Headboard Ideas

In this New York City apartment, designers Alan Tanksley and Adrian Gilbey of Alan Tanskley Inc. placed a favorite painting at the head of the bed, above a headboard that was selected to blend into the wall's paint color.

"This was the perfect spot for the painting," Alan says, "because the scale was perfect, the color against the wall was very dramatic and the placement at the far end of the room created a long view, which gave the painting importance."

Hanging a painting above the bed works best in a room with ample footboard space, so that you can really see — and enjoy — the painting. "Look for artwork that's big and bold," Alan says. "Small-scale work or images will be impossible to view over the distance of a bed. And keep both the artwork and the frame very simple," he advises.

Hang the painting high enough so the pillows don't rest against it. Make sure the painting is lighted properly, and it will serve as a beautiful focal point in your room.

If your bed already has a headboard but is putting you right to sleep, embellish the bed with extra fabric.

"This was a boring bed that needed more visual strength," says designer Cindy Rinfret, author of Classic Greenwich Style. "To add drama and make the bed the focal point of the room, we created a cornice of handpainted wood that looks like painted-metal tole. It really dresses up the room."

Cindy selected a print linen from Colefax and Fowler, plaid taffeta from Travers and a trim from Clarence house. The effect is very feminine, but not too fussy.

With wraparound views of New York City, this penthouse apartment in Greenwich Village has plenty of natural light. To bring that sunshine into the apartment's interior and keep the space airy and fresh, designer Clodagh divided the space with partial walls. The effect is the openness of a loft with the coziness of a traditional apartment.

In the master bedroom, a partial wall conceals a walk-in closet. Clodagh upholstered the wall in Lexell Cobblestone leather so the expanse can function as a headboard. "I like headboard materials that can be sponged clean," says Clodagh, author of Total Design. "This leather can be wiped with a barely humid sponge to keep it fresh."

Adjustable Artmetide lights installed right into the headboard allow the bibliophile homeowner to read in bed, and a comforter from Ann Gish and simple pillows keep the look clean, spare and serene.

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