Asked on Jul 11, 2015

1970s waterbed headboard to hallway table?

by Toshiba
I found this 1970s waterbed headboard at a flea market and want to repurpose it as a hallway entry table. The height and width are perfect, and it is heavy solid wood. The back is plankwood and can be removed, along with the mirror. I am painting it off-white and staining the top a dark expresso. Should I remove the doors? The shelves? Add any other hardware? Any ideas welcome!
  29 answers
  • Sparkles Sparkles on Jul 12, 2015
    this is the same exact headboard i have on my waterbed. yours in in rougher condition. i look forward to seeing pictures of your transformation.
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Jul 12, 2015
    What a great idea! I'd say paint it first & see what doesn't work. My initial reaction was to ditch those cubbies under the shelves but with what you have in mind, it might just make them work! Looking forward also to the finished pics!
  • Cher B Cher B on Jul 12, 2015
    Neat idea for re-using the headboard!! I think I would remove only the planks in the center (where the mirror is). Leave the shelves & cubby doors. Those little shelves would be perfect to hold some pretty round baskets that could contain gloves, hats & such during cooler temps. The white & espresso sounds really pretty!! Oh another thought, perhaps get some inexpensive "bun" feet to add to the bottom, or a short block of wood on each corner to raise the bottom off the floor just a couple of inches. I hope you post a photo of your finished treasure!! :)
    • Nancy J Nancy J on Jul 12, 2015
      @Cher B was just going to suggest legs or feet on it! :)
  • Tudyrunningwater Tudyrunningwater on Jul 12, 2015
    I would def. paint, remove mirror and reuse over table with 2 additional (same size) plain mirrors.Plain ones at each end reused in middle. remove all "additions". reuse boxes with doors on top. just a thought... fill with winter gloves,hats etc, boot tray on bottom shelf... have fun
  • Toshiba Toshiba on Jul 12, 2015
    Thanks, all are great ideas!
  • Bobbie joh Bobbie joh on Jul 12, 2015
    Firstly, you are brilliant for seeing a table in that massive piece! As much as i like the small boxy boxes at the bottom, they feel of proportion to the rest of the piece. Plus, if you remove them, you will have a better chance of finding nice baskets to fit under the shelves. Unless you have small items you are trying to put in those areas, I would get rid of those and the middle mirror and it's backing plaque. PLEASE post when you have finished! I can't wait to see it reborn!
  • Sheri Gonnell Sheri Gonnell on Jul 12, 2015
    I have one of these too, I'd love to see what you finally end up doing with it!
  • Pauliegirl1 Pauliegirl1 on Jul 12, 2015
    As I, this piece....what about using the "shelf and boxes" on top? Remove backing, turn the two middle supports (by mirror) around, to look like legs?? The small shelves put on top, but facing up??? like a backing for table top, at each end?? and attach the boxes in front of the small area of shelf?? I am trying to imagine it like may or may NOT look good...But I would take the back off...and then just "play" with the other pieces until it looks right?? Have fun with it and PLEASE post when complete!!
  • Toshiba Toshiba on Jul 12, 2015
    Sheri, Do you know how old your headboard is? I picked this up at Goodwill and just took a guess it was from the mid 70s? It's made of great solid hardwood and is heavy duty!
    • See 2 previous
    • Sheri Gonnell Sheri Gonnell on Jul 16, 2015
      @Toshiba My husband and I got ours from a friend in the early '80s. It was fairly new, maybe 6 months old when we got it. It's solid oak, weighs a ton, but is a beautiful piece.
  • CK CK on Jul 12, 2015
    Personally I'd take out all the little doors and drawers so it'll eventually look more streamlined. If the back comes off and doesn't compromise the stability of the piece, I'd take that off too. It'll give you a visually lighter weight piece. I think if you leave the doors/drawers in place it'll just look like a 70's headboard on the floor....but then, who knows, painted it might be quite unique and stunning :-)
  • Chris Baehr Chris Baehr on Jul 12, 2015
    Hope you post your finished ......I have 2 and would lov to see
  • Sparkles Sparkles on Jul 13, 2015
    i got my water bed in 1978 and that is the headboard mine has, except it has 2 lift up lidded cubbys under the mirror.
  • Sparkles Sparkles on Jul 13, 2015
    what are the boxes on top with all the clothes in them? they did not come with this headboard.
    • Toshiba Toshiba on Jul 13, 2015
      Ha, definetly did not come with the headboard. The headboard is currently in my closet and holds clothes in cubies!
  • Susan Thompson Susan Thompson on Jul 13, 2015
    I have one from the waterbed my late husband bought me for Mother's Day one year. I remarried, and the new hubby hated the waterbed. When the mattress sprang a leak (I think he did it on purpose!), we just did away with the bed (repurposed the side rails as shelves, used the under drawers... stacked... in the closet for a good while, then gifted them to my son and DIL), but I couldn't part with the headboard. I was going to repurpose it as the mantle for a faux fireplace, but it eventually made it's way to the grandgirlies room. I attached a board to the bottom to cover the opening under the drawers, painted the whole thing white, and we secured it to the wall. Makes a great wall unit to hold books, crayons and colored pencils in the drawers, knick knacks, and in the space where the mirror was, I've hung a cute little picture. If you're using the unit on the floor as a table, I think I'd remove the doors and the little shelves... maybe build in a little cabinet in the middle to cover the mirror section, and add shelves to each side. Love repurposing existing items!
  • Gale O'Neal Gale O'Neal on Jul 13, 2015
    l think it looks great with all the little cubbies and shaped little shelves. It makes it more interesting. (Can hide the extra set of car keys down there or whatever. I would only take the mirror off, paint it some wonderful colors and call it a day. If you have a cat, I bet it will claim one or both of those mini shelves. Maybe pad them for your fur baby and use little boxes to hold the catnip and cat snacks. Just a thought. I am definitely in a color and artistic mode today. LOL
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jul 13, 2015
    I would definitely lose that mirror. I might even think of putting a piece of art there. Taking off the backing would make the piece less heavy but I wouldn't do it right away. Doing so might also destroy the structural integrity of the table. The shelves can be used for display, and the little doored compartment for storage.
  • Sparkles Sparkles on Jul 15, 2015
    the backing is light weight and only painted to look as heavy as the rest of the bed. it is a very thin sheet of masonite. it would not mess with the structure of the headboard as far as i can tell from my bed.
  • Renata Renata on Sep 05, 2015
    What a kool Idea. Just sand, paint and add tall legs. How creative
  • Marlakay Marlakay on Feb 03, 2016
    Any pictures of the finished project? I have this exact headboard. It was bought new in 1978. I'm looking for something to do with mine. I'm hoping for some inspiration from you or anyone else. Thank you.
  • Sparkles Sparkles on Feb 04, 2016
    I would also love to see pictures of the finished headboard makeover.
  • Toshiba Toshiba on Feb 04, 2016
    Unfortunately it went back to Goodwill, so I do not have any pictures to show.
  • Janice Fodi-Stewart Janice Fodi-Stewart on Sep 05, 2018

    I have the exact headboard for over 35 years, I replaced the mattress with a Temperpedic then I hated sleeping in a box. So I removed the frame around the mattress, keep the head and foot panels with their L-brackets on. Cut 24" off the side panels, made them vertical and attached the head and foot panels to make a base. I used self drilling screws. Years ago I wired the headboard with dimming lights. The headboard is attached to the base with L-brackets in the back and 2 brass braces in the front which you can see. I nailed some 1x2s to the back of the headboard to touch the wall and clear the baseboard. It is now standing up against the wall on the carpet and does not move. I also drilled 1/2"-3/4" holes in several places to slip cords through. Eventually I will paint it with chalk paint.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Mar 17, 2022

    It looks like it can work, just cover the mirror with something.

  • I would be tempted to add hanging fabric to the center panel and then add display items on the outside shelves.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 20, 2022

    Add a flower arrangement in the centre infront oof the mirror and maybe Candles or vases on the under shelves. Otherwise I think it looks great as it is!

  • Janny Janny on Feb 12, 2023

    Me and my ex had this water bed to with the baffle's in it so you didn't get tossed out of bed all night! LOL We purchased ours in the early 80's, to bad you don't have the rest of the wood that came with it. You would def be able to made it into a cabinet. Or you could cut in half and use as float side tables. Let us see what you do!

  • Deb K Deb K on May 11, 2023

    Hello, what a fab idea! You could use the doors to store items like hats and mittens, or other small articles of clothing.

  • Mogie Mogie on May 16, 2023

    Remove the hardware it dates the piece.

  • Janice Janice on Oct 25, 2023

    Depending on the height, you might consider adding some "chunky" feet to the four bottom corners so it looks in better proportion.