Photography by Luke Arthur Wells

Published on May 16, 2021

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Having already tackled a homemade scalloped bench tucked next to his fireplace and crafted an hourglass-shaped pot for his rubber plant, Essex, U.K.–based DIYer Luke Arthur Wells recently turned his attention to a new project: giving the gray, “uninspired” bed frame in the Victorian he shares with his partner, Hugh, and their two dogs a glow-up.

When he realized that upholstery fabric was going to set him back at least $200, however, Wells had to come up with an alternative. He landed on none other than H&M Home tablecloths. A trio of them cost him only $60, offered serious yardage (he even had leftovers, which he turned into a tented bed for his pups), and were more lightweight than typical fabric—read: they were a breeze to work with. Ahead, a breakdown of every step of the four-hour project.

The Supplies

Step 1: Unmake Your Bed

Wells began by breaking down his heavy bed frame so he could maneuver it with ease. Surprisingly, he says there’s no need to remove the existing upholstery. Not only will this save you time, it ensures you can reverse your work if it doesn’t live up to your expectations (or if you just want a change in scenery).

Step 2: Play Around With the Pattern Placement

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After ironing the three tablecloths, Wells draped them over each part of his bed frame until he was happy with how the pattern laid. If your headboard is large and requires more than one tablecloth, now’s the time to sew a couple together.

Step 3: Cut Out Your Pieces

From there, Wells set each piece of his bed frame facedown on top of another tablecloth and cut the fabric to the size of the bed frame parts, leaving 3 inches of wiggle room all the way around. “I used pinking shears to prevent the tablecloths from unraveling,” he adds. 

Step 4: Secure the Edges

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Next, Wells stapled the section of tablecloth designated for the headboard to its wood back. As he made his way around, he continuously smoothed out the fabric to ensure it was taut. At the corners, he folded the tablecloth on top of itself to achieve a clean edge. “This is where you could use an extra pair of hands. One person to hold the fold secure and another to staple. If needed, remove any excess bulk from the corner folds with your shears,” says Wells. Repeat for the foot board and sides of the bed.

Step 5: Set the Hardware Free

bedroom with striped upholstered bedframe and shiplap wainscotingPin It

Once attached, the tablecloths covered up the bed frame’s screws and holes, so Wells carefully unveiled them using his pinking shears so he could put the bed frame back together. Lastly, he spritzed everything with fire-retardant spray (while upholstery is already fireproof, tablecloths typically aren’t). Some striped linens pulled it all together. “I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the idea I had in my mind,” Wells admits, “but I really love it.”

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