Nuts and Bolts for Your Bed – Bolts for Your Headboard & Footboard

If you’re wanting to put your bed together yourself, we can help!

Bolts are used to connect many things, and one of their best uses is for attaching the decorative attachments of a bed. These decorative attachments can come as a headboard or a headboard and foot board. This article is going to focus in particular on bolting up a wood headboard and footboard or just a headboard to a bed frame.

What size bolts will I need for my bed?

Measure the thickness of the wood leg of your headboard or the headboard and footrail if you have both. The thickness is measured from front to back. This is an important step. The wrong type of bolt or too long a bolt can damage dry wall, plaster walls, and even the boxspring. Bolts should be no more than 1 inch longer than the thickness of the headboard. The most common sizes are the 4 inch bolts and the 2 ¼ inch bolts.

What kind of bolts to use on a wooden headboard & footboard

Carriage bolts seem to do the best job. We will be talking about using a mushroom head type bolt. This broad shaped head keeps the head of the bolt from being pulled into the wood to deep when then nut is tightened. The smooth shaped dome head does not protrude so far as to mar bedroom walls like other bolt heads


Hex head bolts The bolt (sometimes called a screw) is inserted into a pre-drilled hole in the leg of the headboard. It then feeds through the slot of the bed frame protruding no more than 1 inch so it does not catch on the fabric and poke through the boxspring.  The bolt can then can be secured with a washer and firmly hand tightened. Do the same to the other leg. Finally tighten up with a wrench. This helps secure the bed to the frame and keeps it in place for a nicely finished look.  There is a square fitting on the thread side of the mushroom shaped head; its purpose is to secure the bolt and keep it from spinning when tightening and loosening the nut.

Where to get bolts for a wooden bed

We recommend visiting your local Home Depot/Lowes store for these bolts.  You’ll need:

  • (2) 2 ¼” carriage bolts.  If your headboard is thicker, you may want to get the 4 ¼” carriage bolts instead.
  • (2) ½” nuts
  • (4) ½” washers


Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

31 Comments Leave your comment »

I am trying to find a screw in device for an antique bed which I purchased a while back. It is one inch long and screws into an 11/16 hole with a right hand thread. A three and a half inch bolt (5/16 or 3/8) fits into the bed railing and then screws into this right hand threaded device. It is threaded on the outside and threaded on the inside with standard threads. I don’t know what it would be called! Some kind of anchoring device.

Comment by Thomas Evagash — August 29, 2013 @ 10:03 am

I am sorry not sure exactly what you have. If you would like to contact us and send some photos we can try to hunt it down for you. Possibly one of our readers may have some advice as well. Contact Us

Comment by Douglas Belleville — August 31, 2013 @ 10:07 am

Do you have screws for leather bed ?
I have his instruction

Comment by Ghaleb Alsairi — November 25, 2013 @ 11:03 am

olso for corona 5drawer2door

Comment by Ghaleb Alsairi — November 25, 2013 @ 11:05 am

Hi Ghaleb, You forgot to include needed measurements. First you need to include the depth of your headboard leg. This would be the length of the hole the bolt runs through. The reason is that bolt sizes vary and with out this measurement the bolt could be too short and not go all the way through. Too long and it could damage your boxspring or drywall by punching a hole in it.

Second you need the diameter of the hole that was drilled through the leg. We offer a couple sizes to choose from Size: 1/4″ x 4″ and also Size: 1/4″ x 2 1/2″

Comment by Douglas Belleville — November 27, 2013 @ 7:52 am

I have a twin size bed I’m trying to assemble but are missing some round nuts or bolts they go in a round slot on each end of the wood bed can u help me naming them to

Comment by martha — April 9, 2014 @ 8:29 am

Martha, There are many different ways that manufacturers connect headboards and foot boards, in order to possibly name them I would need to seem them. Please feel free to contact us at our toll free number at the top of this page. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — April 12, 2014 @ 7:10 am

I’m looking for a 3 1/2 thread length bolt / #6 thread with a flat head – socket (allen wrench) to replace the bolts that hold the metal frame to the wooden headboard.
I don’t know what they’re called….and have been unable to find them on the web.

Comment by dale r. — April 12, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

Hello, I lost the bols that connects the head board to the rails. The bolt holes are from inside the head board and does not come through and seems like have metal threading in side. I have tried many different size of the bolts, only 5/16 X 1 seems go half inch. But the bolt does not go through completely. Taking a picture it could be the other end is tapered to lower diameter. I have pictures I could send. Can you Please help?

Comment by SuSanta Sarkar — April 13, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

I have an antique (walnut) twin bed and frame that was custom made in the 30’s for my grandmother. Problem is I need to get more of the long wood screws (about 5″ long) that have threading on one end and a hook on the other (for attaching to the wooden headboard and footboard). What are these called? and where can I find some?

Comment by Carol — June 17, 2014 @ 10:04 am

Carol, I believe what you are looking for are called Carriage Bolts. With out seeing what you have I cannot be sure. It has a square shoulder under a rounded head which resists turning when the nut is tightened or removed. They are available various lengths and diameters to fit the size hole drilled in the headboard legs. Please feel free to contact me at the Toll Free Number at the top of the page. Perhaps you could send me some photos to be sure. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — June 24, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

Guess that copy and paste didn’t work .

Looking for 6 – 1.0 3 1/2 inches long with hex head nut to attach wrought iron headboard to headboard posts.

Comment by Janet — June 25, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

Janet, I do not have them however you should be able to pick those up at your local hardware store, Home Depot, or Lowes. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — June 25, 2014 @ 5:24 pm

I need 5/16 , 3 5/8″ Length all thread bolts to attach footboard to a wooden frame, 5/16 nuts, and 5/16″ curved washer, can you help me? Lost hardware when bed was in storage.

Comment by david whalley — July 8, 2014 @ 4:10 pm

David, You will need to source these either from a hardware store online, True Value, Lowes, or perhaps Home Depot. Any local hardware store should be able to assist you. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — July 11, 2014 @ 6:48 am

I have a brass queen headboard that I want to attach to a queen bed frame. Brass headboard has bolt already secured to be attached to a bed frame. However, my bedf rame opening is too small for bolt. What to do?

Comment by bette — July 21, 2014 @ 7:41 am

I’m trying to attach a metal bed frame to a metal headboard that does not have holes on both the front and backside of the headboard. What is the configuration to attach this using the screw nuts and bolt. Thank you!

Comment by Jacqueline — July 21, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

Hi Bette, I am not sure but your description sounds incomplete. When you say the bolt is already secured to be attached to a bed frame are you saying it cannot be removed? If this is the case some of the old steel bed frames had an open connection. They had what I can best call a notch that the bolt would slide into. Then the bolt could be tightened down. If this is the case you will either need someone to fabricate that type of mounting connection plate or you will have to drill through the headboard and then use bolts through the legs to attach to today’s modern frame destroying any value the headboard might have. Feel free to contact me at our toll free number at the top of the page with some photos. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — July 22, 2014 @ 7:26 am

Jacqueline, Your description sounds incomplete. Please contact me at the toll free number above. I would like to you text or email me a couple photos so I can see what you have. Thanks Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — July 22, 2014 @ 7:29 am

I bought a used headboard/footboard. The set was initially bought from an import catalogue per the original owner (I think she said it’s from Phillipines/India/Asia). The rails attach by metal brackets which slide over bolts which screw into pre-threaded holes at each corner. I’m missing several bolts (gold in color, marked UNS 4.6, hex head, fully threaded). 1/4 inch bolts are too small, 5/16 bolts will only go in 1or 2 turns then stop. What should I buy and where? Any guidance you can give would be great.

Comment by Brian — November 23, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

Brian, I wish I could help but it is just one more reason I encourage people to avoid the import beds, they rarely offer replacement parts and it just seems not one of them are alike. Where here in the states nearly everyone follows ISPA Standards and uses either a bolt up or old fashioned down hook design. Perhaps a smaller hardware store can match them up to something they have. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — December 1, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

I purchased a mason headboard (twin) and it has 2 holes on either side that go all the way through but doesn’t look like its made for a bolt.
Not sure how to attach that to a metal frame ?

Comment by Gina — December 12, 2014 @ 12:10 am

Gina, I am having a problem understanding what you have. Contact me at the toll free number at the top of the page. I will have you text or email me photos so we can figure it out. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — December 17, 2014 @ 9:09 am

I have an antique full size head & foot that I currently use queen conversion rails on with queen bedding. I would like to use king size bedding on this same full head & foot. Can you suggest any way to make that happen?

Comment by Tim — January 13, 2015 @ 12:25 pm

I bought a beautiful Henredon Mahogany king size headboard today at a consignment shop and want to attach it to a bed frame. I took a picture that I can forward if needed. It has two hole that are not located on the legs but actually to the right of the left leg and to the left of the right leg. Can I just buy a bolt type frame and have someone drill the holes necessary to mount plates to secure it?

Comment by Cheryl — January 13, 2015 @ 4:30 pm

Hi Cheryl, Obviously if you could forward a picture that would assure us of what you have and what the frame would be attaching to specifically. Generically speaking yes you could get a good stable bed frame with bolt up headboard brackets, line up the mounting plates, drill holes, and bolt it up. Taller, bigger, weightier headboards may be less stable. You can contact us toll free at the number at the top of the page. Thank you Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — January 15, 2015 @ 4:16 pm

H Tim, There is 22″ difference between a King and Full. Your queen / full conversion has a 6 inch difference which hardly shows. I will be honest. It will look wrong sized and out of balance. With that said you could mount it to the wall like they do in hotels and put the mattress set on a free standing frame in front of it. Please see out Headboard only frames in you size to fit your needs. Hope it works out for you. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — January 15, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

Hi, I brought a headboard from Pier 1 when I tried to connect it to my bed rail the bolts where to big to fit through the slot. I think the slot on the rail is less than a inch wide. Can you please give me a suggestion on the bolt size and bolt is only a little bigger than the rail? Thanks

Comment by Aketah — February 24, 2015 @ 4:47 am

Aketah, I am sorry I do not have a clue as to what you are attempting. Please feel free to contact me at the above toll free number. You can explain and then send photos via text or email to see if we can come up with a solution. Happy to help Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 3, 2015 @ 8:01 am

Okay I brought a mokena bed from Harlem furniture but now there call room place I lost all screws except 1 and it doesn’t match anywhere I go home depot etc can you help.

Comment by erik — March 12, 2015 @ 11:21 am

Hi Erik, If I understood what you typed I may be of more help. Most likely you will need to contact the manufacturer and have your bed name, model number which should be located on your original receipt or sometimes on a sticker on the bed itself. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 24, 2015 @ 7:49 pm

Leave a comment