Asked on Feb 12, 2016

How to fill in what used to be a "sunken" living area

Jean Proctor
by Jean Proctor
Has anyone filled in that "60s" sunken living area? If so, how and what did you use to do it? Having one really "dates: the house, and I'm trying to update and get things clean, the sunken area is a major issue. Thanks.
  11 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Feb 12, 2016
    I would think you could just build a floor in the sunken area like you would build a deck using joist hangers and joists with a subfloor (plywood) over that. Keep in mind there are calculators out there to determine how many joists you need and what size of joists you will need according to the span/distance. You would just have to build it to be even with the rest of the floors in the house it would be butting up to.
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Feb 12, 2016
    I think sunken living spaces never go out of style!
    • Lynn Couch Lynn Couch on Feb 13, 2016
      @DORLIS Yeah!!!!! I tripped on my two weeks ago and my knee is still sore....
  • Shari Shari on Feb 12, 2016
    How you accomplish it probably depends on what your current sub-floor is made of. When we bought our (1979) house in 2009, filling in the sunken formal living room was one of the first projects we did. Our house was built on a concrete slab so it was just a matter of filling in the sunken area with more concrete and it was an easy process since we did it before we ever moved in, painted or put down the new carpeting. It cost $600 in concrete and the labor was free as my daughter's contractor-friend and her boyfriend provided the labor. I've added photos for you.
  • Jean Proctor Jean Proctor on Feb 12, 2016
    Your finished space is gorgeous..........
    • Shari Shari on Feb 13, 2016
      @Jean Proctor Thanks, Jean! There are still a few little things I'd like to do in here...finishing touches...but no doubt, it has come a long, long way and I'm obviously thrilled to have the floor all one height. I hope this gave you some ideas about how you might be able to fix yours.
  • Carolyn Carolyn on Feb 13, 2016
    Just remember that any electrical plugs, cable, etc may have to be moved up. Not a big deal at all, but one more step. Even if they 'clear' the new floor, it will be noticeable if they're a different level in that one room.
  • Shari Shari on Feb 13, 2016
    @Carolyn makes a point. Yes, our electrical plugs in the area that was originally sunken are a few inches lower than the plugs in the dining area. I'm super picky, to the point of being borderline obsessive, about A LOT of things but that isn't one of them. It doesn't bother me one little bit. For me, the advantages of having the floor level FAR outweigh having a few plugs a little lower than normal. Believe me, not one single person has walked in this room and asked, "Why are your electrical plugs at different heights?" lol.
  • Nat rostad Nat rostad on Feb 13, 2016
    Jean, I would have filled in the sunken living room with balloons! Especially if I was unsteady on my feet! ;) lol
  • Gladys Gladys on Feb 13, 2016
    I'm regretting that I did not build a sunken den! So cool.
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Feb 14, 2016
    When I was a teenager, one of my best friends lived in a home with a sunken living room. Honestly, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It set off the living room and created an almost "stage" effect. But, I could see how this could be a decorating issue. I was just going to mention that on Fixer Upper, they recently did a remodel of a sunken room by literally filling it in with concrete- which is what Shari did in that beautiful room she posted on this thread!
  • Mother Daughter Projects Mother Daughter Projects on Feb 15, 2016
    Vicki here (the mom from MDP): We filled in our living room in 2012. Your question prompted me to make a blog post about it to share my experience with you. Check it out.
  • Therese Therese on Aug 01, 2020

    We are about to level our floor too. (c.1990) It’s a large living room with a vaulted ceiling, a fireplace at the end with two large widows facing each other on other walls. It’s just one step and has a couple of short red oak rails and spindles on each end of the wide step. We decided not to worry about the outlets either, but we had the windows extended down as far as they can be without needing to be tempered (per code) so my hope is that safety film will satisfy any requirement when we resell. The only other obstacle is having to pull the fireplace out and reposition it. I’m convinced we will not regret doing this. Not going to miss that trip hazard.

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