Barn door baby gate

UPDATE:  Ive had some comments about how far up the door is, and that a child’s head could get stuck underneath it.  The good thing is, you can place your door anywhere you want it! :)  For your baby or pet’s safety, I would definitely suggest not having it any higher than 2-3 inches off of the stair. When we first installed it, we didn’t realize how far up it was, and it was a super easy fix. I just happened to take pictures of it right away!  All babies were (and are) fine.  :)

Yes, the zip ties do hold them on, and they have worked really well.  I would suggest the HEAVY DUTY ties–we ended up switching out the black ones for thicker, heavier ones, and they worked great!  We only did that because we didn’t want to ruin our banister, but you can also anchor the gate to the walls if you have that option.


Baby Caroline started crawling (sniff, sniff) a couple of months ago–much earlier than I expected her to.  It’s so funny–with my first baby, I couldn’t wait for him to crawl and walk, but by now I realize that mobility comes at a price.  :)  We have stairs in our house, right in the kitchen area, and where we spend the majority of our time.  At the bottom of the stairs is tile, and if she fell, it would really not be good.  I want her to learn how to do stairs–I think it’s important-but only if I’m right behind her to catch her.  So…it was time for a baby gate, and what could be cuter than one made from a barn door?

barn door baby gate |

Yes! I love love love it!

You’ll see the black ties around the posts–we decided to give those a try so we could attach the gate to the posts, instead of having to go up a couple of stairs for it to go into drywall. So far so good!  I went back and forth on color–we just bought our house and it’s all builder’s beige (which I can’t wait to change!), so it really needed some color somewhere. I’m so glad I went with the red–it’s the perfect pop of color in my kitchen/family room area.

Good news…they are easy to make!  Here’s how we did it:

SUPPLIES: (affiliate links included below)

-2×4 board

-1×4 boards

-1×2 board

-wood glue

nail gun

miter saw/chop saw

– 2-8 inch extra heavy T-hinges

-window bolt

-spray paint

{barn door directions}

1.  Measure your space for the width, and decide how tall you want your gate to be.  Cut enough 1×4 boards to fit that measurement and line them up.  Remember, 1×4 boards aren’t really 4 inches in width–more like 3.5 inches, so you need to consider that when figuring out how many you’ll need.  We needed 39 inches, so we had to cut one last board on the end a little thinner to make it the right total width. I bought the rougher boards (not the select pine), because I knew I was going to distress it, and they are SO much cheaper than the select wood.  Just know there are options when buying wood, and your budget and end result will both be factors!

2. Once your boards are lined up, cut another 1×4 to go across the bottom, and one across the top.  Attach them with wood glue, then a nail gun.  Cut two boards–one for each open space on the sides (it will about 7 inches less than the height of the baby gate, since you already have the boards across the bottom and top).  Repeat with the wood glue and nail gun.

3.  For the “x” in the middle, a sliding bevel is key to helping you get the right angles!  They aren’t very expensive, and if you plan to do other projects with angles (including frames), it’s a really great tool to have on hand. Once you have them cut,  once again, use wood glue and a nail gun to secure it in place.  We wanted a finishing piece on top of the gate, so we added a 1×2 along the top, to give it a little bit of a lip. You don’t have to–whatever you like!

barn door baby gate |

You’ll see our sides are a little different–instead of the side boards being flush against the bottom and top boards, we have our “x” into that space.  That’s only because we changed plans midway through the project and didn’t want to start over. You’ll want to have your side boards go from top to bottom, with the x in the middle–it’s too many angled cuts otherwise, and it’s not necessary. I just wanted to point it out in case you wondered about it!

4. Sand all the surfaces really well to finish it, wipe off the extra dust, then paint as desired. I used Rustoleum’s Colonial Red/Satin Finish.  I then went over it with a power sander and medium grit sandpaper to rough it up and make it distressed.

5. In addition to the barn door, you will also need two pieces of 2×4 board that have been cut a little bit taller than your gate.These are your brace pieces, and help keep the gate up. You will either screw these into the wall (find a stud), or zip tie them onto your stair posts.  If you plan to use the zip ties like we did, you’ll need to pre-drill holes at the top, bottom, and middle of the board for the zip ties to go through and tie onto the banister.


1. Once the door was finished, it was time to install the hardware. We used a drill to attach our heavy duty hinges to the door. (see link to what we used in the supplies section)

2.  We stood our 1×4 brace pieces against the inside of each post, and slipped our zip ties into the pre-drilled holes, then used Robogrips to tighten them as much as possible.

4.  We attached the window lock next–it has two pieces, on for the brace piece on the right, and one for the door itself.  You can use other locks if you like, but we knew this one would be secure enough for those that shouldn’t be opening the door, but easy for this who should be.  ☺

barn door baby gate |

barn door baby gate |

5. Lastly, we attached a small strip of wood on the inside of the brace on the right, so the door wouldn’t swing past that point, and get caught on the stair behind it.

barn door baby gate |

And we’re done!!!

barn door baby gate |

barn door baby gate |

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  1. Oh my… I love this! I do not need one for babies, but have a swinging baby gate in a hallway to keep the dogs out of the cats bathroom (food & litter are in their). This would look so much nicer.

  2. Love this! Ive seen these but thought im glad we don’t have stairs, but we do off of our back porch! This could be so cute out there too :) Thanks for posting!

    1. I’ve wanted to do this for years, but haven’t had the stairs that worked, and now I do!! I think a back porch gate would be darling!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you use zip ties and that they are still working for you! We haven’t had ours up too long, so thank you for sharing!!! xoxo

  3. How ingenious to use zipties to attach it to the posts, so you wouldn’t have to drill into the newel posts!

    1. I can’t take credit for it–I saw it somewhere else with another type of baby gate, and knew I had to try it! Thanks for dropping by!!! xoxo

    1. We bought all of the supplies along with the supplies for another project, so I don’t have an exact amount, but I can give you an estimate. We spent around $17 for the hardware, and about $30ish for the wood. I already had the spray paint, wood glue, nails, etc., so right around $50!

  4. MUCH better than a plastic baby gate! This is such a great gift idea too :) Thanks for sharing!!

  5. I have grandbaby #1 on the way and I have to start thinking about this – – great idea! I love the way you fit the X in the frame. It looks very creative and unique!

  6. Oh Kierste! This is super cute and creative. I love it! …..posting to my DIY board.

  7. This is beyond adorable! Such an amazing way to disguise this in your house. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. Yep! Just screw the side boards of the baby gate (the side boards that are attached to my posts) into the studs of your wall. Make sure it’s in the studs, because it’s really heavy. That was our plan if the zip ties didn’t work. :)

  8. Ahhh I love everything about this baby gate. So much more stylish than the jail looking like ones you get in the store. We had a 1 month old and plan to make a baby gate in the coming months.

    1. I totally agree about the jail baby gates. :) Let me know when you make it, and how you like it!!! xoxo

  9. Hi! I loved this so much I tried to make it this afternoon! However, your instructions say that the post boards are 1×4’s and it looks like they are actually 2×4’s. Sadly, I just made this entire thing with measurements for a 1×4 there. My hardware won’t fit on that size and I don’t believe it’s strong enough to hold this heavy gate. Not your fault, I should have guessed that’s what it was, but you might want to update the instructions. If I am wrong, please correct me! I would love to be wrong here and then my project can be saved… :) Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. I’m so sorry your hardware doesn’t fit! We actually did use 1×4’s! You can see that all around the edges of the gate, the wood is double stacked, making it thick enough to add hardware. If we had used 2×4’s, and stacked them on top of each other like that, it would have been way too heavy to hang. We added the latches at the top and bottom of the gate where it was double stacked, to give us the ability to add the hardware. I linked to the hardware we used, and bought at Home Depot–it worked perfectly! If you have any other questions, please let me know–and I hope your project can be saved! :)

  10. I think what Jess was referring to is the posts that where zip tied. Those look to be 2×4’s not 1×4’s. The gate itself has 1×4’s on it. I may be wrong but that is what it looks like to me.

    1. Thank you, Kayla, you are both right! I thought she was talking about the actual door. I made the corrections in the directions. xo

  11. Hey there, I was looking for barndoors, because we bought a house in the woodlands and the previous owners had them and they looked AWESOME. And you are them! I recognize the little girls room.

  12. How are the zip ties holding up? I have a third little one on the way and would love to do something like this but we have the banisters too that we don’t want to drill into.

    1. They worked really well!! Just make sure you get the heavy duty ones, and a few extra in case. We ended up adding a couple more, because of how our banister was shaped. Upstairs was the playroom, and that was gate well-used, and it we never had a problem!! Thanks for stopping by! xoxo


  14. Thanks so much for the tips and idea!!! We followed your directions and ours turned out amazing!!!! I love it!! And we get so many compliments on it!! I wish I could figure out how to share a pic of it on here for you to see!!

    1. YAY, Jessica!!! I’m so excited for you!! My baby is now two, and I don’t really need mine anymore, but I love it so much I kind of want to keep it up! :) I’d love to see a picture—you can email it to me at!! xoxo

  15. Approximately how much did this cost? This would be great at the top of my stairs. Regular gates don’t stay and the ones you can drill to the wall are too small.

    1. Hi, Lisa! It cost around $50 to make—it depends on how much you spend on the latch hardware, but it’s a pretty reasonably priced project!! It’s still one of my favorites!!

  16. I love love love this idea. Just a suggestion though, you may want to consider moving that latch to the back side of the door once she becomes a fast running toddler, and this is totally coming from someone who had 14 stitches between her eyebrow and actual eye at 2 1/2 years old because of a latch on a split barn style door at the babysitters house. ;)

    1. Oh, dear! That sounds terrible! That’s definitely something to consider for those that have a baby gate that’s low enough for a little one’s head to run into it.

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