The best way to get started in deciding what type of headboard you want is to measure the space where the new headboard will go. A king-size bed is 76 inches wide--you decide on the height. Set a limit of how much money you want to spend, and how much time you want to spend on the project. Plan ahead and shop around for the best buys.
What style do you like best? Are you a romantic, looking for a Victorian style, or do you prefer a modern look with sleek designs? Decide what you like, and it will help you to know where to look. Imagine these designs as a headboard: lattice painted white over a darker colored wall such as red; pocket doors stained or painted; an old fireplace mantel; wainscot topped with a nice shelf; a free-flowing grapevine that climbs to the ceiling; or oak planks used for flooring. Iron fences and gates can be painted black against a white wall, or install a white picket fence against a green backdrop. A mural can be purchased and applied just like wallpaper. If you are artistic, use a picture from a vacation or favorite place as a guide, and paint it as your headboard. Using fabric is another idea when designing your new headboard. You can run material the width of the bed, and up to the ceiling. Another fabric idea is a padded headboard that can be made out of a light wood frame, and attached to the wall. Try matching the curtains to the headboard.
Does your house have a theme? Make a headboard out of seashells that you collected at the beach. Cover an old headboard with the shells using adhesive. Wrap a headboard in a zebra or snakeskin print if you prefer the jungle. Use staples and ribbon trim for a finished look. Music can make a backdrop in place of a headboard. Hang old violins, flutes, cymbals, framed sheet music, and busts of composers on posts for bedposts.
Create a headboard that is functional. Build blocks that will hold stereo equipment, and hook it to laser lights and fiber optic lights. A vine of tiny white lights spread across the wall in any design can shine enough lighting that you may not need table lamps. If you like reading in bed, where do you put the books? Install a bookshelf the width of the bed. Install kitchen or bath cabinetry as a headboard that will provide more storage space.
Where to Shop
Look for used material at salvage shops, secondhand stores, and auctions. Upholstery shops sell bolts of material they do not plan on using. Home improvement centers can provide flooring, cabinetry, and lighting. Murals can be found at wallpaper stores.