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How to Enclose a Dining Room Doorway

Gail Cohen

If your dining room has several entryways and you can think of more advantages to closing it off than there are disadvantages, it's time to stop mulling it over and start the project. You have numerous options as you prepare to undertake this renovation: Block the entrance completely to close off the room, frame up and add standard doors, insert a pocket door or install a shoji screen. Your skills, the shape of the doorway and home traffic patterns should all be considered before you invest time and money in this type of renovation project.

Eliminate the opening or add a door to change traffic patterns.

Step 1

Wall in your dining room. Remove the existing door, frame, casing, jam and hardware. Sand surfaces down to smooth out the entryway. Make a new wall frame of 2-inch by 4-inch lumber cut to fit the dimensions of the opening -- much in the same manner you would to build a support structure for any wall. Secure the frame to the entryway. Attach sections of plywood to both sides of the opening so the doorway is completely blocked. Use filler or wood compound to seal the frame before nailing drywall into place. Sand, seal and add drywall tape before painting both sides of the dining room wall to completely enclose the room.

Step 2

Install shoji screens. Remove the existing door and hardware or just spruce up the doorless opening with sandpaper, refinishing the entryway so it’s smooth and sealed. Install top and bottom metal railings that allow shoji doors to slide along the track, using nails or screws compatible with the floor and entryway construction material (for example, drywall, wood flooring or wood frame). Choose paper, glass or plastic shoji screens that have been refinished to complement the color of both rooms. Pop them into floor and ceiling tracks to complete the transition from a traditional western opening to an eastern-influenced entryway design.

Step 3

Hang french doors. Buy a french door frame/door combination that matches the width and height of the doorway area. Spruce up the entryway surface and prepare it for insetting the french door’s frame using sturdy, long screws and nails to secure the framework to the entryway. Seal the frame-to-wall juncture with filler compound, and then sand down all surfaces. Use decorative hardware -- hinges and screws -- to fasten the doors to the frame, and then install door handles. Paint the area around the new door installation one or two colors, depending upon how you want to define the room space on either side of the new doors.

Step 4

Come up with an imaginative alternative. There are no hard-and-fast rules about enclosing dining room doorways, and if you are an eclectic decorator, only a tight budget will stand between you and your new enclosure. Install a pocket door if you’ve got the skills to tackle this complex project; hang strings of beads or shells across the space to hype your ethnic decorating style and taste; mount weighty drapes to separate the rooms, using tie-backs to expose or hide the dining area, or you can install a bi-fold door with or without louvered panels.