Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Temporary Walls

Temporary walls are a great way to divide or partition a space without real construction. They're temporary - easy to assemble and disassemble as and when your space needs change, and come at a fraction of the cost of constructing an actual wall.

Bedroom and Living Room Separated by Room Divider

Changing the decor of a space to fit your changing needs is doable, even fun at times. There are tons of cute inspirations you can get off social media, magazines, and whatnot. But what if your space adjustments don’t stop at moving around some pieces of furniture, changing curtains, or adding some plants? What if you need to build an actual
wall to divide a room into two or section-off a space?

Yeah, that’s breaking the limits of interior décor and venturing into the architecture territory… or is it? Before you go down the anxiety spiral of scary renovation thoughts, let’s talk about temporary walls. 

What are temporary walls?

A house is generally made of load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls. Walls that are a part of the structure, i.e., they support the roof or the floor above, are load-bearing. On the other hand, walls that simply divide the space into rooms, without contributing to the structure, are non-load bearing.

Temporary walls are like the regular interior, non-load-bearing walls but:

  • They don’t fall under the ‘architecture construction’ category. They’re usually added on as a part of the interior design.
  • They can be assembled, removed, and re-assembled without damaging the existing structure (barring a few drill holes perhaps). Hence they’re ‘temporary’.
  • They can be modular and may not necessarily need finishing.
  • Some DIY temporary walls can be assembled with ease and without any expertise or equipment.

Easy assembly of a modular partition wall

Why would you need temporary walls?

There are times when the layout of a space just doesn’t do it for you, right? Then there are those times when needs arise and you have to find a quick solution. Here are several reasons to use a temporary wall:

A new addition to your home

Life’s uncertainties can do a number on you sometimes, especially when your beloved ‘space’ is invaded by a new, sometimes unexpected addition to your household. It could be a relative, a friend in need, or even a newborn!

Temporary walls are a great way to add an extra room in your apartment. So if you’re stuck renting a studio with an annoying roommate, a temporary wall could be your savior.

Guest Room made with partition wall with a door

Set up a home office

The pandemic left a lot of us with – ‘woah, this WFH can really be a thing!’ But unless you can stay sane eating, sleeping, and working out of bed, you’re going to need a dedicated workspace, perhaps even a small office room without distractions. Temporary walls might be a great way to invest that WFH stipend to create a productive home office.

Bedroom and home office divided with a room divider

Transform your basement

With temporary walls, you can transform your messy, disorderly basement into a nicely organized space sectioned off for different purposes like laundry, storage, gym, etc.

In small businesses

Running a small business is a reason to be proud but it’s not always fun- what with all the bootstrapping and tight workspaces! But temporary walls can be super useful if you want to create a consultation or appointment room, meeting room, waiting area, or pantry.

Treatment room with pink colors

Need for a flexible room layout

If your space needs change every season but you have just the one space to work with, temporary walls can be a great option. Assemble a meeting room to win over clients and disassemble when you need a nice, open space for a product sale.

Screen off long-lasting renovations

God help you if you’re getting renovations done while using the space simultaneously!. Temporary walls can be that saving grace to hide the mess and dirt while the contractor drags on your reno project for longer than you can bear. 

Do you need permission to build temporary walls?

Always check the local building codes before you get too excited and build a temporary wall! Pay close attention to the relevant stipulations on fire, light, and ventilation, especially if you’re building walls with doors or walls that go all the way up to the ceiling.

On the other hand, freestanding walls, screens, and dividers technically count as furniture, so they may not need permits. However, if you’re renting a space, it’s always best to check with the landlord to be sure rather than sorry. Check out our post "Do Temporary Walls Require a Permit?" Here's What the Experts Say for more details.

What are your different options for building temporary walls?

Build from scratch

If you’re a DIY expert and have some time and carpentry skills to spare, you can build a temporary wall by dry-fitting a frame of two-by-fours with some wall and ceiling studs, and covering it with some drywall sheets. It’s the cheapest option out there but it requires a fair bit of effort. The quality of your wall would really depend on your skill level and the materials you use. Also, beware that there’s some drilling and nailing involved (and its consequences!)

A man sawing wood panels to create a partition wall

Pressurized walls

These don’t involve any nails and screws but are fixed in place with the pressure of the adjoining walls and ceilings. While they’re relatively sturdy and clean-looking, they need a lot of precision to build. Pressurized walls can be expensive and they require experts to install them in your space.

Modular temporary walls

These are a sort of DIY version of pressurized walls that work with a similar mechanism where they’re ‘mounted’ on the adjoining walls with a few screws on each side. They come with studded metal tracks that can be laid along the floor and adjoining walls, and modular connecting units that form the wall. Imagine ‘adult lego’.

The modular temporary walls at DIYversify are super-easy to assemble and they require no tools or contractors. Plus, they look clean and slick and give you the ‘real wall’ feels. When you’re done with the additional room, simply disassemble the modular units. These DIY temporary walls will leave no damage on your existing walls, floor, or ceiling, except for a few minor drill holes that can be easily patched up. 

Modular partition wall creating a private bedroom area

Use screens and furniture

Where you don’t have permission to build temporary walls, or where you can do with some light, visual-dividing, screens, and furniture (like book racks and storage units) are your best bet. Room dividers count as furniture and they offer a lot of flexibility as they can be moved around with ease.

Furniture being used to divide a room

No, ‘dividers’ don’t necessarily have to be those mid-century rattan and shoji ones! The world has moved on guys. DIYversify’s room dividers come with modern, classy-looking designs that can transform your space and give it that A-game it deserves. Plus, they’re modular and DIY, which means that they can be there as and when you want them and gone when you don’t!

What does it cost to build a temporary wall?

Temporary walls can cost anywhere between $800 and $3000 depending on the size, type, and quality of materials you use. The cheaper options trade cost for time and effort.

If you have the time, patience, and expertise, knock yourself out with building the temporary wall from scratch- it’s the cheapest. If you need an absolutely clean-looking wall installed, be prepared to shell out some dough for a pressurized temporary wall. Modular and DIY temporary walls fall somewhere in between. At a reasonable price, you can achieve that much-needed extra room, dedicated space, and privacy!