How to make a shutter headboard

Add some fresh colour to a bland cottage bedroom

By Catherine DohertyCatherine Doherty


Photo by Daniel Harrison

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A colourful headboard adds life to a tired cottage bedroom with very little strain on you or your pocketbook. We used indoor shutters for our double bed, but this design can be easily adapted for outdoor shutters or even old bifold doors. Attach the headboard directly to the wall in the same way that you would hang a picture or mirror.


  • 8 single 7″ shutters
  • 2 cans latex spray paint
  • Latex paint
  • 1″ foam brush
  • 2 pine boards (ripped to 2″ x 3⁄4″)
  • 1 ¼” wood screws
  • Screwdriver
  • 2 picture hangers (for heavy pictures)

Step 1: Salvage

Poke around your local dump; we found shutters and bifold doors in every dump we visited. Salvage stores also carry a wide variety of shutters.

Step 2: Measuring

To determine the ideal width of your headboard, measure the width of your bed and add 2″. The double bed shownis 54″ so we used a final measurement of 56″.

Step 3: Assembly

Lay out a row of shutters on the floor. Try to arrange a combination that comes as close to your final measurement as possible, which could be as few as two large shutters or as many as 10 small ones. In order to secure the shutters in place, attach them to two mounting strips. We ripped pine boards to 2″ x ¾”, and cut them 2″ shorter than our final headboard width. (You could also use 1 x 2 lumber for the strips.) Turn the shutters face down and make sure they’re butted up against each other. Then, centre the mounting strips across the back, placing the first strip between 3″ and 6″ below the top of the shutters, and the second the same distance from the bottom. Screw them to the frames of each shutter. A squirt of carpenter’s glue will strengthen the whole assembly.

Step 4: Painting

We used a latex spray paint for the undercoat. Spray paint gets into the nooks and crannies, but colours are limited; if you like, add a final coat with a foam brush in the colour of your choice. In that case, for the undercoat, start with spray paint that closely matches your final colour. We used Denim Blue from Folk Art, available at hobby and craft shops.

Step 5: Mounting

Using a level, mount the headboard. We used two picture hangers and two screws, one set near each end of the mounting strip, positioned so the screws go into the studs in the wall.


  • Cut bifold doors in half to give the impression of shutters.
  • Use two large exterior shutters for an alternative look.
  • If your kids jump on the mattress and threaten to bounce the headboard right off the wall, attach it more securely by screwing it from the front, into the studs.

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Catherine Doherty