Standard Bed Frames
Standard bed frames are the most basic mattress supports on the market. These metal frames consist of long rails with swing-out crossbars that connect in the center of the frame. Crossbars are located at the top and bottom for twin and double beds, while a central bar is required for queen-sized and king-sized beds. Although a standard bed frame doesn't require a headboard or footboard, many standard bed frames come with headboard brackets, which are plates fastened to the head of the bed frame with bolt holes that are pre-drilled. These headboard brackets are designed to allow headboards to be bolted to them. Some standard bed frames do not have brackets.
Iron headboards are typically bolt-in headboards, where the bed rails attach to the headboard with a nut and bolt system. When an iron bed frame comes as a complete set, the rails and supports are all iron. The rails have plates at the headboard end to receive bolts, which have passed through the legs of the headboard. Nuts securely hold the bolts in place, creating a stable frame for the bed. Footboards on iron beds are secured the same way.
Headboard Adapter Kits
If a bed frame does not have headboard brackets already in place, many furniture manufacturers and retail stores sell headboard bracket adapter kits. These are brackets with bolt hole plates that fit on the headboard end of standard bed rails to allow bed owners to affix a bolt-in headboard. The headboard bracket adapter kits come in various heights, sizes and widths to accommodate almost any kind of headboard, including iron headboards. Odd-sized or oversized headboards can be attached to standard bed frames using modification headboard bracket adapters.
Check the bed rails to see if there are already headboard brackets on them. Align the bolt holes on the brackets with the bolt holes on the headboard legs. If they align, insert a bolt through the headboard leg and bracket, then hand-tighten it with a nut. Repeat with other bolts as needed. When all bolts are in place, tighten the nuts with a wrench for added stability. If you need to put headboard bracket adapters on the rails first, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Generally, the brackets are attached to the rails with bolts and nuts. Align the new bracket bolt holes with the headboard holes and bolt them together.