The Headboards Original Purpose

History of the headboard

If you've ever wondered why custom headboards are in existence, then here is a brief overview of the history of the headboard. Headboards used to serve a very useful purpose beyond aesthetics. We have to go back several centuries to find out what the use of a headboard was truly for.

In the Renaissance and Medieval eras, home construction was very different than it was today. They didn’t have the advantages of drywall and modern construction techniques, nor did they have central heating. The homes were far draftier and colder, and so they had to come up with a creative way to take care of this.

One of the big draft areas was between the roof and the wall. During winter, cold air would come in through cracks and sink to the floor. If the mattress was right against the wall, cold air would spill down onto the sleepers, making for an uncomfortable night.


In this older-style headboard, you can see large pillars on the ends. These pillars create a gap between the bed and the wall. Thick wood was also used because wood does not conduct cold well, unlike metal. The result was more comfort during sleep. Later models included curtains and canopies around the headboard for further insulation.

These days, the headboard is not used for this purpose. Now, it is primarily used for decoration. A well-built headboard designed with the room in mind can form an attractive focal point in the bedroom.

At BedBoards Design Company, we can craft you the custom headboard that you are looking for. You can even send us your own fabric and we’ll turn it into a headboard that’s perfect for your home.  Call us for more information, or order off of our website.

Image credit: Paris On Ponce & Le Maison Rouge (CC BY 2.0)