If you have a half wall in your home, or are planning to build one, you may not be sure where to start with it. Does the wall strike you as ugly, and need improvement? Do you want to build a half wall, but none of your ideas look right in your head? Try these half wall ideas for inspiration.
1) Add Railings
If you have a half wall and you’re looking for ways to make it look, well, less like a half wall, adding railings could be the solution. By adding railing posts above the half wall, as somebody did with the partial wall in this image, you can create the illusion of a full wall, but keep a little bit of the half wall’s openness and transparency. The railings are a unique touch that you can use on stairwells like the one in the picture, or on any wall in the house.
2) DIY Beadboard
Your half wall isn’t on the same level as your other walls, and it should stand out. Instead of trying to blend it into the rest of your walls, use beadboard to make it into an accent wall. This tutorial will help you learn to install the beadboard yourself, though the tutorial focuses on the wainscoting and a shelf ledge for a regular wall. You can cap the wall with similar material to create a freestanding shelf.
3) DIY Walnut Cap
One of the unusual challenges of a half wall compared to a full wall is the need for a cap. After all, most walls only need to be covered on the sides, rather than on the top. Your half wall is a unique feature that you want to stand out, and the cap is the most visible part of it. Watch this video to learn how to add a walnut cap on a half wall. If you prefer a different type of wood, choose whatever fits your decor and taste the most.
4) Catch-All Bowl
If your half wall is a room divider, it’s a convenient place for storage, decoration, or for a catch-all. If it’s by the entryway, this is even more true. Everybody seems to have that one place in their house that items gather. Instead of letting your half wall become that place gradually, designate a spot for a catch-all. Place a beautiful bowl like this one on the half wall so that people can toss items in there whenever they need to.
5) DIY Modern Look
If your half wall looks outdated, you may just need to spruce it up a bit to give it a modern look. Try adding a cap using the instructions in this article to give the half wall a sleek, modern look. Changing the cap is a fairly small edit that will have a big impact because the cap is the most visible part of the half wall. If the cap isn’t’ enough, you can change the wall by adding paneling that fits your home better, too.
6) Decorative Brick Wall Panels
When you makeover your half wall, or build a new one, you’ll have to choose a color scheme. If your home has an industrial or loft look, brick patterns are an excellent way to go. Try using these brick-design panels from The Home Depot to make the wall look like it’s made of brick. You might want to add a cap that looks like brick, but wood caps tend to look beautiful on faux brick surfaces like these.
7) Half Wall Counter
If you have an existing half wall or knee wall, and you’re not sure what to do with it, consider turning it into a counter. You’ll need to make sure it’s the proper height, as described in this article by The Original Granite Bracket, but you can do this by increasing the height of the half wall if needed. If you’re thinking of building a half wall in your kitchen, or between the kitchen and dining room, and adding countertops to it, you can use this same advice to make the wall work.
Half walls can be an excellent way to add storage, depending on how they’re built. If the wall is thick enough, you can add shelves in between studs like the creator of the wall in this photo did. Use these for storage, nic-nacs, and decorations, or even shoe racks if they’re near the door. If the wall isn’t thick enough, or isn’t designed for shelves, you can always widen it so you can fit shelves in it. If you’re doing so, think about what you want to put on the shelves before you expand it
9) DIY Board and Batten
Board and batten is a common type of wainscoting, but you can use it on a half wall, too. Follow these instructions from The Home Depot to install board and batten, then choose a cap that fits your home style. This trim style will fit in almost any home, including one with a traditional look. If you want to get creative with it, you can paint the insides of the panels or choose a unique paint color to make it an accent wall.
10) Faux Wood Peel and Stick
Peel and stick wallpaper is great for a do-it-yourself project. If you don’t like the look of your half wall, you can add a wood peel and stick wallpaper like this to make it look like it’s made of wood. This wallpaper is great for making a vintage-look accent wall, but if you prefer a more modern look, you can choose a different wood style. The wallpaper is moisture-proof, so you can use it on an entryway wall to create a more rustic entryway, in contrast with the rest of the house.
11) DIY Stabilize
If your half wall is wobbling, you may be thinking you’ll have to tear it down and start over, but that’s not the case. Watch this video to learn how to stabilize a wobbly half wall, so you can use it as a railing or shelf, or even leave it as its own decoration without worrying about it being unstable. Since this happens most often with thin walls, you might be better off rebuilding the wall if you want a thicker wall.
Your half wall doesn’t have to be the centerpiece; instead, you can use it to display stuff like these handmade decorative pots, nic nacs, or other prized possessions. Whether you add shelves and arrange things in them, place things on top, or do both, a half wall is a great centerpiece for showing off art or an antique collection. Make sure to pick items that won’t break easily if they fall, since the half wall will be at a lower height than most shelves.
13) Kitchen-Dining Room Divider
One way to use a half wall to your advantage is to build one between the kitchen and dining room. Building a half wall like the one in this picture gives you a great breakfast bar or serving area, and you can build cabinets around it, just like the ones in the picture. These’ll be great places to store dishes, or even store alcohol if you turn it into a wet bar. Either way, it’s convenient to have a half wall between those two rooms.
One way to transform your half wall is to add new trim. This is particularly important if your half wall is built into a column, or if you want to add a column to your half wall since you can use the trim to tie the column in with the half wall. In this article, Lisa from Shine Your Light describes and shows how board and batten and crown molding can make a great-looking half wall and column.
15) Window Wall
If you want your half wall to feel more like a full wall without actually building the rest of the wall, you can turn it into a wall with a large window in it, as somebody did in this photo. The window lets you see into the other room, and the shape of the window makes it a decoration, too. You can then decide if you want to use the ledge below the window as storage, a place to decorate, or something else.
16) DIY Railing
If your half wall is next to a stairwell or other area that needs a railing, you’ll need to design the cap to work as a railing. Watch this video by Josh Millar to learn how to cap the wall so it can be a railing. You’ll have to take measurements of your space, of course, but you can follow what Mr. Millar did in the video with some changes, to make a half wall railing.
17) Kitchen Window
If your half wall is near the kitchen, or you’re considering putting one there, you can use it to build a fake kitchen window that opens on the dining or living room. You can turn this into a breakfast bar, but you should decide how you’ll use it before you plan to install or renovate it. This will affect how big the windows are and how they open. If you’re building the wall yourself, simple shutter windows are probably your best bet.
18) White Brick
Peel and stick wallpaper is probably the easiest way to drastically change the look of your half wall, next to painting the wall. If you want a modern look, or if your house has a lot of white and you’d like the half wall to be white, try installing this peel and stick white brick wallpaper. This installation should be a simple DIY project, but you can also hire a professional if you don’t have experience with wallpaper.
19) DIY Breakfast Bar
A breakfast bar is one of the most functional half wall ideas. It’s a great idea if you have a half wall between your kitchen and dining room, or plan to build one. You might need to adjust the height of an existing wall to make it work as a breakfast bar. Use these step by step instructions by Doityourself Staff to make a half wall breakfast bar. You can also add cabinets and other conveniences for it.
20) Decorative Wood Wall Panels
Wood wall panels are a great choice for an accent wall, and there’s no reason your half wall can’t be an accent wall. Try adding these peel and stick wood panels to create an attractive accent wall for your room. This kit will make the wall look somewhat like real wood, and the bold brown will work well on a small wall. Since you’re only decorating a half wall, you don’t have to be as cautious about using bold colors. Using wood panels that run horizontally makes the wall seem shorter and makes the area feel more open.
21) House Plants
A half wall can be a great place to put house plants. While you should keep some nic nacs and decorations high up so that nobody knocked them over, plants need to be at a comfortable height to water them. This makes the half wall an ideal place to put them, and the plants will make the half wall look nicer. Use simple pots like these to store the plants, so the plants will be the focus, rather than the pots or wall. If you’re looking to add a splash of color to your space, consider getting a colorful house plant to help.
If you’re not an expert carpenter, or if your wall will be thin, and you’re not sure it’ll be stable enough, consider building it between two natural columns in the room, or up against one column. Doing so will add stability, as well as a decorative element. If you have a bit more experience, you can even build against one column and add a second column to create a symmetrical look like the one in this picture.
23) Windows Above
If you want something more dramatic than your half wall offers, try adding a large display of windows above the half wall to create an effect similar to the one in this photograph. This arrangement creates a grand effect, whether you do it in a stairwell like the one in the image, or in a hallway. It effectively turns the half wall into a full wall made mostly of windows, which is a great design for a more open home.
If your half wall is thick enough, or you plan to build a thick half wall, you can turn it into a bookcase. In this article, Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick describes how she made a half wall bookshelf. While each half wall will be different, depending on the location and what look you prefer, her description is a good start in making a half wall bookcase. Make sure it’s sturdy because books are heavy.
25) DIY Bar
What’s better than a breakfast bar, at least when five o’clock rolls around? A wet bar. If you have a half wall in any of your main living areas, you can convert it into a bar. The first step to do so is to add a bar top, and you can use the instructions from this article to build a half wall and a bar counter for it. After that, start thinking about cabinets and other things your bar will need, depending on how close it is to the kitchen.
What’ve you tried with your half wall? What worked and didn’t work? Please let us know in the comments below.