The most visible part of the bed (in which the average person spends a third of his or her life) is, curiously, often the most ignored.
It’s a shame, since a headboard isn’t merely decorative: it plays an important function in rest and relaxation.
It serves as a cushion for when we’re sitting up in bed watching TV, reading or browsing on a mobile before nodding off — and it keeps walls from getting dirty.
Statement piece: The Lucifer’s horn king-sized headboard by Andrew Martin is from £1,195
We’ve come a long way from the bubblegum-pink, satin-padded creations of the Eighties. But upholstered, eye-catching designs are back.
‘We are seeing more clients being daring with their design choices,’ says Emma Deterding, founder and creative director of Kelling Designs (kellingdesigns.com) and KDLoves. ‘Big, bold shapes in bright colours and patterned fabrics being a go-to choice.’
Deciding on size, shape and finishings — as well as the colour and pattern — is part and parcel of creating your dream headboard. Size matters, say experts who insist you should get the largest one the room can take to give the most impact.
Some of the biggest headboards are even winged to create a sense of scale, as well as a cocoon-like feel. The curved Monroe from Heal’s combines sweeping lines with generous proportions. (heals. com, from £779).
Curves are popular for headboards without wings, too, according to Sarah Massouh, founder of Willow & Hall (willowandhall.co.uk). ‘Headboards in shapely designs such as scalloped and curved designs are proving on trend.’
High-end design house Andrew Martin offers clients the choice between a curvaceous feminine shape, a silhouette as tailored as a gentleman’s suit, or lines that mimic the eccentric torrents of Lucifer’s horn (andrewmartin. co.uk, from £1,195 for a king — they don’t offer doubles).
While upholstered headboards are increasingly popular, because they allow you to create a unique look, they can also be reupholstered as trends — and tastes — change. Designer Bethie Tricks (kdloves. com, from £1,400 for a double and £1,600 for kingsize).
Prints are made on sustainable Belgian flax linen and inspired by much that nature has to offer, such as botanical plant structures or cells under a microscope.
With nature and mindfulness being an important factor for many when it comes to bedrooms, there may be temptation to shy away from anything too wild for a headboard.
However, Deterding insists vivid tones, such as shades of pink, blue and green, can be ‘just as restful as grey or beige’.
Standalone headboards are a smart purchase as they can be paired with any bed.
At Loaf, all sit on the floor or can be wall-mounted. It has 18 shapes and 155 fabrics to choose from. The Tall Billow headboard ticks the boxes for being oversized and bold — check out spiced orange. (loaf.com, from £625 for a double).
For a bespoke feel, attention to the finishings is a must. Buttoning, piping and studding add those extra eye-catching details that will ensure your headboard makes a real statement. If it’s studs you like, try Neptune’s Eva headboard with its scalloped shape and double line of studs (neptune. com, from £475 for a double).
For those who want to be part of the design process, go bespoke — even if you’re working with a tight budget. At many High Street stores, you can choose the shape, height and fabric.
For a bold design, try Next (next.co.uk) for Catherine Lansfield’s brightly coloured velvet collection. The chic Boutique Velvet headboards start at £150. At Dunelm (dunelm.com), a velvet headboard starts at £104.
If you prefer to read in your favourite armchair rather than your bed, Sue Jones, founder and creative director of Oka (oka.com), suggests using a piece of artwork instead of a headboard.
‘Create your own unique headboard with a piece of wall art or even an ornate mirror,’ she says.
Fine art lovers can go a step further and get a headboard made from any of the paintings that the National Gallery holds in its permanent collection.
High-end British bed-maker Savoir Beds joined forces with Andrew Martin, which has permission under licence to reproduce paintings within the gallery to be upholstered on to a headboard (and base).
You can sleep in the presence of work from the likes of Monet, Degas, Turner or Rembrandt.
The catch is you have to buy the bed base, and prices start at £16,037 (savoirbeds.com).
Whatever you decide to bring into the bedroom, make sure it delivers the drama that dreams are made of.