Dorm IQ #7 | Choosing A Dorm Headboard + How To Attach It

January 29, 2024

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Dorm Bed Headboard Options and how to attach a dorm headboard to a dorm bed

Welcome to Topic 7, all about dorm headboard options and how to attach your headboard to the bed or the wall. If you’ve jumped straight here, don’t miss the other bedding topics including How To Layer A College Dorm Bed and How To Choose A Dorm Bed Mattress Topper plus a few additional important topics to have in mind while dorm shopping.

If you have questions about this article, want to know when our recommendations go on sale or want to learn even more, please join us in our Dorm Shopping Recommendations & Deal Alerts Facebook community.

Now, let’s dive head first into headboards. 🙂

Do You Even Need A Headboard For a Dorm Room?

Do you need a headboard for dorm beds? Most students have an adjustable height dorm bed and raise the mattress level to the very top in order to create more storage space below. This leaves the mattress above the bed frame, and therefore, there is no headboard.

A dorm bed and mattress before the new occupant makes the bed.
An adjustable dorm bed at the highest level.

So do you NEED a headboard? No, it isn’t a necessity, but here are a few reasons to consider a dorm headboard.

1. The head of your bed may be up against a wall (often concrete block) wall or even partially in front of a window. In this case:

  • You’ll likely want something between you and the wall/window.
  • Headboards keep pillows from falling off the end into the space between the bed and the wall.
  • Headboards make it more comfortable to sit up and lean back in bed.

2. The head of the bed may be ‘floating’ in the room with nothing behind it. This is more often the case with fully lofted beds and bunk beds. In this case:

  • Headboards help keep pillows from falling to the floor while you sleep.
  • Headboards give you the possibility to sit up and/or lean back in bed.

In a tiny space with many limitations on decor and comfort, a headboard is a great way to add some style as well as comfort to your dorm room. They’re not all frilly either, keep reading to see more masculine options too.

What Size Headboard Do You Need For A Dorm Bed?

For actual solid frame headboards with legs, here is what you should know. As you can see in the graphic above, Twin and Twin XL beds are the same width, therefore, both bed sizes will use a Twin Headboard. There is no such thing as a Twin XL headboard (some may call it that, but it really is just a twin, don’t pay anything additional for a headboard that says Twin XL!).

  • Twin or Twin XL Dorm Bed = Twin Headboard
  • Full or Full XL Dorm Bed = Full Headboard
  • Queen Bed = Queen Headboard

XL beds are 5″ longer, but the width of the beds are the same.

In addition to solid frame headboards, there are pillow and cushion headboards as well that are not sold as a specific bed size. You’ll see what I mean as you read through the six headboard options below.

Dorm Headboard Options

1) Solid Frame HeadboardS With Legs

This is the same type headboard you might buy for a bed at home. The legs have slots where you can connect a bed frame. But dorm beds do not have these bed frames, and there is not an automatic way to connect them.

So how do you attach a dorm headboard to a dorm bed?

It is actually pretty simple. Grab a bag of longer zip ties, and give this quick video a watch. This video shows how to install a custom headboards, but this is the same process for a purchased headboard.

Note that for easier transport, the legs can be removed.

Here are a few of our favorite options. These tend to come and go from the market fairly regularly, so if there is a broken link, my apologies. But if you see something you like, this is a dorm item to buy early as the popular ones first go way up in price and then sell out by summer. In 2023, before May, under $100 or even $80 was good pricing for these. After May, if they were still around, just about everything was over $100.

2) Solid Frame Headboard – No Legs

These traditional looking, but no legs headboards, come from the 2 dorm speciality retailers. These rest on the head rail of your bed frame and attach to the wall with velcro strips. That works if you’re allowed to put adhesive products on the wall. The catch is the price tag. These are pricier than the traditional headboards above.

Please be aware that in general, you may find some DormCo or Dormify items on Amazon. Always check the actual DormCo or Dormify sites too because sellers have to pay a good bit to sell on Amazon and may have higher pricing there. This goes for any of their products, not just bedding and headboards.

Dorm Co’s Traditional Headboards

These headboards are made to wedge between the mattress and the bedframe, but some of them are also available with legs. You can always add legs on your own if you need them, just have a couple of pieces cut to length for you at Home Depot and screw them into the back of the headboard.

DormCo’s Tufted & Classic Headboards

DormCo’s Nail Head Trim Beveled Headboards

DormCo’s Fur Or Feathers Headboards

Dormify’s Charging Dorm Headboards

this has a strip on the side with 2 outlets and 2 USB ports. It is not clear from the listing whether this is UL-Listed, so if your school is strict on all electrical items being UL-Listed, you should either contact Dormify or find a non-charging solution.

Dormify Jordyn Studded Charging Headboard

Dormify Harlow Tufted Charging Headboard

3) Cushion headboardS

These are essentially large headboard sized cushions manufactured to look like headboards. The attach to the wall with Command hooks (be sure Command products are allowed).

DormCo Rainha Tufted Cushion Headboards

Dormify Melody Tufted Cushion Headboard

Dormify Quinn Vertical Channeled Headboard

4) Pillow headboard

In their freshman years, both of my boys had Twin XL beds with the head of the bed up against the wall.

Both of them decided against a solid frame headboard and opted for a headboard pillow instead.

You can see the ‘headboard’ in these pictures. They are solid, heavy enough to stay put, and the cover zips off and is machine washable. It wedged nicely between the mattress and the wall.

pillow headboard on dorm bed, headboards for dorm beds
A Dorm Headboard Pillow To Soften The Cinder Block Wall
Matching Dorm Headboard Pillows (see yellow arrows)(opens in a new tab)

This pillow can be purchased at many retailers, and it is an absolute crapshoot on who will have the best price the day you are shopping. The best deal is usually around $60, and this is another item that sells out by summer.

Here are the retailers where I track the pricing. If you join our Dorm Shopping Facebook group, I’ll let you know when it goes on sale somewhere.

Wayfair Dorm Headboard Pillow – This price doesn’t fluctuate as often as the others.

Kohl’s Dorm Headboard Pillow – If it goes on sale, and you have a coupon, this can be your best price.

Amazon Dorm Headboard Pillow – This tends to go out of stock more frequently on Amazon, but it is worth a quick price check.

Belk Dorm Headboard Pillow – When this is at Doorbuster price, it can be better than the others.

5) Dog bed Dorm Headboard!

This was fun in 2023 – a new use for dog beds. Yep, you can use a dog bed as a dorm headboard.

All you need to do is look for a thick but flat dog bed, not the kind with the ledges around the outside. Keep in mind that your Twin/Twin XL bed is 38″ wide, so you’ll want something about 36″ wide and 2′-3′ tall. BUT, as with your dorm mattress topper, please be sure the dog bed is CertiPUR-US® certified to ensure there are no toxins if they bed is made with memory foam.

Sew some strong loops on the back (bottom) of the pillow. Install Command Hooks on the wall to hold those loops (if Command products are allowed).

Voila!

Leave it to one of my favorite bedding brands to have a CertiPUR-US® certified large flat dog bed. Several colors available, and that price!

This is another Bedsure Dog Bed with a few different color options.

You could also purchase one of these and cover it with your own custom fabric to match your dorm decor.

6) DIY Dorm Headboard

For a hybrid DIY solution, DormCo offers a plain headboard that you can use as is or cover it in a fabric to perfectly match your room decor.

Alternatively, you can visit YouTube to find tutorials on how to make a dorm headboard from scratch.

Conclusion

Choosing the right headboard for your dorm bed is a balance of style, comforter and budget. I hope the information above has helped you to narrow in on which direction you go with your dorm bed. I hope you’ll join our Facebook group and show us your dorm move-in pictures!

Have Questions?

Still have questions? Please comment below, or come ask us in the Dorm Shopping Recommendations & Deal Alerts Facebook group. So much great info in the group along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of move-in pictures from 2023 to give you ideas and inspiration.

=> Please share this article with your dorm bound friends and their parents. I would love for everyone to understand the topics in Dorm IQ before they start dorm shopping!

Next Topic

How to measure and layout storage options and maximize space below your raised dorm bed. Click next below.

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Important Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a lawyer or a financial advisor. Please use this content as informational only and as only one input as you consider what options are best for you and your family. This is not professional advice.

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