How to hang cushions as headboards

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A headboard on your bed gives you something to prop your pillows against when you sit up in bed and stops your walls from getting marked. A padded headboard is more comfortable than a plain wooden one, but it can be expensive to buy and complicated to make.

Creating a sling to hang cushions for a headboard is a simple and attractive alternative to a full padded headboard.

Measure the width of your bed. You need to buy a curtain pole that will stretch across this width and then extend enough space either side to attach decorative finials. Buy a continuous stretch of metal curtain pole for this width. Do not rely on extending poles to cover the width as they are more likely to sag in the middle.

Buy two large cushions. You need to hang your cushions high enough so that your head does not touch the wall and that they reach down to the small of your back. Make sure the cushions are 60 cm (23 ½ inches) wide. Square cushions give a better visual effect. If you are making a headboard for a single bed, only buy one cushion.

Measure the width of the cushions. Call this “A.” Measure the height of the cushions and call this “B.” Cut curtain material to make a sling. Cut the width of the material as B + 10 cm (4 inches). Cut the length of material as A x 2 + 25 cm (10 inches). Fold over 2.5 cm (1 inch) on either side of each piece of material and pin it. Loop the material over so the top and bottom edges are together. Push the front edge down by 12 cm (5 inches) loop the back edge over so the patterned side of the material touches the patterned side of the front piece. Match the edges up and then pin 2.5 cm (1 inch) down from the edge. This will form an "R” shape. Turn the sling inside out. For a double bed, repeat this sequence to produce a second sling.

Take your sling(s) to a sewing service. If you decide to do the sewing yourself you will need to unpin the join of the two ends in order to sew the sides. The sewing service will have to do that too, but pinning it first will show them exactly what you want.

Take the pillows off the bed. Measure up the height of your cushions (B) plus 30 cm (12 inches) from the mattress. Mark the wall at that height. Mark where each side of the bed touches the wall. Pull the bed away from the wall and measure up from the floor to that mark and make a note of the height. Measure up from the floor at each side mark to the height you just measured. Make a small vertical mark and then cross it with a horizontal mark. You should now have a line of three marks on the wall.

Drill holes in the wall at the left-most mark on the wall. Bang in plugs and then screw in one of the brackets for the pole. Rest the pole on this bracket. Place the pole on top of the un-fixed bracket at the other side of the bed. Hold the bracket to the wall where the right-most mark is. Place the spirit level on top of the pole and adjust the height of the bracket. Stick a pencil through the screw holes in the bracket to mark their position. Drill the holes, bang in plugs, then screw the bracket to the wall. Put the pole on the two brackets. If you are hanging cushions for a double bed, fix a third bracket in the middle of the pole length.

Push the cushion into the sling. Push the curtain pole through the loop in the sling. Repeat if you have a second sling. Rest the pole on the wall brackets and turn the fixing screw on each bracket to hold the pole in place. Add the finials to each end of the pole and slide the bed back into position.