Looking for an easy DIY headboard idea? This project maximized the space in a tiny room and there are even flat bookshelves on either side.

Remember this project?

Remember this room?

My favorite thing about it? It helps this room to live large.

Just between us? This room is tiny. In the video we created of the project you can see me talking. I look tall in the room and there are only five feet of me. The bedroom is a 10′ x 10′ square and there’s about enough space to fit a queen-size bed and some lamps. The key to remaking this room was to figure out a way to get creative with the visual surface in the room. There’s only one wall without windows or doors on it, so we built a DIY headboard with built-in bookshelves on the side. This maximized the space we had to help the room to feel larger.

Building the headboard into the wall allowed us to move the bed back 5 inches.

I know that doesn’t seem like much space, but to this room?

It made all the difference.

Here’s a little step-by-step on how we built it (along with a video that shows a tour of the room for everyone asking questions about last week’s post).

Here’s to little rooms (and five feet tall people) that take on the world.

Just a reminder.

This is where we started. This is the BEFORE.

There was already a wall that we built almost 10 years ago. At the time it made sense. We built a ship lap wall and then added shelves. I filled them with rock and shells and finds from the beach and thrift store finds.

But now?

It was just taking up space in the room without any real direction.

We pushed the bed in front of it and there wasn’t a whole lot of room at the foot of the bed to walk by. I loved the look of the wall, but we just needed to rethink it.

So instead? We came up with a wall solution that looked similar, but had more of a purpose.

Here’s the how-to on our DIY headboard with built-in bookshelves.

Step 1: rip out the existing wood pieces

We started by removing the vertical and horizontal boards on the shiplap wall.

You can see here where the outlines of the original 1″ x 4″ wall pieces were.

We were trying to work around some of the wall pieces, but in the end, it was just easier to rip out the wall and start over.

We did keep the one vertical 1″ x 4″ in place that defined the area behind the door with the hooks.

One quick tip. If you have a project like this where you are removing old boards, you want to make SURE to sand down areas like these strips of raw wood without any paint.

If you don’t?

When you paint you’ll be able to see the ridges and your wall won’t be smooth.

It’s also easier to sand at this step before you paint because the surface area is larger.

Step 2: add the vertical pieces

To form the headboard we added two vertical pieces of wood.

1″ x 4″ x 7′ 8″ each.

There was already a 1″ x 4″ board nailed to the ceiling. The boards were nailed to that and nailed into the shiplap wall.

The queen-sized bed measures 5 feet wide and we wanted to have six inches of space on either side of the bed, so the boards are nailed into the wall six feet apart.

There are also 3 additional vertical boards on the wall. One at each of the ends of the wall that were already there (the one on the left of the room is just above the door frame) and the existing vertical board that framed out the space behind the door.

Step 3: add the slats for the headboard

Next, we added the horizontal slats for the headboard.

In this picture we added six slats, but we added two more and our headboard has eight vertical slats.

These slats measure 1″ x 4″ x 6′.

They were nailed to the two vertical boards on the side.

It’s important to note that the boards were nailed to the front of the vertical pieces. This is so much easier than trying to cut them to fit.

Step 4: Add the base of the bookshelves

Next, we cut boards to create the bookcases.

Each side of the bed has three vertical boards that form the bottom of the bookcases.

Those measure 1″ x 4″ x 20″.

They were cut to fit inside the two vertical pieces and nailed into place.

We staggered the bookcases on each side, they are not symmetrical.

Step 5: add the front of the bookshelves

Lastly, we added the front of the bookshelves.

This was just a vertical piece to hold the books in place.

Each piece measures 1″ x 4″ x 22″ and it was nailed to the front of each of the vertical pieces about 4 inches up from the bottom of the shelf.

Now our bookshelves and headboard were finished and it was time to paint.

Step 6: tape off the room

We taped off the edges of the wall completely with FrogTape.

You’ll notice we used the yellow tape instead of the green for this project. That’s because this FrogTape is for delicate surfaces. My mother just had the wall and the floor painted, so we wanted to be extra careful with the tape. FrogTape Delicate Surface Painter’s Tape is made with exclusive PaintBlock® Technology, a super-absorbent polymer that reacts with the water in latex paint and instantly gels to form a micro-barrier that seals the edges of the tape to prevent paint bleed. We scored it in place to ensure a crisp clean line.

Just between us?

I was a little worried about painting navy next to white.

But why was I worried?

I had FrogTape.

The navy paint line turned out PERFECTLY.

Step 7: Prime and paint the room

We primed those knot holes with this amazing primer from Sherwin-Williams.

We wanted to make sure to seal those knot holes so they wouldn’t bleed through again.

The color on the wall is Naval SW 6244.

I added this picture so you could see the color with the first coat. It looks a little more blue and a little less navy here, but it will look more and more navy with each coat.

We painted three coats of Naval and then peeled off the tape.

After the paint dried we moved the bed back into place and decorated the space.

And now?

Here’s the finished room.

Look at that navy paint line.



  1. We added the cleat hook rack on the side behind the door to hang towels and beach bags and beach essentials.
  2. The room is painted Naval SW 6244 from Sherwin-Williams.
  3. There are two bookcases on the sides of the bed (details in the video to come).
  4. You can find the starfish pillows here.
  5. We left the white curtains at the window (you can see similar curtains here) and took down the blue and white curtains.
  6. You can find the striped Euro shams here (the set of two was under $16) and the 24″ x 24″ inserts here.
  7. The navy and white hotel bedding is SO PRETTY  and SO AFFORDABLE (under $40 for the entire set). You can see it here.
  8. I bought this down alternative insert (because we are at the beach) for the duvet cover and these sheets are AMAZING (over 250,000 reviews).
  9. The bed skirt is so cute and it’s pleated and affordable.
  10. And last but definitely not least is this rug. You can see it here. It’s so pretty and so soft and so durable. Perfect for a beach house or high-traffic area. It’s an 8′ x 10′ and fits the space perfectly.
  11. Everything is linked in my Amazon shop. You can see it all here and you also follow me over there for tons more home ideas like these.

And can you see how happy the room is now?

A small room that’s truly living large.

Just like me. 🙂

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  1. Image for Linda Linda

    Love the transformation. Wondering if floor visible at edge of rug is painted gray? Have you experience with painted floors other than lovely porches?

    1. Image for KariAnne KariAnne

      Yes! I did an entire post on painted plywood subfloor! Here's the link: https://thistlewoodfarms.com/easy-diy-painted-plywood-floors/ Happy day friend! KariAnne

  2. Image for Linda Schombert Linda Schombert

    Very nice, just wondering how you painted the wall behind the slat headboard…I would have expected you guys to paint it and the slats before nailing the slats to the frame…

  3. Image for Sue Sue

    I have to agree with Linda Schombert. Why didn't you paint the wall behind the horizontal slats first? And how did you paint that wall behind the slats? However you did it, the finished product is gorgeous!

  4. Image for Kris Kris

    More of these kind of ideas, please! So many of us live in smaller spaces and have to figure out how to fit it all in. My daughter's bedroom is a 9x9 cubicle. Many people have bigger walk-in closets! But that's our reality and for the most part, I'm content with it.

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