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Creative Home Improvement: A Wall Cutout

by Allison E. Beatty
Repair-Home Columnist

If your room design seems too cramped, why not create a wall cutout between two rooms? A large opening between a kitchen and dining room, for example, can make the spaces feel larger and create room for a breakfast bar or food pass-through area. Here's how to approach this home improvement project.

A wall cutout is one home improvement project best left to a contractor, as it involves cutting into a wall and sometimes adding support for a breakfast bar. Your first step is to talk with a few contractors and find out whether the wall is load bearing. (If so, consider using another wall, as it can be tricky to cut into load bearing walls).

Home Improvement Goals

Once you've found the wall, consider your home improvement goals. Do you want a simple, four-foot cutout that will add some visual interest between the rooms or a large breakfast bar with a granite countertop?

Hiring the Contractor

This type of room design change requires plenty of carpentry skills and an eye toward design. You want the cutout to look as if it's been there since the house was built, making the design an important step. Look for a contractor with skills in:

  • Cabinet installation.
  • Kitchen or bathroom remodeling.
  • Room layout.
  • Creative thinking!


The Room Design

Once you've found a contractor, work with him or her on the room design. You'll want to narrow down the dimensions of the cutout and the size of the countertop. How much overhang do you want? A simple three to four inches might be fine for a breakfast bar, but six to eight inches is nicer for a meal area.

You'll want to look at the wall from every possible angle as you plan your room design. When standing in the kitchen or dining room, what will you see through the cutout? If possible, plan your design to capture a view of interesting artwork, crown molding, glass cabinets, or other decorative features. Also consider the presence of windows and how natural light will impact the space.

A wall cutout can make a dramatic difference in the way two rooms relate to each other. As you plan this home improvement project, choose your contractor carefully. You want someone who shares your vision and has the skills to pull it all together.

About The Author
Allison E. Beatty is an avid old house enthusiast who has been renovating houses and writing about them for more than 10 years. She contributes regularly to national newspaper, magazines and web sites.