Repurposing an old headboard can add charm to your home. Whether made of wood, metal, or iron, that relic from your former bed frame has the potential to become a beautiful rustic bench, cute planter, or decorative piece. Read on to discover some easy DIY ways to upcycle that old headboard collecting dust in your garage.

What Can You Make From an Old Headboard or Metal Bed Frame?

An old headboard or metal bed frame offers versatile DIY possibilities. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:

  • Rustic bench for the porch, entryway, or mudroom
  • Coat rack or coat hanger to corral jackets and bags
  • Chalkboard for the playroom or kitchen
  • Plant stand or vertical planter
  • Welcome sign or organizer for the front door
  • Side table for the patio or deck
  • Porch swing for lazy summer afternoons
  • Pet bed so Fido can relax in style
  • A decorative piece to accent your living room

With a little sanding, painting, and imagination, that discarded headboard will become your next DIY success story. Let’s look at how to make some of these crafty upcycles.

How to Upcycle an Old Headboard into a Decorative Bench

One of the easiest ways to repurpose a headboard is by transforming it into a decorative bench. Wooden and metal headboards lend themselves perfectly to this shabby-chic redo.

Here’s what you’ll need to DIY a headboard bench:

  • Old full, queen, or king headboard
  • Four legs (can be repurposed table or chair legs or purchased)
  • Wood boards or metal strips for side rails
  • Power drill
  • Wood screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Paint and/or stain supplies (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Sand the headboard lightly to rough up the surface for painting or staining.
  2. Cut the legs to equal lengths if repurposing old table legs. Make sure they are tall enough to match the height of your headboard.
  3. Determine the placement of the legs on the underside of the headboard. Ensure an even overhang for the bench seat.
  4. Attach the legs using wood screws drilled up from the bottom.
  5. Cut side rails and attach them to the legs or headboard using wood glue and screws. Side rails add stability and will hold bench slats.
  6. Add a decorative bench seat on top using repurposed wood boards, metal strips, or a solid piece cut to size.
  7. Paint or stain your headboard bench to protect the wood, and decorate to match your style.

That’s all it takes to create a cute and functional headboard bench for your entryway, mudroom, porch, or yard. The variations are endless—go bright and cheery with a painted design or keep it rustic wood.

How to Make a Headboard into a Planter Box

Breathing new life into an old headboard often starts with daydreams of flower beds dancing in your head. Good news: It’s really simple to upcycle a headboard into a vertical planter box to grow herbs, succulents, or trailing vines.

Follow these easy steps to DIY a headboard planter:

What You Need

  • Old wooden headboard
  • Power drill
  • Small wood boards or strips
  • Landscape fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Brackets
  • Screws
  • Tin snips (if metal headboard)

Let’s Get Planting

  1. Cut a piece of landscaping cloth to fit inside the headboard and fold over the edges.
  2. Staple fabric in place, creating a lining to hold soil.
  3. Cut small wood boards to length and attach them vertically inside the headboard to hold the cloth upright and create planting sections.
  4. Screw large brackets onto the back for mounting the headboard planter to a wall or fence.
  5. Clip drainage holes if using a metal headboard.
  6. Fill planting sections with quality potting mix. Think light!
  7. Plant cascading flowers, trailing vines, or bushy herbs in your new vertical garden.
  8. Consider adding a bench below to sit on and enjoy your upcycled creation.

Repurposed as a planter box, that retired headboard finally gets to lay its weary head to rest—in a bed of soil and flowers! Feel free to get creative with materials; an old wrought iron headboard would be equally charming decorated in blooms.

What to Make Out of an Antique Metal Headboard

Finding new life for an antique metal headboard calls for even more imagination to honor its enduring charm. While this type of headboard has too much character to hide in the back of a craft closet, it also has functional limitations. Metal and iron headboards are better upcycled purely for decorative purposes.

Here are some ways to repurpose an old antique metal headboard and show off its timeless beauty:

Entryway Coat Rack

An ornate metal headboard adds a welcome touch of yesteryear elegance to a modern farmhouse entry. Upcycle it into a coat rack for function with a nod to tradition.

All it takes is a weatherproof sealant if used outdoors and some heavy-duty hooks screwed in place to hang coats, hats, and bags. For indoor use, decorative knobs can replace hooks to hang items on display.

Kitchen Spice Rack

Wrought iron and metal headboards work perfectly for mounting a rack of spice jars or utensils within reach. Keep things tidy while adding a dash of old-world enchantment to your kitchen.

Simply seal and screw sturdy brackets onto the back of the headboard in even rows to hold repurposed wood shelving. Keep the width reasonable enough to mount on the wall without needing additional upright legs.

Mudroom Lockers

Use an antique bed frame minus the headboard vertically as old-fashioned wall lockers for the mudroom. Repaint, label each long, narrow section, and add hooks inside and out to corral everything from backpacks to cleats. So charming!

How to Make a Metal Headboard Bench with Storage

Sometimes upcycling dreams and reality clash when you unearth grandma’s gorgeous spindle headboard from the attic only to discover its poor condition. Not to worry! Where there’s a will to repurpose, there’s a way to reimagine even the most worn-out piece.

Check out this easy DIY for turning a battered but beloved headboard into a bench filled with storage potential. Who couldn’t use extra seating and organization in their entryway or mudroom?

What You Need

  • Metal headboard (preferably with a closed metal frame underneath)
  • Scrap plywood or particle board
  • Saw horses, milk crates, boxes (for support)
  • Staple guns and heavy-duty staples
  • Outdoor fabric
  • Scissors
  • Screws
  • Power drill

Let’s Get Crafting

  1. Cut plywood or particle board pieces to size to fit tightly inside the metal headboard frame.
  2. Use boxes or crates under the headboard frame to support the weight while stapling.
  3. Staple fabric completely around plywood inserts. Make it nice and tight.
  4. Screw legs or attach casters to the bottom of the headboard frame for stability.
  5. Create a hinged lid out of extra board and fabric to access storage space.
  6. Add handles or hooks for hanging coats. Get organized!

With a little sweat, equity, and creativity, you transformed trash into treasure. That worn-out old metal headboard offers a perfect way to add extra seating options while corralling entryway clutter.

Finish it off with a thick, cozy cushion, and no one would ever know there’s storage space hiding just below the surface!

Answering Your DIY Headboard Questions

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope these headboard upcycle ideas sparked some creativity or answered questions! Here are some final tips before tackling your next repurposing adventure with that beloved antique headboard:

Where do I find an old headboard to DIY?

Your first stop should be local thrift stores, antique shops, yard sales, or sites like Craigslist. You can often score discarded headboards for dirt cheap or even free. Farmhouse styles are hot right now, but keep an open mind.

What if I don’t have an old bed or headboard?

No worries! Even if you don’t have grandma’s gorgeous iron bed collecting cobwebs in your attic, you can still make these DIY projects. Just source similar decorative pieces like an old gate, fence panel, or shutters to substitute.

How do I know what project suits my headboard?

Consider size, weight, and materials. Small, super-heavy metal headboards won’t work for a porch swing but may be great as a coat rack. Let your headboard dictate what it wants to become based on its strengths.

Any special tips for dealing with antique or older pieces?

Take extra care when preparing and cleaning antique wood and metal pieces. Look up specialty products for your specific material so refinishing won’t damage or discolor the original patina. Work slowly and carefully to protect your vintage find.

I’m not very handy; can I still DIY headboard projects?

Absolutely! All these upcycles use simple techniques like sanding, stapling, screwing, and basic sawing and cutting. Focus on small, beginner projects first to build confidence, and don’t be afraid to ask friends for help. Even simpler yet, paint and decorate your headboard as-is.

In Closing

I hope you discovered some inspiration today for tackling that old headboard project you’ve been dreaming about. With so many possibilities, what will yours become—a gorgeous bench, a cascading planter, or the next great decor find?

Did I miss any fabulous headboard upcycle ideas? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear how your repurposing projects turn out. As always, thanks so much for reading!

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