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6 Things you Need to Know before Making a Lit Headboard

A lit headboard can be the perfect solution to the blank wall behind your bed, as well as adding the soft glow of ambient light to your bedroom!

This month, I’m taking a little break from new projects to go back and answer some great questions about old projects. Sometimes I don’t know whether I’ve written a good tutorial until you write to me with all your questions, and I figure out how much information I left out.

It seems only fair to go back and answer those questions and fill in some of the holes. (Last week I covered our painted kitchen cabinets, so be sure to check out that post if you’re thinking of painting yours.)

Fun FAQ’s: Dreamy Lit Headboard

I built this dreamy lit headboard out of curtains and Christmas lights almost four years ago, and I’m still getting questions about it, so I thought I’d share some of those answers in today’s Frequently Asked Questions post.

Lit headboard frequently asked questions

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Lit headboard during the day, with bookshelves as bedside tables

When I first created this headboard, it was as a solution to a small-space problem. We had a small bedroom, and I didn’t like how much space my bed’s headboard and footboard were taking up. This headboard solved the problem of how to have a functional and pretty bedroom, with no headboard on the bed.

I loved the effect so much that when we moved to our new house (with a much bigger master bedroom) I kept the same headboard and just installed it here again.

What’s great about this design is you don’t need lamps on your bedside table, so you can use that space differently, like I did with these bookshelves. I got loads more storage than with traditional bedside tables, and I love how they frame the headboard and bed.

While I won’t go into detail here about how to create this headboard, you can read about it in the Dreamy Light-up Headboard Tutorial for all the details. You can also see the whole Master Bedroom Makeover on a Budget here.

Lit Headboard FAQ’s Answered

I love it when you leave me comments and questions here on the blog! It makes my day to know when my projects and tips are helpful, and even sometimes when they’re not.

This post created a lot of questions about fire safety, and I want to make sure I address those well. Decorating isn’t much good if it causes you to burn down your house! So, without further ado, let’s get into the questions…

Do the lights get hot? Isn’t that a fire hazard?

Cozy bedroom with lit headboard and lamps

I’ve never felt these lights get warm to the touch, even though they are standard Christmas lights. That said, I would definitely recommend going with LED lights because they tend to be cooler. And be sure there is a little bit of space between the wall and the curtain for ventilation.

Most curtain rods extend a few inches from the wall, so you should be covered there. Also, I only use the lights when I’m in the bedroom, and I don’t leave them on when I leave the house.

With a little common sense, you shouldn’t have any problems. However, I’ve had a lot of comments questioning the fire safety of these lights, so take that information to heart before you decide whether to do this project yourself.

Can you lean against the curtains, like you would a headboard?

Lit headboard at night

You can, but it’s way more comfy if you prop up a couple of pillows. Some folks have asked how I sit up and read or watch TV in bed, without a headboard to lean on. That’s a great question, and the answer is… mostly I don’t. We don’t watch much TV or do much reading in bed.

If you’re a person that loves to relax in your bed at the end of the day, before actually going to sleep, this may not be the best solution for you. We like to hang out on the couch until it’s time to sleep, so it’s not a problem for me.

I subscribe to the “bedrooms are for sleeping and well, maybe one other thing” theory, but that’s just me. What you do in your bedroom is definitely your call!

Could you do this behind an actual headboard?

Yes. That would be a great compromise. One of my readers asked if she could do this wall treatment behind a low headboard. I think that’s a great way to get the best of both worlds.

Just be sure there’s enough space so your curtains aren’t in too much contact with your lights, and the headboard isn’t crowding everything on the wall.

What if I can’t use nails in my walls?

A lit headboard creates a faux window treatment behind the bed

No worries, Command Hooks to the rescue! In fact, I wish I would have written the original tutorial with Command hooks. So if you go back and read the tutorial, just imagine a Command hook everywhere I mention a nail.

One reader pointed out that hanging electrical wire on metal nails is a fire hazard. That’s probably a really good point. Although the wire is protected, in theory it could rub against the nail and make contact with the metal.

So play it safe and use Command hooks instead. Plus they’re just so easy to use, and they’re removable whenever you change your mind or have to move.

If you’re a renter, Command hooks are usually the answer to everything. In my book, they’re right up there with WD-40 and Duct Tape.

Can I just safety-pin the lights to the curtain?

This gray bedroom gets pretty golden light from a lit headboard.

I would definitely not recommend that. This goes back to the ventilation and fire safety issue. It’s better to mount the lights on the wall, and hang the curtain a few inches in front of them, rather than attaching them all together.

Where did you get that remote control?

I got mine at a hardware store, but you can get the exact same one here. I love it.

Being able to turn the lights on and off without getting out of bed is at least half the appeal of this project. I love being able to click a button and go right to sleep.

Lit Headboard Resources

Here’s what you’ll need for this project, in case you don’t want to go back and re-read the whole tutorial post.

A lit headboard made from curtains and Christmas lights hangs over the bed.

Thanks again for leaving me such great questions! I’ll keep answering them as long as you keep asking. I love to hear from you, so drop me a comment below.

Next week, I’m covering the FAQ’s on our concrete countertops, so be sure to check back for those!

And finally, I’m including the updated tutorial from the original post here, for quick reference, but feel free to check out the whole Light-Up Headboard post for more details.

Lit headboard during the day, with bookshelves as bedside tables

Make a Light-up Headboard from Curtains and String Lights

Yield: 1 Queen Size Headboard
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Medium - anyone can do it with a little time and effort
Estimated Cost: $50

Making your own lit headboard is a simple and budget friendly alternative to installing a traditional headboard on your bed. With new curtain lights, this project is even easier than when I first created it!

Tools

Instructions

  1. Hang your curtain rod centered above your bed. You'll need your screwdriver and level, along with the hardware included in your curtain rod set for this step.
  2. Insert the rod in its hardware, and check to be sure your curtain fits correctly. Remove the curtain and set it aside.
  3. Attach your curtain lights either to the curtain rod with matching zip ties, or use command hooks to hang them on the wall, just under the curtain rod height.
  4. Plug in the lights and set up the remote control according to package instructions.
  5. Hang your curtain.
  6. Position your bed in front of the curtain.

Notes

The original version of this tutorial (as outlined in the post above) still works just fine, especially if you already have a set of string lights you want to use. But I've had a few readers write in to tell me of these curtain lights, and they seem like an even easier approach.

Recommended Products

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Stephanie Roth

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

Where did you get those curtains at?

Meredith

Wednesday 1st of April 2020

Hi Stephanie, I got them at Tuesday Morning, but it was quite a while ago, so I don't think you can get the same ones anymore. If you have a Tuesday Morning, HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, or Ross near you, I recommend starting there. Otherwise I linked to similar curtains in the post. Hope that helps!

Jeri Walker (@JeriWB)

Tuesday 27th of February 2018

I put some LEDs in a couple of glass vases in my living room. It's such a great effect. I did try some in my bedroom, except one of the two strands keeps a dull glow even when off that I found distracting.

Meredith

Tuesday 27th of February 2018

That's weird, I would find that distracting too!

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ABOUT MEREDITH


Creating a color-filled life. Conquering my little world one DIY project at a time. With lots of coffee and chocolate. Albuquerque NM. Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Facebook