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.
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:
- 1x4x8 boards (we used pine) cut to desired size. Our quantity and measurements were as follows, but these will need to be customized to fit your space:
Our stairwell opening was 41″, so we decided we wanted our gate to be about 40″ wide to leave a little room on each side for the hinges and latch, and 30″ tall. We spaced the boards about 3.5″ apart.
So we bought (3) 1 x 4 x 8 pine boards and had them cut into
(6) 30″ pieces and (2) 40″ pieces.
- paint or stain
I used Deco Art Americana Chalky Finish Paint, 8-Ounce, Everlasting
& Deco Art Americana Decor Creme Wax, 8-Ounce, Clear
- 2 hinges
I used these Everbilt Black Decorative Tee Hinges
- 1 gate latch
I used this Everbilt Black Barrel Bolt
- brad nailer nail gun
We have this one: Ryobi Cordless BRAD NAILER 18GA Model P320
I use this one: Milwaukee 2407-22 M12 3/8 Drill Driver Kit
- studfinder or anchors
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
The right direction! Now the gate pulls open toward you and can lay flat against the wall when not in use.
Measure the location of your gate latch and drill it into the gate and baluster or wall accordingly.
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.
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.