Photo via: diyhshp.blogspot.com
Build a Chestwick Upholstered Headboard (and bed) | Ana White. This is exactly what I was thinking of… Wood bed frame and upholstered headboard. I would make the upholstery panel on a separate piece of plywood and screw it on from the back so it can be removed if I want to change the fabric. Also, I would make the fabric panel taller, use thicker foam, and tuft it.
Photo via: ana-white.com
Photo via: etsy.com