Questions about framing my dining room doorway

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Forum topic by PSUlion01 posted 12-03-2012 05:03 PM 1012 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2393 days

12-03-2012 05:03 PM

Hi all,

Sorry if this isn’t the right place for such a question, but perhaps I can get the answer I need or a push in the proper direction.

Our house has the dining room coming off the living room, in an L shape. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of separation between the two spaces, which I think contributes to the lack of character in the space. I’ve been thinking about framing out two small walls on the left and right side of the doorway (I hesitate to even call it that, as it’s just an open space between the two rooms). I’m thinking a craftsman style in the room, with wainscoting, crown, different trim, and the new walls to help separate the space from the living room.

My questions are:

1) Is this a bad idea for any reason that I might not be realizing?

2) If I’m going to do this, what’s the best way to go about it? Do I frame out the walls with 2×4’s, secure to floor and beam, anchoring to the wall/drywall, then just drywall over it? Do I need to remove some of the existing drywall so the new piece appears more seamless?

3) Any suggestions on different styles, or any other constructive criticism?

Pic attached (don’t mind the mess or my son…we just had his 1st b-day party). Also attached is the same pic with a (poorly done…really poorly done!) mockup from MS Paint. I may try to model this in Sketchup once I get a better idea of things, but this is a start…

Thanks in advance!

5 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3773 days

#1 posted 12-03-2012 05:34 PM

As a contractor of 25 plus years I mostly see folks open up spaces versus closing them up. I’m not sure how wide the two sections of wall you want to add will be but it looks like it might interfere with your flow as far as walking into what I guess would be your kitchen. If you decide you want to go ahead with this enclosure framing it should be fairly easy.
I know you drawing is rough but I would have your openings in the new wall drop done from the top a little more and a little farther away from the existing wall. Many times when people want to frame something to fill the inside of an opening like this they try and frame it to the exact size height wise and have trouble getting it fit in. It’s easier to make the height of the new framing a 1 1/2”-1 9/16” short and tap a short piece of 2×4” underneath the new framing .You might want to use deck screws as far as attaching your new framing to the existing wall and floor. Feel free to PM me with more questions if you like.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Ben's profile


387 posts in 3053 days

#2 posted 12-03-2012 06:01 PM

Kind of like this?

or like this?

if you’re trying to add character, 2×4s and sheetrock isn’t going to do it.
I would essentially build a small cabinet either side, and put a short column on top.
Or, build the cabinets and make a post out of trim boards that runs floor to header (as in the second picture). Then just trim it all out nice.

Another option would be double french doors.

If you just want a cheap separation, then yea, slap up the 2X4s right on top of the existing sheetrock, use 3” deck screws like A1 says, and sheetrock over it all.

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4 posts in 2393 days

#3 posted 12-03-2012 06:09 PM

Thanks Jim. All good points made. I too am a bit undecided about making this change, as I too worry about the flow from room to room. The space isn’t that big, and I’d hate to have to walk around things to go from A to B (which I’m already experiencing since getting the dining room set and needing to go around the table to get to the french doors.

As I mentioned, I was thinking of putting wainscoting around the dining room, but without the added walls it creates an issue of how to terminate the wainscot where the dining room becomes the living room (see pic below). Any thoughts on what I might be able to do, rather than build the dividing wall? Another thought was to continue the wainscot throughout the living room, and then up the stairs to the upstairs hall. I love the look when I see houses trimmed out like this, but am not sure if that’s overkill or would just look weird. FYI we’re in a 1960s split level, while my heart always wanted a colonial or craftsman with a lot of charm, so I’m trying to find a happy middle ground!

Thanks again!

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4 posts in 2393 days

#4 posted 12-03-2012 06:13 PM


Cheap separation isn’t the goal here…sorry if that wasn’t clear. The plan was to frame/sheetrock, then trim the detail in. Not totally sure how the trim in the room/house will be done, thus the lack of specificity. The pics you posted, especially the first one, is what I had in mind, but clearly my room is much smaller than the one in your picture, so Jim’s concerns about closing off the space and messing up the flow are definitely valid. Any additional suggestions are welcome….

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3773 days

#5 posted 12-03-2012 07:46 PM

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