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How to Choose the Right Decorative Columns for Pony Walls

Posted by Worthington Millwork on 2/26/20 5:00 AM

How to Choose the Right Decorative Columns for Pony Walls

Pony WallPony walls, sometimes also called half walls, are walls that don't extend from the floor to the ceiling. Sometimes you'll hear them called knee walls, but that's incorrect. Real pony walls are framed and sheathed, just like the full-height walls in your home. Usually they'll function as room dividers.

  • Sometimes the pony wall extends nearly to the ceiling.
  • Its purpose is usually to divide a room for privacy while allowing light to enter over the top of the wall.
  • Knee walls are different. They extend from the floor to a countertop, bar or similar surface.

Here we'll explain why we love pony walls, and we'll go over some vital points to help you choose the right decorative columns for your home remodel project. As always, don't hesitate to reach out to the staff at Worthington Millwork if you need more inspiration!

America Loves Pony Walls

Pony walls are an American design tradition with roots in our Nebraska farmlands. The term "pony wall" came into play about 150 years ago, when a farmer named Walter Clydell built extra-short walls in his barn to see into the stalls. 

Both the effective design and the adorable name were a hit with Clydell's neighbors. The term spread until it came to represent most types of short walls in any setting.

  • The concept became popular because family members in separate rooms can see each other, which makes them ideal for parenting and entertaining. 
  • They're also excellent for open, airy floor plans.

Now that we've got a clear picture of what pony walls are let's get into the good stuff. Columns!

Choose the Right Decorative Columns for Your Pony Walls

Pony walls aren't load-bearing. In other words, they won't affect the overall structural soundness of your home, as a floor-to-ceiling wall would. That's a very liberating notion! You can choose any width, thickness, style, or color of column you like!

Let's talk about some key points you should keep in mind when shopping for columns. They'll have to do with your climate and maintenance preferences.

Cast Fiberglass Columns

Cast fiberglass columns are lightweight, rot-resistant and fire-resistant. They're quick to install and durable. They're an excellent choice for:

  • homes in the Southern USA that experience extreme humidity
  • areas prone to monsoon seasons, like Arizona
  • homes in areas with a brush fire risk, like some parts of California
  • income properties / offices and rentals

They're wonderful for busy families (and landlords) who don't want to be bothered caring for solid wood columns.

Wood Columns 

Wood columns have a historic appeal. If you're renovating a historical building (or you want the look of one) wood columns are a great choice. They're arguably the most easily customized column, with options like split columns, and a variety of cap and base options. 

  • Choose between stained woods with gorgeous wood grain, or paintable woods (that you can repaint later if you're into that).
  • They're available in any stain you prefer.
  • You'll need to care for them. Wood columns can be prone to rot in wet climates. 

See our column builder tool to get some for your custom wood columns.

Aluminum Columns

Since aluminum columns are load-bearing, you probably won't go this route with a pony wall. However, if your contractor comes to you suggesting some load-bearing columns, these are a terrific choice, so don't forget about them.

Ultimately, your choice in columns for pony walls will depend on how much time you're looking to spend caring for them, and which styles you love the most. Have you recently finished a pony wall project with columns from Worthington Millwork? Get in touch with us today! We'd love to see how it came out.

Related Reading & Resources

BobVila.com: All You Need to Know About Pony Walls

Topics: Wood Columns, Fiberglass columns, square columns, round columns, Pony Wall, aluminum columns

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