If you’ve ever bought a new headboard, you will probably have found that it stinks of chemicals. The last time I bought one, I had to put it in the communal hall of our apartments to let it off-gas for a couple of weeks. Much to the other residents’ consternation, and mine. Not good. But there was no way I could have slept in the bedroom with that pong. I’d have had permanent migraines.
Off-gassing, by the way, is simply letting a thing air so it releases a lot of the chemicals and smells. I have had to do that my whole life. I’ll do a whole post on off-gassing at some point, but here’s a quick explanation: off-gassing (or out-gassing, you can use either term) is allowing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to release into the air. You can tell if a product contains VOCs by the smell. Think of low odour paint, which has fewer VOCs and smells less, or the smell of a new plastic toy, or even a magazine. In other words: if it pongs, it is probably releasing VOCs. They’re harmful to health, so none of us should be breathing them in really, but for us sensitives, they can cause even more problems.
Anyway: how can we avoid having to off-gas our headboard?
One way might be to buy a headboard that has been opened, unused and returned to the manufacturer. I did that once and it worked a dream. It had already done most of its off-gassing. Just call the company of one you like and see if they have any returns; they often do. Or, you could ask them to unwrap it from the plastic packaging and sit it somewhere for a couple of weeks before delivery. I bought mine from John Ryan and they were really helpful.
A different way is to make your own. It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. I’ve got a real thing about these large wall to wall headboards you see in interiors mags at the moment.
The Spruce has lots of DIY headboard ideas, including how to make that one above. You could keep it chic and tonal, as above, or just imagine it in a fabulous fabric – a real happy colour pop for your bedroom. You could get someone to make one for you, or use fabric off cuts or off rolls that have been out for ages so less smell.
Or, how about using a second hand headboard, or updating an existing one with some fabric tied on with ribbons, or maybe drape a throw, blanket, bedspread, quilt or even a rug over it?
Again, you can choose to keep it tonal or use something to add a pop of ‘happy colour’.
Beds with headboards
Or, how about using a bed with a built-in headboard – returns, again? – and adding something beautiful behind it? Ideal Home has some good ideas for headboards here. I once used the wallpaper trick. One roll costs – and smells! – a lot less than a whole bedroom, and it’s very effective. I do like this wall-hanging idea below, too.
Maybe not have a headboard at all? I like the look of this massive wedge pillow, which you can get in tonal or bright colours. Or huge superking pillows would work with crisp white or beautiful patterns you can change to match your mood or seasons.
You might need to off-gas pillows, though, but that is a tad easier than a whole headboard. Just avoid memory foam stuff, which can cause problems for sensitive people.
So, I hope that’s given you some ideas to freshen up your boudoir – without the toxic chemicals, hopefully. Let me know how you get on x