For years, temporary walls (i.e., room dividers, rent-savers, space-creators) have answered the prayers of NYC apartment hunters looking to save space and money. With a one day installation and a one-time payment averaging between $800-$2000 (based on wall size and type), a one bedroom apartment could turn into a two, a two bedroom into a three, and so on.
Being both convenient and affordable, temporary walls are an easy fix for young professionals and students looking to rent within a budget. The wall gives apartment hunters the luxury of expanding their search, allowing them to consider additional factors they may have been previously unable to prioritize, such as neighborhood, commute time, and building amenities.
There are three different types of temporary walls to choose from that better fit your needs based on budget, apartment size, building regulations, and of course, personal preference: pressurized walls, partial walls, and bookshelf walls. Just remember: get your landlord’s approval first.
1. Pressurized walls
Pressurized walls are the Mercedes-Benz of temporary walls in NYC. Out of the three, it is the only wall that is always attached to the ceiling. This gives it more of a “real” wall look, and also creates more privacy throughout the unit. The wall is installed without any nails or screws, which assures that at the end of a lease it can be easily dismantled without leaving so much as a scratch.
Unfortunately, finding a building that will give the okay on installing a full pressurized wall has become somewhat of a needle-in-a-haystack-type search. Back in 2005, a fire in the Bronx in a residential building with pressurized walls resulted in the deaths of two firemen. Since then, the Department of State has cracked down on keeping these walls out of apartment buildings in the city.
2. Partial walls
Since more buildings have begun to ban pressurized walls that run floor to ceiling, partial have become more popular. Like full pressurized walls, partial walls (aka walk-around, or walk-about walls) are installed without screws or nails. They generally stop about 12 inches from the ceiling (that 12″ clearance is often required by landlords) and have an opening rather than an actual door. Although the no-door feature isn’t a crowd pleaser, putting up a curtain is only one of the creative ways to fill the empty space.
3. Bookshelf walls
Bookshelf walls are a particular favorite of New Yorkers because of the extra storage space. The term bookshelf wall is often used in reference to either a pressurized wall, or a partial wall, that has attached shelving. You have the option of choosing between the two designs based on building regulations and can also choose from a variety of shelf sizes to accommodate your own storage needs.