Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors and on through the Middle Ages. In those times, a headboard’s functionality was key to a good night’s rest because it blocked cold wintry drafts and provided a buffer between the sleeper’s head and the wall.

Today, you likely sleep in the comfort of central heating and air conditioning, so headboards are largely decorative elements. That said, choosing a headboard will affect the overall aesthetic of the bedroom, so it’s important to choose wisely. 

Choosing the right type of headboard

Natural rattan headboards

Natural rattan headboard with rattan nightstands

Source: KOUBOO

Choosing a natural fiber – like rattan – for your headboard can make a big impact on your bedroom design. Rattan brings instant texture and depth to your space and blends well with a number of décor styles, including modern bohemian, coastal, contemporary and transitional.

While many headboard styles are heavy and formal feeling, natural rattan creates an instantly casual, artistic vibe that lends distinct personality to a space. To make the most of a rattan headboard, keep its natural lightness flowing through your space with live plants, botanical or floral prints and other natural materials.

Upholstered headboards

Upholstered pink headboard Construction 2 Style

Source: Construction2Style

Upholstered headboards have been a star in contemporary bedrooms for some time now, and for good reason. Natural fiber upholstery lends a soft, warm design element to your space and can make your bedroom feel cozier. That said, upholstered headboards are also available in synthetic fabrics that can be more stain resistant, so if you have kids or pets, you may want to consider a more forgiving material. 

Upholstery is also a fun and simple way to bring a pop of color into your bedroom. You can find headboards in any color, from rich blue velvet to salmon pink linen, with hardware to complement your design style. Keep in mind that if you suffer from allergies, you may want to steer clear of plush upholstery, as it can trap dust and other allergens that make you sniffle while you sleep.

Headboards with storage

Headboard with storage RealHomes

Source: RealHomes

If you live in an apartment or home with limited space, you’ll want to make the most of your furniture – including your headboard. Choosing a headboard with built-in storage is a great way to maximize functionality without sacrificing style.

Some headboards feature shelves or small drawers while others boast built-in nightstands, giving you an all-in-one bedroom set. If you’re after a lot of storage, you might consider purchasing a bedframe and headboard combination that includes storage drawers under the mattress or at the foot of the bed. Keep in mind headboards with storage are often much wider than those without, so be sure you’ve got the room before you make a final decision.

Headboards with lights

Lit headboard Style by Emily Henderson

Source: Style by Emily Henderson

Headboards can set the design tone of a bedroom; headboards with lights can give it instant ambiance. Many wood and upholstered headboards come with lighting fixtures already installed, which can be a smart choice in rooms that lack overhead lighting or for when you’d like a softer glow.

If you’re looking for a cool, modern vibe, you could go for a backlit headboard, which gives the bed (and your bedroom) a soft glow when night falls. Before you purchase a headboard with buil-in lights, make sure you know the electrical requirements; you should be okay with just an outlet for most, but some might require wiring or other electrical work.

What to consider before buying a headboard

Wood and fabric headboard Brexton Cole

Source: Brexton Cole Interiors

If you’re ready to jump into bed with a new headboard, you’ll want to take a few design elements into consideration, including the size of the headboard, the color and material, and how the headboard will attach to your existing bed.

Headboard size

Headboards come in a range of sizes to coordinate with the size of your bed. In general, headboards are 2 to 4 inches wider than the width of your mattress, allowing it to anchor and frame your bed. Some headboards are created much wider than your mattress – particularly those with built-in storage or lighting fixtures. However, you’ll still want to ensure you purchase the correct size for your mattress, as the features and hardware will coordinate with the bed size. 

Headboard color

Selecting a color for your headboard can be overwhelming, but it can also be a whole lot of fun. You’ll want to consider your existing décor to decide whether you’d like a statement color or something more neutral. A pop of color, like our Rattan Petal Headboard in mint, can help you create a fun, boho or coastal contemporary design vibe in your space, while something neutral, like whitewashed wood, can help your bedroom feel calm and serene.

Headboard material 

Selecting a material for your headboard can be tricky; wood headboards are classic and durable, while natural rattan lends a whimsical and organic vibe. If you’re opting for upholstery, you’ll want to determine what kind of fabric works well in your space. Organic cottons and linens are an excellent choice for coastal décor, while something plush like velvet or wool might be more appropriate for a contemporary style. 

Headboard attachment styles

If you’re purchasing a headboard for an existing bedframe, you’ll want to know how the headboard is attached. Some headboards, like our Rattan Chippendale, are freestanding. This means you’ll simply sandwich the headboard between your bed and the wall, which will keep it securely in place. Because of this, a freestanding headboard will work with any bedframe.

Wall-mounted headboards, on the other hand, attach directly to the wall with screws. Once you’ve placed the headboard where you want it, you’ll position your bed against it, making the bed and headboard feel like a single piece of furniture.

Other headboards attach directly to the bedframe, generally with brackets and screws that are included with the headboard. Most bedframes are compatible with any frame-attached headboard, as long as you purchase the correct size for your bed.

Choose a Kouboo rattan headboard

KOUBOO peacock rattan headboard
Source: KOUBOO


If you’re looking to update your space with a new headboard, a KOUBOO rattan headboard is an easy and stylish choice. Natural rattan blends well with many décor styles, and you can choose from a natural neutral or a fun pop of color. Additionally, since our headboards are freestanding, installation literally couldn’t be easier; just sandwich the headboard between the bed and the wall.

And of course, when you choose KOUBOO, you’re selecting a sustainable product handmade by artisans around the world. A portion of our sales goes to KIVA, a non-profit organization that empowers people – particularly women – around the world with small loans to help them grow their business.

Our natural rattan headboards come in a variety of designs, colors and sizes, and serve as a unique and artistic focal point for your bedroom. And knowing your headboard is handmade, sustainable and that your purchase benefits women around the world, you can rest easy – right under that headboard.