Closing in a Wall

Remember our gameroom/multipurpose room?  It’s a room that I haven’t done anything to except paint and add board and batten to. And I haven’t blogged about this room in over a year. Sad, I know.  What’s even more sad is that nothing has changed in this room since then!  I hope to change that soon though, but first I need y’alls advice.

Besides not being sure how to go forward with decorating this room (just waiting to find some furniture), my dilemma is this open wall.

I hate it. It terrifies me. It’s not very high and I have a fear of small children being curious as to what’s below. And what’s below is the tiled entryway. Not good.

Here is a view from standing at the top of the stairs.

See all of the openness?

I eventually want to be able to tell my daughter to go on upstairs and play (without me going right then).  But I just can’t do that right now because I’d be panicking.  And now with another little one on the way, this room will be used even more and they will eventually play together in here.

And my point is, yes, I want to close in this wall.  I think aesthetically it would even look better to have that wall closed in, and it would help with sound.  But this obviously wouldn’t be a DIY project for me.  I’m not that good folks. :)

So my questions are, is this something that can be done by someone pretty easily and inexpensively? I haven’t even started to get a quote or anything but I’d like to get the ball rolling.  Will a permit be needed?  I’d love to finish decorating this room, and if we are able to close it off, I will definitely be adding more board and batten to the entire room instead of just the 1 wall like I had done. I think I know what I want to do in here, but I feel like this stupid wall is hindering me!  Or, if you have any other creative suggestions other than closing this wall off with drywall, let me know!





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  1. The wall has to have a header in it to support that expanse – just like it was a window or door. Which means that the structural support to support an empty hole is there. No need to mess with that to fill in the hole. Leave the header there, add a few supports to screw the sheetrock to, sheetrock, mud and tape. The hard part is the height of the wall on the entryway side.

  2. Wow, that would terrify me too – it does’t look high enough for curious kids who like to climb on things! No advice on the drywall, but good luck!!

  3. We had a similar situation in an apartment and put up garden lattice. Hubby framed it out and secured it to the space and we painted it the match the wall, which was white or off-white. it still will let a lot of light and sound in, but might provide a visual cue of WALL. You will need to be sure your climbers don’t see it it as anything but a wall, so maybe put no furniture below it. Good Luck! It would freak me out, too.

  4. I was going to say the same as Gina. What about a nice decorative screen? Maybe you could design it and cut it out of wood and mount it to the wall and ceiling. That way it will let both light/ sound and the flow of fresh air into the room and when / if you get sick of it. You can easily take it back down.

  5. I love light, so I’d want to keep it open, but I’d probably build out some frames to fill in the space and add decorative panels. Like Gina suggested, you could use lattice, but there are endless possibilities you could do to give the space some visual interest and definition. If you did what Bobby suggested, you can rent scaffolding to use to work on the entry way side.

  6. What about stair or porch railings screwed top and bottom into the drywall?

  7. Is there any way to make the ledge higher and then add faux bookcases like Mandi did in her friend’s open wall? All that openness would terrify me too with littles.

  8. It’s as easy as having a contractor frame in the opening, drywall and mud/sand. Then paint. It’s about 2 days work allowing for drying time. I would be right there doing it for you, that gaping yaw would petrify me with little peeps in the vicinity. With it being a fill-in, if you are still there in 10 years and you want to knock it out……do it.

    Because you are not removing any structure, you probably wouldn’t need a permit. Here in ON, the only time you need an “interior alteration permit” is if you are changing/ removing a wall or entrance.

    I think it is a great idea. Hey, the added bonus is more wall space…..I see a gallery wall of kids art coming to your space :)

  9. Vintage Revivals created some open shelving in an area similar to yours. I think it would look awesome looking up from your entry and would keep the kids safe, too.

    • Yes I love Mandi’s wall too! But I don’t think it would be right for this space. It’s a much bigger opening than what hers was, and I wouldn’t be able to put a bunch of accessories on it either in case they were to fall. And I kind of like the idea of just closing off the wall–to me the house looks too choppy or something right now with it being open you know? And then we would gain a 5th room, and a bedroom if needed which would be a bonus. :)

  10. Do it! I think you’ll like that room so much more because it still has loads of light. Is it a big enough space that it could even get a door and closet at some point and be another bedroom? Even the possibility of that

    It would probably take a good handyman three days to do it. They might need scaffolding for the high part but not a big deal. No permit since it’s not structural.

  11. I have this same problem! I have not done anything with our bonus room either. I wanted to make part of it an office area but I don’t want to put a chair in there. I’m afraid my boys will use it to stand on. My neighbor has the same house and she bought an extra long metal baby gate online and installed it. It’s not the best looking thing but it’ll have to do for now for some piece of mind. Was your house built by Centex?

  12. That would scare me with small children also, If that room gets alot of light anyway I would have in closed in , with sheetrock , BTW I love love the wall what paint is that brand and color ?? Im thinking thats my new bedroom color :)

  13. Stacy Child says:

    We have a pony wall like that too. I have actually thought about making a 12″ boxed type of shelf and attaching it to the pony wall. Really, we have raised our little ones and they have not been curious what-so-ever. Our kitchen table (counter height) is right next to it. I just put some nice pictures, plants and a set of letters that say “family” on it. It looks nice from the entry way too. But the shelves for your game room, perhaps even see about find a place that makes that decorative rod iron railing and add a cute 12″ railing to it in black to make a nice contrast.

    • Ours haven’t been curious either, but the peace of mind of sending my daughter to play upstairs by herself if she wants would be nice to have. :)

  14. Yikes, you’re right girl, scary with little ones.

    If I had that huge space and was already going to spend the money on installing drywall, I would figure out a way to close up the wall on the backside/entry way (with drywall so it’s one wall) and create a built in bookshelf niche on the game room side. Since you’re going to spend the money anyway for the work, why not create extra storage space by creating semi-built in shelving in the gameroom.

    The dry wall people could probably recommend how the wood shelving should be combined with the backside of the drywall to make sure the whole thing is secure. If you wanted more hidden storage, add cabinet doors or just leave it open. Maybe it could be a great place for the tv and media for the game room.

    You may not need the extra shelving but when I see an opening like that, I immediately think of shelving or storage because I am short on that in my home.

    Good luck girl, I know whatever you come up with will be awesome like you!


    • Love that idea Cyndy! I’ll mention the built ins when we start on this and see what they say. I dont think that wall is deep enough though. :(

  15. Maybe the House of Smith’s will help you out!:)

  16. Melissa S says:

    I agree with the garden lattice idea. There are some beautiful designs out there. Just make sure they are sturdy and installed well.

  17. Putting up drywall would really be a quick, easy fix for this. Like Bobby said, the framing is already there. It just needs a couple 2×4’s to attach the dry wall to. The hardest part is the mudding and sanding…if you are like me and have no talent for that. Drywall, lumber plus labor for a carpenter…maybe $150 at the most. I’d do it in a heartbeat!

  18. How about glass bricks?

  19. I had a salon w a loft that was just like that. Freaked me out with any kids much less mine. We went to Canton & bought some really great iron pieces. They were mounted into the stud. Left open feeling w great shabby look plus protected my kiddos.

  20. hang iron work? I have small iron pieces hanging in front of two windows in my home. I would do a big piece or two pieces in that space. I emailed you some pictures of how I use them now.

  21. I had the exact same situation in my old house. My biggest regret in that house was not sheet rocking that wall. We would have used that room so much more. I say do it. I bet it will cost less than you think.

  22. In our outdated kitchen we have this lattice wall the separates the breakfast nook from the office. I to has disturbed me, so I’ve also been looking into ideas. Hopefully what I have found can help you. I have first look at updated the lattice or screen with something more up-to-date from a company called Curio Latticeworks (
    Another option is filling in the space with something like this: Above the doorway, etc it is not exactly shelves but it gives it visual interest. I have though of just continuing the horizontal pieces all the way to the bottom. It would still let natural light come in.

    Some of my other favorite ideas: know it is a mirror, but a mirror or glass panes would look great)
    Sorry I’m a houzz junkie I hope these help.

  23. My son and d-i-l had a very similar situation with a 2 yr old, a baby on the way, and a seemingly suicidal wiener dog. They put up a full wall in January that looks as though it has always been there, and frankly makes their entryway look better! Go for it!

  24. another good example of why only women should design houses!! How about adding shutters that can be latched closed so the kids cant open them but you can still allow some light through and is probably much cheaper than drywalling. Keep us postetd.

  25. I think it’s a great idea to close in the wall! I don’t think it will be hard at all. Just remove that moulding and piece of wood along the top (there should be a 2×4 under it between the sheetrock), then frame out the hole with 2×4’s (like you are framing a wall), then just add the sheetrock. Texture is so easy if you have an air compressor. All you need is a “hopper” to spray the texture. You can get them for less than $20 at Home Depot. It’s a mess, so you will need to plastic everything off before you start spraying, but it’s really easy. You will NEVER be able to match the texture 100%, even if you hire a pro to texture, so be forewarned. You will probably be able to see where you patched, but you can try to feather out the texture to blend it in. The foyer area will be tricky b/c of the height but you can rent scaffolding from Home Depot for I think about $150 for a week. GL!

  26. Hi! I have a neighbor with a similar issue of a half wall at the top of her stairs in her kids playroom. She did a great job of taking a cubby bookcase, turning it on it’s side and mounting it on the top of the ledge. It gave her added height and provided needed storage for her and her gameroom. She added a built in underneath is for additional storage. The challenge with that for you would be creating something that didn’t create an eyesore from the entryway but you would have the benefit of the light. AND, with two little ones myself I can’t seem to find an enough storage for games, toys and the like.

    Good luck with your project!

  27. I have a friend that had this same dangerous dilemma…she did a DIY piece of plexiglass (is this a word?)….you know, that clear plastic stuff. She just went half way up and she even decorates it with garland at Christmas…actually looks nice. Just a thought, Lori

    • Debbie Ciak says:

      they make this product with all kinds of designs or materials embedded into it. Closing it off also cuts the light to the foyer, I tink I would miss that. The Panels can be put into “frames” and attached right into the hole – & once the kids are grown or at least older you could take them out.

  28. Go for it! It’ll look great, so many more options for decorating in the room. Plus, what’s a couple hundred dollars compared to the safety of your children? You could probably put in the studs yourself from upstairs, then get a drywall guy in there to put up the sheetrock and tape & mud.

  29. I would have the “wall people” come in and raise the wall and then add a ransom. That way you still get the beautiful sunlight without “shutting” off that wall or boxing in the tall entry way ceiling! The ransom windows could be stained or plain. Either way it would be gorgeous from both sides.

  30. in our kc star last week there was an article about woven wood walls as space dividers – think something like that would work?

  31. Sorry..I meant to type transom windows. Not ransom. ;);)

  32. I would take the pattern on your ottoman and in the picture and do an open architectural wall. That way it’s till open but adds a lot of detail.


    go to this page….and look at that gorgeous transom. Sorry… i am just in love with this idea!

  34. That would scare me too! I wouldn’t think you’d need a permit, but each city is different. I think putting up dry wall is the best option. It would look good and be sturdy.

  35. my thought when i saw this was putting a window there

  36. What if you did a fabric covered piece of plywood (think tufted headboard with the batting, etc.) type thing? You could frame out the inside of the opening with like a 1 or 2 inch thick strips of wood and then screw the fabric covered insert into that? Find a fabric that you love and go to town. I know plexi-glass isn’t all that wonderful but it would provide a temporary solution until you no longer need to worry about the little ones getting curious. You could stencil the plexi-glass with an awesome moroccan stencil (or something that you love) so that it doesn’t look so boring. You can attach it to an inside frame. Just some thoughts to get some wheels turning in that DIY direction. I like the idea of closing it in but I also love all that light that you get!

  37. One more thing…Just so you don’t have this big rectangle of fabric in your stairway (which personally, I wouldn’t mind depending on the fabric), you could use it as the back drop of a little frame gallery or something.

  38. I have lots of drywall experience and filling the whole with drywall is not a hard project. If you have never done anything like this, I would recommend hiring a professional, as it is a tricky thing. They will have to add framing to the hole, put up the drywall, tape, float, and texture. Since it will be hard to match the existing texture, they may have to either mud or scrape the entire wall and then re-texture it, stopping at the corners. The hardest part will be doing the wall on the entry way side – that may require scaffolding. A permit is probably not needed as you are not moving plumbing, electrical, or changing anything structurally in the home. Seems like you have plenty of light coming into the entry way and the playroom, so adding that wall shouldn’t leave any of the rooms “in the dark.” Good luck!

  39. I am filling in a couple of doorways in our house, and here is my plan:
    1. Remove the framing (in your case, the bottom shelf of the opening)
    2. Install a 2″ x 4″ in the center of the opening (you would have to use several since your opening is much larger)
    3. Cover the entire wall, including the opening, with plain paneling (will be covered in next step, so doesn’t need to be pretty)
    4. Cover the entire wall with 8′ long, 4″ wide wood, like the bedroom in The Lettered Cottage. I’m going to hang mine vertically, though theirs is horizontal. Paint it all white.
    In your foyer, you would still (probably) have to have someone professionally hang drywall, because I don’t think the more rustic wood treatment in the playroom would work with your stairway woodwork. Good luck!

  40. I work in construction (as a kitchen designer) & it shouldn’t be terribly expensive to have that wall closed in. Have you considered the possibility of closing the wall but framing a non-operable fixed window to still allow light to pass through? I didn’t have time to read everyone’s comments, but I’m sure you’ll have fun deciding what to do!

  41. The first thing that came to mind was shutters. That way you could close off the space or open as you see fit. Of course if you still want to close it off permanently you just need to frame in the area with 2×4’s and put sheetrock on both sides. It’s already been engineered to span the open space so it shouldn’t be a big deal. But I still like the ideas of shutters :-)

  42. It is REALLY fairly simple Emily to close off the wall, I have helped put up, take down, & make completely new walls in a few different homes. When I was little my bestfriends dad would put up & take down a wall a couple times a year. I would ask around people you know to see if anyone can help you out with it before hiring someone, it could save you quite a bit of money, but then again I am extremely frugile :) And I TOTALLY agree with you it is dangerously low for children, I wouldn’t be comfortable with my teenagers playing up there.

  43. That would totally scare me too! Have you thought about something like this:

    Maybe instead of having the shelves opened (I can just see all your breakables going right down to the floor) closing it in and just having shelves in the room? You would have more decorating/storage space then! Does my description make sense?

  44. cassie (hi sugarplum) says:

    So easy and not a big deal (for a pro) We did the same thing in our living room (search for ‘look ma, no hole’ post on my blog). Only thing that makes yours different is the height on the entry wall. Once closed, theyd need really high ladder or scaffoldingto do texture. Do it!! Then youll love it so much youll kick yourself for not doing it sooner” :)

  45. I think you should do it! Drywall projects are NOT fun (the dust, etc.) but with a good professional (with a drywall dust vacuum), it’s definitely an easy project. I say go for it, as long as you won’t be sad to lose the natural light!

  46. Hi, I tend to agree with an earlier post by Suessan, I think what you will lose is light and air if you close it up, so what about installing some white bi-fold shutters? That way you can tilt the slats to let the light in or out, and also open up fully if you want to, or lock as you need. This way you’re leaving your option to a compromise which will allow you to either decide over time whether you later want to fill in the space, or when the kids are at a safe age, remove them again. This way you you can save yourself a lot of time and money, and also have an option of a ‘spare’ room that may need privacy or still allow you the ‘ear’ to upstairs if you want to call up to the kids playing in there, or hear what they are doing. If you close it off totally, I feel you close off your options. Besides, it may create a nice architectural feature, and on the stairwell side, perhaps even create a mock area under the shutters for an internal window box with greenery? or shelf for displaying more of your precious objects.

    Another idea, could be to use something semi-transparent to fill in the gap such as glass bricks that could allow light in, but not reduce privacy. Someone like you could do something very creative with that idea, and perhaps incorporate some cubby hole shelving within the glass bricks that appear to float in the design, thus creating a feature wall affect. Lit well, it could look awesome. Cheers from down-under ~ Angela

  47. I would look into installing a series of windows…just like the kind that are on the outside of your house…or if you found wooden ones at a salvage yard. You could then treat it like an outside window with curtains or blinds, or leave it and still have all the light from below coming up. If they were locked, or not able to be opened, you would solve your danger dilemma. I know that several salvage yards have the old double hung windows and they could easily be installed with some trim from bothsides. You could nail them shut too. It would then act just like a regular window…your child would certainly not try to crawl through or over those. With your style of decor, it would work well too.

  48. I think building in shelves might keep the little ones from tight-rope walking across that ledge. You wouldn’t be closing it completely and won’t lose much lighting.
    Have a look:


  49. I am curious if you found a solution…I have the exact same dilemma in my home! I am nervous for my 2 1/2 year old to play in his playroom alone.

    • Hi Lindsey we still haven’t closed it in. Luckily it hasn’t been an issue and she knows to not even look over or anything or Mama will get after her. :) I still would like to close it in though one day I think.

      • annasoults says:

        I have the same problem only I have a large square with a wide open banister going up the stair well and 3 half walls. It leaves me with an odd shaped bonus room with only half walls that are surrounding the open space to the first level. My goal is to add a floor and completely close off the open space and put a ceiling to floor wall along the banister and make a hallway. This will open up the room and add walls so that the space is no longer open. I have sons and grandsons that are very active. I worry about them climbing and falling. It will cost about $3000. and higher. But their safety is worth it to me. I looked at your picture. You could actually do the same thing. Good luck!!

  50. Hi Emily, we closed the wall like 3 months ago, the carpenter did a bookcase built in on the sides and in the middle he did 2 pictures frames, it looks very good actually and now I am trying to start putting pictures, books and other home decor, we decided to close it because I have a boy, he is 14 months old and I think it will be safer so he can play there.