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Are Headboards Universal for Any Bed?

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A headboard is a decorative part of the bed that ties the room’s decor together. In terms of functionality, it provides back support when you sit in bed. The headboard also keeps pillows from falling on the floor at night and protects the wall from scratches and dents.

Usually, a new bed will come with a matching headboard, so you won’t need your old one. But, what if you can keep the old headboard and attach it to a new bed frame? It’s easier than spending money on a new one. And, it already meshes well with existing decor.

Are All Headboards Universal or Interchangeable?

Generally, all headboards are universal and interchangeable if you match them up with the right bed frame size. For example, a twin-sized headboard will only fit a twin-sized bed frame. 

Headboard that is wider than the bed

However, if the headboard is larger or smaller than the new bed frame, you’ll have some problems. You could just buy a new one or you could put some work into the headboard to make it fit your new bed. If you’re willing to do it, the results are worth it. 

How Do You Know if a Headboard Will Fit on Your Bed Frame?

To answer this question, you’ll need to know a little bit about the different kinds of headboards. There are freestanding headboards with stable legs, those that attach to bed frames, and also wall-mounted headboards.

Wall-mounted headboard

Freestanding headboards or wall-mounted headboards are easier to work with. You just have to move the bed around to match it up with the bed frame. With bed frame headboards, however, you have to match up the holes in the bed frame and the headboard. If the holes don’t match up, it’s impossible to attach the fasteners to keep the headboard steady.

Headboard that is a bit wider than the bed

Now to answer the question: the headboard must be the same width as the bed, or a little bit wider. It looks better appearance-wise when the headboard is wider than the bed. However, the headboard can’t be too large either. 

Where Do You Measure a Headboard From?

Headboard and bed that doesn't hit each other

When measuring the headboard, you’ll need to account for the height and the width. To find its height, you can ignore the headboard’s legs. What counts is the point where the bed hits the headboard up to the highest point of the headboard. 

The width is the length from one end to another. You should be able to find the width dimensions in the instructions manual. You can also measure across the headboard to find the width. Most headboards have zero to four-inches of extra width compared to the bed frame.

In addition, it’s important to note that the headboard’s height should not be longer than the bed’s length. Also, the bedroom size determines if the headboard or the bed is too large or small for the space. 

Are Ikea Headboards Universal?

Ikea headboards are made specifically for different bed models. So, it will be too difficult to use the headboard with a different bed, even if the bed sizes match or the holes align. 

These headboards are only universal if you stick to the same bed model every time you buy a new bed. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy a new Ikea headboard to fit your new bed frame.

Can a Headboard Be Narrower Than the Bed?

Headboard that is narrower than the bed

Your headboard should not be narrower than your bed. Narrow headboards look awkward with wide beds. It is also difficult to sleep with a narrow headboard when two or more people are sharing the bed. 

However, if you like the headboard style, it’s possible to make the headboard work with the larger bed. For example, you’ll need to add accessories to cover the empty gaps on both sides. They will draw attention towards them and away from the headboard’s size.

You can try adding lamps on both sides of the bed. Another option is adding artwork on both sides of the bed. Be sure to center the bed to the narrow headboard before accessorizing for best results. 

What Should You Do if a Headboard Doesn’t Fit a Bed Frame?

Sometimes, the holes on the bed frame and headboard don’t line up on bed frame mounted headboards. You can solve the issue by buying adapter brackets. Adapter brackets offer an extension to help any headboard size fit any bed frame. 

Illustration of a headboard adapter bracket

Some adapter brackets come with fasteners, and some don’t. Be mindful of this when you shop for brackets online and in-store.

You’ll also need a wrench and headboard fasteners, and you’ll have to buy fasteners for the adapter bracket if the package doesn’t include them. Once you have everything, here are the steps to take to make your headboard fit:

  1. Attach the brackets to the bed frame slots with the fasteners using a wrench. Have the bracket face inward on the bed frame for small headboard installation. Have the bracket face outward on the bed frame for large headboard installation. 
  2. Attach the headboard to the adapter bracket’s horizontal slots using the headboard’s fasteners.  
  3. Use a wrench to tighten the headboard. Keep the headboard still during installation.


Are headboards universal? Headboards are universal and interchangeable when the frame lines up with the headboard. For best results, always learn about headboard measurements, bed measurements, and bedroom size.

Normally, people will buy a new headboard when they buy a new bed frame. However, attaching an existing headboard to a new bed frame is a cost-effective solution. Ideally, you’ll want the headboard to be at least the same width as the bed.

You can attach a shorter headboard to a larger bed frame, but you must work to hide the shortcomings. Balance the lopsidedness with artwork or lamp decor. Otherwise, exchange the narrow headboard for a fitted one. 

Do you have experience changing your headboard from one bed to another? Our readers want to hear about it. Leave a comment below.

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