What is a Headboard For and Do You Even Need One?

So, you probably already know what a headboard is.

A headboard is a piece of furniture that is situated at the top end of your bed – either by being attached directly to the bed frame, affixed to the wall, or operating as a freestanding item.

But what is a headboard for exactly?

Traditionally, a headboard served as a barrier to the elements to block out drafts and the cold that emanates from stone walls. But with the advent of central heating, headboards are now bought mainly for decorative purposes.

Below are 5 reasons why you might want to invest in a headboard now.

Alternatively: check out the best headboards to buy here.

5 Reasons to Buy a Headboard Now

The 5 main reasons to buy a headboard are to protect your wall, block cold drafts, increase storage capacity, maximize comfort, and for decoration.

More details below:

1: Protect Your Wall

Is your bed currently pressed up against the the wall?

Then tell your partner that if you get a headboard, there’s going to be far less chance of the wall getting damaged.

Which means they won’t have to waste time repainting the wall when their nails inevitably claw away chunks of the paintwork as they toss and turn during the night.

If that doesn’t work – ask them if they’d enjoy cleaning the grease stains off the wall that will build up each time your hair and skin touches the wall.

2: Ward Off the Chills

Is your bed positioned near a window that’s a bit drafty?

Then a nice solid wood headboard could be just the thing to save you both from waking up with a stiff neck and stop the wind whistling around your ears in the early hours of the morning.

But did you also know that a room that’s over 24°C (71°F) is likely to cause restlessness and reduce the quality of your sleep? (source).

So if you’re forced to open a window to get your bedroom down to the optimal temperature of 16-18°C (60-65°F) – then a headboard could once again help you avoid any pesky through-drafts.

3: Maximise Storage

Are you fed up of tripping over things like loose books lying around on the floor?

Then get a headboard that has built-in storage features like shelves, drawers – or even a bookcase – to help deal with some of the clutter.

Because just like modern-day bunk beds and Murphy beds, headboards can now be used as fully functional items that can help you save space in your room.

So if you’re living in a small apartment, studio, or spare room – and you’d like to buy a headboard with storage built in – check out my list of the top headboards here to find one that’s right for you.

4: Increase Comfort

I’m going to be totally honest here.

If you’re currently stuffing a bunch of pillows against the wall or even your existing headboard so that you can sit up and watch TV, read a book, or work on your laptop or iPad – then I’d actually recommend looking into buying an adjustable bed.


Because the fully customisable head and upper body positioning settings will be much more comfortable and better for your posture.

But if that’s not an option, then I suggest getting an upholstered headboard.

An upholstered headboard is basically a headboard that has a padded bit attached to the backboard – which can act as a comfy backstop that you can lean against whilst sitting up in bed.

But like I said in my headboard buying guide, you’ll want to take careful measurements to ensure that the headboard will be tall enough to support your head and neck in full – without being so tall that it interferes with nearby fixtures such as pictures or overhead cupboards.

5: Make a Statement

Does your bedroom look a bit dull?

Then the right headboard can literally transform the look and feel of your room.

For example, a black leather headboard can offset your white linen and make your room feel more contemporary and stylish.

But if you’d prefer to cover up your bland wall with something a bit more flamboyant, then a velvet upholstered headboard that’s steeped in a rich blue or bronze could be just the thing to make your bed become the centrepiece of your room.

If that doesn’t take your fancy, then a neutral-tan, nail-studded upholstered headboard will subtly compliment a wide range of decors without being too overbearing.

But one of my personal favourites at the moment is the weathered and distressed look created by adding various stains to knotted wooden panels – giving your room a breezy beach feel.

The stylistic options are pretty much endless.

Ready to Buy Your Headboard?

Personally, I think there’s still a great argument for having a headboard.

Because headboards can block drafts, protect your wall, make cleaning easier, increase comfort, stop your pillows from falling off, provide storage options, and totally transform the look and feel of your room.

But where’s the best place to buy your headboard?

Well, if you click the button below, you can see a full list of the best headboards that I’ve hand picked for you based on their qualities and features.

I’ve covered everything from wingback headboards, to upholstered headboards, and even headboards with storage – so you should be able to find your ideal choice quickly.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Quilted Headboard Bed’ by Katarzyna Bialasiewicz (Getty Images) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.