How to Build a Studio or Workroom

Put unused space to work with these step-by-step instructions.

Unused space in your home can easily be transformed into a studio or workroom. Use these instructions as a guideline for constructing the space. The project takes about two days.

Materials and Tools:

measuring tape
chalk line
pressure-treated lumber
actuated nail gun
4-foot level
sixteenpenny nails
framing nails
outlet boxes
construction adhesive
drywall nails
utility knife
drywall saw
joint compound and tray
drywall tape
broad knife and 12-inch broad knife
taping knife
pre-hung door
pneumatic nailer
decorative cork or Peg-Board (optional)
cork adhesive
safety glasses
ear protection


1. Once you've decided on the dimensions of your room, take measurements out from the walls and pop chalk lines for these marks. Be sure to mark the location of the door you'll be installing on one of the new walls.

2. Attach the bottom plate to the floor, using an actuated nail gun to drive 2-by-4's into the concrete. The gun will be quite noisy, so wear ear protection.

3. To locate the position for the top plate, use a 2-by-4 and a level to make marks on the joist overhead. Pop a chalk line and, using the line as a guide, attach the top plate to the joist with sixteenpenny nails. Remember to wear safety glasses when you're nailing.

4. Using a tape measure, make marks every 16 inches along the bottom plate to mark the stud locations. Make the same markings on the top plate. Begin installing the studs from the outside corner of the room. The corner stud should be doubled up to provide a surface for nailing the drywall.

5. To frame the door opening, first install the jack studs on either side of the opening. Jack studs are shorter than the rest of the studs and will support the header. For the header, assemble three 2-by-4's and place it on top of the jack studs. Secure it to the jack studs with framing nails.

6. Have an electrician wire the room. Attach outlet boxes on several wall studs in desired locations about 15 inches off the floor.

7. To attach the first piece of drywall, run a bead of construction adhesive along the studs and use drywall nails to secure the sheet to the nails. Cut out the door opening with a handsaw and use a utility knife and T-square to cut drywall sheets to size. Use a drywall saw to cut around the outlet boxes. When nailing drywall, you want to leave a dimple so that the drywall joint compound completely covers the nail head.

8. Using a broad knife, spread a thin layer of joint compound along the entire length of each seam. Press drywall tape along the center of the joint into the wet compound, and smooth with a taping knife. Be sure there are no air bubbles under the tape. With the broad knife, add a second layer of compound over the drywall tape, feathering the edges carefully. Fill screw holes and allow to dry thoroughly.

9. Using the 12-inch broad knife, spread a final, thin layer of joint compound over the seams. After this step is done, you shouldn't be able to see the drywall tape. Use the small knife to touch up any holes in the surface. After this step, the walls can be sanded and painted. Also, the exterior walls will still show the beams-you can finish this with drywall if you choose.

10. Carefully set the door assembly into the rough opening. Check for plumb, and use a nailer to secure to the framing.

11. Hang Peg-Board or decorative cork on an existing cinder-block wall, if desired. Hang on furring strips that can be nailed directly into cinder block.

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