Baby Gates : A necessary evil when you’ve got little ones running around in a house with any amount of stairs, let alone a three story row home with two ridiculously tall stair cases. As soon as we saw the model for our house we knew that we were going to need at least a few baby gates, and after seeing the options or lack thereof out there on the market, I knew I wanted to build our own. We needed at least a couple, and since they were going to be very visible in our home (you can see the first staircase right from the front door) I knew I wanted something custom and cute that would not stick out like a sore thumb. We used some cheap temporary gates as needed at first, and unfortunately since we had those and it wasn’t an immediate necessity, our big baby gate project kept getting put on the back burner.  Now here we are, almost 8 months after moving in and we FINALLY have our first beautiful, custom baby gate up.

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My favorite part is that it was so simple and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg! My husband and I built it together and once we got going on it it took hardly any time at all. I found so many tutorials on Pinterest for some really amazing baby gates – barn door gates, pallet gates, etc. Some were more intimidating than others, and since our space was a little bit unique I couldn’t find anything that exactly matched what I was looking for. We decided to make our own plans, and through a little bit of trial and error and a few more holes in the wall than really necessary, we finally nailed it (get it? 😉 )


What you will need:


Step 1:

Measure the opening that you need to gate off. Your two horizontal boards will need to be about 1″ shorter than that distance. Then determine how tall you want your gates to be. This will be the length of your vertical boards. The number of boards will depend on the measurements of your space and the amount of spacing you want between each slat. (It helps to sit down with a pad of paper and a calculator and do a quick sketch to determine your dimensions. Then take that to your nearest home improvement store to purchase the wood and ask if they can cut it for you.IMG_3484 copy


Step 2:

Start by giving your boards a quick sanding to smooth them out. Dust off any sawdust and paint or stain them whatever color you would like. I wanted mine to blend in with our existing white stair railing, so I gave them two coats of white chalk paint and a coat of clear wax. (You can find my chalk paint tutorial here on my DIY Blanket Ladder Post.)

Step 3:

Follow the drying directions of the paint or stain you choose. Once dry, lay your two long boards down and lay the shorter boards on top of them. Arrange to your desired spacing, making sure the tops and bottoms line up with the edges of the long boards.IMG_4008 copy

Step 4

At this point it helps to have two people, one to hold the board in place while the other nails them in. Using your brad nailer, insert two nails into the top and bottom of each board.IMG_4090 copy


Step 5:

Using a studfinder, located the studs in your wall where the hinges of the gate will go. If there are no studs in your desired location, you will need to use properly rated drywall anchors to hold the weight of your gate. Measure and mark on the wall and the gate where your holes for the hinges will go, and then drill them in. (Learn from my mistakes and be sure the hinge is facing the right direction so that the gate can open properly…It is worth noting that the gate is upside down in the first photo below. Don’t worry… I didn’t accidentally screw it into the wall that way first or anything *insert eye roll*. Thank goodness for spackle!IMG_4095 copy

The right direction! Now the gate pulls open toward you and can lay flat against the wall when not in use.IMG_4299 copy


Step 6:

Measure the location of your gate latch and drill it into the gate and baluster or wall accordingly.

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I am absolutely in love with the way our gate turned out. I adore that it is both decorative and functional, and it blends effortlessly with our existing stair rails and the rest of our home. It feels so much more secure than the temporary gates we had before, and I am one thousand times more comfortable letting my toddler run and play in our home now.
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Now we just need to replicate it for the top of the second staircase!

You don’t have to sacrifice style for safety and functionality in a house with littles. All it takes is a little extra work, and a fraction of the cost of store bought baby gates! If you have any questions about the process or supplies used, feel free to leave it in the comments below, or you can find me on Instagram @belleamourblog. If you build your own version of this baby gate or any of my DIY Projects, I would love to see them so please feel free to tag me in your photos on Instagram!

Enjoy the rest of your week friends!



*Please research safety regulations for baby gates and follow guidelines for slat spacing, height, etc, and ensure that your gate is sturdy and completely secured. I cannot be held responsible for the result of any DIY project.

**This post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links I may receive a small percentage of the profits at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I trust and stand behind 100%. All opinions are my own.

15 thoughts on “Simple Custom DIY Baby Gate

  1. Emily

    I can’t believe you don’t have any comments on this post yet! I am in the process of copying you today! The pieces are all cut, and the first coat of paint is drying. I was looking for something really simple that I could do with the tools and materials I have on hand already. I happened to have 1x3s instead of 1x4s in the garage, so I’m doing 7 slats instead of 6. Thanks for the inspiration!


  2. Sonnie

    Hello! Thank you for your tutorial! I am looking to do the same thing for our deck outside. Convenient enough, your measurements are the same as mine! What a simple, functional and beautiful design, thank you!


  3. Chelsea

    This is perfect for our new home we will be moving to next month! I’ve been trying to figure out how to have a gate that our cats could still get through that wasn’t ugly or too complicated to make, and this is just simply beautiful!


  4. Hilda B. Evans

    This is amazing! It is so much better than a regular baby gates. I am done with having any more kids but I would have loved to have something like this when my kids were younger. Thanks for linking up to The Creative Exchange. We will be featuring your project this week.


  5. Richelle

    Super excited to make this!! Making two for the top and bottom!
    Two questions though, did you find the one 8oz container of paint and wax was enough for the whole project?
    Also would painting it after assembly save on paint? Or would you definitely recommend painting each piece separate prior to assembly?


  6. Kerri

    Hi, thanks for the great design. My husband just built our copy and our only concern is how heavy it is. Are those two hinges sufficient to support the weight? Were you worried at all about the weight? Our stairway walls end on both sides at the top, so we’ll be attaching to the knee wall, which may give it more support. Just curious if that crossed your mind. Thanks again, it’s beautiful!


  7. Ed

    I built this and it turned out great, I used stable gate hinges so the gate is removable. I used a 2×4 against the main wall and lag bolted it in.I also doubled up the 2 end boards to support the hinges. I now have friends asking my to build these. I also used child safe paint. Thanks for idea


  8. Christina

    We are building a home and are still trying to decide on paint colors. I’d love to know your wall and trim colors. 🙂


  9. Wallace

    This is really an amazing baby gates, i have a baby gate a my home and plan to have another one, and maybe this time i should have to DIY instead of buy a new one. Thanks for this sharing ! * By the way, your house look so nice !


  10. April

    any suggestions on how to bolt this to the wall when there are no supports behind the dry wall? We made something very similar but it’s tearing out the wall. We used heavy duty long screws, but I am not sure if wall anchors will fix it or not.


    1. Michelle

      Anchors should fix the problem of the gate pulling out of the wall. Screws that go straight into drywall don’t have anything to grip to, so they pull out (I learned this when trying to anchor furniture for babyproofing!) but the anchors “grab on” and give the screws something to bite into.


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