Common Headboard FAQs: Your Questions Answered

Everyone knows what a headboard looks like. But have you ever thought about why they are used or come in different styles and sizes?

If you’re thinking about buying a headboard for your bed, we’ve looked at the common questions people ask before purchasing.

Here at British Beds Direct, we’re here to help you buy the best headboard for your bedroom.

Close up of dark grey button back headboard with white bedding

Table of contents

When was the headboard invented?

Did you know that headboards date back to the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs? 

It’s believed headboards were invented as a sign of wealth and social status. Drawings show that headboards were often carved from ebony, silver, or gold, suggesting they were used for decorative purposes.

Ancient Greeks then took the idea and turned it into something more practical and comfortable. 

Over time, the headboard has been adapted to suit interior design trends and needs. They are now used to create a statement in your bedroom, adding style and comfort to your bed.

Why is a headboard important?

Headboards create a focal point and add a personal touch to your bed. They are often underrated, with many people seeing them as an extra piece of furniture. However, headboards have a range of functional qualities too.

Adding a headboard to your bed will give your bedroom more texture and dimension. One of the primary reasons for buying a headboard is to add more style and luxury to your bedroom. 

If we explore their practicality, this is where people can be persuaded to buy a headboard.

1. Provides extra support

If you’re a bookworm and love reading in bed before a good night’s sleep, a headboard provides your back and neck with much-needed support. Headboards prevent you from leaning against the wall, allowing you to sit up comfortably in bed.

2. Prevents wall damage

If your bed is flat against the wall, you may be unaware of marks caused by the bed’s edges and corners. This can occur as you toss and turn at night or when you move the bed for cleaning. As you sleep, sweat and oil from your hair and body can also leave stains on the wall. Headboards act as a barrier, preventing wall damage from ruining the paint or wallpaper’s finish. 

Tip: If your walls are already damaged, headboards can also be used to hide existing wear and tear.

3. Keeps pillows in place

Don’t let moving pillows be the reason you have a restless sleep. If you’ve ever woken to find your pillow is no longer under your head, a headboard may be the answer to your problems. They close the gap between your mattress and the wall, meaning there is nowhere for the pillow to escape. 

4. Makes your room warmer

During cold winter nights, you may find it difficult to sleep. If your bedroom suffers in cooler temperatures due to poor wall insulation, headboards can help guard against the cold when they are placed touching the wall. The fabric helps to trap heat, keeping you warm and cosy as you try to fall asleep. 

Dark coloured bedroom with modern styling and contemporary headboard

Can a headboard fit any bed?

If you already have the perfect bed, but you want to upgrade its look and feel, a headboard is an ideal solution. 

Headboards and bed frames are made to be compatible. Most beds come with pre-drilled holes, allowing you to install any headboard.

If you can’t see these on your existing bed, don’t panic! Free-standing headboards are a suitable alternative. 

As long as you have a standard bed frame, you can buy any headboard to complement it. Make sure to buy the same size to ensure it fits together.

Can a headboard be bigger or smaller than the bed?

Headboards should complement your bedroom’s aesthetic. Anything too big or small may not look right, throwing off your bedroom’s feng shui.

When buying a headboard, you need to consider the size of your bed. Headboards are around 2-3 inches wider than the bed’s frame and mattress, allowing extra room for duvets, pillows and other bedding.

Depending on the style and feel you want to achieve, free-standing headboards can be bigger or smaller than the bed. No matter which size you buy, our tip is to make sure the headboard is centrally aligned with the bed.

How high should a headboard be above the mattress?

In most cases, headboards are available in standard heights, though they can vary depending on the width of the bed they are designed for. 

Whether the headboard has a straight, staggered or curved top can also affect how high it sits above the mattress. The heights we display in our product listings are from the centre of the headboard.

Different mattress heights will also change how the headboard looks above your bed. Shallow mattresses give the illusion of a taller headboard whilst higher ones make it look shorter.

Here at British Beds Direct, our hand-made headboards are designed to be 114cm high. We also have a range of tall headboards that are 184cm high, creating a bigger impact in your bedroom.

Do you need a headboard with a divan bed?

Most divan beds are a base-only option and do not come with a headboard. Depending on the look you want to achieve, they can be purchased separately.

When fitting a headboard to a divan base, you’ll need to consider items already attached to the wall, such as shelves or artwork.

You don’t need a headboard with a divan bed as the base has perfect functionality without one. However, by adding a headboard, your bed will benefit from more style and support.

Can you put a headboard on an ottoman bed?

At British Beds Direct, many of our ottoman beds come with an existing headboard. However, if you have a base-only ottoman, you can uplift its appearance by adding a headboard.

No matter which type of ottoman frame you have, it can be transformed with a headboard. Simply choose your preferred style and colour to give your ottoman bed a new lease of life.

Cream coloured bedroom with winged button back headboard on modern bed

What colour headboard should I get?

Although interior design trends come and go, you should always match your headboard to your bedroom’s aesthetic. We recommend choosing a fabric that complements the base of your bed and the colour of your walls, ensuring that your new headboard suits your existing decor. Darker headboards create a big statement, while lighter shades have a more subtle impact.

Where to buy headboards?

Look no further than British Beds Direct for the best handcrafted, British-made headboards. Our products include traditional and modern styles, allowing you to find a headboard that suits your interior design preferences. We also have headboards to fit any size bed, including a single, small double, double, king and super king.

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