a finished spindle headboard behind a bed
Photo: Wendell T. Webber


A bed without a headboard practically shouts "dorm room"—not exactly a great vibe for your grown-up retreat. So if you're in the market for this piece of furniture, we hope you'll be inspired to put together our DIY version, which took a day to assemble. This Old House general contractor Tom Silva built it with stock staircase parts that he cut to size and simply glued and screwed together; he even showed us a shortcut for spacing out the balusters evenly along its length. Paint or stain it any color you like and attach it to a standard steel bed frame, and you'll turn the spot where you rest your weary head into an even more welcome sight.

Shown: 38-inch Pinhead Poplar Hampton Baluster, 58-inch Newel Post, 8-foot Stair Top Handrail, 8-foot Stair Bottom Handrail with Fillet; all from Creative Stair Parts and available at Lowe's

Paint: Behr's Green Trance
Ask TOH users about Furniture

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • 16-foot tape measure
      Measuring tape
    • hammer
    • elastic tape
      Elastic tape for spacing out the balusters. Get one roll.
    • speed square
      Triangular layout square
    • drill
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • 3/8-inch spade bit
      Paddle bits sized to your balusters. (Ours were inch and inch.)
    • mallet
    • two-foot level
      Level or straightedge
    • sandpaper
      220-grit sandpaper

    Shopping List

    Wood newel posts. Get two.

    Pin-top wood balusters. Get as many as you need to span the width of your headboard. Safety codes require that they be spaced no more than 4 inches apart, so do the math before you buy, and consider getting a few extra ones as insurance. (We used 14 for a queen-size headboard.) Make sure the balusters have round pins at the bottom for attaching to the bottom rail.

    Handrails. Get two—one for the top rail and one for the bottom rail. Pick a bottom rail that has a fillet, a thin, removable strip of wood that you'll use as a template for making holes in both rails.


    6-inch timber screws for adding the end posts. We used Headlok screws, which require a special drill bit (included).

    Wood glue

    Primer and paint (or stain and sealer)