Make Your Own Dreamy Lit Headboard - It's Easier Than You Think!


What do you do when space is at a premium in your bedroom? Get rid of your bulky bedframe! But you need something pretty in its place and I have the perfect solution...a lit headboard made out of simple string lights and curtains. Bonus: it does double duty as a reading light!
To get this dreamy effect in your own bedroom, you simply need: - 3-4 curtain panels - a curtain rod a few inches wider than your bed (70" for a queen, 86" for a king) - 1-2 strings of white Christmas lights (80-100 lights total) - and several small nails or Command hooks. I also recommend using a remote switch, so you can turn the lights off from bed without having to unplug them.
When searching for the perfect curtains, try to find something that's not totally opaque, but also not sheer. You should be able to see light shining through, without being able to actually see the lights behind the curtain.
First, measure and hang the curtain rod supports over where your bed will be. Set the rod aside for later. Then use the small nails (or Command hooks if you don't want holes all over your wall) to hang the lights in an even pattern on the wall under where the curtain will hang. Note: If your walls are light to medium colored, use lights on white cord, rather than the green that you would use on your Christmas tree. That will keep the cord from showing up through the curtains.
Plug your lights in to check your pattern. I used an old set of umbrella lights (the kind that are meant to be attached to the inside of a patio umbrella), so mine came out in a sort of shell pattern, but if you use regular string lights, your pattern will be more of a grid.
Thread your curtain panels on the rod. If you are using curtain clips, you can keep the panels from separating by clipping the edges together (ends facing the wall) on one clip.
On each side, hang the last clip on the outside of the support bracket. This will keep the curtains from moving around.
A little behind-the-scenes peek! Note: I've had several questions about the safety of putting lights so close to fabric. While I've never had a problem with mine even getting warm to the touch, I would suggest that you be sure to buy newer lights that are designed to stay cool, or even LED lights, which are widely available.
Plug your lights into the wall adapter for your remote switch, and set the clicker by your bed, so you can turn off the lights from your cozy spot once you're done reading.
Now you have a romantic and functional lit headboard. Enjoy! And be sure to check out the full tutorial on the blog fore more tips and details, as well as where to find these resources.
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Meredith Wouters

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

21 questions
  • MN Mom
    on Jan 8, 2016

    Meredith would this work to use a net light the kind you would put on shrubs? I was thinking the lights would be spaced out already in a grid. My daughter wants to do this in her bedroom...it's just so lovely! And lights are all on super clearance right now!!

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Jan 8, 2016

      @MN Mom that's a great idea! Just check and make sure the net covers the same width as your bed size. Let us know how it works out!

    • Gail Courcy
      on Jan 10, 2016

      @MN Mom I think the net lights would be too uniform. Part of the appeal is the scattered look which looks more like stars behind the cloth.

    • Jeanette S
      on Jan 10, 2016

      @MN Mom I have seen where people put up a narrow shelf around the top of the room, run an extention cord (chose a route to run it down a corner and then to a plug or down to the top of a door and attach it to the facing) and string lights across the shelves. This is great in a nursery. Also keep in mind that these lights are great for lighting on a porch but do not attract bugs!

    • Pat Hayes
      on Jan 10, 2016

      @MN Mom That is a great idea! The lights would be spaced evenly and they would be lots easier to hang too. I'm going to try your idea. Thanks!

  • Suzanne Hall
    on Jan 8, 2016

    What about the danger of fire...you show lights real near curtains....

    • Lucia Thiel
      on Jan 8, 2016

      @Suzanne Hall 90% of Stranded lights " single and garland" Are LEDs LED's are cool burned lights. So while it's light inside the outer bulb stays cool. you'll never catch anything, even TP on a strand of LEDs

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Jan 9, 2016

      @Suzanne Hall I've had these up for over a year, and never had any problem with them. They don't even feel warm to the touch after being on for hours. So I never thought about that, but I guess it would be a good idea to make sure you get LED's.

    • Katrina Warren
      on Jan 9, 2016

      You just need to make sure your lights are LED which do not get hot, or "Cool" burning which also do not get hot........ I've had my "Cool" burning button lights behind my sheer curtain scarves for at least 10yrs. & no problem ever! These days it can actually be difficult to find sting lights that aren't LED, so there is little worry over a heat factor, but it's always a good ideal to check the box to see if they are "Cool" burning just in case. =)

    • Julie Spellman
      on Jan 11, 2016

      @Katrina Warren

    • Katrina Warren
      on Jan 11, 2016

      @Julie Spellman Do you have a question? :)

  • Amy Gallegos Vanderkooy
    on Jan 8, 2016

    It looks beautiful!! How functional is it, however? How do you lean against it like a headboard?? The nails sticking out of the wall seem like they would hurt... Or if you bump your head on the wall in the night?

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Jan 9, 2016

      @Amy Gallegos Vanderkooy that's a good question about the nails. When you put them in the wall, you nail them in far enough that only about 1/4 to 1/2 inch sticks out, just enough to hang the cord. Then the curtain fabric sort of acts as a cushion for all the lights. I just prop my pillow up against the curtain and I've never had a problem. Also, I left a couple of inches between the wall and the mattress, so I've never bumped my head either.

    • Leslie
      on Jan 10, 2016

      @Amy Gallegos Vanderkooy Hi Amy not sure if this will work but instead of nails the Command Hooks have a small clear hook that may work well. I would think one of the wires would just snap behind the small hook. I use them if I want to hang something light from the ceiling or on the wall. but don't want to make holes for a hook. I love this product and I basically use the different size hooks for everything. No I am not being paid to say this :)

    • Susan Kimmer
      on Jan 10, 2016

      Command makes hooks especially for hanging lights.

    • Marlene Bent
      on Jan 10, 2016

      @Amy Gallegos Vanderkooy You would be leaning against your pillow(s) not the wall directly and unless you sit up in your sleep and throw yourself against the wall I don't see how they would be a bother.

    • Superbee
      on Jan 10, 2016

      @Marlene Bent Haha! I laughed out loud at the image of someone sitting up in their sleep, then throwing themselves against the wall. :)

    • Amy Gallegos Vanderkooy
      on Jan 11, 2016

      @Meredith, thank you.

    • Bernadette Turner
      on Apr 28, 2016

      If that is a concern for you, you could use a low headboard and hang the curtain behind it. When the bed is made with all the pillows in place the headboard wouldn't be seen? just a thought

    • Jud1016678
      on Apr 28, 2016

      LOVE THE IDEA AND THE SHELL PATTERN! HANG HIGHER THAN TOP OF HEADBOARD WOULD BE IF YOU LEAN AGAINST WALL! I WOULD USE NEW LIGHTS BOUGHT ON SALE AFTER CHRISTMAS! DIFFERENT!

  • Dee B
    on Jan 10, 2016

    I really like this idea. Thanks. Is this safe and not a fire hazard? I want to do this.

    • Teresa Tomasulo
      on Jan 10, 2016

      @Dee B View the above comments.

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Jan 11, 2016

      @Dee B Yes, the lights don't get warm, and if you're concerned you could buy the LED type, just to be safe.

    • Dee B
      on Jan 11, 2016

      Thank you for taking the time to give me an answer. Thanks again for a great idea.

    • Judy Lewis
      on Jan 11, 2016

      I am doing this! I am going to use a set of ice cycle lights instead. ill let you know how it works out!

    • D
      on Apr 28, 2016

      Would love to see how the icicle lights worked. Please post a picture.

    • Susie Rufener
      on Apr 28, 2016

      If you are concerned about a fire hazard, extend the curtain rod out about another inch.

    • Jackie Alford
      on Apr 28, 2016

      I've don't this and it was like a magical fairy tale.. I've also done this around a canopy I made into a reading nook with big pillows on the floor. My granddaughter loved it.

  • Creativity is Great
    on Jan 11, 2016

    I was going to purchase a headboard but wow this is cute. Could also use seed lights I like the way they fan up the wall but can i do that with regular lights? Also what is the fire hazard risk are there lights that are cooler than others to keep hazard down?

    • Jill Ron Pike
      on Apr 29, 2016

      Three letters when choosing your lighting....LED. They are cool to the touch even when lit for hours. I was able to keep my Christmas tree lit 24-7 this past season, and I LOVE them :)

    • Creativity is Great
      on Apr 30, 2016

      Thanks!

  • Creativity is Great
    on Jan 11, 2016

    Do umbrella lights make that fan look? Are they cool to the touch. I want to try this but concerned about the fire hazard?

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Jan 13, 2016

      @Creativity is Great yes, the fan shape is caused by the umbrella lights all radiating out from a center circle. But when the curtain is in front, you can't tell what shape they are in, so you could use any kind of string lights. I suggest LED lights because they stay cool.

    • Carolyn Monfee Roberson
      on Apr 28, 2016

      I have been doing this for years. My youngest son started doing it with colored lights. The lights are on the wall and the curtain is a small distance from the lights. I use plastics loop pin tacks to secure the lights. It keeps them off the wall itself. I've not had any problem with a fire hazard. On a Christmas tree, the light actually TOUCH the green. This isn't any less risky, in my opinion.

    • Debb McElvany Ollis
      on Apr 28, 2016

      My husband and I hung lights from our ceiling in fish nets back in the e 70's. My the view from the street at night come to when she would ce to visit.

    • Lainey Howell
      on Apr 29, 2016

      If you have access to a Military Surplus store, you can buy old parachutes. Strip the cords and hang from curtain rods, or cup hooks from ceiling. Beautiful results. On the ceiling, multicolored lights are gorgeous. If you have a kid who is Star Wars crazy, this gives a "Galaxy" look for not much money. Great idea! I may put these behind my brass headboard, or rehang the old mosquito netting (the ones with the bamboo circle)!

  • Rebecca
    on Apr 28, 2016

    How many lights (approximate) fit well on a single window.

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Apr 29, 2016

      I think that would depend on how wide and tall your window is. This is done on a wall, not a window, so I don't have a very good answer for you.

  • Sandra K Salisbury
    on Apr 29, 2016

    I love your idea and the lamp is very pretty! In your first photo the candle holder appears to be wider at the top than the bottom. It then appears that you may have made an adjustment to it and made the sides straight. Is there a reason for that? How tall is your new "lamp shade", and do you use the smaller light bulb that is for a ceiling fan?

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Apr 29, 2016

      Hi Sandra, I'm not sure I understand your question. Were you perhaps referring to a different post?

  • Melanie Shaw Jernigan
    on Jul 17, 2016

    Remote controls are bought where? Cost?

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Jul 17, 2016

      I got mine at Home Depot for about $10. They might be a little harder to find when it's not Christmas season (since they were originally intended for Christmas lights) but I've seen them at Lowes as well. Good luck!

    • Kerry Baca
      on Jan 11, 2017

      You can also find the remotes for the lights at Big Lots. They come 2 in the package for about $12. They are by the light bulbs and extension cords.

    • Katz215
      on Jul 21, 2018

      Don’t know if I trust Big Lots! Most of their stuff comes from China, Vietnam, Mexico etc. Maybe if it is LED lights only.

    • Pyesangel
      on Nov 8, 2018

      I wouldn't trust Wal-Mart either, since most of their stuff comes from those countries also.


  • Sandra M
    on Sep 13, 2016

    This is gorgeous and something I never would've thought of on my own. I imagine the bed needs to be slightly away from the wall so the curtain appears to hang, but what do you have in place to stop the pillows from sliding off the top end of the bed? I'd like to try this idea in my own room and wonder how I could prevent that. Did you make your bookshelves as well? I love it all!

    • Meredith Wouters
      on Sep 22, 2016

      Thanks Sandra! You're right, you'll need to leave a couple of inches between your bed and the wall so the lights aren't touching the curtains too much. I've never had a problem with pillows sliding off, but I also don't sit up against them to read or watch TV. If you do, that might be a problem. You could solve that with a simple metal headboard or low-framed headboard. I found my bookshelves at Target, and simply painted them. Thanks so much!

  • Emi16352904
    on Jan 11, 2017

    Could that be dangerous and cause a fire touching the curtains

    • Tra9265644
      on Jan 11, 2017

      I would definitely use LED lights ONLY! I used regular Christmas lights under my white tree skirt (just for a pretty glow) that was made from a white sheet. After a few days, my husband and I thought we smelled something burning. Lo and behold, the sheet was turning black in spots where it actually touched the lights. Now, I use LED lights (still get that glow), but, because they don't get hot or even warm to the touch, there is no danger of scorching the fabric or inadvertently burning my house down.

  • Orphan Annie
    on Jan 11, 2017

    Where did you find a remote for the string of lights?

    • Vickie Nelson
      on Jan 11, 2017

      I found a remote control receptacle at Lowe's. The one I bought had three receptacles (just plug them into an existing receptacle and plug in whatever you want to turn off remotely). It came with one remote which had 3 buttons to turn off and on the receptacle. I used all three with different Christmas trees and loved the convenience!

    • Jan
      on Jan 11, 2017

      Walmart carries them. Also probably Amazon. Search for "Christmas light remote".

    • Elaine Mills Prince
      on Jan 11, 2017

      The string of lights could be plugged into a light bar with an on/off switch that is placed on the bedside table within reach of the bed. No problem with a lost remote to cause frustration when you are sleepy.

    • Margie Spenser
      on Jan 11, 2017

      both remotes that I have came on short "bead" key rings. I put cup hooks in handy places near where I would be deciding to turn my fans or reading light on and off and they are always just where I left them. The remotes are only about two inches by 1 1/2 inches, and my smallest power bar is about 6 inches long and has a very stiff wire so it is hard to position out of the way.

    • Bea16917723
      on Jan 12, 2017

      I think this would also be very welcome/inviting in a young childs (especially girls) room. Much better than a plain old night light.

  • Gloria Conerly
    on Jan 12, 2017

    Totally off topic, but where did you get the painting on the wall. Would love to have a close up. Love the lights too.

  • Lisa
    on Jan 12, 2017

    Cute I did almost the same thing but also hung a rod from the ceiling & the wall n made like a canopy. Also used hooks n remote ..lol my daughter loves it ❤she has all her robins n sashes from her horse shows hanging all of over it a big dream catcher in the center ...i used shimmery sheet swags❤

    • Linda M Springer
      on Jan 14, 2017

      As soon as I saw this I thought o my 9 year old granddaughter she would love it

    • Jeff
      on Mar 15, 2017

      Hi. I have medium size room with a king sized bed that's takes up most of the wall. I've been looking for some type of idea like yours. I totally love it a want that warm glow, especially since it is the Beaudoir and is a more private and personal space. The sanctuary if you will. My problem is a have an off-set window behind my bed covered now with mini blinds and curtains over it. Any suggestions for pulling this off without any effects of the window inside or the lights outside. Thanks for this clever idea. Jeff

    • Ram6650343
      on Apr 14, 2017

      Maybe use blackout shade or curtain that overlaps window to block light
    • Brenda
      on Jul 25, 2017

      I also have a window just to the side of my bed that has curtains hanging from them. I am wondering if hanging these curtains would be too much next to the others (Which are navy blue light blocking so they are a heavier material)? This is absolutely beautiful though.
    • Ainslie63
      on Sep 22, 2017

      I would grab some cardboard and cut out two pieces the size of window, glue together and paint one side white and the other side line with tinfoil to reflect sun (if it gets light). then pop in window sill/ledge and hopefully there will be nothing visible behind curtains.
  • Kelly Zona
    on Feb 7, 2017

    Where do you find the remote? I love this idea by the way!

  • Chloe Taylor
    on Feb 8, 2017

    can i use netlights instead of string lights.

    • Mic9160620
      on Apr 14, 2017

      I think that sounds like a good idea.
    • Sandy
      on May 10, 2018

      I was thinking the same thing but mine are colored lights. But I have iclcie lights too

  • Maria
    on Jun 17, 2018

    are the christmas light dangerus! And with the curtain fabric near, even worse!!!

    • Katz215
      on Jul 21, 2018

      Not dangerous if they are led lights which the New ones are. I love this idea and will do this soon!

    • Gale
      on Sep 27, 2018

      The fairy lights don't get hot, but, None of the small lights I use get hot , just check whatever small lights you're using! Better to be safe than sorry, right? This is so pretty! I love it!

    • Nicki Oliver
      on Nov 7, 2018

      I have had this set-up in my room for a couple of years. It has never been hot and never been a safety issue. I did purchase new lights and use a remote. Perfect for a bedroom !

    • Marie Tremblay
      on Nov 7, 2018

      Led lights don't get hot👍🏼

    • Jim Cox
      on Nov 7, 2018

      LEDs in my living room (in a fake Ficus) have been plugged in non-stop for over two years, not a single issue.


  • Carol Gallo
    on Jun 19, 2018

    Never heard of "fairy lights" would love to have these for a project I have in mind. Where did you buy them?



    • Katz215
      on Jul 21, 2018

      My daughter purchased Fairy Lights at either Target or Walmart. Her three year old daughter loves her “princess” bed.

    • Janerose
      on Aug 20, 2018

      I hv found a lot of different pretty lights on strings in the wedding decor area of Walmart...hv fun!

    • Carol Gallo
      on Aug 21, 2018

      Thanks to you both.

    • Denise Wettering
      on Sep 9, 2018

      Love these. My beds full size tho so what. Inch rods for full size and maybe 50 lights?

    • Marsha Hagel Mutschler
      on Nov 8, 2018

      Hi

      I bought some at Dollar Tree

      Also some at Hobby Lobby

      Menards also has them. Really easy to find this time of year

  • Lisa Lyons
    on Nov 7, 2018

    Where do you find lights that have a remote? I don't think I have ever seen those?

    Thanks

    • Rita
      on Nov 7, 2018

      Check Walmart. I have several strings that are remote and the candles also.


    • Krissyo
      on Nov 7, 2018

      QVC also has mini lights with a remote.

    • Lisa Lyons
      on Nov 8, 2018

      Thanks everyone.

    • Marsha Hagel Mutschler
      on Nov 8, 2018

      Alot of battery operated lights have remote controls

    • SpudBread
      on Nov 9, 2018

      Buy a light cord-plug-in dimmer at Home Depot. You can connect the lights to the cord, has dimmer built in. Can also be used to connect lamps, other light fixtures. ENJOY!

    • Becky
      on Nov 12, 2018

      Pier 1 has all colors.

    • Veronica
      on Feb 16, 2019

      Amazon


    • KSB
      on Oct 20, 2019

      I just decided to plug into a power strip because I didn't fine lights with a remote. The power strip works well. I hung it on the wall next to my bed and I just use the on and off switch that way. Just an additional suggestion!

  • TW
    on Nov 7, 2018

    What do you use to support your back when you sit up and read in bed? Do you put the pillows against the light? I do like the idea and the look

    • Robyn
      on Feb 26, 2019

      I put mine on my headboard for that dreamy look. You can't lean against the lights so unless they have a adjustable bed this would be hard to do without a headboard

    • Teresa
      on Apr 3, 2019

      No sitting in bed! Lol

  • Lynn L Carroll
    on Nov 12, 2018

    Anyway to print this so I can take to the store to get the items as well as have on have on hand for project?

    • Lydia
      on May 19, 2019

      Do a screen shot of it. You can save it as a note on your phone so you don’t have to look through all your pictures to find it at the store., or you can print the screen shot 🤷🏼‍♀️

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