Tearing Down a Wall? 6 Methods to Take Care of the Opening

Have you thought of removing that wall between your kitchen and dining area to create a larger eat-in kitchen? Or maybe unite two smaller bedrooms into a spacious master suite? There are many reasons to open up rooms to every other — it’s one of the most frequent requests I get in remodeling projects.

Opening up a space is not as intimidating as you might think. But how you treat that opening will be dependent on several different factors, including the arrangement, your budget and the style of your space. Consult with a local architect or structural engineer to determine if the wall is structural first. If so, you’ll need to size a beam so.

Below you’ll learn more about how to treat a new opening at the walls of your home.

Architecture & Community Design, Union Studio

1. Wrap it. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to treat a wall opening would be to wrap it. Here you can observe the structural beam above along with both columns supporting it on the endings. This detail feels more contemporary than an opening that is trimmed out in timber, so that I would recommend it if your overall design has clean and simple detailing.

Ingrained Wood Studios

2. Case out it. In a home with traditional details, it works nicely to case out an opening with painted wood trim. The trimming may be the exact same size as the typical door and door casing, or it might be larger to reflect the larger scale of this opening.

Michael Robert Construction

3. Add columns. Columns can be structural or decorative, to encourage the beam above and also to help separate the distances while keeping them open to each other. When the columns are structural, then the column over can be smaller, as it will span only the space between the columns rather than the entire opening. The wider the opening, the deeper the ray will need to be.

Rachel Reider Interiors

4. Contain storage. While removing walls can provide desirable openness, there can also be unintended effects, such as losing space for storage. Partial-height built-ins used as room dividers can replace that missing storage space. Columns and built-ins can also adapt lighting switches, HVAC registers as well as plumbing and ductwork chases to the ground above.

A+B KASHA Designs

5. Make an accent. A reclaimed wood beam can span an opening, so long as an architect or engineer’s calculations determine it can take the load. Instead, an engineered timber or steel beam can be wrapped into a thin coating of wood to achieve a similar appearance.

Sarah Greenman

6. Hide a structural beam. If you want both chambers to feel like a continuous space, you might have the ability to hide a structural beam from the ceiling (also called a flush beam). This will create a smooth transition, however, a structural beam might be more costly than a beam which protrudes from the ceiling. This detail usually lends itself to more contemporary design.

Whether you choose to create a feature out of your wall opening or to maintain the transition between chambers as smooth as possible, an architect can help determine the ideal solution for your budget and style.

More: How to alter a load-bearing wall to create two rooms into one

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