What Is a Leather Headboard and Why Do You Need One?

a variety of pillows in front of a leather headboard

Designing a new bedroom or updating the one you currently have can help give you a focal point in the room, something that the rest of the design elements play off of. It is generally a more oversized item of furniture or a piece of art. Perhaps it is something unique or quirky or just beautiful. In a bedroom, that focal point is the bed, as it is often the most significant piece of furniture in the room. The most crucial element of furniture in a bedroom is a comfortable bed in which you can assure yourself of the most restful night’s sleep. Still, perhaps you dream of that picture-perfect bedroom that is as lovely to look at and do other activities in as it is suitable to sleep in. When you try to find that one bed that is your style, you might consider a leather headboard. What is a leather headboard, and why do you need one in your bedroom?

What is a Leather Headboard?

A leather headboard can be a mix of materials with the leather as an accent along with wood or metal, or the entire headboard can be leather. A leather headboard can come in various styles and finishes from the exotic to the traditional and can be styled to suit any bedroom décor. Darker colors on a leather headboard are often seen as more masculine or rugged, while lighter tones are considered more feminine and soft. Still, you can get a leather headboard in almost any color and style combination to fit your needs.

Types of Leather for a Leather Headboard

There are five different categories of leather used in leather headboard manufacturing. They vary in quality, durability, aesthetic, and cost. Though it is possible to buy a leather headboard in a material other than cowhide, different types of leather are generally cost-prohibitive. It would be best to assume a leather headboard is a cowhide headboard unless specified as another material when doing your shopping.

bed with red leather headboard

Full-Grain Leather

A leather headboard made from full-grain leather will be of the highest quality. This cut of leather is taken from the top of the animal hide. It’s smoother and somewhat more flexible than other types of leather and tends to last much longer before showing wear. If any correction is applied to the grain of the hide, it will generally be referred to as top-grain instead of full-grain, but they are from the same cut of the animal hide, and both are incredibly high quality.

Aniline Leather

An aniline leather headboard is made from full-grain leather, dyed with a type of dye known as aniline. To make this leather, the full-grain leather hide is tumbled in a drum with the aniline dye, which is a water-soluble synthetic dye. These dyes bring out the natural variances of color in animal hides, so the leather will never look uniform. Also, any markings, including scars, will be enhanced and are considered an excellent way to judge the quality of the aniline leather.

Corrected Grain Leather

A corrected grain leather headboard is a little more ambiguous. This can encompass a hide that has been merely sanded lightly to remove blemishes or could mean the top layer has been removed entirely and an artificial grain attached to mimic the look of full-grain leather. This will make the leather look smooth and even, and then it can be top-coated with a dye. In the case of corrected grain leather, this can be either a semi-aniline dye or even a pigmented dye.

Split Leather

A split leather headboard refers to a specific cut of the animal hide. Split leather is taken from the bottom part of the animal and tends to be more rigid or firm than the other types of leather. It’s often coated with polyurethane and pressed to make it look like a higher-quality cut of leather, but because of the natural stiffness of this cut it tends to wear out faster than full-grain leather. This would be the lowest quality of the genuine leather options for your leather headboard.

bed with brown leather headboard

Faux Leather

Ahhhh, faux leather. You could argue this doesn’t belong in the same section as the real leathers, but it can be included here for simplicity’s sake because this is a standard option for home furnishings.

Faux leather is artificial, or manufactured, leather created as an alternative to genuine leather. Faux leather is made by applying a polymer layer with a piece of fabric as the base. There are two main types: polyurethane (PU leather) and polyvinyl chloride vinyl. It is used in furnishings like outdoor and marine-grade furnishing, car interiors, bed frames, and headboards.

A faux leather headboard has many advantages, including lower cost, water resistance, sustainability, and flexibility of options. Faux leather can be made into any color imaginable, and PU leather is now manufactured so well that people often can’t tell that it isn’t genuine leather. Both types of faux leather are highly durable and easy to care for, giving them an advantage over genuine leather.

With all of these types and qualities of leather to choose from, you can imagine there are many different ways leather can be used for a leather headboard. With your newfound education on leather, it’s time to consider which leather headboard style is best for you and your space.

Faux Leather Headboards We Love

Styles for a Leather Headboard

Leather Headboard Types

Leather headboards come in many different designs. When choosing the right style for you, consider the overall feel you’re hoping to achieve in your bedroom. A tufted or simple upholstered leather headboard might work best if your room is more traditional. If your room is more minimalist, a modern leather headboard might work better. And if your room is all about luxury, then a tufted leather headboard will be perfect.

wood and cream leather headboard

Upholstered Leather Headboard

A simple leather upholstered headboard will have sleek but not stark lines, and all visible portions of the headboard will be covered in leather. These are generally part of a platform bed where all the exposed bed portions are leather and appear seamlessly connected to each piece. There will be nice seams and stitching, and generally, the leather surface will be smooth without design, tufting, or embellishments like stitching designs and accessories. This would be the middle ground for a leather headboard design type, floating between modern and tufted.

Upholstered Leather Headboards We Love

Modern Leather Headboard

A modern leather headboard will encompass the stark, almost geometric lines that you commonly see in some platform beds or mid-century modern furniture. A common component of modern design is using more modern materials such as glass or steel. So a modern leather headboard would likely include metal or wood as well as leather. Simple, clean, and without unnecessary visual clutter will be the flavor to find if you are going for a modern leather headboard.

Modern Leather Headboards We Love

Emily Button Tufted Faux Leather Upholstered Full Headboard

by Modway 

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10/02/2023 04:51 am GMT

Tufted or Quilted Leather Headboard

When luxury is the goal, choosing from a tufted or quilted leather headboard is common. A tufted leather headboard has the leather headboard sewn and anchored to create a raised pattern. A tufted leather headboard will have minimal padding behind, and that padding will be uniform across the entire headboard.

In a quilted leather headboard, however, the spaces between the sewn lines are stuffed with filler fabric to contrast with the pin depth, and the stitched lines are extremely substantial with really high puffed areas between the anchor pins. The quilted form is more comfortable to lean against but harder to keep clean.

Tufted/Quilted Leather Headboards We Love

Leather Headboard Colors

Once you’ve settled on the style for your leather headboard and determined which type of leather you want it to have, you can consider the color options for your choices. Genuine leather will be more limited in the color choices available, while faux leather has few limitations to your color options.

With a genuine leather headboard, your first decision is if you want to go light or dark. Are you trying to create a deeper, more masculine feeling space? Or do you want the room to stay lighter and more feminine in design?

A genuine leather headboard can come in many shades, from white to black. Here are some of the main shade choices and an idea of the feel they might give to your bedroom.

bed with a gray leather headboard

White Leather Headboard

A white leather headboard could be a stark white color, a creamy white with a hint of yellow, or a deeper cream color such as vanilla. These shade variances are just a gradient of how much yellow is in the color, in increasing yellow pigmentation order.

A pure white leather headboard would look great in a minimalist or modern bedroom style. If placed against a darker background such as gray, a standard minimalist home color, it will stand out and draw the eye. Any shade of accessory will go well with a white leather headboard, so if you like to change out the look of your bed frequently with your linens and pillows, this might be the choice for you. Be mindful of the increased risk of staining and keep up on the maintenance with this choice, as every speck of dust will show.

A cream or vanilla-white leather headboard goes better with warm or neutral tones. You’ll still have a broad range of things with which you can accent the headboard, but cool colors will not mix well with the yellow pigment. This is an excellent option if you like the idea of a white headboard but aren’t keen on a blazingly bright white piece of furniture in your room of repose.

White Leather Headboards We Love

Brown/Beige Leather Headboard

A brown leather headboard is the classic leather look you know and love. It can come in various variations, from tan to deep chocolate or coffee shades. It also comes in warm tones and cooler neutral tones. With such a broad range of options, it will be easy to find the right shade of brown leather headboard for your bedroom décor.

On the lighter end of the brown spectrum are the various shades of tan or beige. These are all warm tones of soft brown that sit somewhere between white and what would be considered a genuine brown. This range goes from beige into deeper caramel or cognac colors.

A beige leather headboard would fit nicely into a Scandinavian style. It’s often seen in modern style décor because it goes so well with white and gray, the hallmark colors of modern design. The lighter shades would complement a minimalist look, while the deeper shades like caramel or cognac would be accented well in a lightly colored room with warm-toned accessories such as orange, yellow, and red.

Brown leather headboards are darker and richer. The lighter tone sometimes referred to as saddle brown is most at home in a wood-rich environment. You often see this type of leather headboard in a cabin or perhaps a high-end rustic lodge. The darker shades of brown can be pure brown or walnut brown, which includes a bit of red tone to it. Though these shades fit with lots of décor types, being mindful of the size of a dark leather headboard is essential. If too large, it might overpower the rest of the room. The darkest brown leather headboard, though, is chocolate brown. Think high cacao content dark chocolate candy to visualize this color.

cream tufted leather headboard

Brown/Beige Leather Headboards We Love

Upholstered Headboard, Dark Brown

by Flash Furniture 

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10/02/2023 04:46 am GMT

Gray or Black Leather Headboard

Gray has come into its prime in recent years. It’s common in the minimalist and modern design schemes, which are the most popular ways of decorating today. It’s a highly versatile color, going well with all accent colors and every décor style. Gray can be a very light gray or nearly black and any shade in between, so you’ll be able to find a color you like if you want a gray leather headboard.

A black leather headboard is perfect for making a bold statement. If your style is more contemporary or modern, you will easily be able to make a black leather headboard work in the space. Be mindful that it will darken the room, so keep the walls and accessories a bit lighter to offset this bold choice.

Gray/Black Leather Headboards We Love

Leather Headboard Price

Once you’ve figured out which style, color, and type of leather finish you want your headboard to have, you’ll want to consider how much those options will cost. Genuine leather can be pretty expensive, so if you want a genuine leather headboard, you might want to go with a smaller bed or have the leather only part of the headboard to save money.

Full-grain leather is not only the most expensive material option, it takes the most craftsmanship to work. Both of these factors increase the cost substantially over other types of leather. If you have your heart set on genuine leather and price is of concern, you might use the leather as an accent instead of the primary material.

If color is a more significant factor in your choice, then faux leather or aniline leather will be a great compromise to get a better price. You can find options that will look very similar to genuine leather, with cheaper material and handling costs and easier maintenance.

brown and cream leather headboard

Leather Headboard Maintenance

Maintenance of any leather headboard will be vital to giving your furniture a long lifetime with minimal visible wear. Faux leather and genuine leather require different maintenance and cleaning approaches, however.

Faux leather is the easiest to clean as synthetic materials can handle the use of cleansers. You should keep your faux leather headboard free of dust and debris and clean up any spills or potential stains with warm water and mild soap on a non-abrasive cloth. There are some commercial faux leather cleaners and conditioners on the market that you can also use.

The key to longevity with faux leather is to keep the material moisturized and out of direct light as much as possible. Sunlight will fade the color and dry out the surface. A dry material can lead to cracking and peeling, as well.

Genuine leather care is quite different, as you should never use soap or detergent to clean it. Prevention will ensure that your natural leather headboard stays in tip-top shape. Avoid placing the headboard in direct sunlight as you would faux leather. Keep it dust free by gently wiping or vacuuming with a brush attachment. Buff out any light scratches and scuffs, but be sure to use a gentle cloth for all cleaning of a genuine leather surface. Spills can be blotted dry, or for oil-based items that might spill on your genuine leather headboard, use talcum powder or baking soda to absorb it and gently wipe or vacuum it away. A good quality leather conditioner can be used to prevent drying and return the vibrancy of the genuine leather periodically, which is pretty much all it takes to maintain.


With the many options in style, color, and leather quality available for use in a leather headboard, you can fit one into almost any type of décor. If you like more natural materials in your home, a leather headboard will have you covered. If you want a more modern, high-end look in your bedroom, a leather headboard will also fit in nicely. If you love the look of leather but don’t have the money to buy genuine leather, there are many options available that are lower in price and easier to maintain, so don’t despair at the cost of high-quality genuine leather. A leather headboard can give you all the features you want at any price, so why wouldn’t you want one in your bedroom?

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