As part of my bedroom makeover, I knew I wanted to get rid of our 90’s sleigh bed.
I thought about using the barn doors that I salvaged from my in-law’s barn as a headboard. But with the ship lap wall behind the bed the planked barn door felt like it would be a bit redundant. I also considered using a vintage door that I had on hand and placing it sideways on the wall behind the bed.
But then I saw this idea of modifying an antique headboard from Rachel at Shades of Blue Interiors.
Isn’t it gorgeous?
I started looking around on Craigslist for likely candidates and it quickly became apparent that the slanted wall behind my bed definitely limited my options. Just scroll back up and look at that inspiration photo again, it’s tall! And the height is a big part of what makes it fabulous. I found several similar beds on Craigslist, all of which were far too tall to fit under my slanted wall.
Next I started looking for an antique headboard that either was short enough already, or could be cut down. That’s when I spotted the ad for this bedroom set.
The headboard was about 4” too tall, plus the photo with the ad showed the bed with a mattress and box spring in place. I couldn’t see the legs of the headboard to determine if they could be cut down. So I contacted the seller and he happily provided both a photo of the legs and the opinion that I could easily cut 4” off the bottoms of them.
As you may know, Queen and King sized beds did not become popular until the 50’s and 60’s. For that reason it’s next to impossible to find antique bed frames in those sizes. But you can modify a full sized antique headboard to fit a queen sized bed pretty easily and I’m about to show you how.
The first step was to send the headboard over to Ken’s workshop. It was a bit wonky and most of the joints were coming unglued. Ken enjoys a project like this. Remember the Humpty Dumpty dresser? He likes to take these pieces apart and then put them back together again with all new glue (he also really enjoys jigsaw puzzles). At one point the headboard was nothing more than a pile of pieces. But Ken put it all back together again and now it’s nice and sturdy. He also cut 4” off the bottom of each leg.
In the meantime, Mr. Q ordered a basic metal bed frame from Amazon. Free shipping with Amazon Prime, and it was priced at less than $40.
Next we measured the width of the bed frame and Ken cut a board to fit that width and I painted the board black.
I debated stripping and refinishing the bed, which would have been lovely but a bit of a project with all of those details.
Since I firmly believe that every room should have a pop of black I ultimately decided to paint it black instead. I painted it with Homestead House milk paint in Coal Black and I used their black wax as a finish. I like pairing the black wax with the black milk paint because it deepens up the black so nicely. By the way, in case you are wondering, the black wax has not rubbed off on our pillows at all and I waxed the bed about 4 days before we started using it.
Once all of the details were in place, we brought the headboard, the metal frame and the black board up to our room. Ken thought it would best to assemble it in place. Assembly was super simple. Ken started by drilling holes in the board and bolting it to the metal frame.
Then we simply snugged it up to the headboard and attached the headboard to the board with screws. Easy peasy. As you can see, the metal frame is just a couple of inches wider than the headboard. Once all of the bedding is in place, this difference won’t be noticeable at all. Honestly, this could not be any simpler. Anyone can accomplish this with a drill and some hardware. So if you’re thinking about a new look for your bedroom, check out your local Craigslist and find a gorgeous antique that you can modify (if you are in the Twin Cities and can have a taller bed than I can, check out this one and this one).
Next came the bed skirt. Since I wasn’t able to use the side rails and foot board that came with the bed, it definitely needed to have a bed skirt. I looked at several online that I liked and the cheapest option was still $110. It was much more affordable to copy from Catherine on Home Talk (check out that link if you want specific details) and use painter’s drop cloths. I was able to get by with one 4’ by 15’ drop cloth that I cut in half lengthwise giving me two pieces that were 2′ by 15′, and it cost less than $15.
Catherine used upholstery tacks to attach the drop cloth, but I just used staples. Honestly, I’m not sure how well they are going to hold it in place over time, but I can always reattach it with tacks if it becomes a problem.
Now comes the pricey part of the whole deal, the bedding. Have you ever noticed that it’s easy to spend more on bedding than you do for a bed? It adds up fast. In my case I felt like it really was time to update more than just the duvet cover, it was time for new pillows, a new featherbed and a new down alternative duvet, plus the duvet cover and pillow shams that are the only items visible. So I headed to my local Bed, Bath & Beyond to see what they had. This was the second highest expense of the entire makeover. I’d like to say that this post is sponsored by Bed, Bath & Beyond and they gave me all of this bedding for free, but no, I paid for it.
In addition to the pillows, etc. I found a Kenneth Cole stone washed linen duvet cover and pair of shams in the discount bin. The color is called Mineral and is perfect with my wall color.
Since I wasn’t sure about all of the different shades of greige I had going on in the room plus the lack of any kind of pattern, I also ordered a ticking stripe duvet cover and pair of Euro shams from Ballard Designs in a color called Sandalwood.
I didn’t really intend to keep both duvet covers. I thought I could try each and pick a favorite. Instead I discovered that the bed looks amazing with both of them. Dang!
In addition, the Ballard duvet cover is really very heavy, perfect for winter, while the Kenneth Cole duvet is quite lightweight, perfect for summer. Can you tell that I’m working really hard to justify this expense?
I didn’t need new sheets, I’m just using a set of white sheets that I already had. I’m also using a pair of vintage pillow cases with a tatted edge that I purchased at a garage sale. You’ll sometimes find vintage linens like these at garage sales and it’s obvious that the owner never used them. They probably were a wedding shower gift and were put in the cupboard back in 1959 and never taken back out. These vintage linens have the most amazing weight, so much better quality than most things you can buy new.
The France 7 Postes pillow is one I purchased many years ago, I’m pretty sure from Restoration Hardware. I have a pair of these and they get moved around all the time. The mate to this one is currently being used on the Belgian bench in my dining room.
Overall, the bedding was a huge splurge for us and this is by far the most beautifully dressed bed we’ve ever had. I figure now that we’ve made it nearly to our mid-50’s it’s about time we had some grown up bedding, right?
By the way, there is the cane bench at the foot of the bed. What do you think of my choice to leave it unpainted now that you’re seeing it in place?
I’m loving how much more ‘presence’ the bed has now. The height of the headboard is perfect. It fills up the space all the way up to the angle in the wall. I also love the black up against the ship lap. I really could not be any happier with how the bed turned out.
So, at this point I’ve shared my faux ship lap wall, my refinished floors, the refreshed cane back bench, my repainted nightstands, and now my bed. But there is still more to come for Mission Possible, I hope you’ll stay tuned!
Sharing with Feathered Nest Friday on French Country Cottage.