How to Divide a Living Room With a Half Wall

Dividing a large room with a half-wall separates it into smaller distinct spaces that break the monotony and enhance the interior design. A half-wall partitions the room more subtly than a traditional wall, maintaining the open space while adding depth and charm to the area. Build the wall using sections of framed drywall. Paint the drywall the same shade as the remaining walls of the room so it blends with the surroundings.


Things You'll Need

  • Plywood or cardboard
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Handsaw
  • Screwdriver
  • 3-inch screws
  • Stud finder
  • 1/2-inch wallboard
  • Utility knife
  • Screw gun
  • Metal beads
  • Joint compound
  • Paper tape
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • Poplar
  • Primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint


Cut plywood or cardboard to your desired dimensions to create a mock half-wall. Determine where in the room you want to install the wall first, and cut two boards to fit on each side, creating two adjacent half-walls. Ideally, the two half-walls should not span more than half the distance across the room.

Cut lengths of 2-by-4 to form the frames for each half wall. Keeping the mock walls as a guide, cut the lengths of wood to the desired dimensions and join them together using 3-inch screws.

Remove a mock wall and replace it with a frame. Position the frame so it sits flush on the floor and rests against the existing wall. Enlist a helper to hold the frame in place while you locate wall studs using a stud finder. Mark the positions of the studs on the wall so you can attach the frame to the wall and floor using screws.

Score the paper on a sheet of 1/2-inch wallboard to the dimensions of the frame using a utility knife. Stand the wallboard on its edge and break it along the score. Cut the paper on its back before snapping it into two, thereby forming a clean cut. Cut another identical sheet of wallboard the same way to attach to the other side of the frame.

Spread the wallboard on the frame and attach it to the edges using a screw gun. Repeat the process of attaching the second piece of wallboard to the other side of the frame.

Secure lengths of metal corner bead with tacks over the two exposed edges of the frame to give clean corners. Work slowly to avoid dents that will be visible once the half-wall is complete.

Apply a bead of joint compound to the space between the existing wall and the half-wall. Immerse a length of paper tape in water and pull it between two fingers to remove excess moisture. Center the damp tape directly over the seam and keep it flat as you press it over the joint. Also cover the flanges of the metal corner beads with the compound and tape. Read label directions to determine how long the compound takes to dry, and apply a second coat. Sand the walls when the second coat dries.

Cut a length of poplar to sit on the half-wall, creating a decorative shelf. Measure the length and width of the top of the half-wall and cut the lumber accordingly. Secure it to the top of the wall with nails. Repeat the process for forming another half wall.

Prime the surface of the wall before painting it a shade that complements the surrounding walls.

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