Why Statement Headboards Are the Latest Designer Obsession

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Furniture, Bedrooms, Design, Decorating, Interior designers

“It’s epic” is not the sort of thing you expect to hear in regard to a headboard. But those are precisely the words used by Los Angeles–based interior designer Alex White to describe the one he conjured for an “unapologetically glamorous” client. Inspired by the bed in Diane von Furstenberg’s apartment, documented in a 1980s Vogue article, he devised a wild riff with built-in side tables and covered the whole thing in faux fur. Epic is right. 

White is not the only one jazzing up the sometimes-boring bedroom staple. Lately, headboards have been making bolder statements across the globe. New York–based architect Stephanie Goto recently told Vanity Fair that she snapped up a 1980 George Nakashima headboard at auction for her new Connecticut home. And Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon and glassblower Paul Arnhold have a wool-covered scalloped number in their sleeping quarters, which ran in US AD’s September issue. Even young tastemaker North West is in on the trend: She slumbers below a giant pink upholstered butterfly.

“The headboard is an obvious focal point of a bedroom and the perfect way to make a dramatic first impression,” says New York–based designer Rayman Boozer. “You can play with size, shape, color, pattern, or all of the above!”

Despite the utter flamboyance of his most recent headboard endeavor, White points out some practical appeal: “A statement headboard is a simple way to add focus, specificity, and personality to a room without the commitment or risk of a major architectural intervention like millwork, custom moldings, or expensive wall treatments,” he explains.

Swedish decorator Beata Heuman is on the same page. In her London apartment, she framed a blanket by BFGF with blue velvet to create a dramatic backdrop for the bed. “I got the idea from an old photograph of Lee Miller sitting in bed reading the papers with a large rug hanging behind her in place of the headboard,” she explains. Since that experiment, it has become a bit of a staple for the studio. “It looked both grand and bohemian—the holy grail.” Here, we’ve collected some ravishing examples that totally make the bed.

Alex White

Photo: Chris Mottalini

“Exploring the unexpected when it comes to something so basic, so familiar, and—let’s be honest—functionally not necessary is always worth the effort,” says interior designer Alex White. That’s why he went for it with this far-out headboard for a downtown Manhattan apartment. His advice? “When the room is too big or lacks distinct architectural details, I find a statement headboard is an easy remedy to bring drama, focus, and sensuality.”

Aaron Aujla and Emily Bode

Photo: Victoria Hely-Hutchinson

In the New York home of fashion designer Emily Adams Bode and Green River Project’s Aaron Aujla, the creative couple used a bamboo screen, covered with a 1960s Picasso printed textile, to make an unexpected headboard.

Beata Heuman

Photo: Paul Raeside

“I like doing big headboards in small rooms, especially when you have good ceiling height, as it emphasizes the proportions of the space,” says interior designer Beata Heuman, who did just that in her London bedroom, framing a figurative blanket in blue velvet. “It’s basically a headboard-slash-artwork.” One note from Heuman: “The shape and size of this headboard only really works when you have an image, rather than a patterned fabric with a repeat. It’s so big that you want it to be a window into something else, rather than a pattern that could feel two-dimensional or flat.”

Mieke ten Have

Photo: Ricardo Labougle

At stylist Mieke ten Have’s upstate New York retreat, her childhood headboard makes a charming statement.

Wes Gordon and Paul Arnhold

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

In Wes Gordon and Paul Arnhold’s Manhattan dwelling, designed by Stephen Sills, the master bedroom features a scalloped headboard covered in blue wool.

Rodman Primack and Rudy Weissenberg

Photo: Stephen Johnson

In the guest bedroom of Rodman Primack and Rudy Weissenberg’s Mexico City residence, a custom wicker headboard by RP Miller features integrated side tables.


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