Or bed head. A panel fitted at the head of a bed to protect from draughts and sounds, as a comfortable layer between bed and wall and as a backrest when sitting upright. Headboards can be made as part of the bed frame, purpose made or free standing. The frames can really be made from anything at all, from any metal or wood, carved or not, hard or soft and often fully upholstered.
Before divans took over the world, the bedhead and very often the footboard as well were an integral part of the construction, holding the bed sides in place, to make the bed frame. Stylistically, headboards and footboards make the point that a bed should take centre stage in the room. They can turn a potentially oversized, large bed into chic, tailored, design statement.
The most comfortable headboards are soft, padded in some form; well designed and proportioned, tightly covered, upholstered headboards are certainly a good starting point to make something of a divan but they very difficult to clean- too bulky to take anywhere. The best solution for these and in fact most bedheads is undoubtedly some form of easily washable slip, or loose covers that just pull over – and two sets for each bed.
Those extra pillows and over-sized cushions that pile up at the top of the bed, and sometimes get in the way, are really more the means to make a nice comfortable nest, against a solid head board, for reading, morning tea, coffee, weekend newspapers, a good book…..