x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Creative ways to dress up a simple mattress base

Without a headboard, you have the opportunity to add an individual touch with cushions or a one-of-a-kind backdrop.

I've just bought a very plain bed for my room - just a simple mattress base. It looks drab and it's uncomfortable for reading. What can you suggest?

Don't think of this as a problem but rather an opportunity to add an individual touch. You've basically got three options: buy an off-the-shelf headboard, design your own backdrop, or do away with a headboard and go for cushions.

Off-the-shelf models are fine, but not very imaginative. Ikea's Mandal, made of light wooden slats, is a more modern, less offensive take on the traditional headboard. It's a safe bet and won't break the bank, but you can try a little harder.

When it comes to making your own, the sky's the limit. For the American television series Gossip Girl, the artist Paul Villinski was commissioned to create a butterfly installation for the character Serena's on-screen bedroom. This sculptural piece uses the concept of repeating the same module across a large surface, in this case, a constellation of small butterflies. Do a Google search to see the images - it's a striking effect that you can easily duplicate. The One stores stock similar looking dragonflies. They're cheap and easy to attach to any surface.

Another way to create a focal point above your bed is to add text to the wall, such as a quote. I think three-dimensional letters work better than wall stickers. You can buy them at Pottery Barn or Bloomingdale's.

One tried and tested way to activate the wall is with a grid of picture frames. For a quirky effect, individually frame parts of one large image so that you can only make sense of the image when the grid comes together. Create a sense of depth by using locket style glass frames in which the photograph is secured between two layers of glass so you can see the colour or texture of the wall behind. Have these custom-made at Desert frames (www.desertframesuae.com). Of course, you have to think carefully about the paint or wallpaper for this to work.

Finally, create a comfy surface to lean against. Make a signature statement in your bedroom by adding a custom designed headboard. Have fun with this element, and don't be a slave to classic rectangles. Use fabrics, patterns and details such as nail head trims or piping to create a unique piece. (Talk to furniture workshops such as Khinji Brothers in Abu Dhabi, 02 642 1990, or Zenith Furniture Industry Dubai, 04 338 8087).

If headboards aren't an option, combine large, firm cushions with bolsters and pillows.

Pallavi Dean is an award-winning independent design consultant who practises in the UAE. If you have a question for her, email homes@thenational.ae