Kitchen Half-Wall Ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

A half wall separating the kitchen from the nook, family room or other space defines the kitchen area while maintaining an open feel to the entire space. Half walls can also highlight a kitchen island, designating a space for bar stools as well as giving the actual kitchen a boundary. Decorate or accent half walls that border your kitchen in a way that makes sense for both rooms.

Paint or Other Wall Coverings

Use paint, wainscoting or wallpaper on the half-wall side that corresponds to the exact decor and colour scheme of each side of the wall. For example, for a red and green country kitchen, the kitchen side of the wall could be red with an apple border or green with red apples stencilled on. The other side of the wall may be tan to complement the neutral decor of the family room. Whatever colours you've used in your rooms should be reflected on the wall. Another option is to line the wall on one side with a mirror. Using a mirror on the family-room side of the wall may help open up smaller spaces or add an unexpected element to your decor.

Hanging Items

Hang curtains or sheer fabric above the half wall, between the rooms, if you wish to completely close them off or divide the rooms. Another option is to install blinds or shutters between the rooms, which could completely separate the space while giving you the option to open the shutters to expand the space again. Hang interesting light fixtures from the ceiling that correspond with the wall. Beaded curtains could add pizazz and colour to both rooms, or a mysterious yet elegant feel if you use clear crystals.


Install book shelves that extend from the half wall to the ceiling. For example, there could be a large open space in the middle of the half wall, with shelves on both sides. This creates a built-in two way bookshelf to display your treasured items to both rooms. If you are unfamiliar with building walls, custom cabinet and shelving companies can create built-ins for a fee. All of the shelves should remain open to both sides, meaning do not add a solid backing or extend the wall all the way up. You can add glass doors to the shelves to protect valuables from dust, yet maintain the purpose of the half wall (opening the space to both rooms). This defines each room while still leaving a welcoming, open quality to the rooms. Use small plants or candles on the shelves for simple colour and texture. Glass vases, bowls or plates in various shades of coloured glass can brighten up both rooms and allow you to show off your favourite pieces. They can all be one colour or use as many colours as you can find, provided they flow with the existing decor of both rooms. The glass allows light to pass through while adding some sense of privacy on either side. The large, open middle section above the half wall can be decorated with a large potted plant, waterfall, an interesting piece of art or a statue. Center larger decoration pieces directly on the half wall. Confirm they are stable and sturdy enough to remain on the wall without being a potential hazard. Pictures could be added to the shelves as well.

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About the Author

Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.