Final Challenge: Custom Headboards

by post_author
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SolidWorks mock-up

Intro

There’s nothing better than being comfortable in bed. At the end of the day, the best thing is crawling under the covers in a space that you can call your own. While most college students purchase mattress pads to make the given dorm beds better, they still lack the ability to sit up easily in bed. Perhaps they want to watch a little Netflix, or a lecture video without falling asleep while lying down: this is where a headboard would come in handy. You might ask, well why do students not just purchase headboards? For one, the dorm beds have a specific layout, and making any permanent changes to furniture leads to students having to pay to replace the bed. This is where our idea came into play.

Overall Idea

We identified both a demand and a lack of supply in the market for furniture and college dorm supplies and decided to fill it. There exists a very small market for twin bed-sized headboards, but none of the products are marketed toward college student. After a little bit of research, we created a list of shortcomings regarding headboards that are currently on the market. Firstly, the majority of twin headboards that are available require a significant amount of assembly and installation that we believe would deter most college students. Secondly, most headboards on the market are designed to be leaned against the wall or even attached to the wall; this is often unfeasible given the unpredictable nature of college dorm rooms, where the side of the bed which the headboard would go on may not be touching a wall. Finally, most headboards that are sold are relatively feminine in style and would likely not appeal to adolescent males. We aimed to address all of these weaknesses in creating our product.

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Headboard prototype

About Our Design

Our product is designed to be an attractive, comfortable, durable headboard that can be used with standard twin beds of all types. We originally designed the product to be compatible with Harvard dorm beds, but soon realized that we would be able to make a headboard that would be universally useable for other school’s dorm beds as well. There is nothing about our final product that is particular to Harvard beds. The idea is that the back two legs of the bed would be slid into the open rectangular prisms so that the weight of the bed would act as a stabilizing force for the headboard. We designed these to be wide enough so that even thick wooden bed legs would be able to fit inside.

Our product also has tremendous room for customization and expansion. Some ideas include:

  • Customizable wood type/finish
  • Customizable headboard shape
  • Customizable headboard fabric and details (i.e. tufted, bolstered, etc.)
  • Potential for electric outlet integration for phone/computer charging
  • Potential for reading light integration

Design Process Details

During the design process, we had some difficulty addressing stability. We played around with a lot of ideas, including clamping the headboard onto the bed frame, attaching a hinge on the headboard with a platform that went under the mattress, and even screwing into the open holes on the frame. However, our final design seems most feasible. The open rectangular prisms can be customized in size to fit each bed’s leg width, and will ensure that when the headboard is leaned on, it stays in place. While our prototype consists of gluing, the end product will ideally have screws attaching the legs to the wood. Furthermore, we used cotton on the inside of the fabric to create a resting spot for the user, but this could be changed to polyester depending on pricing and later decisions based on comfort level. Furthermore, we used staples to attach the fabric to the wood, which would likely be what would be used in a full sized version because of the low price and accessibility. Overall, we are very satisfied with our prototype and think that a large version would make a great addition to making a dorm room a home.

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Initial headboard drawing with clamps

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