Whether you have a large open-plan home or a small studio apartment with a single living area, room dividers provide a way for you to stretch the available space even more and create distinct rooms within a room. They are some of the simplest yet stylish tools to make your home more flexible and add privacy wherever needed.
Image: Jana Tomas
Room dividers were first used more than 2000 years ago in China as a way of creating portable barriers in large rooms, and they have yet to go out of style. These separators are available in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, and finding one that matches your space perfectly can be overwhelming. Some are functional, others serve entirely decorative purposes. We’ll discuss your options and share some awesome room divider ideas so you can make the right purchasing choice.
What Is a Room Divider Called?
Room dividers go by several different names and are often called room separators, partitions, folding screens, and – the traditional Japanese design – shōji screens. Most commonly used in the home is the folding shōji screen. Because they are made of paper affixed to a wooden lattice, they are lighter than other options. And since paper is porous, these screens can also help airflow and reduce humidity.
How Can I Divide a Room without a Permanent Wall?
If you can’t add extra walls to your home, room dividers are a cost-effective solution that can help you break up space and add privacy and personality to an otherwise dull space. Dividers allow you to optimize your living room, bedroom, and other spaces to your liking. Plus, you can easily change up the layout whenever you get bored with your old setting.
Some of the best items you can use to divide a room without adding a permanent wall include:
- Stacked shelves
- A wall of flowers
- Fancy curtains
- Sliding barn door
- Cutout folding screens
- A bar table
- Glass partitions
- Spaced out pillars
- A headrest extending to the ceiling
- A platform
- Aquarium room divider
- Smart wardrobe placement
- Creative artwork
- Intertwined branches
- Sectional sofas
- Recycled wooden pallet
What Is the Cheapest Way to Divide a Room?
Room dividers come in different price ranges, but a quality one can easily run you several thousand dollars. Luckily, there are a few low-cost options you may want to consider. If you already have these items in your home, now’s the time to put them to good use.
The cheapest way to divide a room is hands-down using a bed sheet or a plain cloth sheet. Unfortunately, it may also look cheap. Alternatively, you can purchase some nice curtains that will fit your budget and look a bit more expensive than a simple piece of cloth.
Bookshelves are practical and visually appealing pieces of furniture that create separation while complementing the natural flow of a space. And the great part – you can purchase a pre-owned one from pretty much any marketplace, saving you even more money. But do make sure to anchor the bookshelf to the floor or wall to prevent accidents.
Room Divider Ideas for Studio Apartments
If you’re living in a one-room apartment, you’re probably a bit frustrated that it resembles more of a dorm room rather than a grown-up’s home. Rest assured – even if you are not working with excess square footage, there are still countless tricks for creating distinct areas for sleeping, hanging out, or even working.
1. Create a Floating Closet
Studios often lack storage space. As much as you try to keep your tiny apartment as furniture-free as possible, you still need a place to store your clothes. Instead of buying yet another closet, why not create a floating clothing rack to display your fashion style? Practical and creative!
2. Sliding or Folding Doors
Large sliding and folding doors blend in nicely and create a large planar surface. A wide doorway creates an illusion of spaciousness, though you can close the doors any time to divide the studio. It’s not the cheapest but definitely not the most expensive solution to your problem.
Image: Special Style
3. Put the Couch at the Foot of the Bed
OK, so this may sound like a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t imagine how many people fail to put this into practice. Separating your living areas doesn’t get any easier, and this trick works for almost any studio. Set your couch at the foot of your bed. By having your back, rather than the face, facing your sleeping area, you’ll also be placing a psychological division. Simply put: if you don’t see it, it’s not there.
Image: Cupcakes For Breakfast
4. Rattan Screen
One of the quickest room divider ideas is to add a folding divider. They can go anywhere: next to the dining table, between the bed and the sofa, or in front of the clothing rack. Rattan is one of those traditional materials that goes well even with the trending, minimalist pieces of furniture of today.
Image: Urban Outfitters
5. Large, Leafy Plants
Crazy about plants? Studios are great for creating a mini jungle that will purify the air and add that touch of coziness. Hide your bed by grouping some tall greenery such as palm trees and snake plants around it.
Image: Ideal Home
Room Divider Ideas for Bedroom
Who says bedrooms don’t need a divider? Sometimes, you just need that something-something to hide the mess, separate the bed from the desk, or simply to look good. Here’s what you can do.
1. Pegboard Room Divider
A pegboard is of the prettiest yet functional room dividers you can place in your bedroom. This fixture offers the privacy of a traditional separator but with a storage capacity similar to that of a shelving unit. Its peg system is perfect for hanging bags and jewelry, and you can even add some wooden ledges to hold books or décor items.
Image: Pegboard Room Divider Screen
2. Beaded Curtain
A blast from the past, but as we know so very well, old trends always come back in style. Beaded curtains have been used in doorways for dozens of years but they’re a great way to zone a room too. These retro fixtures offer a sheer screen that allows light to filter through and can add a boho vibe to your bedroom.
3. Clothes Rail
Using a clothes rail as a bedroom space divider is an innovative and budget-friendly option. If your work area is located inside your bedroom, a clothes rail can be a good separator for the two spaces. You can choose a design with wheels and move it around the room whenever you feel like it.
4. Decorative Screen Panels
Decorative Screen Panels offer an intimate feel to a room, especially in bedrooms. Even if you don’t technically need to divide the room, these panels can impart a stylish decorative touch to your home. And since bedrooms often tend to get messy, you can use a bi-folding screen to hide that messy corner where you throw all your clothes when you just don’t feel like placing them in their proper place.
Image: Room Divider Panels, $38.99
5. Rope Screen
Rope is an organic texture that can boost the visual appeal of your bedroom. This kind of partition isn’t about privacy, but it is a superb way to zone a multipurpose space. And if you want to take things a step further, you can wrap lush green vines around the rope.
DIY Room Divider Ideas
There’s nothing you can’t do with a bit of imagination… and inspiration. Here are some cool room separators you can create yourself.
1. DIY Fabric Screen
Put your old curtains or scraps of fabric to work. You need a few pieces of steel plumber’s pipe, elbows to connect the pipes, a wood board, flanges to attach the pipes to the board, bolts and nuts, primer, paint, paintbrushes, a drill, and fabric, of course. What’s great about this idea is that when you no longer need the room separator, you can easily turn it into a clothing rack by removing the fabric.
2. DIY Hanging Succulent Wall
Doesn’t a hanging succulent garden sound absolutely marvelous? If you agree – hit the arts and crafts store and get some metal or wooden rings, scissors, and rope. You will, of course, also need some succulents.
3. DIY Woven Room Divider
A woven room divider is simple to make and easy to customize. You can create just about any design, shape, or color combination you like. This is a great project if you’re new to DIY because you won’t be starting from scratch. You’ll only need a ready-made rattan room divider, yarn in various colors, thick yarn for added texture, and scissors.
IKEA Room Divider Ideas
If arts and crafts isn’t your thing and neither is spending big bucks on a room divider, then checking out some IKEA options is the way to go:
- KALLAX shelf unit. This bookshelf is a great item for separating the room and displaying your books or home décor at the same time. The shelf is accessible from both sides and you can use different inserts to organize your belongings.
- ELVARLI shelf unit. This airy shelving unit is practical and stylish. The extra storage space you get by using one or two of these products will definitely come in handy.
- MYRHEDEN memo board. Divide your room by stacking up several of these minimalist memo boards where you can display your favorite photos or postcards.
- RIGGA clothes rack. Turn this clothes rack into a boho room separator by adding some rope and fastening the vines from your favorite climbing plants.
Now you know how to make the most of your space and turn an open plan home into separate rooms. It’s time to put your imagination to work and make things happen!