Half-Wall Design Ideas

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The addition of a countertop lends functionality to your half wall.
The addition of a countertop lends functionality to your half wall. (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Half-walls are a design solution that separates different living areas yet retains openness to the space. The decorating challenge of a half-wall is to complement both rooms and make the transition from room to room seamless. The colors and items used on a half-wall should offer continuity to the spaces it divides while accentuating spaciousness and light.

Decorative Storage

The open space provided by a half wall allows more light to enter both spaces and makes it easier for people to communicate from different rooms. For a half wall between a kitchen and living room or dining room, use the above space as hanging storage. Mount hooks to the ceiling and secure a wrought-iron hanging pot rack over the space. Hang iron or copper pots from hooks and use the top of the wall as a shelf for bowls of fresh fruit. Attach a matching countertop over the top of the shelf and stain or paint it to match your cabinets. The wood or counter surface will be easy to clean and the sight of pots and produce adds warmth and functionality to an active kitchen.

Paint or Wallpaper

Paint or wallpaper the half wall to match the corresponding walls of the room. Blending the wall with its respective room will draw the eye up to the spaciousness provided by the wall rather than attract attention to the wall itself. If the half wall faces the kitchen, paint it with chalkboard paint for added functionality that won’t detract from the room’s décor. Let children draw designs on the chalkboard, or use it to jot down grocery list items as you run out.

Built-In Shelves

Rooms that typically have a half wall, like kitchens, studies and family rooms, never seem to have enough storage. If you’re knocking down a full wall and building the half wall yourself, consider making it a double-sided shelf instead of a traditional wall structure. From the floor to the top of the wall you should have room for about three stacked shelves. Store cookbooks and dry goods on the kitchen side and magazines, picture frames and decorative items on the living room side. Paint the shelves to match the room or furniture.

Glass Blocks

A glass block half wall offers privacy and textural contrast to both of the rooms it divides. Use frosted, etched or colored glass blocks to create a stylish space divider. When installed, the blocks can be stacked straight across as a traditional half-wall structure or vary the height of each top block for a modern, geometric look. Glass block half walls work well to separate bedrooms from living areas in lofts, as well as foyers in homes. Place candles or glass vases on top of the wall to add a soft, romantic touch.

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