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Oak Headboard Makeover with Caning and Paint

With our budget bedroom makeover I really wanted  a new headboard for my bedroom makeover. But I knew I was going to have to settle for a headboard makeover with caning and paint instead.

Headboard with caning tuttorial

My poor husband.  He claims I’ve gotten rid of all of his childhood memories by getting rid of  and painting over his old,ugly oak 1980’s furniture. I am not.  It does not mean I am trying to kill his youth. :), It just means the things from his youth were..blech!… I know, nothing he has left from his pre-Jen days is sacred. One from Ballard’s was my dream; but way out of my budget, so I decided to use it as inspiration instead and pretty up the one I already had. After all, it was solid wood and has a ton of potential!!
These oak furniture pieces from the '80s make great furntirue makeovers! See how this one was transformed!
Oak, 80’s. UGH.But it is solid wood. It has that going for it.
Update your old oak headboard with caning and paint for a furniture makeover

Rattan caning is a great way to update an old piece of furniture and add texture.

I purchased rattan chair caning from  Van Dyke’s Restorers and I already had an architectural piece from an old dresser. I first added my dresser piece ( sorry, no pics… my bad.) to the top. Then I primed and painted the whole thing white.
Update your old oak headboard with caning and paint for a headboard makeover
I then cut the caning to size.I spray painted it with white primer to make it easier to paint later. Once it was dry, I stapled it onto my headboard. Use A LOT of staples. Believe me. I unloaded my gun into it.
Trim and caning can comepletly transform a headboard from 80's ugly to amazing! DIY headboard idea
Later, you’ll paint right over  the trim them and you can’t even tell they are there.
This headboard is getting an amazing painted furniture makeover!
I then cut molding to frame around the rough edges and hold it in place. I mitered them so the ends match up and it makes a frame.
Trim and paint can update your old orangey oak furniture a rattan headboard makeover with caning and paint
Where it didn’t match exactly, I just wood filled it white white wood filler. After it was dry,then I painted the whole thing again.Here’s where I cried. I guess when caning gets wet it relaxes and buckles* .Which I did NOT know. When I pulled it in that night, I noticed it was all wavy and bumpy. After a full day of work on the darn thing, the tears flowed with a few expletives.But then the sun came out the next day and when it had dried overnight, the caning tightened up again and it was flat. I think my saving grace was all of the staples.Use lots of staples.  *Edit – So I guess when you re-cane a chair you’re supposed to get it wet and then it stretches tight and flat in place.
Transformed 80's ugly oak headboard with paint for a bedroom makeover
The total cost was $23.00 for the caning with shipping. I already had the other supplies on hand.
ugly 80's oak headboard update for under $40!!! #paintedfurniture #headboardmakeover #headboardidea
This headboard makeover with caning and paint just added the right touch to our new bedroom space. It wasn’t hard either, just time consuming. I love the idea of using caning now on other things…


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  1. I have a chair in my bedroom that the chicken wire has broken (probably from MY behind!) and want to put caning in it, honey. Is it substantial enough for a chair? I mean the kind you’re buying. Or is that just regular caning and can take a lot of use?

  2. Soooo cool! And way better than the inspiration piece 🙂 I wish I could bust into my hubby’s “pre “me” furniture…ugh!

  3. JEN!! I just sent this link to my sister who’s making her own headboard. CANING – that is SUCH a fabulously inexpensive idea…..GASP! I love it so.

    Your eye, your talent and your tears made this piece into a masterpiece! fabulous.

    Someday when I grow up, I want to be talented just like you. xoxo

  4. Love it! I think you could add some finial thingies or fence post tops, depending on how wide the top is, and it would look even more like the example. But I like it the way it is.

  5. This is an amazing makeover! You worked miricles on that thing.
    I recained a chair for the first time a few weeks ago. I did a horrible job. But I knew I was going to paint and distress the chair,and all in all it turned out ok. I have one more to go. I’m not scared anymore though. I’ll never over look another piece where the cain is damaged.
    Again… your headboard is soooo cute!

  6. OMG, Jen you are an effing GENIUS!!!! Of course, I knew that already. But, WOW! And, the best part, thanks to you, after how many years? I finally know what to do with my bed!!!! When I finally do it I will definitely tell the whole world it’s because of you and your genius talented self.
    ~Angela 🙂

  7. That is beautiful! You would never know that was the same bed! I bet your husband is thrilled with the changes. I didn’t know you could orderthe caning in a roll…great idea!

  8. You really inspire me with all of your thirftiness and your clever ideas. This has made me want to get back to fix up those things I have been threatening to do but haven’t. I too have a room I don’t reallylike anyone to see.

  9. I want to live in your mind…or at least visit just a little. How on earth do you come up with these great ideas? If you hadn’t included all the instructions, I would never have guessed that this was not an original piece. Fab job!

  10. SOOO glad that you didn’t have to cry in the morning! I can only imagine how annoying that would have been. You did an amazing job. The headboard is totally unrecognizable! Ballards Schmallards!!!!

  11. Poor guy:) Just kidding…I’m sure he understands why you must re-do all his things!!! Your new headboard looks outstanding!!!


    Hop over and enter my GIVEAWAY…I think you will like it!

  12. Wow this looks so great! What a fab idea to use the caning – it looks like you bought it at some upscale store.

  13. THIS IS AWESOME! I can’t not believe all the great things that people in the wonderful world of blog can do! We had water damage and excessive mold in my daughters room, so we had to strip it to the studs and start over once the leak was fixed. With my budget, I bought that Ballard’s Design headboard, but I will tell you…I LIKE YOURS BETTER! It is so great and I think the fact that you MADE it makes it that much more wonderful! It looks like a professional! I feel inadequate in blogland…I have an eye for beautiful things, but not so much any talent! I am so inspired here to get my act together! Come check out my daughter’s room at http://threepixielane.blogspot.com/2010/07/swedish-intent.html. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Stopping by from the Met Monday party!! How creative!! I didn’t realize you could buy the caning like that, but of course there isn’t much you can’t get on the internet these days!! This turned out just awesome and on a budget! I love it!

  15. Way to work with what you had! I never would have envisioned your current headboard becoming so much like your inspiration. The caning added so much detail and the white is so fresh. Beautiful work!

  16. I am SO impressed! I wonder if oil based paint would have not caused the caning to buckle. Latex paint has water in it, so I can see how that could happen. Anyway, glad it dried and shrank because it looks absolutely AMAZING!!! You did good! Love your site!

  17. Wow. I bet sales of Caning materials are going to reach record highs this next couple months. Maybe I should buy stocks. After I buy some Caning that is. Inspiring.

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