Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Barn wood headboard

My husband and I made a set of barn wood headboards for our beach cottage.  They bring a lot of character to one of the bedrooms.  We found the barn wood through a Craig's List post, and we liked the idea that it was from a local barn in Alabama.  The barn had been purchased and demolished and all the wood was now in piles on the back of the seller's property. We dug through piles and picked out the pieces we wanted.  I was completely geeked!  Never mind we had no idea what we were going to do with all of it - just a few ideas about headboards and a coffee table.

The process of preparing the wood was time consuming.  After a couple afternoons spent pulling out nails; then another going over every board with a wire brush to get the dirt off, and yet another cleaning them off with a 10% bleach & water solution, and finally a sweep with a metal detector wand to make sure all the nails were out - we were ready to go.

Our plan was to make matching headboards for the bedroom with two beds.  We cut the boards to relatively equal sizes knowing we wanted to leave the uncut edges on the top.  Then we set up the boards to vary the widths and types of wood across each headboard.

Barn wood headboard
I took some time to research online and read some blog posts.  Ultimately, I came up with this plan for putting the headboards together.  The design is a simple frame on the back with a french cleat integrated as the top of the frame so it could be easily hung on the wall and be very stable.   I had seen a french cleat used on several HGTV shows to hang headboards and I liked how this was a very sturdy solution.  Metal brackets were added to the frame for stability (L brackets at the top and some straight metal bracket pieces at the bottom).

Barn wood headboard

For those of you wondering what a French cleat is . . . here we took a 1x8 and had it ripped down the middle a 45 degree angle.  This is represented in purple in the graphic above.  One side was mounted to the back of the headboard and the other is mounted to the wall (the wall piece was cut shorter in width to fit in between the frame of the headboard).  See graphic below to see how this works.  You just have to be sure you are mounting them correctly, so the piece on the wall hold up the piece on the headboard.  The piece mounted to the wall was wide enough to be screwed into at least a couple of studs.  You end up with a very stable and sturdy means of attaching the headboard to the wall.

Attaching headboard to a wall

We put the frame together first before attaching it to the barn wood pieces.   The photo here shows the metal brackets attached to the back of the frame (the side that would face the wall). We ended up moving them to the inside of the frame so they would be sandwiched between the barn wood pieces and the frame (so they would not scratch the wall when hanging the headboard).

Barn wood headboard

Once the headboards were put together, I sprayed them with mat polyurethane.  The French cleat worked very well to mount them on the wall.

Barn wood headboard
 I love the look of the barn wood with the aqua quilts on the beds.  I'm still trying to figure out some toss pillows for the beds...
Barn wood headboard
Update 12-15-2014
Check out the toss pillows I added to this room.  It's a subtle change that finished off the beds quite nicely.  I went with a neutral fabric with a large pattern and little texture to go with the neutral ticking striped shams.
Barn wood headboard

Barn wood headboard
Here are links to some of the other barn wood projects.
For more beach cottage posts see my Beach Cottage page.


  1. Nice. However as someone who has worked with reclaimed wood/barnwood for a while, you missed a very crucial step. The boards need to be treated with a safe insecticide/fungicide before bringing into your home. Powder post beetles, termites, carpenter ants, etc are very common in wood that was outdoors, especially from old barns, which were not treated back in the day. A boric acid product like Bora-Care should be applied first to prevent bringing structure damaging pests into your home.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment. Your suggestion is interesting as I was told the bleach and water solution would take care of pests in the wood, and then sealing with the polyurethane would further help in this same manner. I will keep your suggestion in mind for our next project with reclaimed wood.