Adding a headboard to a bed can create a terrific focal point, add storage, and add a finishing element to a room. Gaining storage is a plus for small bedrooms and adding architectural detail often completes a large one. My advice on this project - some are DIY - use the best quality materials you can. Hire a pro if you cannot fabricate a high-quality product. Since you'll look at it daily, you want it to be the best it can.
1) Shelf headboard. This is a very quick idea that adds storage as well as architectural detail. This custom shelf is painted yellow for a cottage style room. Purchasing free-standing shelves from a big box store works well but be sure the shelves are affixed together; you can even add doors to the shelves. Adding moldings creates a built-in look.
2) Fabric headboard. A very standard idea that has many variations. Soft, attractive, a place to add color and texture, this option is less expensive than a four poster or sleigh style bed. Make it a high quality fabric like Sunbrella or Ultra-Suede so it is durable, cleanable and safe.
3) Upholstered wall. Rather than defining the area just above the bed, use fabric and batting to pad the entire floor-to-ceiling space behind the bed for a great look.
4) Floating Shelves. While not the best alternative for a child's room, floating shelves are a sleek way to add detail above a bed. Great for guest rooms when books, lighting, toiletries and other items are within reach for guests. This affords you the opportunity to change the decor and re-position the shelves as needed.
5) Recessed shelve haves. If you have a large niche - common in California tract homes, flanking the bed with recessed shelves looks nice and functions well. In a large room, you can create this on one wall and add depth to the space. The shelves are perfect for books, photo frames and collectibles; be sure to tuck in some lighting.
6) Panels. Any type of panel, whether it's wood or fabric or a found object, can be hung as a headboard and add an artistic element. Ideas include mirror frames, Asian artifacts and even plywood painted or stained to complement the room decor.