Rustic Headboard Make-over – Desperate Master Bedroom Update

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Give your master bedroom a much needed focal point by saving a rustic headboard thrift store find! 

rustic headboard

Have you ever noticed that the master bedroom is the LAST room in the house to have anything done to it, or is that just in my house? We’ve made over two girls rooms – one Paris room and one zebra print – and a little guys room, and yet, in the six years we’ve lived in this house, we haven’t touched our bedroom. It’s so sad! But, today, we are finally working on a room for us!

rustic headboard-before
Worst. Photo. Ever.

Once we’d decided, there was no turning back. First to go – our gigantic bed. When it sold we were so excited because we hadn’t really realized how claustrophobic we’d both been feeling. That happens when you have to climb out the window to get out of your room because the bed blocks the door!

Well, we were excited for a short while anyway.. because after we sold the bed, we were left with a king size mattress, no headboard, and the uber ugly legs of our new metal bed frame. We needed a bed skirt, which I threw together, but more than that, we really, really needed a headboard. Like, really. At least until after I’d searched every thrift and furniture store within a 25-mile radius I just happened to come across this. You know, while casually looking.

rustic headboard - at store
I found this bad boy at the Salvation Army. It’s nearly unheard of for me to find a king size bed at a thrift store – not that it never happens, but it’s rare in my experience, especially in decent shape. But there it was! A complete frame, with headboard, footboard and rails. Not the original rails.. but rails none the less. It was entirely the wrong finish – much, much, MUCH too golden oak-ey – and one of the posts on the headboard needed some repair work, but it was hardwood, and the first thing I’d seen that would work stature wise, that was within our budget. Our bedside tables and the armoire we kept from our original suite are quite large, so the headboard or bed frame had to be large enough to hold it’s own.
rustic headboard - sanded
We brought it home, and got right to work. It had a few nicks, but we decided to largely leave the finish as-was – we were going for a bit of weathered look anyway. We did have to repair that broken post foot though, and in some ways, had to undo the poor repair work that the previous owner had attempted. Luckily, Shay is a genius at that kind of thing.  A piece of quarter-round, although not a perfect match, would work nicely as fill-in for the missing trim.

rustic headboard - broken foot
Much better photo. Badly broken foot post.

Someone had tried to repair the trim work in the past and had simply attached a piece of wood with little concern for aesthetics. We thought of removing it, but doing this was going to cause more harm than good – it was well glued.

Instead, we decided to add to it. To begin, Shay used a small handsaw to cut the corner edge of the repaired piece back a half an inch at the corner on either side of the post foot. This would allow him to create two bridge pieces that would blend the original molding with the quarter round.

rustic headboard - repairing the trim
He cut two small pieces – one end with a 90-degree angle to butt up against the original molding, and a 45-degree angle to meet at the corner. He used glue and nails to attach. Then, he cut a longer piece, with 45-degree angles at both ends, to fill the gap. Once in place, we filled any remaining seams with wood filler and we were good to go! As you can see, it’s not an exact match, but at a glance, which is all the post would get anyway, it’s more than passable.

rustic headboard - showing repair

We gave the entire headboard and footboard a thorough sanding with 300 sandpaper and followed that up with super fine steel wool. After a final clean, we used a de-glosser to remove any residue and the poly from the original finish. Then we were ready to stain – which is what I am doing right here. Don’t I look lovely? Those are my oldest yoga pants, and I wore them especially for you! And.. those socks I’m using to apply the stain are Shay’s.. but we won’t talk about that.

rustic headboard - restaining
I actually used two different colors to stain, which gave the finish more of the depth of color I was looking for. I used Minwax Jacobean and applied a second coat of Minwax Ebony. I then applied four coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly – as an aside, can I just say I LOVED using this product? It was so easy! I had no issues with bubbling and it just went on so smoothly. I don’t think I’ll ever use a brush applied poly product again. Loved it!

wipe on poly

Early on we realized that the footboard would not be going upstairs, at least with our current dresser. We are, however, holding out hope that we’ll be able to find a replacement for the dresser or replace it all together with a more organized closet system. We’ll see. After allowing everything to dry for 4-5 days – despite what it looks like in these pictures, it kept snowing off and on and it was drying in our garage – we were ready to take the beast upstairs.

We are lucky enough to have two staircases in our home, but not lucky enough that either staircase is an easy climb or appropriately positioned to accommodate large, heavy objects. This headboard weighs about 120 lbs, give or take a few, and it’s 78″ wide. It’s truly a beast. And, I’m weak. So, we determined that I should be at the top of the headboard, as there was no way I was going to be able to bring up the rear. Shay was at the bottom of the stairs trying to hold the headboard up as high as possible so that I could drag it up from stair to stair, which had him pretty much pinned against the wall until I was about halfway up. At one point I explained that if the headboard slipped, I would not be able to save him and that I wanted him to know that I loved him immeasurably, just in case he was to die that day. I had visions of losing my grip, the giant headboard barrelling down the stairs and pinning Shay. Luckily, we managed to wrestle it upstairs and everyone survived to refinish again. Here it is, in all it’s glory.
rustic headboard - after
I believe that knocks something off our list! With the headboard having been found, this is what we have left to do to take our master bedroom from desperate to dazzling:

  • bed skirt
  • headboard or new frame
  • refinish the large dresser or replace
  • throw pillows
  • make-over lamps and new shades
  • floating shelves on a large open wall
  • accent rug
  • window treatments
  • two matching ottomans for either side of the dresser
  • wall art

It’s one small step for the bed, one giant step for the Master Bedroom! Now, it’s onwards and upwards. Next up, our lamp make-over! Stay tuned!

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