How to Attach a Footboard to Your Bed

How to Attach a Footboard to Your Bed

If you’ve got a regular bed frame in your bedroom, it doesn’t come with anything attached. Chances are you may want to at least add a headboard, and most bed frames have brackets at the head to do just that. What about a footboard, though? That can be a little trickier. Read on to get tips on how to get your bed looking fantastic!


To attach a headboard, you can follow similar tips that we’ll discuss here, and we covered the topic in our older post. The big difference is that most bed frames already come with headboard brackets that make it easy to attach a headboard – but they don’t usually come with those same brackets for footboards.


If your footboard is meant to be connected to your headboard using side rails, you may not need to connect them to your bed frame. Check to see if the bed you bought has additional attachments for a bed frame in addition to the side rails. If not, then you probably don’t need to attach it. Just set up the bed around your frame.

You may have also purchased a platform bed, which has no need for a frame or rails. It comes with its own support structure as part of the headboard-footboard-rail system.


If your footboard won’t be standing on its own, you’ll need to take a look and see what kind of frame you have. Most frames don’t come with footboard brackets, but it’s possible yours does! If you have one bracket on one end but not the other, the frame may have been put together incorrectly. Brackets should be on the same side.

There are also two types of brackets usually found on a bed frame: bolt-on or hook-on. These match the two most common types of attachments on footboards (and headboards). Bolt-on style is the one you will see most often, and the bracket will have slot-shaped holes in it. Hook-on frames have hooks on the bracket. Whatever style you have on your headboard bracket needs to match the headboard and footboard you buy. If you’ve already bought the perfect headboard and footboard and it doesn’t match, all is not lost! You can adapt the brackets on the bed frame to make it fit the other style by using some additional parts.

A bolt-on and hook-on bed frame bracket.


If your bed is like most, it probably doesn’t have footboard brackets. This is an easy fix! You can buy a new bed frame that includes footboard brackets or by replacing the frame (on smaller sizes) with rails. Or keep your frame and just add on to it! If you are looking to add a bolt-on footboard, simply attach parts like these footboard extension brackets to the frame.

If you’ve chosen a hook-on bed, that could be an extra step. If your frame is a bolt-on, or you used bolt-on extensions for the foot, you’ll need to attach hook-on brackets like these to convert the bolt-on brackets to hook-on.


If you haven’t already, take out your footboard from the packaging. Make sure it’s the right size, then check to see that it matches the attachment method of the brackets on the bed frame. A footboard/headboard meant to be bolted on will usually have holes for the bolts drilled into the legs. A hook-on leg will have slits where the hooks attach. The footboard/headboard should also have all the parts you need to connect the two pieces. If not, you’ll need to contact the manufacturer to get anything that’s missing.


These basic steps work for most models of footboard and bed frame. However, check your instructions first, because each manufacturer can have different specifications.

  1.  Make sure you have enough room around your bed to work. You may want to remove the bedding from your mattress and put something down on your floor to prevent damage.
  2. Stand the footboard in position against the bed frame (you may want to get someone to help). Align the bottom screw holes in the legs of the footboard with the slots in the bed frame brackets.
  3. Slide a washer onto a bolt from the included parts. Insert the bolt through a slot in the bed frame bracket and into the leg hole on the footboard that lines up. If a bolt is sticking out on the other side, you can slide a washer and nut onto it. Tighten the nut to be just finger-tight in case you have to remove it again. 
  4. Repeat on the other side. It’s usually easier to get both sides into place before you add the rest of the bolts.
  5. Once you have a bolt attached on either side, attach the other bolts to each leg the same way.
  6. Check that the footboard is still centered, side-to-side, by measuring the distance from the edge of each footboard bracket to the edge of the footboard legs. Use a carpenter’s level on top of the bed frame to make sure it sits even. Now is the time to realign if needed!
  7. Once everything is lined up, tighten all the bolts using pliers or a wrench to keep the footboard secure.
  8. Check the bolts on the back of your footboard legs. If they still protrude through, you may want to cover them to make sure they don’t cause any damage.


Just like the bolt-on footboard, these instructions for a hook-on footboard may vary by manufacturer of the footboard.

  1. First prepare your space to have enough room and prevent damage.
  2. Stand the footboard in position against the bed frame so that the slots in the footboard leg face the bed frame. Again, this is going to be easier with an extra set of hands. Align the hooks in the brackets with the slots in the legs.
  3. Insert one end of the hooks on one side of the bed frame into the slots in the leg.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. After you’ve connected all the hooks, push down firmly on the bed frame rails to lock the brackets into place.

There aren’t any bolts that can poke through on the other side, so you don’t have to worry about scratches with the hook-on version.

If you need a sturdy bed frame, or accessories, to get your footboard attached, make sure to check out our website!

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