Overboard for a Headboard

If you saw my last post, you know that I'm considering revamping my bedroom and in particular, my headboard.  Lately, I'm intrigued by anything gilded (see most recent post) and was also inspired by this pretty bedroom of antiques dealer Kay O'Toole.

Veranda Magazine, March 2010, Interior Design by Kay O'Toole, photo by Tria Giovan

The room is awash in creamy tones and a delicately patterned white Fortuny fabric adorns not only the headboard, but also the coverlet and the drapes.   If you know me from reading my blog, you will know that there will be no Fortuny in my bedroom (not even a pillow for now, I'm afraid).

But I like a challenge when it comes to decorating and I'm mulling over a few ideas for the room.  I would like to try gold-leafing (with an antique finish) an architectural element (above) to hang over the headboard.  It is quite large though; almost as wide as a queen-sized headboard.  And, I'm concerned about a possible tackiness factor.  There is the potential for a 1970s Las Vegas hotel room look here that would, to put it mildly, ruin the whole thing and embarrass me to no end.

My headboard currently sports a peach linen damask fabric.  I will definitely reupholster it, but I'm not sure if a solid white or linen colored fabric would be best or if this large scale damask print fabric in "Oyster" might work.  I received the fabric sample in the mail this week and it is actually lighter than shown here and a little more ivory in color too.

Or, I could use this fabric in the same pattern which is sightly darker in "Stone".  My concern is that this fabric may compete with the architectural element, which is already very ornate. So, I could keep shopping around for different fabrics without buying any, which I'm very good at these days.

It seems best to keep the bedside lighting simple if I use the gold-leafed piece described above, so these swing arm lamps from Circa Lighting might be a good choice.  The bedside tables will be simple one-drawer nightstands which I already have, but will paint to complement the rest of the room.  Since these lamps cast light downward, I'm not sure if they'll reflect enough light off the headboard to get the effect I want.  The idea though is to keep the bedside lighting simple since there will be enough going on with the piece above the upholstered headboard.

So, we'll see what happens with these choices.  At least this gives me something to think about during my commute and is more interesting than checking email on the Blackberry. 


  1. hi deborah,

    sounds wonderful. i was wondering if you could do a stencil on the wall above the headboard first. you know to see if you like the look and if you do then you could continue on your search for the perfect element. meanwhile the stencil in a soft gold would look real pretty. just an idea.


  2. Love the idea of gold leafing the architectural element. I think as long as you antiqued it so it wasn't to bright it would be as wonderful as the pictures in your last post. I say go for it.

  3. The fisrt pic is one of my absolute favorite beautiful! Can't wait to see your newly decorated bedroom.... whatever you decide.

  4. you didnt say what color your walls are going to be? a soft color to match the fabric would minimize the pattern. Since the architectural piece is so large maybe you could paint it a cream color , sand it a bit and then paint the highlights in gold. Though I love the lighting I am concerned it might be too small since you have that large architectural piece. if you notice all the elements in the photo are tiny , They bedposts are skinny etc. So I think the lights might look too spotty and small in your room ... it depends on what the be finally looks like. You could do a hang drum shade in a cream or in a color to match wall. or?

    maybe a clear glass lamp base with a simple drum shade.

    Other thoughts for the headboard; If you paint the piece gold you could use a rough textured solid linen on the headboard to off set the fancy gold .... then you could use your fabric shown in post on european squares and maybe a duvet cover folded at the bottom of bed .

    you could also attach the gold piece to the headboard , making it one unit.... like one in your earlier post.

  5. I absolutely love Kay's bedroom. Good luck with yours.

  6. I just from your blog and love it! Like you I'm making my bedroom over and in need of a new headboard, nice choices!

  7. Janet - The stencil sounds like a good suggestion to see how something that large would look on the wall.

    Sue - Thanks for the vote of confidence.

    Kristen - I certainly agree with you about this room.

    Jeanne - Thanks for taking the time to offer your suggestions. I appreciate it very much.

    Mona - Thanks. We'll see how it goes!

    Acquired Objects - Thank you for the compliment about the blog.



  8. i'm peeking back out debra and have to visit one of my fav blogs. this is a lovely and serene setting. your choices are equally perfect

  9. Hi Deborah,
    I love the inspiration room, and love the fortuny fabric used in cream. The snippet of the oyster damask looks great. I can't tell from the photo, but I'd stay away from a high-sheen damask, to me that would be element that can make it wind up looking too "Las Vegas". It may not be an issue, but the cotton damasks tend not to be as high sheen. Also, check out the back side of a fabric, sometimes that is an interesting texture.

    A cheap alternative to finding a nice carved architectural element is using something in plaster, and antiquing the gold. I've used a $2 bottle of gold from Michaels. I usually start out with a red for the first coat, and then the gold. Lately with the painted finish craze I've thought I'd add some "antiquing" over the red with grey before I do the gold. Then I finish up with some umber and walnut to get it the right color. Then, once you're all done, you can always go on top of all of that with a white to tone it down. Check out Eloquence, Inc. online to see what they do with painted finishes to tone them down. They use from white to dark brown.

    If you want a really great piece of carved wood, you can find carved wood appliques at a woodworking shop. I've found cheap stuff on Ebay too. I found 3 hepplewhite shieldbacks that someone was selling on Ebay that I turned into a french bed cornice.

    I'm with you on the fabric hunt.

    Do you recall silk-screening people did in their garage in the 60's? I've wondered about getting the same look by doing a Fortuny like motif on a cream colored linen. I was thinking about trying the silkscreen effect by making a template out of damask fabric or a piece of damask wallpaper.

    Or what about stamping a fleur-di-lis on it, or some other motif? That would be an easy and less messy way to make a print.

    Sorry to be so verbose. I love your blog and your taste!


    Oops, I meant to add a link for stencilling onto fabric. These are wall stencils, but why couldn't we use them on fabric?

  11. I like the idea of the gilded headboard, but think in the picture above the piece over the bed could be more substantial. The tall walls, plus the high metal canopy would be able to encompass a more dramatic piece.



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