Every once and a while I get asked about knee walls. What are they, how high should they be etc. In a classic small cabin design with the second floor under the main route, knee walls become an important way to finish the space.
What are Knee Walls?
Basically the term comes from walls that are about as tall as your knee. Most commonly they are the short walls that define a room under a sloping roof and are shorter than normal headroom height.
How tall should need walls be?
The knee wall height is really determined by the function of the space. For example: In a closet, the knee wall can be very short providing storage almost to the eave. If you want to put a desk of the knee wall, you will need to be able to stand up in front of the desk, so the desk depth becomes important. I you have a bed against a knee wall you can determine its height by a combination of headroom and head board height.
For my use, I have settled on a knee wall height of 4′-0″ as a default. I can always change it during the design, but I found that this height serves many purposes. Our classic cabins normally have a roof pitch of 12:12 (45 degrees). I’m about 6′-2″ with a 3 foot reach which means that I can touch a 4′-0″ tall knee wall standing upright ( about 7′-0″ headroom ).
A 24 inch desk or counter can also stand in front of a 4′-0″ knee wall. And a bed with a 4 foot headboard and an 18 inch deep side table is perfectly workable. And building a closet in front of a 4 foot and knee wall allows for a rod at about 54 inches off the floor which is fine for single rod hanging.
As always, your comments are very valuable not only to me but to the others who drop by.