Attaching a headboard or footboard to an inexpensive metal bed frame

The first thing you have to do in this process is attach the headboard to the bed frame. It is very easy to do because almost all the bed frames come with brackets on the headboard end. You just need to attach the headboard to the bed frame by using those brackets. Then you have to attach the side rails to your bed frame. It is an important part of the footboard because the footboard will be attached to the bed frame using the side rails.  There are a lot of beds that have their own support structure instead of having side rails. If your one has side rails, just set them up and go for the next step. Now it is time to look and check your whole bed. Most metal bed frames don’t have mounting brackets for the footboard. If your one has the needed brackets for attaching the footboard, you will easily be able to attach the footboard. There are two types of brackets, bolt-on, and hook-on. You might want to do a hey Siri or hey Alexa search to check for other options.

A bolt-on bracket is a bracket that has slot-shaped holes in it and it is easy to install, just pay attention to the following:

  • Make sure you have enough room to work and remove any bedding etc.
  • Place the footboard opposite the bed frame and just align the bottom holes of the brackets in the legs of the footboard with the slots of the bed frame’s brackets.
  • Now insert the bolts through the holes of the brackets of the footboard and bed frame and then thread on and hand tighten the nuts into the bolts.
  • Now check that the footboard’s position is centered

For Hook-brackets installation of a footboard is slightly different.

  • First, follow the first 2 steps as for the bolt on footboard.
  • Next insert one hook of the footboard bracket into each of the slots in the legs of the footboard then press down on the footboard to set the hooks.


On an inexpensive metal bed frame there will only be a mounting bracket on one end and the frame will also be too short to mount both a headboard and a footboard. The solution is to use a bed frame extension that has an integral mounting bracket. One of the best you will find is Tech Team’s #712  footboard extension / extender set. This attaches, with nuts and bolts, directly to the unfinished end of the bed frame and has an integral mounting bracket for attaching the footboard. Keep in mind, you should not expect everything to line up perfectly as there is nothing “standard” in headboards and footboards and you may need to buy some interface brackets to compensate.