Before & after: Ikea Brimnes bed

Moving into a smaller apartment with less closet space, Marlon and I agreed that under-bed storage was a must. We looked at a couple of (mostly expensive) options until we settled on the affordable Ikea Brimnes bed, which has clean lines and huge drawers underneath.Ikea Brimnes bed with storage

Because our bedroom has limited space, we also bought the Brimnes headboard, which features a ledge and hidden shelving that we could use in place of bedside tables. Ikea Brimnes headboard

Confession: I wasn’t totally onboard with this purchase. I agreed the storage was practical, but I had an irrational, possibly hormonally-fueled distaste for those two rectangles on the headboard and footboard. “Can we please do something to cover them up?” I grumbled as we paid for our purchases at Ikea. “Okay,” Marlon said. Smart man—never disagree with a pregnant woman.

With Little Mango on the way, neither Marlon and I were in the mood for elaborate DIYs. Our solution? Wallpaper!

Piet Hein Eek headboard

Check out our quick fix and finishing touches, after the jump!

I’d been in love with the gorgeous wallpapers from NLXL for a while; after obsessing over wallpaper samples for about a week, we agreed on a scrapwood wallpaper by Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek. We chose wide planks with a white and gray wash to help keep our mostly white bedroom clean and relaxing.

Ikea Brimnes bed wallpapered headboard and footboard

Inspired by recycled wood, this wallpaper is gorgeous, thick, excellent quality and easy to install. It took us less than an hour to cover both headboard and footboards. I also found it to be smartly designed as the repeats of the pattern are easy to hide; you don’t see the same planks of wood again and again. I am totally in love with the results!

To soften the look, I propped up the his-and-hers silhouettes of my parents that I made, plus a pair of Indian miniature paintings from Udaipur, the first stop on our honeymoon. I know this will all be replaced by baby crap soon, but it’s nice to enjoy this display for a little while.

Artwork on headboard

The finishing touch: lighting. We swapped our chrome bedside lamps for a pair of industrial-inspired wire cage lamps from Danish design brand HAY, which I found on Zalando. I love the slight copper sheen of the brass wire—just enough to hop on the current copper trend, but not too much that we’ll be left with a dated-looking lamp when this copper craze has passed.

Hay industrial wire cage clip lamp

These clamp lamps look as good at night as they do in the daytime. Marlon installed a dimmer on the power outlet so we can go brighter (for reading) or softer (for atmosphere).

Hay industrial clamp lamp day & night

I was delighted to find vintage-inspired light bulbs at our neighborhood hardware store.

Hay clamp lamp with Edison bulb

Check out the fancy filaments! So in love with these lamps. They have just the right amount of romance to soften the industrial look.

Hay industrial lamp with Edison bulb

With the bedroom done, our new home is complete! I’ve been going out of my mind with restlessness the last few days, but now I’m actually grateful for the post-due date delay. It’s given us that little extra time to make this house truly our own. It’s been fun, and I love the results!

Lovely comments:

  1. Wow!!! At the beginning I thought it was all hard work of scraping wood! That ‘wallpaper’ looks amazing!!! Love it! and love the lamps too! Now I want to have them!

  2. I didn’t realize it was wallpaper before I read it, either – what a brilliant idea! A very smart and timesaving makeover, I might try something similar one day –  thanks for the tip! And all the best for you!

  3. I love reading updates on your home furnishing! :D

  4. *clap, clap, clap* those are brilliant!

  5. Wow! Didn’t realize you used wallpaper until I read your entire post.

  6. very nice thanks from NLXL!

  7. is it Piet Hein Eek wallpaper?

  8. Beautiful!

  9. DaphneOP says:

    I love this!

  10. I love this. How much wallpaper did your order to do this project-?
    Also- any special prep in order to glue the paper to the bed rather than a wall?

    • Hi Aimee! The Piet Hein Eek x NLXL wallpaper only comes in rolls of 900cm x 48.7cm. Can’t remember the exact measurements of the headboard and footboard, but we ordered one roll and used probably less than a third of it.
      We nailed a thin sheet of plywood to the headboard and footboard first, then just used plain old wallpaper paste on it. Super easy!

  11. Hello! I am wondering where you were able to buy this wallpaper at? I only see a link to order samples? Also do you have any idea if they ship to the US? I am in love with this DIY!!

  12. Elaine McGrath says:

    Deepa, Love the look you came up with but did you really spend $299. for the roll? Thanks, Elaine.

    • Hi Elaine, I paid in Euros so I think it should be a little less than $299. There were cheaper scrap wood wallpapers, but this was the exact look that I wanted and it was great quality too. :) Thanks for dropping by!

  13. Your clamp lamps are breathtaking. Could I bother you for the website to order myself a pair? I would greatly appreciate it. <3

    • Hi Sue! I ordered them from Zalando, a Netherlands-based site. I’m not sure where you’re based, so if you search for HAY (the brand/maker) + industrial clamp lamp, you should be able to find a site that will deliver to where you are :) Happy shopping!

  14. What measurements is this bed? the 140×200, 160×200 or 180×200? I want that bed and headboard and just didn’t buy it yet exactly for those rectangles! How many rolls did you need for it?

    Your solution is amazing, do you know where can I order this wallpaper, seeing as I live in Germany? I could only find samples on the website you linked.

    Did you have to “mend” any part of it? The wallpaper being too narrow and having a line somewhere, or you managed to use it on one piece for both the footboard and headboard?

    If you still have this bed, how is it (and the wallpaper) holding up?

    Sorry for so many questions, it is just I bought a bed I deeply regret this year, and my husband agreed to let me buy another one, but this time if I get it wrong I will be stuck with it.

    • Hi Uila, the bed is 140×200. We used probably less than a third of one roll. I don’t know of any retailers in Germany, but I know that Rockett St. George ships this from the UK. It also might be worth emailing NLXL directly to ask for a list of retailers or webshops that deliver to you.

      We used two and a half strips of the wallpaper, pasted side by side vertically, to cover the headboard. Same for the footboard, but the strips are shorter.

      We’ve had the bed for almost 1 year now. For the wallpaper, we just had to do a little pasting touch-up on the corners where we keep bumping into them. Otherwise it’s still pretty much the same. For the underbed storage, you have to be careful not to overload the drawers as the “floor” of the drawers begins to come apart if it holds too much weight. This is a common issue with Ikea drawers.

      Hope this helps!

  15. Hi Deepa,

    My wife and I are looking at buying this bed and headboard next month (or possibly in the Christmas sales).

    How solid is this bed? Is it sturdy?
    Do the drawers go flush with the bed and do they last?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Mark!
      The bed itself is pretty sturdy, but it’s just me and the hubby so I don’t know how it would hold up to, say, kids who like to jump on the bed or things like that. The drawers are flush with the bed, but the drawer floors/bottoms tend to give when you overload them. We use them to hold bulky but relatively light things like handbags, duvets, pillows for guests, etc. We love the headboard and how it keeps everything out of sight.
      Hope this helps!

  16. Hi Deepa
    absolutely, love love love your wallpaper finish! I am inspired to try the same on our dar wood bed. Does it last well with wear and tear?


    • Hi Aditi, thanks for your comment! The bedroom is not a high-traffic area, so it’s been pretty okay. In the last year we’ve touched up the corners twice with wallpaper paste, and that’s about it. Good luck!

  17. I love the bed, I’m thinking about buying the bed and wallpaper as well. Where did you buy the glue to put the wallpaper to the bed? And was it easy to do?

    • Hi Samantha! It’s just regular wallpaper paste from any hardware store (the one in our neighborhood is Praxis). We nailed plyboard to the original headboard and footboard, which is probably the hardest part. Once you measure the wallpaper and cut it to size, applying the wallpaper is super easy. You just brush the back with glue and stick it on and that’s literally it. I was very pregnant when we did this so I didn’t want any complicated DIYs. Good luck!

  18. Samantha says:

    Thank you so much for your answer!

  19. Hi, I LOVE this!! I noticed you said you nailed plyboard to the bedhead. Is it possible to just wallpaper right over the ikea bed and frame, I am not sure i am able to nail in the plywood. What was the purpose of that step? Thanks!

    • Hi Natasha! If you look at pics of the Brimnes, the head- and footboards have this rectangular depression in the middle, so the wallpaper wouldn’t lie flat. If you just paste wallpaper over that depression, it would create a sort of air pocket, making the wallpaper easier to tear in that area.
      Also, the finish of the Brimnes is really glossy, so the wallpaper might not adhere as well to that kind of finish vs a matte one. Hope this makes sense!

  20. Love this, thanks for your post. We put together our bed so that the rectangle depression on the footboard is at the head and used the flush, clean end for the footboard, but are keen on the wallpaper solution for the headboard and and thinking masonite could work in place of plywood. My question is, do you have any photos of what it looks like from the side you could send? I’m wondering what your solution was there – is the plywood is showing on the side or did you wrap the wallpaper round somehow? Seems like the plywood would show on the side if you only wrapped it round the top but maybe it doesn’t look so bad? Thanks!

    • Hi Terra! Sorry, no photos from the side. The plywood shows, but the finish on the side is smooth, not raw. It’s a little less than 0.5cm thick and barely noticeable. It looks very clean and doesn’t bother me at all. Good luck with your Brimnes makeover!

      • It turned out beautifully! We just cut the board to fit into the depressions so didn’t have the addition on the side view – the reason being we used a beautiful delft inspired wallpaper, which wouldn’t have looked as good as I’m sure it did with your wood Piet Hein. I’m switching out the handles for blue leather slide pulls and hacked the top of the headboard so that it opens to the front with cabinet hinges for extra storage space (we turned around the electrical cord cutouts. Happy to send photos when I’ve got the handles in if you like!

        • That sounds great, Terra! The Delft blue wallpaper sounds lovely, and I’ve been crushing on leather pulls for the longest time. Would love to see pics of your masterpiece when it’s done. Please email me at deepa (at) currystrumpet dot com.


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