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There is a wall that lies between the dining room and kitchen. And I wanna whack it with a hammer.
knock down wall

While the kitchen is already on the large size for this house (the extra space near the sliding glass door makes it feel roomy), the wall that separates the two rooms feels dated to me. Homes nowadays are more open in terms of floor plans, and the dining room just feels more cramped by comparison.

Funny story: I had difficulty finding a photo taken of the other side of this wall. I guess it’s not very blog-worthy. The last pic I can find where I took a picture of the wall (and not the sliding glass door next to it) is from back in 2010 when my ex and I were putting in the floor. And I snapped this picture of his dog, Colby, because Colby is awesome. I miss him. Complete tangent ended.

UPDATE: found another picture from when I bought a clearance table from Pier1. It’s not of the entire wall, but it pretty much looks exactly like this right now. Only with mail all over the table top.

So, my mom suggested this the other day (after I showed her how to use Pinterest – I know, 2.7 million Pinterest followers and Mom wasn’t one of ’em until last week), and I’ve been dwelling on it ever since:

This layout is pretty similar to my own. If you took this picture in my living room, facing my dining room, the kitchen would be off to the right, just as it is in this pic. The major differences I see (apart from general style preferences) are that the two slim walls between the living and dining room have been cut out (I’m guessing the columns are left for load-bearing purposes from a second floor) and the wall between the kitchen and dining room is a half-wall instead of a full one like it is in my house.

I don’t plan to cut out the slim walls that separate the living and dining rooms. I am instead in favor of floor to ceiling built-ins with a bright pop of color similar to the ones Young House Love painted in their dining room (with a different color of course, since my dining room will be painted a deep teal color of some sort).


The idea of a half wall from the dining room into the kitchen appeals to me for four reasons:

  • If I can create more of an open feel in this house, it will give the illusion of more space, which is always a good thing when I try to sell it someday;
  • I don’t want to remove the wall entirely because I’ve already installed the floor. Ripping out the whole wall means re-doing the floor, and that shit is not going to happen. Ever. Again.
  • it’s one less wall to have to skim coat – which is a total BS reason, but there is wallpaper in the kitchen, too – and my nightmare isn’t over yet;
  • Did I mention that I get to demo? The best part of DIY.
There is always a chance with a floor plan like mine that the wall is load-bearing, so I’ll have to figure that out before I make any major changes to that wall. But I’m very tempted to whack it with a hammer now that the idea of ripping out a wall is in my head. Maybe just a little whack? (In a hammer way, not a Whitney Houston way.).

What do you think of the half wall idea? Maybe create a wide counter on the top of the wall and a couple of bar stools for seating?


Psst:  Want more? I love to post sneak peeks on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find me on Hometalk and Twitter at uglyducklingDIY.

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  1. As I was reading this I just kept hearing Emperor's New Groove in my head- SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER! My vote is for a fake half wall. Yeah I said it- build a banquette against the half wall so it LOOKS like the wall isn't there but it still is so you don't have to redo the floors. BAM. (I don't know where this idea came from…it floated into my head. Sorry for the bamming)

  2. Love it! I think it would look amazing. We are constantly trying to find things to demo and our floor plan just doesn't work very well for it! :)

  3. I dearly love to hit things with a hammer. So jealous as currently most of my walls are staying right where they are.

    Here's the trick to determining load-bearing walls (which is easier in older houses than newer ones): Load bearing walls literally “bear the load” of the roof straight down through the foundation, which means if you are able to locate the steel beams (or tripled up wood beams) in the basement/crawl, load bearing walls will be directly above those on both floors, and there will also be a knee-wall in the attic going from those walls to the roof rafters. (Usually they will be parallel to the direction of the ridge line of the roof.)

    You can still bust a hole in a load bearing wall but there are rules for how big of a beam you need to put in above the hole, based on how wide it is. For example, at Memorial the wall between the kitchen and great room was load-bearing and we had about a 10ft opening, so there was a 14″ LVL above it (see here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kitliz/5256195778/in/set-72157623750345351)

    I just got really excited about load-bearing walls now. I'm done.

  4. Do it! I think that's a great idea. It would really open it up and built-ins would provide storage. I love the idea – do it! (Plus, who doesn't love whacking a wall with a hammer? Am I right?)

  5. I think this is my first time commenting (I came over from YHL a while ago and I'm hooked) but I had to encourage you to DO IT! Knock that baby down! Or at least half down. I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to re-do the floors. Nightmare. You could put a wide-ish counter on top of the half-wall between the dining room and kitchen for a nice buffet area.

    A tip for checking on load bearing walls…if you can get to them, take a look at the joists in the ceiling, and/or the joists in the floor in the dining room and kitchen. If they're running parallel to the wall, there's a good chance that it's not load bearing. If they're running perpendicular to the wall, it's probably load bearing. Not a guarantee, but a reasonable test. You could always put in a header above the new opening just too, if the wall you want gonezo is load bearing. :)

    1. Glad to have ya, Nichole! I'm itching to get home with a hammer now that I've gotten so many DO IT! comments. Demo is always so much fun.

  6. I really like your ideas, especially the demoing and the built-ins! If your dining room area is already large enough, the half wall will be great.

    I have a half wall between my kitchen & (miniature) dining room and all it does is waste needed space, prevents access to counter on kitchen side of wall (about 10 inches higher than counter top), disrupts a clean view line and collects stuff. :) That said, I do not want to have to patch the floor after wall removal & creatively back tne then exposed base cabinets…yet. It stays, for now.

  7. I love the half wall idea, and if the wall is load bearing just leave a column on the end. I think it would look great!

  8. I agree with Broke Ass Home. Open it up. There's some electrical in that wall to watch out for though. Hopefully, it's fed from below and you don't have to deal with too much rewiring, a real pain on the first level of a two story.

    I'm looking at opening up a wall I KNOW is load bearing. I'm starting to research header / beam requirements to keep the place from caving in.

  9. We have a half wall between our kitchen and family room, and i love it. it lets in so much light, yet the two spaces are totally separated.

    So I vote for grabbing the sledgehammer and going for! Well, knock out the drywall, anyway; you might want to have a professional inspect it before you start knocking down studs…

  10. Definitely open it up. For thought – how do you keep your kitchen – super tidy/always cooking something/lots on the counters/all put away? Decide how much of the kitchen you want to see from the dining room and use that to determine whether you have a counter-height divider or a higher-than-counter divider. My kitchen gets lots of use and we see directly into it from the dining room; a higher divider would be nice.

  11. Just discovered your blog recently and I love your attitude about everything!

    I really like the idea of a half wall. I don't like open floor plans that much because I like cozy spaces, but a half way could be the perfect solution for you! Plus, I”m always in favor of more light being let in anywhere!


  12. I've been wanting to knock out a half wall in my kitchen as well. I end up feeling closed off when people are over and I'm finishing up something in the kitchen, AND I think it'll make my teeny kitchen seem a bit bigger. Oh, and I'm liking the idea of having additional counter space. :o) My “pinspiration” picture is: http://www.balancinghome.com/2012/07/living-room-dining-room-kitchen-tour.html/c201448f

    Anyways, good luck with it! If you get to demo'ing before I do, I'd love to see how you do it! I want to do it myself, but am somewhat concerned about the electrical wiring and rerouting it… :o)

  13. The half wall does have an aesthetically pleasing look to it. Regardless of a half wall or full removal of the wall, it will definitely open up the space making it feel much, much bigger. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I'm not sure how much more you've thought about this or not, but I'd also vote for opening it up. The big thing to me, besides the obvious loadbearing question, is moving electrical if necessary. That can be a bear if you're not a fan of electrical work.

  15. I bought a house with a half wall dividing the living room and I guess you would say the family room!! Do I just remove the entire half wall? Help I hate it..

    1. I considered removing the wall in my house, but chose not to. I’m sorry that I’m not more help, but I don’t have a lot of personal experience with removing half walls. Your best bet is to talk to a contractor (they will often stop by your house and give you a free quote). They might be able to give you some advice on any potential issues involving the wall (electrical/pipes/loadbearing/flooring patches, etc).