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Ask the Audience: Master Bed In Front of Window


I am slowly, yet frantically, designing the house. It needs to be complete by the beginning of May for a big ol’ feature, and while that seems far away – in order to make sure that it’s actually well designed and not just a bunch of furniture living together, I need to make some serious decisions very quickly. Today we are talking about the bed in our bedroom.  Most of what is already in the room came from the other house and is staying – the leather nightstands are perfect, I love those lamps, that rug is a dream (I secretly want the look of an antique tabriz in here, but that rug is just too amazing to step onto in the morning to give up) and the bedding is great, but might be switched out/added to. The wall color is Ammonite by Farrow and Ball and it’s just amazing – so warm, neutral and soft. We’ve got a great start and it’s a totally pleasant room to be in as-is. We have temporary $5 blackout curtains over our headboard windows (see below) for now, but the other ones are blank. I’m not sure why we have any curtains in there because those children wake us up before the sun is up anyway, but some day, SOME DAY we’ll be psyched that we have black out shades because they’ll be sleeping in til’ 8:30am (fingers crossed).

In the picture below you can see that the bed is just below the sill, and that there is actually 12″ of sill back there.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboards_3

We have three major things to add – window treatments (we ordered custom shades via Calico Corners out of a super pretty Swedish gray washed linen, lined in blackout), the dresser (we are having this one painted caldwell green) and today’s biggest quandary – THE BED.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboards_1

Now there are only three ways to orient the room/bed but this one makes the room feel the biggest and allows for the largest dresser (opposite the bed). You don’t wake up to the view, but we have a serious storage situation in this house so this is the best layout to maximize the storage without making the room feel crowded and tiny. Instead of that dresser we are getting this one that is 6′ long and not quite as deep but has way more storage.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboards_6

We’ll be selling that beautiful dresser when we get our new one, so email [email protected] if you are interested in purchasing it. It will be $800, it’s antique English pine, in perfect condition and it’s very, very special – just not the right shape for the room.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboards_7

Right now Brian is working in here as his office space has flooded and is a total mud pit (thanks to our new Pacific Northwest climate in LA – so much rain!!!).

So the new dresser will span all the way across (yay!!) but be lower. I’ve been obsessed with this company for a few months now so I’m psyched to get this dresser (in a custom dark matte greeny-blue).

Back to the quandary at hand: Putting a bed in front of a window is tricky. We don’t want to block too much of the light, but we do want something to lean against. I’ve done it twice.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboards_Styled Photos_1

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboards_Styled Photos_2

It can work, as you can see.

So we mocked up some options for me/you:

Option A: a curved headboard in a patterned fabric. I fell in love with this fabric although I’m unsure that it will work on something curved because it is technically a stripe – albeit a shaky one. And i’m terrified because it might be like $200 a yard (I’m hoping wholesale is much cheaper).


We all loved the idea of the curve because it breaks up all the lines and doesn’t feel quite as obtrusive in front of a window. It’s softer and quieter. But once it was rendered I was less convinced.

We also did it in a navy blue so you could see how it changes if it’s a solid, darker color:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_ Master Bedroom_Headboard_Low_Profile_Curved_Blue

It does feel much better but that could be because the navy blue throw on the bed kinda overpowered the patterned fabric, whereas the navy headboard kept it feeling more balanced. So if we take off that throw, will it feel more balanced?

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboard_Low_Profile_Curve_White Blanket

It does help. Sure, the bed looks boring, but it works better. We would custom make it to make sure that the proportions are exactly what we want since there wasn’t really anything on the market, but here are some good ready made options:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Low Profile_Headboards_Curved_Roundup

1. Ames Bed | 2. Georgio Upholstered Platform Bed | 3. Brookings Upholstered Bed | 4. Gem Cut Bed

Now, maybe the curve is just weird and we should stick to something more classic. Part of me REALLY wants something tufted, but a low tufted bed seems weird. So a good option is doing a simple low straight headboard in that fabric:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboard_Low_Profile_Rectangle Striped Headboard_Gray Blanket

I like it. It doesn’t feel quite right but I think that is because the scale of the fabric is off and it’s a rendering. I worry that that lightness of the fabric should feel more substantial, so we tweaked it to be a solid:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboard_Low_Profile_Square_Gray Upholstered Headboard

It’s good, right? But maybe boring? Is that too much bed in front of the window? It’s only about 6″ high off the window sill. So hard! There are a decent amount of low upholstered headboards out there (we particularly like #4):

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Low Profile_Headboards_Low Rectangular_Roundup

1. Cobble Hill Sonoma Bed | 2. Wyatt Bed | 3. Welles Upholstered Platform Bed | 4. Broderick Shelter Bed | 5. Mod Upholstered Platform Bed | 6. New Standard Bed

But wait, meanwhile I’ve fallen in love with all things windsor (I’m not alone apparently) and am extremely tempted by this:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboards_Spindle with Bolster Stripped Fabric and White Blanket

It definitely holds the wall better and lets more light through/feels airier. I could do a big bolster of the fabric I love across the front of the bed and still get that pretty pattern in there. Now the only bummer with this is that this bed is $5k (handmade in LA, worth every penny, but it is many, many pennies). Rejuvenation just came out with one that I love and is less than 1/2 the price.

So the next option is more affordable but still such a beautiful wood windsor bed:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_ Master Bedroom_Headboard_Low_Profile_Windsor with Bolster Striped Fabric and White Blanket

OOOOOOOHHHHH, I like that. I love the first one, too, but the price difference is huge. here are some others that we were thinking about:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Low Profile_Headboards_Windsor_Roundup

1. Jarvis Bed with Leather Pad | 2. Edeline Mid-Century Modern Slatted Bed | 3. Perkins Spindle Bed | 4. Companions Bed | 5. Windsor Bed | 6. Culla Spindle Bed

There of course are some iron options but if we were going to lose the comfort of an upholstered headboard then we would both opt for wood over metal.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Master Bedroom_Headboards_Option Grid

So help, folks. I’m leaning towards windsor, but I LOVE an upholstered headboard. I feel like I know what you guys will say, but please weigh in. And remember, the bedding is still totally up in the air and will change to be amazing, but this is way more about the headboard. Or if you have any other suggestions that I haven’t thought of already let me know below in the comments when you weigh in on which setup you like the best.

Fin Mark


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That Rejuvenation one. Perfection. I actually like it better than your $$$ one!


me too!


I agree, maybe it is the tone of the wood but definitely the prettiest option!

I agree!


Me too!


Option #6 (or the cb2 windsor)


Yes – agree! Option #6 or cb2!


I agree. Love #6 and the cb2 one.

Same!! No question!

Amy Madeline

It is simply wonderful in that room. Squared off curve, visible wood grain, modernized classic design, and lets the light peak through. That is my dream bed frame. My cal king bed is in front of a tall offset window in my small bungalow bedroom. (We have a sturdy plywood platform bed frame with a low curved rectangular headboard, built by my husband, which has been a very functional and minimally visible solution for us.)

Melissa Allam

I love an upholstered headboard too, but as soon as I saw the Windsor in front of the window, I said, ahhh…now that feels good.

Same. It looks so perfect. The color and shape are right and it looks fabulous with the nightstands. You can always use a pillow for comfort if you need to!


Yes! Love the rejuvenation one!


Agree! The rejuvenation one!


I also agree!


Another vote for the rejuvenation frame. It is my favorite for your room.


I agree. The tone of the wood with the night stands is perfect.




Agree! Though I do like option 3, if you want to go the upholstered direction.


Yep. 6 or Cb2, or 3 if you decide you want/need upholstered.

Windsor all the way!


Definitely! I agree. Much better than the pricier one.


yes that Rejuvenation one. Blows the rest out of the water.

agreed!! love love love.


Yep, 6 all the way. It’s beautiful.


Option 6 for the win! For me, it’s the only one that doesn’t look awkward/forced, it just “belongs”.

(In terms of looks, the option I prefer is no headboard at all, but I get that lifestyle > looks)


Yes, #6, hands down!!


Totally agree – #6 all the way! I don’t mind the white bedding but I would love to see something super moody in there.


6 for sure


yes, have to join the number 6 party 🙂


Agreed-number 6 for sure! The depth of the darker wood is beautiful against all the neutral colors and the open slats make the headboard feel more intentional against the window. Then again, maybe I just think that because my bedroom employs a similar design 🙂 We have a metal headboard and with throw pillows, I’ve never had a complaint about softness!

My vote goes to #6 too! The tone is perfect in the room and you’re still letting that gorgeous light in.


I wholeheartedly agree!

One more vote for option 6!


YES #6

Erika M.



Another vote for the Rejuvenation one. The color is spot on and it just looks perfect. I also think it will play off the dresser fabulously.


Throwing another vote on the pile for #6! Great find.


Yes! #6 is the best – the other ones don’t even compare.


option #6 fo sho. love love love it.


I agree!. #6 looks great (the Cb2 is also a good choice too).


100% agree with # 6 or CB2! Looks perfect in the space.


I like option 6 😉


Number 6!! Let’s in all the light and still looks classic.




I agree 100%. The Rejuvenation one is perfect in every way.


I completely agree!!


Go with the windsor, for sure! SO beautiful!


Ohhhhhhh 6 is far and away my favorite look. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I actually love that fabric in a bolster even more than I do in a fully upholstered headboard. And I’m surprised, but I prefer the look of a solid upholstered headboard in this room (if you just can’t give up the softness). Round or rectangle, you will make it work for sure. Your room and your new home and everything you do is just beautiful!


The Windsor options are SO beautiful and feel so right with the house. You’d be losing the upholstered headboard comfort, but I think the look is worth it. And that bolster is lovely! A few pillows propped behind you is almost the same, comfort-wise, right??


LOVE the last one. It feels traditional and modern at the same time, while letting in the light.


So Number 6…not so keen on the curved, just a little disproportionate.

The windsor adds an edge and warmth.

Loving the updates…


I like all of your options (I’d push for Windsor to see how you style it but know if I were choosing for myself I’d want that upholstery! The window placement/how to layout a room because of them triggered another issue I personally am struggling with (and therefore assume others do to too), what to do with radiators at every turn! Perhaps an entry on how to deal with them/layout rooms that work with them? My added personal issue is they are under all of our windows and are wider than our windows so how to add drapery to avoid the radiators but not show the sides of the windows has been something I keep muddling around in my brain! To hang them where they should (on the sides of the windows, just covering the edges of where drywall meets frame), they would then have to drape either with a tieback or fall on the radiator and clumsily fall to the floor. Both sound gross and/or tacky and aren’t modern and streamline like my heart desires. Also, I’m so not a fan of the short drape cutting a room in half. Idk, I guess I just needed somewhere to vent… Read more »


I would love to hear about that as well (same problem). And would the radiators burn the drapes when they are closed? I am always so worried.

Julie P

David from the blog Manhattan Nest has spent many entries on radiator issues which you might check out, His solution seems to have mainly been to shuffle them around within the house to fit better, and buy new antique ones to fit the spots where nothing existing would work. Have you considered roman shades instead of curtains?


Oh, I have followed David for years and love him! While he makes his radiator moves look easy, I ‘m not so keen on hacking everything apart to change it for some drapes (we are talking at least 1 window in every room, if not two having this same condition repeated over and over). I currently have some nice shades in place to actually control the light and privacy so I’m really only needing something ornamental to fall at the sides of the window. But it’s like 4 inches (maybe 6″?) of where the inside edge of the drape would fall (to avoid the radiator) to where the edge of the window stops(starts?). I’m thinking it would look really dumb to have drapes, drywall, window frame then window (hope that makes sense). I’m thinking the only real answer to sort of get what I want is to have short (gasp) sheers bridge the gap. All this said, I thought I’d see if the brilliant Henderson team had some tried and true ideas or could tackle this issue in a broader sense?


Though I, too, love Daniel from Manhattan Nest, I’d like to say that you need to be careful when relocating radiators for the sake of decorating, because they are placed and sized for even heating reasons. My husband is a mechanical engineer, and even today he puts fin tubes (a kind of modern radiator) in commercial buildings under windows. The outside walls, especially at windows, are where you experience heat loss in a building, and in the winter, in certain climates, windows can fog up if the area is too cold.


Its Daniel not David


Oh I would love something on this too! Currently furnishing a house with baseboard heaters under every window. Moving them is an option, but it’s expensive, and I’ve heard heaters under the windows can actually heat a house better. But then what to do with curtains? Halp.


I second the request for decorating around radiators. I’ve got very long ones spanning underneath the majority of my windows or in between two windows. Some have very attractive covers. Some do not. Our windows also come down fairly low, which makes furniture placement very tricky.


I struggled for a few years with this dilemma. According to our electrician heaters under the window do heat better. Doesn’t make sense to me but I’m not an electrician. I had long drapes made that fell under the baseboards. Due to my husband’s dramatics I bought these clear plastic vent covers that push the air out and force it up. They are inexpensive and customizable. In addition I put the drapes on ring clips so I can direct them to the edges of the window further allowing for heat. The things we go through for design. Hope this helps. P


We had this problem in our last home and, after countless hours of research, determined that there is NO drape that will look right. We had custom radiator covers made by Fichman Furniture (highly recommmend) for several rooms. That made the situation prettier but I was still bummed that we were unable to do anything other than roman shades.


We have this problem too, but we are renting so no solution for us. I grew up with radiators and my parents shortened theirs without actually moving them. One disclaimer – our house had NO heating problems whatsoever – it got really hot, so if that is a problem I would no shorten. We had sections removed by a profesional (all those metal sections are threded together, so you can remove a few). You can then cover them so they look and work like a small table under the window and put the drapes on either side. We actually didnt cover ours, but should have because it looks nice and everyone would sit on our kitchen radiaor and then all of a sudden you sit down one day and it would burn your butt.


What a beautiful space! After looking at all the options, I keep scrolling back to your real life example photos. The iron headboard would look amazing in that space in aged brass. The wood seems too modern to me. I also like the shape of the gray upholstered headboard rather than the curved for an upholstered look. Whatever you choose, it’s going to be beautiful! What nice light you have in that space!


Option #3 for sure! The others look puny and cheap.

Pam B

I Agree! Option #3!!!!


Option 6 all the way! Love it!


The less expensive, second, Windsor. First one reminds me too much of a baby crib. Lets in light, you can still lean against it and fits with the rest home. ??

Baby crib was the first thought I had with that one too!


I thought crib, too!


CB2 & Rejuvenation windsor beds are perfect! Personally I don’t feel the curve with the angle on the ceiling. What a bedroom! Congrats on the new house.


Option 6


I like 6, hands down. The scale is perfect and having the light come through is amazing. The curved options feel too 80s to me (for the style of your house).


yes, i couldn’t put my finger on it but the curved headboards are so 80’s! #6 is my choice, by far!


I was going to say that!! Way too 80s Miami Vice for me.


Option 6 all the way. I actually prefer this one to the more expensive wood and it gives you the glimpse of the windowsill beyond unlike the upholstered ones.

I’d go for Option 5, Emily. It lets the light through and makes the bedroom look lighter and brighter. I prefer it to 6 because the lighter color gets less in the way of the window visually. It flows with the room, whereas the darker one sort of looks like an obstruction. Large windows with so much natural light are such a blessing… that will be one amazing room once it’s done!


Definitely option 6, it still gives you something there, but keeps it feeling open to the window. And it plays off the nightstands so well!


I myself like the navy curved headboard….or maybe that last wooden one…hmmm. Nope, navy for the win!


Windsor, but not the light one that wraps around the sides. Looks like a bench made into a headboard IMHO. You didn’t mention what this room looks like from the outside. Are those windows a prominent part of your view from the backyard or street? That would be another reason I would opt for the Windsor but honestly, I have a long-standing love affair with all things Windsor.


We didn’t put our bed up against the window because that wall is cold. But then again, we live in Connecticut,…


I always love love love an upholstered headboard…. BUT… I got ‘a say, that darker Windsor, #6 is the WINNER!
I’m purchasing a new headboard soon so I have loved the recent BR posts….


I like the shape of the Target headboard for 799 because it is similar to the shape of the ceiling. I would do a custom one in that shape, but shorter. Upholster it in the Moncorvo and add a darker throw to the bottom of the bed or some throw pillows to tie in the color.


#6…or #1 if you really are loving upholstered


I’ve got to say that option 6 pulls the whole look together for me and works really well with those side tables. May I ask which software you use to mock up those images?


Option 6 is by far my favorite!


4 or 6! Really love 6.


Rectangular headboard, upholstered in navy.


I like #3. It might be the “safe” choice, but it also is the one that makes me want to crawl in the bed the most.
Can you still open the windows?


I prefer #3 and I think you should use that striped fabric on a pillow for sure. I think the other beds look more complicated and compete with the beauty of the window.




I agree — #3! I find the Windsor spindles too busy competing with the lines of the window.


5 or 6


Option 2, 3, or 6. Or do Option 2 in creamy white!


Option 6!!!! I like it even more than 5. DO IT! I know it will look amahhhhhzing


Option 3 or option 6. Something about the curved ones remind me of cheap motels. Option 6 suits your house.


I like option 3 and 6. I think the taller windsor in option 5 takes away from the end tables a bit. I also love the cb2 windsor bed option and rejuvenation windsor.

The rounded fabric headboard feels 80s to me. I also like the serena & Lily and bludot under fabric headboards.

As far as it in front of the window, I think it looks good and since you have another window in the room, you will get plenty of light.
Cant wait to see it all come together!!

Sara M.

Option 6, but switch it out of the CB2 version. I’m lusting over that one myself right now, but I can’t seem to pull the trigger on $1300 (without the leather).


I love option 6, then use the fabric you love so much in pillows.


Number 6! I also like number 3 for the upholstered, definitely not the rounded ones, which feel too…slopey with the angled ceiling corners.

I love #3 and #6.

#6 is a little more attractive, but I think #3 would be more functional while still being very pretty. (Functional wins in my house 99% of the time).

If you must go with this orientation, I would go with #6. But if it were me, I would go with a bed lower to the the floor and also choose different nightstands that work with a lower profile bed. I think that this would be less of an issue if the bed was in front of the other window. It’s the depth of that particular widow sill that makes it so special and would be nice to use instead of loose.


I agree that a lower profile bed would accent the historic details of the window more. However, I haven’t seen any traditional style beds in lower profile. Given that problem, I’d go with one of the spindle beds to allow as much of the window to show as possible.


Six all the way. That headboard SPECIFICALLY. It’s echoes the curves of the night stands just right and hits all the other notes in tune. It is substantial enough for your eye to stop there and it lets the light through. I love it.


* “it echoes” not “it’s echoes.” Also “nightstand.” Stupid auto correct.


I like option 6 best & option 3 as runner up


I like #3, 5, and 6! Not the most helpful, but those are my favorites 🙂 Looking forward to seeing more progress photos!

The curved upholstered in 2 and 4 are ok, but 5 and 6 kind of compete with the nightstands unless the rendered proportions are off.

What about something super traditional with the curve elements like this? Everything else is so pared back it might work and echo some of the detail in the dresser.

A Cook

I really like this suggestion!


I love this option! The Windsor is pretty but it looks awfully busy to me. The other issue is you will need a lot of pillows because Windors are not all that comfortable and that will totally defeat the point of getting the Windsor in the first place (i.e., letting the light in). I do agree with most here that the Rejuvenation bed is actually prettier than the more expensive option.

Option 6 – Windsor DEFINATELY. Keep all the light and lightness without compromising those lovely lines.


LOVE number 5!


Options #2 or #6! But whatever you do ends up being totally perfect, so I am very excited!


Option 5 is by far the most interesting (although $$$$). I know you mentioned you ruled out an iron bed, but I don’t think it would be any less comfortable than the wood options. An iron bed is traditional and it would bring the right amount of contrast to the room, visually tying in the lamps and curtain rod. Most of the proposed bed options get pretty washed out in the composition. Although 5 looks pretty darn cool!

Option 6 is my favorite! Our bed is in front of a window and it is a similar Windsor style. I think it is best because it still allows the window’s light to filter through!


I definitely like the Windsor-style beds. If we hadn’t just bought a bed last year, I would totally be looking at the CB2 or Rejuvenation ones.


#6 – I love the Rejuvenation option, even better than the pricier version! It’s beautiful.

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