ORC Week 3 | DIY | Upholstered Beds

We’re in week three of the One Room Challenge, and I have finally finished the DIY upholstered kids’ beds that I started working on months ago. This is not my first rodeo with upholstering beds – I hacked an Ikea one here too. These are a little more technical with the addition of nail head trim, but still a straightforward DIY.

How to Upholster A Bed Frame DIY Tutorial

I spent a while searching for cheap bed frames that had straight lines and no footboard. I don’t recommend the ones I chose (more on that next week), but something more sturdy with a similar shape would be perfect. They cost me £75 each with free shipping (they’ve since gone up a bit).

Cheap wooden bed frame

They worked out fine, but I will say that the wood is very soft and, while that made them easier to work with, it also means they damage quite easily. Ikea’s Tarva bed frame would work well for this.


1. Bed frame
2. Wood for framing headboard extension (to match supports on your existing bed frame)
3. Metal braces (like these)
4. Angle brackets (like these or these)
5. Wood screws
6. Particle board
7. Wood trim
8. 1″ thick, firm density upholstery foam for headboard*
9. 1/4″ or 1/2″ thick, medium density upholstery foam for foot and side boards*
10. Wadding (I used 6 oz polyester wadding)*
11. Fabric – I used 2 1/2 yards for each bed (similar fabric here)
12. Upholstery nail stud strips

*I got my foam and wadding from this eBay seller


1. Staple gun with long staples
2. Hand saw
3. Hammer & nails


Make Foot Posts Level with the Bed Frame

The foot posts of my bed frames weren’t level with the foot board, so I sawed the tops of the legs off and sanded them smooth. Foam and wadding will hide any rough kinks.

Saw off excess foor posts

Build Up the Headboard

Figure out how tall you want your headboard to be and build it up, gluing the wood together and securing it with metal braces. I just used long ones on the sides, but an extra set on the back would make it even stronger. I used angle brackets on the inside corners.

Build a frame to add headboard height
Metal braces

Cut a sheet of particle board to cover your frame, but have it stop short of where the mattress will sit, otherwise the mattress won’t fit on when you’re done. Nail it to the frame.

DIY headboard ready for upholstery

Trim it out with thin wood trim. Mine was 1″ wide x 1/4″ thick. This is what you’ll be securing your nail heads to later on.

Wood trim ready to be upholstered

Upholster the Headboard

Next I cut a piece of 1″ thick foam to fit inside my trim, and attached it with spray glue. This will hold it in place so you can get the wadding on.

Upholstered bed DIY - adding foam to headboard

Speaking of wadding, that comes next – stapled around the whole headboard.

Wadding on headboard

Cut the corners once the back is stapled on so there’s no excess wadding.

Trim wadding
Staple gun for upholstery

Staple under the foam too, just in case that spray glue isn’t strong enough to hold it forever (it probably won’t be).

DIY upholstered bed frame in progress

Once that’s secure, drape your fabric over the top and start stapling again.

Draped frabic

Fold the edges to keep them looking clean.

Staple fabric
Corner fold

Upholster the Top Legs

Turn the frame on its side and wrap the feet in fabric, folding it under at the edges, then staple it on. Keep the stapled edge to the least visible side of the legs (the inside edge, under the bed).

DIY Upholstered Bed legs

You’ll end up with a little gap in the fabric, which you’ll cover later on.

That’s the headboard finished, for now.

Upholster the Sides of the Bed Frame

Next up: the sides. Cut a length of the thinner foam and staple it round each side.

Foam used for DIY upholstered beds

Make sure the ends line up exactly with the bed legs. You don’t need a tonne of staples in at this point, because you can secure it more when you add the fabric.

Again, wrap it in fabric. At the foot end, tuck the fabric under the foam. I had a staple in the end to hold it which I removed later. Leave enough excess at the head end to wrap around to the back of the bed frame.

DIY upholstered bed sides

This is where you’ll cover the gap you left earlier. I’m sure the pictures will explain better than I can, but you’re going to carefully cut the fabric in line with the headboard, then fold those flaps under and staple it behind the headboard.

Cover gap with fabric

Once you’ve stapled the excess around the side, you’ll be left with a lovely, clean join.

DIY fabric upholstery

Upholster the Footboard

On to the foot board! It was super late when I was doing this bit – my photos are pretty horrible. You’re basically repeating the process – staple foam around, cut exactly to the width of the foot board.

DIY upholstery for bed frame foot board using foam and fabric

I added wadding to beef it up, bringing it more in line with the legs and softening the hard edges.


On the last bit, you’ll ideally have more fabric to play with than me – I cut it a bit short. Fold the edges over (ignore that staple – again, it was just holding it in place temporarily) and staple on the inside of the side boards.

Upholstered bed frame Corners

You’ll be tidying it off with trim later, but for now, the whole bed should be upholstered.

This is how both my beds sat for a good while. This photo, by the way, is a much more accurate depiction of the colours than the (awful) ones above.

Add Nail Head Trim

We moved house before I finally got around to adding trim, which meant unpicking a bunch of staples, disassembling the bed frames and then putting them all back together again, which actually didn’t take long. I bought 5 meters of this trim, which was just enough to go around two headboards with a little left over for the legs.

DIY Upholstered Bed Headboard with Nail Head Trim

There aren’t any process photos for this part unfortunately, but essentially you’re nailing the upholstery tacks into the wood trim you built around the foam on the headboard. You can feel it through the fabric to line it up neatly.

DIY Upholstered Bed Trim Detail

I just added a little trim around the tops of the DIY upholstered bed legs at the foot board, rather than at every seam, because those were the only parts that weren’t dead straight. That said, if I’d had more, I might trim the bottom of the legs too, to pull the fabric taut.

DIY Upholstered Bed Legs
DIY Upholstered Bed

And that’s it. Both kids’ DIY upholstered beds are done!

DIY Upholstered Kids Bed
DIY Upholstered Bed

Next Week

Next week – a homework station and pegboard storage. See you then!


Design & Floor Plan | Week One
Wall Decals & Shelves | Week Two
DIY Upholstered Beds | Week Three
Fixing & Organizing | Week Four
Space Saving Homework Station & Pegboard Toy Storage | Week 5
Kids Room Reveal | Week Six

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  1. April 21, 2016 / 3:41 pm

    The bed looks great! I see those beds at thrift stores all the time. Now, I'll look at them differently!

  2. April 21, 2016 / 3:41 pm

    Wow! You really transformed that bed. That's a tiny little room but it's going to be a jewel. You've obviously put so much work and detail into it. 🙂

    We'd love for you to link up this post with us at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Our readers would enjoy seeing your progress.

  3. April 24, 2016 / 6:31 am

    This is a great idea! Very cute

  4. April 24, 2016 / 6:31 am

    LOOOOOVE your new headboard…I've never been brave enough to upholster by myself but you made it look easy enough 🙂 (famous last words, right?!) I love the sheets too-super cute! Kristin @ Postbox Designs

  5. April 24, 2016 / 6:31 am

    How beautiful it looks. I love the colors and fabulous idea by adding extra pieces of wood to create a taller headboard. Now as designitvintage

  6. April 27, 2016 / 4:50 am

    What a fabulous idea and it looks so professional too!

  7. April 27, 2016 / 9:39 am

    I like how you used your resources! The bed looks great!!!

  8. April 29, 2016 / 8:59 am

    Lizzie, I'm so glad you joined us today. How's the progress going? I'm off to look for a new post. 🙂

  9. May 3, 2016 / 6:05 am

    Wow what a fantastic color and technique. I am a bit late to the TOHOT party this week due to my college semester finals but I'm so glad that I didn't miss this. Have a wonderful week.

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