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What Is an Upholstered Headboard?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2014
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An upholstered headboard is the often rectangular-shaped, tailored style of fabric-covered head piece of a bed. Unlike the type of fabric-covered headboard with its material stapled on, upholstered headboards feature a fitted look. A tailored headboard may have simple detailing such as a seam of piping for a decorative, yet basic trim, or it might include more elaborate gathering or button tufting.

On tufted headboards, fabric-covered, round buttons are sewn tightly into a headboard that already has upholstery material on it. Expert upholsterers know how to make very tailored-looking tufted headboards with the button details neatly lined up to create a straight or diagonal pattern. An upholstered headboard is often padded as well as carefully stitched. Although button-tufted headboards are popular upholstered types, other kinds of techniques such as ruffles or pleats may be used. Shirring, or tightly gathered fabric, is used on some romantic headboards to add a soft look.

Like other upholstered furniture such as dining chairs and sofas, the tailored fabric may cover the entire piece or just part of it with wood or other materials also featured in the design. A wood frame with an upholstered insert can result in an elegant headboard style. Many types of upholstery fabrics can be used for these upholstered headboard inserts. They range from printed chintz to solid-colored velvet. Panel headboards sometimes feature upholstered inserts in their designs; the panels may be framed in wood or metal.

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Unlike solid wood or metal headboards, an upholstered headboard acts as a soft back rest for people who sit up in bed to read or watch television. Unless the upholstered cover is designed to be removable though, these soft headboards are often much more difficult to clean. Upholstery fabric doesn't typically wipe clean like wood or metal furniture. Still, many people appreciate the comfortable backrest quality and stylish, professional look of this type of headboard.

A true, professionally upholstered headboard always looks well-made and neatly put together down to the last detail. If the headboard is custom upholstered, the fabric may match other materials in a bedroom such as drapery or seating. Upholstered furniture seats such as a small sofa or a few chairs may be done by the same professional who works on a custom headboard for a completely coordinated bedroom look. Matched upholstery can give a bedroom a tailored appearance that some people really like.

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