The Pros and Cons of Dividing a Room

Changing the shapes and sizes of your rooms by taking down or putting up walls often gives scope for dramatic improvements to your home. To explore the possibilities, start with a scale drawing of your existing floor plan, a sheet of tracing paper, and a pencil and rubber.

It is also helpful to have scale cutouts of furniture so you can check everything fits comfortably within your new scheme.

The Pros and Cons of Dividing a Room

The Pros of Dividing a Room

  • Stud partition walls are quick and relatively easy to build. It is also easy to hide pipes and cables behind the plasterboard. The essential work can be carried out in as little as a day, with extra time for electrical and plumbing work, and for finishing off.
  • Dividing a large bedroom to create an en suite bathroom or an additional bedroom can add value to your home.
  • A kitchen can be improved if space permits you to section off part of it for a separate utility room.
  • It may be possible to create a downstairs cloakroom by, for example, partitioning off part of the hall and using the space under the stairs.
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The Cons of Dividing a Room

  • If you are dividing one bedroom into two, each new room must have its own window for light and ventilation. You may, therefore, have to install a new window.
  • A high-ceilinged room may look terrible when divided in two if the floor space is not adequate. Don’t divide a room if the proportions will look wrong.
  • Extra walls can make a home darker. Wherever practical, incorporate fanlights over new doorways and fit glazed doors.
  • Make sure each room has its own access from a passage or lobby. You may have to sacrifice some floor space to create one.

Practicalities

  • Solid walls offer greater soundproofing qualities than stud partition walls but are less quick and easy to construct. They also need foundations for support.
  • A new stud partition wall will need to be secured at floor and ceiling level. You may have to install extra supports between the joists of the floor below and the joists or rafters of the space above. This would mean lifting floor coverings and floorboards and taking out a section of the ceiling.
  • Make sure the new wall does not block future access to space underneath the floors.
  • Plan, where to hang radiators, shelves, and mirrors and make sure there is horizontal or vertical timber, supports at those places.
  • Gas fires and other fuel-burning appliances need a minimum amount of air circulation to function safely and efficiently. Consult your supplier to ensure that, after dividing a room, you will still have adequate ventilation to meet regulations.
  • Run wiring and pipework through the wall before you put the plasterboard into place.
  • The new wall should look as though it has always been there. Install skirting boards and cornice to match on both sides.
  • Take soundproofing into account. Acoustic insulation can be installed between the timber supports. A double layer of plasterboard with staggered joints also reduces noise.
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