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Best Fabric for Headboard Covering

If you want to update the decor in your bedroom or a guest bedroom but are on a budget or don’t have a lot of time, why not try updating your headboard? A quick and inexpensive way to do this is to cover the headboard with fabric. But what is the best fabric for covering a headboard?

The best fabric for covering a headboard is ultimately going to be upholstery fabric. However, there are several upholstery fabrics you can choose from. Cotton, linen, polyester, chenille, velvet, leather and vinyl are good choices.

But how are you supposed to know which fabric is best for you? In this article, I’ll explain each of the above fabrics in more detail and the pros and cons of each, so that you can decide which is best. I’ll also explain how to figure out how much fabric you need and how to cover a headboard with fabric.

Best Fabric for Headboard Covering

Can You Cover a Headboard With Fabric?

You can cover a headboard with fabric and it is actually very easy to do so. This is also one of the easiest ways to upgrade a headboard. Covering a headboard with fabric is becoming very popular and it can give a new style to typical wooden headboards.

Covering a pre-existing wooden headboard can add texture and dimension to a bedroom. It’s a cheap way to update the decor. You can just buy fabric instead of dropping a ton of money on new furniture, window treatments, etc. And if you don’t already have a headboard, you can also make one out of wood and then upholster it with fabric.

What is the Best Fabric for a Headboard?

Cover a Headboard With Fabric

If you’ve decided that you want to try covering a headboard with fabric, it’s important to choose the right fabric. You’re going to want to use upholstery fabric as it is much stronger and more durable than typical general purpose or apparel fabric. However, there are many different types of upholstery fabric.

Upholstery fabric can be found made from the same materials as general-purpose fabric. It can be made from natural materials such as cotton and linen or synthetic materials such as polyester and vinyl. Choosing the right one involves knowing the characteristics of each one as well as the pros and cons.

Below, I’ve provided some of the best and most popular upholstery fabrics to use for covering a headboard. Check out the description and pros and cons of each and use them to make your decision easier.

1. Cotton

CottonCotton is a natural fabric and is one of the best all-purpose and versatile fabrics. It’s affordable and it comes in a variety of styles and colors. Although cotton is prone to shrink when used for upholstery fabric and headboard covering, it’s very durable due to having a tight weave. You don’t have to worry about shrinking either. Cotton is soft and generally very comfortable.

The downside to using cotton is that as upholstery material, it is hard to clean. It’s not the most stain-resistant and you would have to spot clean it if it did get stained. Because of this, you may wish to reserve it for guest bedrooms or bedrooms that kids aren’t going to be living in.

2. Linen

LinenLinen is another natural fabric that is made from the flax plant. It’s another popular choice for covering headboards because it can provide a unique texture to a room. Using linen on your headboard can also give your room a clean and comfortable look. Like cotton, it is tightly woven, so it can be very durable and last a long time when used as an upholstery fabric.

Linen does have a few more downsides than cotton does. For starters, it’s a bit more expensive than cotton. It also doesn’t come in as many colors, so you’re not going to have as wide a selection if you go with linen. And like cotton, it is prone to stains and isn’t the easiest to clean. Opt for darker colors or use it in a guest room, especially if you have kids.

3. Polyester

PolyesterPolyester is a synthetic fabric and is another popular fabric for covering a headboard. As with cotton, polyester is affordable and comes in various colors and patterns. It’s also very durable and long-lasting. But perhaps one of the biggest reasons to choose polyester is that it is stain-resistant to most stains and easier to clean, making it a great choice for kids’ rooms.

However, one downside of polyester is that it can absorb oil-based stains more easily than cotton and linen. Those stains may be harder to remove. This is another instance where you may wish to choose a darker fabric, especially if you have oily skin. Polyester can also produce static electricity more easily than cotton or linen. Some polyester fabrics can also look cheap, so choose a high-quality fabric if you choose polyester.

4. Chenille

ChenilleChenille fabric is a fabric with a unique, fuzzy texture. It’s made from various fiber types, including polyester, cotton, and rayon. This is a great material for kids’ rooms due to the soft and fuzzy texture. This fabric can add texture to a room and make it seem more calming, especially if you go with a soft neutral color. It’s very durable and can stay in good shape for a long time. Despite not being the most well-known fabric, it’s very popular for upholstery.

The downside of chenille is that it may or may not be easy to clean. It depends on the percentages of cotton, rayon, and polyester that the fabric is made up of. And due to the texture, the chenille can also create static electricity easily. It’s also a bit more expensive than polyester or cotton fabric.

5. Velvet

VelvetIf you want to give your headboard (and bedroom) a luxurious and elegant look, then velvet is the way to go. Velvet is typically made from polyester or cotton fibers, but the texture of this fabric makes it unique. It’s highly durable due to having a thick and tight weave. It also has a nice sheen to it that can catch the lighting in your room.

The biggest downside of velvet is that it can be difficult to clean. You have to be careful with the cleaning products you use to not mess up the texture. Velvet can also collect dust easily, so you need to vacuum it regularly. It can also cost more than other fabrics depending on what it is made of.

6. Leather

LeatherCovering a headboard with leather is another great way to add texture to your bedroom and headboard. Leather can give your bedroom a high-end look as well. The “fabric” is very strong and is the most durable on this list. It’s easy to maintain and can be cleaned with just a damp cloth and leather cleaner, if necessary.

The biggest downside to leather is that it can scratch easily. Scratches can ruin the overall appearance of the leather. If you have pets, this may not be the best option, especially if they like to sleep in your bed. Other downsides include the price and that leather is available in limited colors.

7. Vinyl

VinylVinyl is a great way to give your headboard the look of being covered with leather without the price of leather. It can give bedrooms a modern look, especially if you choose a neutral color. It’s great for bedrooms that receive a lot of sunlight because it won’t fade. It’s also great for kids’ rooms because they can be wiped clean with soap and water.

The downside to vinyl is that it can rip, tear, and crack over time. This is another fabric you may want to avoid if you have pets. Some vinyl fabrics are also very cheap and can look cheap. If you want a high-end look, you may wish to go with a different fabric.

How Much Fabric Do You Need for a Headboard?

Now that you’ve hopefully decided what fabric you want to use, or at least have an idea, you’re probably wondering how much fabric you should buy? After all, knowing how much fabric you need can play a role in your decision, especially if you’re trying to decide between a cheaper and more expensive fabric.

The table below can give you an idea of how much fabric you’ll need depending on the size of your headboard.

Headboard Size Fabric Needed
King 6 ½ yards
Queen 6 yards
Double/Full 5 ½ yards
Twin 3 ½ yards

If you’re covering both sides of the headboard, you’ll want to double the yardage above. You should also be aware that these are just general ideas. You may need more or less depending on the size and shape of your headboard. Oversized headboards may need more, while headboards with cut-outs may need less.

Below, I’ll explain how to measure fabric for covering a headboard if you want the closest estimate possible.

How to Measure Fabric for a Headboard

If you have an oversized headboard or just want to make sure that you get an accurate amount of fabric, it’s best to measure the headboard yourself. If you have an irregularly shaped headboard, the easiest way to measure it is as if it were a rectangle. That way, you can make sure you have plenty of fabric. You can always cut some off later.

Use a measuring tape to measure the height and length of the headboard. Then measure the depth of the headboard and add that number plus an additional 6 inches to both the height and length. You’ll want to account for more fabric than just enough to cover the surface because the fabric will be wrapped around the headboard and stapled to the back.

Multiply the height and length with the added 6 inches and depth measurement to determine how much fabric you need. Then, divide just the total length of the headboard with the added 6 inches and depth by 36 to determine how many yards of fabric you need.

How to Upholster a Headboard with Fabric

Now that you know what fabric you want and how much you need, it’s time to cover the headboard. But are you going to make your own headboard or reupholster an existing one?

If you’re making your own, you’ll first need to get manufactured wood and cut it to the desired shape if you don’t want a rectangular headboard. Cutting the headboard will require power tools, so you may have to get a friend to help you. Or, you can simply cover an existing headboard with fabric. You can buy one cheap at many second-hand stores if you don’t already have one.

After getting your headboard, you’ll also need to get some foam batting to put between the headboard and fabric as a cushion. Cut the foam to match the shape of the headboard if necessary. But leave a little bit of overlap to attach it to the back. Then, just staple the foam to the back of the headboard.

Afterward, fit the fabric to the headboard, wrapping it around the sides and back. Finally, cut the fabric and staple it to the back of the headboard. Note that if you’re reupholstering an existing fabric headboard, all you have to do is remove the old fabric and replace it with the new fabric.

Headboard Fabric by the Yard

When buying fabric for a headboard, what you’ll be looking for is upholstery fabric. Upholstery fabric is usually sold at any store that sells fabric, but you may find a larger selection online. Upholstery fabric can be made from many different materials, which will affect the cost of the fabric.

Cotton, polyester, and vinyl upholstery fabrics are generally the cheapest. Linen, chenille, and velvet are in the middle, and leather is generally the most expensive. You can certainly use fabrics of other materials, but those mentioned above are usually the most popular. Upholstery fabric usually comes in widths of 54 to 60 inches, so choose a width that is most convenient for the width of your headboard.


Covering a headboard is an easy and inexpensive way to update your bedroom, whether you’re reupholstering an existing one or making one from scratch. There are many fabrics you can choose from. But the best one for you depends on the look you want, your budget, and your lifestyle. If you found this article helpful, share it with others and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!