I love white.

And grey.

And just neutrals in general, really.

So when I started the big bedroom makeover, I knew the orange boogey man laminate headboard would have to go. And I knew just where it was going. To a very white place. With some grey. Totally neutral. Imagine the sound of ocean waves lapping against white sand and a blue sky dotted with small grey clouds. Whatever feelings that brings up for you, that’s probably pretty close to the way I feel when I think about neutrals. It makes me breathe deeply, and I feel like walking around barefoot wearing a flowy dress that ripples in the wind. It’s one of those kinds of feelings.

Before I get too carried away telling how I get emotional about neutrals, let me tell you about the headboard. Just as most every other piece of furniture in my home, our headboard was given to us. I would say miraculously, to be quite honest. It was the summer of our wedding. We had no bed and no money for a bed. It was getting to be a desperate situation. But just as I was getting stressed out, a kind and dear couple in our church sent an e-mail saying they had a bed they were giving away and was there anyone looking for a bed? Um, how many hands can I raise in the air? Just two. Not gonna be enough. I was so excited. And so unbelievably grateful. It was just what we needed.

And for the last several years we’ve lived with it. Functionally, it’s been fabulous. Not a problem in the world. But does orange fit into my neutral theme? No, it most certainly does not. Enter headboard, stage left:

Yikes. It also had a few small problems, such a loose screws which led to loose boards, and this:

OH, and did you miss the paneling?

Nobody panic. I had a plan. That involved a couple of things. Thing 1: paint. Thing 2: fabric. You dig?

First of all I had to pry that paneling right outta there. Which took a lot longer than I expected. In my head all I had to do was pop out a couple of staples. No go. I had to pop out a LOT of staples. And unscrew some things. And scrape away the glue. What I thought would be 15-minutes later turned into and hour of sweating, crying, cursing, and whining to my lover for some help.

Just kidding I didn’t curse. But I did do all those other things. Finally, I had this:

You can see in the bottom of the photo the other two boards that go in the middle and on the right side. When I whined to my lover about how hard I was working, he took care of that problem. Just busted the whole thing right out. Not exactly how I would have done it, but I was ready to get my paint on so I just worried about those pieces separately. After two days of priming, painting, sanding, painting, drying time it was looking pretty good.

Sorry the photo is blurred. Our camera is total junk. We’re talking about a new one, but since they don’t grow on trees we’ll have to wait until we win the lottery. And since we don’t gamble (i.e. don’t play the lottery) we may never have a new camera. So blurry photos it is.

Anyway, paneling can be painted. But I have seen headboards all over the place that are upholstered, and I really wanted to incorporate at least some white into this masterpiece, so I got myself some handy-dandy fabric.

I got this fun grey and white striped fabric from Carousel Designs which is most definitely a baby bedding website. I have no shame. If it works, I buy it. And this fabric was a smidge on the more expensive side ($7 a yard) but since I was only buying one yard it seemed worth it.

I also bought some quilt batting the give the headboard a fuller, padded effect. All you have to do is lay your fabric face down, a layer of batting on top, and the piece of wood you want to cover over that. Then cut about three inches wide all the way around, doing your best to get your stripes straight.

Then with your staple gun in hand, pull the short edges tight. For me, with the stripes, I had to make sure I had even amounts of a white stripe showing on both sides, to keep one grey stripe right in the middle when I turned it around. Put only one staple in each side, then do the long sides. Flip your board over to make sure you’re keeping everything even. If you are, finish stapling down your fabric, all the way around. Keep everything nice and tight.

Now for mine I wanted even more pizzazz. So I had my sweet and ever-patient lover drill holes in the direct center of each panel. For a button. Because every good headboard project needs to be difficult. I bought my customizable buttons at Joanns. They’re plastic, but seem to be pretty durable. If you want to cover your own buttons, buy the kit and follow the directions. But here’s what it should look like:

I took a strong needle and doubled up some embroidery thread, pushed the thread through the hole my lover drilled for me (thanks babe!) through the back of the button and back through the hole. Then I tied it around a skewer to hold it all in place.

Since my grey stripe was centered, I covered my button in grey. And the panels each looked like this:

I probably should have ironed my fabric before I got started, but A) I’m too lazy and B) I was just too excited to get started that I couldn’t take that kind of time.

Now this blog post is waaaaaay too long, so I’m gonna scurry along and show you the finished product. Just know that I put some elbow grease into nailing the headboard all back together. And that it’s never coming apart. Because I made sure to use 896 nails.

There are still a lot of things I want to do here. Like that odd lump at the head of the bed? There are pillows under there. Because they are ugly and I don’t want them ruining my neutralness. And the netting I want to mount flush with the ceiling. And about 50 other things. Maybe next week I’ll let you in on my big plans for in here? A nice, long, boring inspiration blog post.