India pied-à-terre Update: The Great Headboard Debate

What can happen if your bed doesn’t have a headboard? Is it really a terrible thing to not have a headboard? Will you really get a circle of hair oil on the wall from leaning on the wall? Will you really smack the top of your brain on the wall and render yourself useless to the world, unable to earn an income, and fated to a life of being hungry, nearly-naked and homeless? All because of a missing headboard? We are having this debate.

Husband: Definitely a proponent of the headboard. Must protect the brain at all costs.

Me: Steadfast on no headboard. Design is more important than protecting the brain. Of course!!

Because, this:

India pied a terre Master Bedroom Wall Paint Inspiration

That’s the inspiration photo for the master bedroom of the India pied-à-terre. A design inspired by those mother-of-pearl doors will be painted on the wall, behind the bed. Here’s the current state of the design when I left the India pied-à-terre in September 2015:

Beginning of Wall Feature

Yeah I know, looks nothing like the inspiration! Yet! It’s the first coat of many, many layers of paint and perhaps other things like metallic foils and leaf. I have the stencils, I’ve been painting samples. Here’s a stencil after I was playing with metallic foils (I may build up more foil and pattern on the stencil itself then cut it and frame it, why not!):

Foil on Stencil

Just get me to India, and give me enough time to finish the design — it will happen!

Here’s the thing … you can’t block any of this with a headboard! Right?

I’m standing ground on being a “no headboard hold-out” in the interest of design integrity. Now, I’m not saying we put the mattress on the floor, like the inspiration photo, which I believe was a styled situation for a Vogue photo shoot, not a real permanent set-up. The mattress should be on a platform. But a platform without a headboard.

It’s hard to find a bed without a headboard. Like, 99.8% of modern beds in India have headboards. People really need to think more flexibly! So as a compromise, I’m seeking beds that have a removable headboard, or if you have to assemble the bed, a headboard you don’t have to attach to maintain structural integrity of the bed. This means lots of hours of life scrutinizing bed diagrams on Indian furniture websites — not what I expect to do with the dwindling hours of the rest of my expected lifespan. But this is how important no headboard is to me!

See, like this one from seems to have an easily removable headboard:

FabFurnish Bed

That headboard could even be turned into a console table top, so it’s not wasted.

This, my friends, is ideal:

FabFurnish Mattress Base

This might be even better:

FabFurnish Platform Bed

Yes it’s boring! But wait! Do I leave any surface untouched? I will paint tote bags from Old Navy for cripe’s sake. Give me a plain glass table top and I will paint under the glass to make it gorgeous. So you know this bed won’t stay plain!

I’ll be painting and stenciling the base of the bed. See these wooden printing blocks:

Indian Printing Blocks

I want to turn them into stencils, and then use the stencils to apply raised shapes onto the bed base, then paint it to make an old antiqued look. The process will be similar to what I did on this cabinet in my bedroom in Chicago:

Painted Embossed Cabinet

So the bed base will look like carved wood that you often find in India. I think making this vision a reality will be a fun DIY! I like the idea of applying block print patterns to surfaces other than fabrics, in different ways.

The room will eventually have layers of various patterns, but the wall feature will be the star of the show. All other patterns will be more subtle like the supporting characters of the room.

I see it all in my head.

What I don’t see is a headboard.

My husband made one point that gave me pause to … maybe consider, possibly not but really … what if you lean on the wall and over time make a circle of hair oil on the wall? Like I used to see on the back wall of classrooms in college. Yuck! His concern was for the protection of the painted design on the wall. After all that painting work, would I want a circle of head oil on it? Well, no! But here’s the thing. Are we really going to be sitting there leaning against the wall? I don’t think so. India is not an easy place for me. I crash at the end of the day. I want my head to meet a soft pillow, immediately! My husband argued he might read in bed. But is he really going to read with his head leaning against the wall, which means he’d be looking straight ahead and thus holding a book way up, arms sticking straight up, and very unnaturally? I don’t think so? I have never seen him do that in the nearly 20 years I’ve known him.

Also, pillows don’t need to be propped up against a headboard. Pillows are fine laying flat on the bed. Pillows really don’t care what they are doing.

So, no, I am not yet convinced we need a headboard.

Stay tuned in the future to see how this room shakes out!


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2 Replies to “India pied-à-terre Update: The Great Headboard Debate”

    1. Hi Karen, the hardware is from Anthropologie. It’s the Alistair handle and it’s still available:

      The cabinet is one of a kind – it used to be a plain brown and black “Danish modern” cabinet and I embossed designs on it and painted it with Chalk Paint from Annie Sloan. You can see the whole tutorial here, which you can do on a cabinet to make it look like mine!

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