DIY Plywood Headboard

First, I want to thank you all for your kind words about Doug’s stolen bike on Monday. I was also pleased and surprised with the number of comments on the bedroom! It is a great week to be a blogger. :)

File this project under “got it done!” or “procrastination who?”

When Doug’s brother was here in San Diego last week, we hit up the Urban Outfitters downtown to see if they had any winter coats on clearance (they didn’t). While we were there, Matt, who does woodworking, took a particular interest in the fixtures which were made of mainly plywood, 2’x4′ lumber, and pipes! (Related: I found an interesting article on UO’s aesthetic.)

When pondering bed solutions, I realized that using the same materials, I could create a modern, fresh, E-A-S-Y, and cheap headboard.

I got some leftover plywood (the type I used is technically called OSB, or oriented strand board) from my dad’s garage–these pieces were actually left over from when my parents’ house was built in 1999. Vintage!  This kind of wood is normally used as a subfloor or other non-finished construction material.

The goal was to make a headboard 60 inches wide (queen size) and somewhere around 4 feet tall. As luck would have it, the boards my dad gave me were in 20″x48″ panels which means we had no cuts to make whatsoever! We did have to drop about $12 at Lowe’s for the other lumber. I will not say no to a $12 headboard.

Supplies needed:

  • Plywood (OSB) panels
  • One 1″x4″x8″ board, cut into two 4′ pieces
  • One 1″x4″x10″ board, cut into a 60″ piece and a 52″ piece
  • Screws
  • Cordless drill(screwdriver)

The plan was to line the boards up and brace them with lumber from behind–one piece down each side and two braces horizontally. Here’s a shot snapped in Lowe’s after we had our boards cut for us:

headboard frame

Originally I wanted to attach the screws in from behind but after some trial-and-error, and taking into account the way the OSB board would splinter, we decided that having exposed screw heads on the front was not the end of the world. At least I measured evenly and marked the board with sharpie so they would all line up. Here’s a progress shot–he is working on the bottom of the board:

headboard in progress

Note: we had already been to the hardware store twice that day and did not want to go out again to buy the appropriate length of screws. The drywall screws we used were too long and stuck out the back of the headboard!! I took this opportunity to break out the dremel tool we have had for several years and use the heavy duty cutter attachment to cut off the ends of the screws that were sticking out. Disclaimer: I do not recommend doing this unless you have a workshop. I did this on the apartment patio and it kind of scared the pants off me.

using a dremel

dremel-ed off screw ends

So as not to damage the walls, since the screw tips were still not flush, we covered the tips with two layers of painter’s tape. Another good option (that I still might use) is felt circles–the adhesive kind you can put on chair legs so they don’t scratch the floor.

Enough blabbing, let’s see some “after” shots!

DIY Plywood Headboard

DIY Plywood Headboard


DIY Plywood Headboard

I love the deconstructed concept and the pattern and texture the particles of wood have. The warm, cheery tone also plays well with the pillows and comforter. I know that it’s definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I decided if I couldn’t afford a real, grown up headboard right now, to head in the totally opposite direction and do something funky and exciting. I mean, I’m not getting any younger, right?

Now the big question is… what to hang over the headboard? Ideas? 

PS: More OSB love here… In all truth, I found that article through Unhappy Hipster.

Our Bedroom, About to Change

So, after I moved in I shared where we plunked all the furniture down, then photos of the patio and as far as whole space tours, that was about it. Everything seems so in-transition and I didn’t think anything was “done.” Well, nothing is still done and we have been here almost four months, and I think things are about to change. We have Christmas and the expenses associated with it behind us, and I think I’m ready to do a DIY project for our headboard, but I would like to share photos of the bedroom as-is now so that I’ll have something to compare the “after” to.

Unfortunately, as I write this it’s easy to enumerate the sources of frustration here in the room and not so easy to list the positives. The good news is–there is a lot of room for improvement, which makes for a more dramatic “after!”


I’m still in love with the duvet cover, but have been having issues with the blanket inside it. When we bought the duvet cover, I bought a duvet insert on which has nothing on the corners to tie the duvet strings to. Which means the insert gets all bunched up down at the bottom. Annoying. So, I tried putting our old gray pebble quilt from target inside it which has the same result. C’est la vie until I buy a proper duvet insert with holes in the corners (or whatever makes a proper duvet insert work with a duvet cover).

That was quite a tangent! How’s about another one?

I was distressed by the lack of headboard. It didn’t seem to matter in the old place because of the rich gray walls, but here in an apartment complex in an all-white box of a room, it just seemed sad. So we DIY-ed a little bit of artwork to act as a stand-in focal point. The lighting in the room is also a source of frustration since we have no overhead light and the arsenal you see here (two bedside lamps and the christmas lights) even when all on together, is very dim. Dim rooms are such a pet peeve of mine!


The glossy black dresser was mine in high school and my mom was very happy to see it out of her house. I have a project in mind for those space-aged handles…


Another thing that needs to be contended with, I think I have mentioned before, is the dog kennel. We crate-train Mosey, which is great for both owners and dogs, but the kennel is U-G-L-Y! There really is no other space for it. Oh well! There is room in here, and it doesn’t obstruct traffic or anything–it’s just an eyesore.

Mosey & Newspaper

The BEST thing about the bedroom is the light in the morning. A sunbeam makes its way through the window slowly from the bed to the closet and Mosey is happy to sleep in it, shifting locations occasionally, from around 8 AM to 2 PM. This is wonderful as I can get stuff done on the computer or around the house without him pestering me to play! Side note–is that fake newspaper not the cutest dog toy you have ever seen? And is Mosey not the cutest blurry dog you have ever seen? Awww…

So, here is the bedroom! Nowhere close to “finished” but it has served us well for the past few months.

Media Unit “Maybes”

Yesterday, I showed you what our TV setup looks like (below, left). Yikes; it truly is a cord-tastrophe. In our old place, the setup wasn’t that much better, but at least it provided some storage and allowed us to use our big honkin’ speakers (below, right)…

Here’s what happened. As we moved in last September, the desk we had been using for the TV went to the office to hold our computer, and the sofa table got plunked down “temporarily” with the TV on it, and remained that way ever since. Please tell me the same thing has happened to you…?

Since the size was right, we kept it throughout the winter months, shopped around a bit in the spring, but kept putting buying an entertainment center on the back burner. For the past few months, we have been thinking about (and finally deciding to pursue) moving, so at this point it doesn’t even make sense to buy one until we are in the new space.

So! Assuming we both quickly secure gainful employment, we should be getting a new media unit sometime before the end of this year. I’m really putting a priority on it since it’s such an important part of the living room (that, and the sofa table has been sold so we won’t have it as a crutch anymore).

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Attractiveness
  • Ability to stand the test of time
  • Eclectic appearance
  • Hidden storage
  • Height negotiable

Here’s numero uno: 

We almost bought the IKEA PS in Dallas last September when we bought our dresser, wardrobe and kitchen carts. Although we got to the store early, it wasn’t early enough and all the units they had on site had already been snatched up. I have always loved the locker look, and it would be a good counterpoint to some of our natural textiles. The price is right ($100) and we like its quirkiness and concealed storage. This is definitely still in the running.

Numero dos:

I love the look of this World Market apothecary unit. It’s got the look of an apothecary or librarian’s card catalog, without the annoyance of a bunch of tiny little drawers that aren’t all that useful. So, on the one hand it’s kind of a cop out (there are just two doors that open up with the façade of an apothecary chest) but on the other hand it’s a nod to a classic look. Not a steal at $359.99, it’s still pretty cool.

Numero tres:

I thought West Elm could do no wrong, but I was not blown away by their media unit selection. This Industrial Metal TV Cart ($399) stood out to me though, because I love the strong look of metal and glass working together in perfect harmony. My reservations are that it’s a little too high (31″) and too skinny (30″). As you can see above I lean toward the low, extended models. I am however diggin’ those wheels. This is a good option if space is at a premium and I need to find something with a smaller footprint.

Numero cuatro:

Crate & Barrel had the best selection, by far. Of all the online shops I visited, their options were most diverse, attractive, and yes, expensive. Anyway, the item you see above is actually three pieces of the “ascend” system used together ($249 + $349 + $399). This system has a ton of options and the Crate & Barrel website has lots of pictures for ideas. I love our crisp, white dresser in the bedroom so much I would love to use another crisp white piece of furniture in another space.

Bonus 1:

Wal-Mart really surprised me today. While I was there grabbing some essentials, this unit from the Better Homes and Gardens line grabbed me. The price ($179) makes it a great option for someone on a limited budget who doesn’t want to sacrifice style… but admittedly, the finishes did feel a bit cheap. Still though, for only $179 it is a good option!

Bonus 2:

Isn’t this World Market Easel unit cool? I don’t think it goes with my style, but I think it has the potential to be something really special. I’d love to see an example of this used in someone’s house… I also think it would be awesome in a learning environment!

Weigh in: which is your favorite? What do you do as far as your TV and DVD storage is concerned? 

Like my product selection process? Click here for some coffee table candidates

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