Introduction: Ikea Hack! (sorta) Upholstered Headboard on the DALSELV Bed Frame

Picture of Ikea Hack! (sorta) Upholstered Headboard on the DALSELV Bed Frame

When Dave and I bought this house about two and a half years ago, we were surprised when our bed didn't fit into our 3rd floor bedroom. Being new homeowners and thusly, broke as all get out, I went to Ikea and purchased the cheapest bed I could find, thinking that we could take the boxes up the stairs and put the bed together. We really wanted a nice, upholstered headboard, but everything we liked was at least several hundred dollars. Here's how we got exactly what we wanted for about $150.

Step 1: Cut & Attach Fiberboard and Foam

Picture of Cut & Attach Fiberboard and Foam

We started with the DALSELV bed, which retails at $99 for the Queen size frame.

Dave sawed off the tips of wood that jut out at the top of the frame so we'd have a neat, rectangular shape to start with. Then he took a piece of plain ol' fiberboard and cut it the same size as the headboard so I'd have something to upholster over. A mist of spray-mount holds the foam in place.

Step 2: Add the Layers of Foam and Batting

Picture of Add the Layers of Foam and Batting

A layer of foam over the fiberboard is then covered with another layer of batting to smooth out the edges. My budget-saver with these projects is to buy a twin-size foam mattress pad from Target for $10 instead of paying for cut foam at the fabric store, which can run upwards of $50 or even higher. Not super-high quality, but hey, it's a budget hack.

A layer of batting, also spray-mounted to the foam layer underneath to keep things from shifting around.

Step 3: Pulling the Fabric Over the Frame

Picture of Pulling the Fabric Over the Frame

I picked this fabric up at The Needle Shop in Bucktown. If you select fabric with a large repeating pattern, get a couple of extra feet to work with so you can center the design.

When you pull the batting and fabric over the frame, pull firmly but not so tight that the foam gets lumpy or the pattern distorts. Start from the middle and work your way out, top, bottom, then sides. A bazillion staples later... Just trim away the excess on the back of the headboard. I have another piece of fiberboard that will get screwed onto the back side to keep the dust from collecting inside the frame.

Step 4: Handling the Corners

Picture of Handling the Corners

I trimmed the batting at the corners so it didn't bunch up under the hospital corners that were folded under and stapled on the back of the frame within an inch of their life.

Step 5: Voila!

Picture of Voila!

Clearly I'm not an "iron my sheets" kind of gal. But there you have it...My happy, cheap-o upholstered headboard Ikea DALSELV hack.

Super easy, great for beginners, nothing to be intimidated by.

Good luck!


diamondzruff made it! (author)2016-08-30

Love it! I hacked the same bed and didnt even know that it was from ikea. Got it from craigslist for free. It reminded me of jail so I had to do something to jazz it up.
For headboard I cut plywood with matress topper folded and covered with vinyl and stapled to the wood. Drilled holes thru and used screws and nuts for the tufts. Hot glued on the rhinestones to cover the screw. Footboard used another folded mattress topper and stapled on the vinyl.

Please share how you created this chic bedframe, luv it :)

hrogers2 (author)2011-06-24

LOOOOOVE this fabric!! You said you got it from the Needle Shop. Do you know the designer of the fabric????

alanawpiper (author)2010-12-29

Thank you very much!!!

craftyv (author)2010-12-29

Love it. Very stylish and obviously you know how to change it again if you wish. Very elegent.

tepidsnow (author)2010-06-10

LOVE it! I knew someone had to have altered this bedframe. :)

Ex0 (author)2010-02-19

My husband and I bought one of Ikea's metal frame bed (name eludes me at the moment) and I liked it, then it grew old, then it was just functional, now it's an eye sore. My style has changed and I'm leaning towards dark stained woods. I found this bed on Kijiji, I can get it for 50$ including slats, and do this hack, all for under 80$...I'm sure. I think this is genius!

As for the slats in our current frame and the frame itself;  held for 10 years, had 3 or more kids jumping on it on at any given time in addition to us lying in bed,  they haven't fallen, shifted, or broken. The bed frame is VERY solid, dead quiet, and would probably last another 10 years or more BUT...I'm just tired of it visually.

It's time for a to convince my husband.

Ex0 (author)Ex02010-02-19

This is not MY bed but it's the model I have...whatever it's called LOL

lemonie (author)2009-11-23

"Voilá" not viola


mariedarcy (author)lemonie2010-01-21

Actually it's voilà -- you've got the wrong accent.  I'm a French teacher, so ... But shame on you for correcting a sleep-deprived new mom!

lemonie (author)mariedarcy2010-01-22

Thanks, I appreciate it. So if we're being precise, are you French and a teacher, or a teacher of French as a language?


mariedarcy (author)lemonie2010-01-22

I live in Montréal, Québec, Canada -- the only province/state in North American where French is the official (and legal) language.  Approximately 75% of Québec's population is francophone; I'm one of them.  French is my mother tongue, but I have a facility with languages and learned English and Russian as a child.  I have a B.A. in literature from a French university and an M.A. in literature from McGill University, which you might have heard of.  So I'm both French and a teacher AND a teacher of French.  I've just retired, though, so now I'm just doing a bit of tutoring.

lemonie (author)mariedarcy2010-01-22

OK, thanks for the details. How is Russian to learn, I imagine it's a bit different from European?


(Yes I've heard of McGill)

alanawpiper (author)mariedarcy2010-01-21

Hee! Thanks. But to be fair, lemonie didn't know that I'm a walking zombie. :)

alanawpiper (author)lemonie2009-11-23

Did I leave out the part where I'm a sleep-deprived mother of a newborn?

lemonie (author)alanawpiper2009-11-23

I guess that we did. It's a common thing (the voila-word). Bed-hacks are good, they leave you with some comfort to enjoy for a long time


mariedarcy (author)2010-01-21

I've been thinking of purchasing the same bed, but like you I'm not fond of the useless headboard.  Thanks for this.
I've got a question about this bed.  What set of slats did you get for it?  I've read some not-too-positive reports about Ikea slats shifting, bending and even breaking, and I've got a heavy pillowtop mattress.  I'm also not the smallest person -- the photo of my cat Darcy is rather misleading!

alanawpiper (author)mariedarcy2010-01-21

Hi mariedarcy,

Ikea has different levels of slats. We got the ones that bend upwards and adjust with rubber sleeves in the center

My husband is 6'5" and we've been pretty comfy with no problems so far. I think the hitch is to splurge on their best slats.


alanawpiper (author)2009-11-22

If you make this project, please drop by and let us know at

We'd love to see pictures and hear how it worked out for you.

About This Instructable




Bio: Chicago-based Art Director, graphic designer, photographer, filmmaker, YouTuber, blogger, maker of stuff, drinker of coffee. I live with the best husband ever, my lovely daughters ... More »
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