How to frame a room

I am considering building a small 6 x 9 room inside my garage to use as an office. However, I do not want to remove the garage door opener unit nor the tracks the door slides on because we will want to continue using that door for access to the garage.

I have seen a few resources with guides for framing but all show the top plate of the room being secured to an existing ceiling. In my case I want the ceiling to be independent.

Also, the height from the floor to the garage door slider tracks is 8 feet. With some play I am thinking I will be OK with a 7 foot ceiling but I am not too thrilled with a ceiling that low. Any creative recommendations for dealing with garage door sliders?

2 Answers 2

You are essentially building a self-supporting flat-roofed shed inside the garage, not adding interior walls to the garage.

You should be able to screw a 2×4 sill plate onto the garage floor. The sill plate is mostly there in case the concrete is uneven. It could be pressure-treated in order to resist rotting from moisture on the floor or in the concrete. (In that case, use galvanized nails to nail the sole plate to it.) If you don’t build a floor, I think the sole plate of the walls could be screwed directly into the floor, avoiding the sill.

Since you’re in a cold climate, you may want to build and insulate a floor. If so, place the rim joists, then hang the remaining joists with joist hangers, insulate, then glue and nail on plywood sheathing. If the joists go in the short direction and are spaced 16″ o.c. you should in theory be OK with 2×4 joists, but the code may require 2×6 as a minimum, and that would leave more space for insulation.

Next, frame the walls individually, sheathe them with plywood or OSB, and raise them. If you have a sill or subfloor, face-nail the sole plate to the floor with 16d nails 16″ o.c. Sheathing the walls adds lateral support, and thereby helps keep them square. This is a lot easier to do while the walls are still flat on the floor, before you raise them. Make sure to double the top plate.

Finally, frame an “attic subfloor” as a ceiling for your office. In response to your question, the ceiling is somewhat similar to a wall, but the joists must be hung properly (not just end-nailed like the studs in a wall), and the sheathing (plywood or OSB) needs to be glued as well as nailed. Sheathing this subfloor is essential for stability. As mentioned, if spaced 16″ o.c., 2×4 is sufficient to span 6 ft, but your code may require 2×6 anyway.

Check out the framing books at the home improvement or bookstore, or google for “framed floor” and “platform framing”. Check your building code for insulation requirements. You will probably need a building permit.

The ceiling height may be an issue, once you subtract 6 inches for a floor and 6 inches for a ceiling.

How to frame a room

Putting an addition on your home begins with the framing process. If you’re going to build the addition yourself, these steps will help you get the framing done right.

Step 1 – Obtain Permits

You must meet a variety of local legal requirements and obtain building permits before you begin work on your addition. Meeting these requirement is handled through the permitting process with the county. You should expect to provide copies of your plans or blueprints, exact specifications for any drainage you’ll be adding, and distances from side yards, sewer lines, etc. This initial process can be expensive and time consuming, so figure it into your planning.

Step 2 – Foundation

How to frame a room

Before you begin framing you’ll need to build a foundation. Most people pour a concrete slab, even if they have a full basement under the rest of the house. The slab needs to be construction quality, meaning it will need to be made of a thick concrete material poured to a precise depth. It is advisable to consult or hire a professional for this job.

You can also build a raised subfloor with stone or wood supports. Be sure to research code requirements for your area.

Step 3 – Lay Out Your Walls

Using the chalk line, mark the wall lines on the foundation. Make sure to lay out any windows and doors as you go so that you will remember to frame them in.

Snap your chalk line around the exterior measurement of the walls (where you want the exterior walls to be). Measure at each end of every wall so that the wall lines are straight. Having walls that are not square causes problems both on the exterior and interior later on.

Step 4 – Cut Studs

Determine how high you want your finished walls to be. Standard ceilings are 8 feet off the ground, but you can decide on higher ceilings if you like.

Whatever you decide, make sure to subtract 41/2 inches from that height to determine the height of your wall studs. This allows for the bottom seal plate (1 ½ inches) and the double top plate (3 inches).

Step 5 – Tag Top and Bottom Plates

Put the top and bottom 2 x 4s together and mark them as to where you want your studs. Standard interior walls have studs on 16-inch centers. If you mark the top and bottom plates together, you’ll have straight studs and the framing can go quickly.

Step 6 – Construct Walls

How to frame a room

Using the nail gun, construct walls while they are lying down. Once you complete the wall, lift it into place and attach to the adjoining wall. Attach carefully to the existing wall of the home where you are building the addition. Use braces to give extra support and keep the walls plumb.

Be sure to measure for doors and windows as you go, following the markings on your floor.

Step 7 – Place Extra Pieces

Place jack studs, cripples, headers, and fire blocking—all types of 2 x 4 extra pieces running horizontally from floor to ceiling in spaces where you have doors or windows. Install these pieces according to code. If you do not know the rules, consult a professional or have the building inspector come out and instruct you.

Step 8 – Install Double Top Plate

Nail top plate all around the top of the wall. Line up the nails with the studs below. All top plates are doubled for support.

Now you are ready to begin finishing the room and adding a ceiling and roof.

How to frame a room

Kelly Bacon is a licensed general contractor with over 40 years of experience in construction, home building and remodeling, and commercial building. He is a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board.

How to frame a room

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When framing a wall, strength, quality, durability, and ease of use are chief concerns. Wood studs are strong and easy to install, but quality can sometimes be spotty. They’re durable, but only as long as you keep them perfectly dry. Steel studs take care of many of these concerns. But, are they right for your home? Should you tackle using steel if you’re doing it yourself? The following briefing on steel studs can help you decide.

Steel Stud Basics

Not long ago, it was rare to see steel studs in residential buildings. Builders or home remodeling professionals purchased them from specialty building supply outlets. Now steel studs are found more often at home improvement centers, though wood studs remain more popular.

Watch Now: Steel Studs vs. Wood Studs for Wall Framing

Standard Sizes of Steel Studs

Local big-box retailers will usually stock the steel studs in dimensions matching 2×4 wood studs and in lengths ranging from 8 feet to 12 feet. Standard steel studs available at home centers use 25-gauge steel. Here's more sizing information:

  • Standard sizes range from 2 1/2 inches to 14 inches.
  • Flanges (the side sections) range from 1 3/8 inch to 3 inches.
  • Studs come with knockouts in place for electrical cables.
  • Knockouts range from 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch diameter.

Does not bow or warp

Difficult to cut

Found in every home center and lumber yard

Can rot, especially around the bottom of walls

Illustration: The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

Pros and Cons of Using Steel Studs

All factors considered, most do-it-yourselfers will find that there is little advantage to using metal studs over traditional wood studs. For first-timers, using steel studs requires a learning curve that makes installation a little slower than with wood studs, plus working with steel comes with additional safety hazards.

There may be locations where you still prefer to use wood as well as metal studs, such as when attaching electrical boxes between studs and door frames. You may also find it easier to attach trim moldings around doors and windows if they have been framed with wood rather than steel.

Steel studs that are in contact with a conditioned area on one face (such as a heated basement) and a cold outdoor area on the other face (masonry foundation walls), will allow considerably more heat loss than do wood studs. This is because metal is a much better thermal conductor. Avoid this by constructing walls with a thermal break or gap.

Pros of Steel Studs

  • Predictable: Unlike wood, which can be delivered even if the boards are warped, twisted, or bent, steel studs (unless damaged) always arrive perfectly straight.
  • Durable: Metal studs are impervious to fire, termites, rot, splitting, and any other number of hazards which can affect organic-based building materials such as wood.
  • Cost-effective: While never as cheap as wood, steel studs are now only about 40-percent more expensive than wood studs.
  • Lightweight: Steel studs are lighter to carry and store than wood because they are hollow. Studs can nest into each other to some degree.
  • Good for problem areas: Steel studs work well in bathrooms, basements, and other water-prone areas since they are impervious to moisture.

Cons of Steel Studs

  • Difficult to cut: It’s more difficult to cut steel studs than it is to cut lumber. Steel requires a miter saw or circular saw equipped with a metal-cutting blade in conjunction with tin snips.
  • Limited availability: Metal studs found at your local home improvement store usually only come in the most popular dimensions.
  • Limited creativity: Metal is not a forgiving material, which can be more frustrating for a DIYer than working with a flexible and malleable material such as wood.
  • Drywall installation is tricky: Tapping a drywall screw into a metal stud requires more work and practice than driving a drywall screw into a wood stud (the wood helps to draw the screw into it).
  • Risk of rust: Steel studs can decay from rust in areas prone to moisture. Many are galvanized to reduce rusting, but some can still completely rust at the base.


Cutting metal studs can be more hazardous than cutting wood, though both require using power tools that can be dangerous if used improperly. Other risks involved with using metal studs include:

How to frame a room

Here are some important things to consider when you’re choosing the right picture frame for your room: the positioning of the picture, the colour scheme, the theme of the room and the available space.

Choose a Room

Start by choosing the room where you’d like to display your picture. What you hang in a kitchen will be different to a hall way or living room. It’s about what feels right for the room and the mood you’d like to create.

Match the Frame to the Picture and the Room

Next of all you need to choose a suitable frame for the picture and then try it out in the room. Two important things to consider are:

  • The prominence of the frame – An important piece of art work or special photo (like your wedding day) is worth displaying more prominently in your home.
  • The size of the picture – Larger pictures can generally carry a heavier or wider frame. However, you could display a tiny photo and a more dramatic frame if you want to – to make it feature more prominently.

Consider Colour when Framing

If your home is modern, it could probably take more vibrant or bold colours. If your home is more traditional or rustic, you might choose a more muted palette.

You could play with an ‘accent’ colour. If your walls and furniture are fairly neutral, you could use a colourful frame as an accent and match it to any soft furnishings.

Think about your personal taste.

  • Do you like things to match perfectly?
  • Do you prefer bright or even clashing colours, to neutral shades?
  • Do you prefer clean lines or something more ornate?

If you’d like more guidance on colour, you might need our previous post ‘How to choose a mount colour for your photo or picture’.

Does the Frame ‘Feel’ Right?

Finally, the most important things to remember when choosing the right picture frame for any room in your home: choose something you like, you’re happy to look at, and something that feels right.

If a picture doesn’t feel right in a frame you’ve chosen, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is this frame too modern or traditional for my home or this picture?
  • Does the frame complement the colours in this picture?
  • Does this picture frame fit nicely into this room?

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules. As long as you keep in mind the positioning, colour and the context of where your picture will go, you could find the perfect frame for any room.

How to frame a room

An A-frame room can seem cramped and closed-in by the slanted roofline. But you can enjoy a comfortable, seemingly larger A-frame bedroom, living room or family room by using a few decorating tricks to brighten, heighten and widen your angled space. Provide balance and soul-soothing atmosphere to any small room with appropriate furnishings and decor.

How to frame a room

Install a skylight. If your budget allows, installing a skylight illuminates a room, flooding it with natural light and making it seem larger. For the tighter wallet, infuse more light into a space using lamps with maximum-wattage daylight bulbs. By mounting curtain rods beyond any window’s width, you’ll be able to pull the window treatment open and far enough back — skimming the window’s edges — so as not to block any of the room’s essential daylight.

Opt for size-appropriate furniture to heighten a room with a low ceiling. Choosing small-scale furnishings, such as a low profile sofa in the living room or a Japanese platform bed for the sleeping quarters creates the feeling of height and spaciousness.

Widen a narrow space by placing the largest furnishings, like the bed or couch, against the shorter wall. This visual trick works by squaring up the remaining floor area, giving the impression of breadth rather than hallway-like length.

Add an interesting rug to define the room. Keep the decorative throw about one foot from each wall so you don’t make the room appear cramped or the rug seem lost. Pulling furniture away from the walls and placing all furniture feet atop the carpet makes a long space appear less leggy and instills cozy ambiance.

How to frame a room

If the room’s length allows, break the space in two, using a chair or love seat as a half wall. A long bedroom might boast a sitting area across from the bed. The slender family room could have a cozy reading nook or breakfast bar on one well-lit end.

Provide further airiness in a tight space through scant decor. Don’t fill the room with clutter. Keep furnishings basic and limit ornaments to a few key pieces. Incorporate one tall, thin vase; an eye-catching, elegant lamp on a simplistic teak table; and a Zen painting about the small-scale furniture to welcome relaxation and create soul-soothing atmosphere.

How to frame a room

How to frame a room

How to frame a room

How to frame a room

How to frame a room

How to frame a room

How to frame a room

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Over my years in New York, I have lived in a rotation of tiny rooms and corresponding bed frames (or no bed frames!). The first time I moved here, I slept on a fold-out cot in an itty-bitty room in Queens, 15 minutes away from JFK. (I recently went back to my old stomping grounds and realized my room was truly the size of a large closet.) On my second move, I slept on a metal hand-me-down bed frame in a sewing room in Harlem. Then there was my third move, when I slept on a twin-sized mattress on the floor in a windowless office room in Brooklyn. Most recently, I had been sleeping on a secondhand Ikea bed frame that I moved from a former roommate’s room into my own.

My friends and colleagues were horrified when they heard about my sleeping situations over the years. For them, it gave off a perpetual college vibe. But I always envisioned myself moving eventually, so why would I invest in something that isn’t easy to toss or transport? This sort of flighty ethos has dictated how I’ve lived for years. I always describe my decor as something you’d find in the furniture section of a sad flea market or charity shop: Aesthetically, there is no rhyme or reason in my apartment.

So when my secondhand Ikea bedframe was falling apart, I went with the most practical and easiest to get a replacement, a metal bed frame under $100 from Amazon. It was never the most attractive piece of furniture. To make matters worse, I bought risers to lift the frame and create more storage space, cementing my status as a full-grown adult still living that dorm life—much to the dismay of my friends. They said I needed to get rid of it and start over. And now that I was spending more time in my house amid the spread of yet another COVID variant, I finally agreed.

I started looking. For a while, I thought I should opt for a bed on the floor again. I’ve seen it in multiple New York-based films from the late ’90s and early ’00s, like Kissing Jessica Stein, in which the cool-girl character Helen Cooper lives in some fantastic, open space studio and sleeps on her floor mattress with leopard-print sheets. There’s also a great opening scene in A Perfect Murder in which Gwyneth Paltrow and Vigo Mortensen’s characters are having a hot and steamy moment of infidelity on a mattress that is on the ground.

But while those options looked stylish in theory, I wasn’t sure if they would work in my own space. I spoke to Lula Galeano, an architect and interior designer who was responsible for giving Susan Alexandra’s downtown store a Candyland-tiled makeover. She acted as my bed frame therapist, answering my endless questions and sifting through options with me. “We all have the same image of what living in New York ‘should be like’. A giant loft with vaulted ceilings and massive windows, and sure, in this apartment anything is chic. Even a mattress on the ground. But for everyone who lives in a ‘real’ New York apartment, a mattress on the ground only creates chaos. It moves, it makes the already small bedroom look unfinished, the duvet covering one-third of the floor,” she says. “You think it doesn’t, but it makes the room smaller.” Aha, yes, I was brought back to earth: My room was not a huge open loft, but rather a tiny space with stunted ceilings. No bed on the ground for moi!

Galeano recommended getting a bed frame with neutral colors that was low to the ground. According to her, it would give a trompe l’oeil effect of opening the space and make my minuscule room appear larger. “A minimal style is best to avoid clutter,” she says. I started considering brands that I had seen buzzing around the internet: A Nera bed from Article, which featured a very pared-back look with a large headboard and sleek steel legs; then there was the Floyd, which was bombarding my Instagram with ads of its modern tilted headboard. I liked a headboard-less one from Wayfair, but Galeano insisted I needed a headboard. “A headboard can also help anchor the bed within the room,” she explained. When I accepted that, these options seemed equally great, but I shuddered at the thought of putting them together. In another Peter Pan moment, I needed something that a preschooler could handle. That’s when I came across Thuma and its The Bed, which requires no tools to assemble given its Japanese craftsmen design. You slide XYZ piece of wood into a leg, roll out some slats, and voila, there’s your clean and curated bed frame. I was sold. After the bed arrived and I maneuvered it up the stairs, I put it together in less than an hour.

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A set of A-Frame components for quickly creating rooms connected by doors.

Install and use by directly including the browser files:

Or with angle, you can install the proper version of the component straight into your HTML file, respective to your version of A-Frame:

Install via npm:

Then require and use.

This is set of primitives (also usable as components) that can be used to easily lay out rooms connected by doors in A-Frame. Here is an overview of their usage. (Attributes in italics are redundant shorthands; see below.)

Primitive Component Purpose Attributes & Components
rw-room room Contains a set of walls, and other objects. position, outside, material, height, width, length
rw-wall wall Marks one corner of a wall, which will connect to the next. position, material, height
rw-doorhole doorhole Marks a wall so that a doorlink can connect to it. (none)
rw-doorlink doorlink Connects two doorholes, as well as positioning them as close to it as possible. from, to, position, width, height
rw-floor, rw-ceiling, rw-sides floor, ceiling, sides Used to assign materials to the floor and ceiling of rooms and doorlinks, and to the sides of doorlinks. material

An a-scene can contain multiple rw-room s.

An rw-room must contain at least three rw-wall s. You can add outside=”true” to the room if you want its walls to describe the outside of a building rather than the interior of a room.

An rw-wall can have any a-frame entity as a child. rw-wall s are oriented so that their x direction always points toward the next wall; i.e., when an object is parented to an rw-wall , its x coordinate controls how far along the wall it is, its y coordinate controls how high off the ground it is, and its z coordinate controls how distant from the wall it is.

An rw-doorhole must be the child of an rw-wall . It is used to indicate on which wall a door connection should exist. An rw-doorhole can also have any a-frame entity as a child (for example, a model of a literal door). Note: do not apply a position to an rw-doorhole ! Their position will be assigned by the rw-doorlink they are linked to.

An rw-doorlink can be a child of an a-scene (i.e. outside of a room), or a child of an rw-wall . (It cannot be the child of an rw-doorhole !) Its position is used to automatically set the position of the two rw-doorhole s that it is connected to: they will be moved as close as possible to it on their walls. This allows doorways to always automatically be directly connected by the shortest distance (rather than forcing you to manually position both of the doorholes to line up). Choosing whether to parent the rw-doorlink to the scene or to one of the two walls that it’s connecting is up to you, depending on the building layout you’re creating. (It may be simpler to make adjustments a room depending on whether or not the door moves with it or tries to stay in place.)

An rw-floor and an rw-ceiling must be the child of either an rw-room or an rw-doorlink . They exist as a place to attach the material you wish to have applied to the floor or ceiling of the room (or doorlink). An rw-sides is similar, but is only used in doorlinks. You can omit them if you wish (i.e. if you would rather manually create a single floorplane for your entire building instead).

If an rw-wall does not have a material component, it will use its parent rw-room ‘s material component. (A material component must be supplied on either the rw-wall or the rw-room .) The same goes for rw-floor , rw-ceiling and rw-sides (and their parent rw-doorlink or rw-room ).

Similarly, if an rw-wall does not have a height attribute, it will use its parent rw-room ‘s height attribute. (If neither has a height attribute, a default height of 2.4m will be used.)

If an rw-room has a width attribute and a length attribute, and four rw-wall s inside, the position s can be ommitted from the walls; they will be set automatically, to form a rectangle with one corner at 0,0 and the opposite corner at width,length . (This is just to save typing in the relatively common case of rectangular, axis-aligned rooms.)

Have a look at the source to this example to see some ways that this system can be used.

You may find it helpful to use a mixin for a commonly-occuring material (such as a floor material).

If you want to make a door to the outside world, make an rw-room around your other rooms, with outside=”true” on it, and put the other doorhole on one of its walls.

These primitives should all correctly respect changes made in the Inspector; however, at the moment, there seems to be a bug where changes are only propagated to the objects a few times a second. If you have made changes in the inspector but things look like they aren’t fitting right, make a minor change to one of the numerical properties to force everything to update.

  • Greater control over UV generation (world space, scale to surface, etc)
  • Automatically assign collision for movement and teleportation systems
  • Create doors above ground level (i.e. windows)
  • Specify shapes to be extruded to automatically create doorframes and baseboards

Room corners (i.e. rw-wall s) can be specified in either clockwise or counterclockwise order; however, they will be rearranged internally to always wind clockwise, so you may find that the x axis is pointing to the previous wall rather than the next wall if you list them in counterclockwise order. (This doesn’t hurt anything; it’s just something to be aware of in case you’re confused why it’s happening.) This will also happen if you copy a room but set it to outside .

Walls can have non-zero y coordinates, which for the most part should be handled gracefully — however, there is no simple way to offer control over the triangulation of the ceiling and floor, so rooms whose wall slopes aren’t constant may have unpredictable floor and ceiling shapes.

In general, this system is still very early, so it contains very little error reporting or sanity checks, and generally has not yet been thoroughly tested, so use with caution, and let me know what issues you run into.

I hope this lets you express your ideas in virtual reality more easily! Creating wall with doors has always been one of the most frustratingly time-consuming steps in sketching out a basic building, for me; so hopefully this will allow more people to create and share the fictional spaces of their dreams, or re-creations of real places they wish more people could see! Please do let me know if this has helped you to create something; I’d love to see it.