Easy How to Build a Headboard with Nightstands

October 5, 2022

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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I consider it such a joy to build a furniture piece for my nieces, nephews, and eventually my own kiddos as a wedding gift on their special day. So, when my nephew and his new wife wanted a headboard for their hip, downtown apartment, I jumped on the idea!

modern apartment kitchen

When space is limited a DIY wood slat headboard with floating nightstands is the way to go! Not taking up much room, this modern headboard would be a great addition for a guest room, dorm room, small bedroom, and of course a master bedroom too.

If you’re looking for more than just a new headboard and would like to build the bed too, this DIY platform bed article offers an easy step by step tutorial. Another easy build and great project coming your way! Let’s get started….

Easy How to Build a DIY Headboard with Nightstands

(Dimensions: 9′ long X 5′ wide–Perfect for a King size bed) Note: these instructions are for building the headboard in two sections-making it easier to maneuver around corners and into the room where it will reside). 

** denotes instructions, if not building in two sections.

Materials Needed for DIY Headboard:

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Power Tools Needed:

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Building the Headboard

Step One: Cut 1X10’s

First step, cut all six 1X10’s @ 54″ each. **If not building in two sections, cut boards to 9 feet each.

pinewood cut in 54

Step Two: Drill pocket holes

Drill 3/4″ pocket holes, using Kreg Jig, along one long edge of each of the 12 boards.

Then drill 3/4″ pocket holes on one end of six of the boards. (The reason for p.h’s in the ends of six of the boards is to attach both sections together, once you have it in the space you want it). **If not building in two sections, no need to drill pocket holes on the ends of six boards.

1x10 pine board with pocket holes

Step Three: Attach with pocket hole screws

Attach all six horizontal boards with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws….

pine board jigged together

I like to use clamps to hold my boards together. The advantage of the clamps is that it holds the wood planks straight and tight, while I’m drilling in my pocket hole screws.

Fun Fact: the clamps I have are from my grandpa’s workshop (probably 30+ years old). They still have the price tag on a few of them. $8.88 back in the day. Here are some similar ones from DeWalt. Sad to say, the $8.88 special is no longer available. :)

pineboards clamped together ready for screws

Step Four: Attach 1X2’s to the back of the headboard

Turn your six boards, now pocket holed together, over. Using a nail gun, attach three 1X2’s to the back of the headboard. This is to strengthen the headboard and keep it straight….

back side of headboard with 1x2's

Step Five: Sand

Sand the entire surface and edges, using an orbital sander.

For that smooth furniture feel, follow this sanding process: Start with a 60 grit sandpaper. Next use an 80 grit sandpaper. Follow it up with a 110 grit. Finish it off with a 220 grit.

Although it may sound like hours of sanding, it really doesn’t take a lot of time. But the little extra time and effort it does take, is well worth it.

This process will eliminate those swirly marks that often occur when sanding. Jumping too fast from a low grit sandpaper to a high grit sandpaper can be very abrasive. Be sure to follow this process for all sanding projects to avoid those unsightly swirls from happening.

Fill holes with wood filler. Let dry and sand again with 220-grit paper.

Step Six: Finish the headboard

Now you’re ready for stain or paint. I like to Pre-Stain (MinWax) and then stain. For this piece, I used MinWax Dark Walnut and then added a quick coat of Varathane Satin Poly.

pinewood stained with dark walnut

If building the headboard in two sections, like I did, build the second section following the same steps as above. Note: you won’t need to drill pocket holes on the ends of your six boards this time.

Building the Headboard Built-In Nightstands:

Step One: Cut plywood

Cut 2X4 sheet of plywood into two boards…each measuring 12″X13″, using a table saw or circular saw…

nightstands for headboard

Step Two: Sand

Sand top and edges of each board with the same sanding process as listed in Step 5.

Step Three: Drill pocket holes

Drill 1 1/4″ pocket holes on one short end of each board. (Make sure to drill your pocket holes on the un-sanded side of each board)…

pocket holes in bottom of nightstand

Step Four: Stain

Once again pre-stain and then stain (or paint)…

prestain ready to go on nightstand

Install the Headboard

Now you’re ready to move your headboard to it’s spot. Once you have it in the room where you want it, drill both sections together, using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. (This is where those pocket holes on the ends of six of your boards come into play).

king size bed with new wooden headboard

Attach to the wall with wood screws. (Be sure to drill your screws into studs).

Attach Headboard Nightstands

Measure the desired mounting height of your floating nightstand. Attach nightstand to headboard using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Repeat on opposite end of headboard. For extra support, add two 3″ (or larger) brackets underneath each nightstand. Lastly, step to the foot of the bed and admire your work. Because you just built that statement piece! And it looks amazing!

boho style bedding on king bed

For a more modern look, this staining process is perfect!

King size bed with headboard and floating nightstands

Quick picture of my nephew and his lovely wife…

new king bed with lights and blanket

Pinterest Pin of king bed with wooden headboard

Headboard FAQ’s:

Is it cheaper to build your own bed frame?

In addition to being able to customize the bed frame to the size, style and materials you want, building your own bed frame is less expensive than buying store bought bedroom furniture. Check out this post to build your own mid century modern platform bed.

What is the function of a headboard?

A headboard adds support to your bed frame, while also protecting your wall from abrasion. Not to mention, it finishes the look of the bed.

Be creative! There are so many different headboard styles to choose from!

I hope you found this DIY headboard with night stands to be very helpful. Change the look of your bedroom with this easy DIY project.

As always, let me know if you have any questions. I love helping you turn these DIY posts into something tangible.

You never know what you’re capable of until you try! You’ve got this!

Until next time,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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Other popular bedroom posts:

Easy How to Build a DIY Fireplace with an Electric Insert

Easy How to Build a Mid Century Modern Nightstand

Easy How To Build a Mid Century Modern Accent Wall

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