How to Build a Temporary Wall in an Apartment

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A wall can be a great way to divide up space in an apartment, particularly if you want to add an extra room or divide the kitchen from the living room. However, building a full-fledged wall in an apartment is ill advised and quite possibly in violation of your lease. You may build a temporary wall to get around this, one that is fairly simple to construct and that can serve as a temporary divider in your smaller space. Constructing a temporary wall will require some basic carpentry skills and tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • 2-by-4 wood planks, various lengths
  • Circular saw
  • Power drill
  • Wood screws
  • Stud finder (optional)
  • Corkboard sheets

Measure the distance from the floor to your ceiling with measuring tape. You will need to purchase 2-by-4 wooden planks approximately 2 inches shorter than your measurement.

Drill a 2-by-4 plank into your ceiling horizontally with wood screws that will serve as the top portion of your wall. This is known as the top plate. You will most likely need a partner to help you. Have your partner hold the plank on the ceiling while you drill. The plank should be directly under the floor joists in the ceiling so you are not simply drilling into drywall. Use a stud finder to help locate the joists if you don't know where they are.

Place a 2-by-4 plank vertically underneath the top plate on the ceiling. The plank should fit snugly between the floor and ceiling if you took the measurements correctly. Use a circular saw to shorten any planks as necessary.

Secure the vertical plank to the top plate by placing wood screws in at an angle near the top of the vertical plank. This process is known as toe nailing.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 and place the vertical planks, which are known as studs, every two feet until the frame of your temporary wall is complete.

Drill pieces of corkboard over each side of your temporary wall's frame. Corkboard is a very light material that is easy to move and thus is ideal for a temporary wall. You may use drywall, though this is more permanent.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add trim or molding to the top or bottom of your temporary wall and paint it to better match your apartment.
  • Use a floor piece if you have thick carpet in your apartment. The floor piece is just like the top plate, except it's on the floor and is not nailed to the ground. You will have to trim an additional 2 inches off the vertical planks if you use a floor plate.
  • Never install electrical wiring in a temporary wall. This is dangerous, especially if you're not an electrician, and could potentially lead to fires.

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