The open floor plan trend is on its way out, even triggering a quiet quitting from Architectural Digest. In its place, defined spaces and designated rooms for work, play, and sleep. This is where room dividers come in handy to help establish zones and ease the transition from one function to another.
Room dividers can divide a large room into smaller, more functional spaces or create privacy in a shared room. At the same time, room dividers can add a pop of color and inject a distinct style into your room.
With so many different room divider ideas to choose from, ranging from simple curtain panels to more complex structures that incorporate storage and seating, where do you start?
We've got you covered with our practical tips for selecting the perfect one. From different styles to do-it-yourself (DIY) room divider ideas, we'll help you figure out the right divider that fits your needs and style.
Which Room Divider Is Best for Your Space?
Consider the following when choosing a room divider.
- Function of the divider: It's crucial to shift the perception that a room divider is only a standing panel for dividing a room. A room divider can serve multiple functions, such as a desk separating the living room and workspace or a large display case for storage and decor. Incorporating multi-tasking furniture into your space is a great way to maximize a small space.
- Style of the room: Before buying or making your room divider, visualize the style of the room and how the room divider fits in. Will it work better with a permanent structure or a temporary open-and-close system?
- Size of the divider: This is tricky to get right. A partition that's too small will be of no effect. If it's too big, it may overwhelm the room. A good tip is to stick painter's tape on the floor and wall space, outlining where the room divider will stand. This helps you understand the size before committing to a purchase or DIY project.
- Choice of material: Does the room need a softer touch like fabric or a more minimalist metal divider? Do you want something on trend, like rattan room dividers for an Instagram-worthy space?
- Color selection: A brightly colored divider can be a great way to add fun and playful elements to a room. This style works particularly well in modern or minimalist spaces where the divider can act as a statement piece.
- Buy or DIY: There are plenty of room divider options in the market, ranging from budget-friendly curtain panels to more expensive sliding door dividers. If you're looking for something a little more unique, there are plenty of DIY ideas to try before committing to a permanent space partition.
12 Room Divider Ideas To Try Today
Creating a room divider can be an easy and affordable way to transform an open living plan. Here are a few room divider ideas, including DIY suggestions to get you started:
1. DIY Fabric Room Divider
A fabric room divider is an excellent option for adding privacy and style to a space. To create a DIY fabric room divider, start with a wooden frame and attach a piece of fabric to it using staples or glue. The material can be any color or pattern, depending on the desired look. Consider using a thick fabric to block light and sound for a more functional room divider.
2. Hack an IKEA Room Divider
A popular room divider solution from IKEA is the KALLAX shelving unit. With the KALLAX, you have a range of sizes to choose from, starting from a single cube to an expansive 72″ tall and wide storage unit. This versatility allows for many possibilities in using it as a room partition.
Stack and secure KALLAX shelf units of various sizes together to create a large-scale room divider for a more dramatic effect.
Consider an IKEA hack to create a one-of-a-kind room divider. For example, attach three IVAR side posts with hinges to create a folding screen. Then, cover the openings with cane webbing or jute rope for a unique room divider.
3. Customize a Folding Screen
Folding screens are a versatile option for large room dividers. They can create a private space or add visual interest to a room. For a creative room divider, get a cheap folding screen and customize the panels with paint, fabric, or peel-and-stick wallpaper to complement your home decor.
4. Hang Up Curtains
Curtains are a simple and inexpensive way to create a hanging room divider. Popular choices include beaded, sheer, and string curtains. Measure the height and width of the area you want to divide and purchase curtains slightly longer and wider than the space. Hang the curtains from the ceiling or use a tension rod to position them between two walls or other surfaces.
5. Make Use Of Sliding Doors
Sliding doors are a more permanent option for room dividers. They can be used to create a separate room or to close off an area of a larger space. Sliding doors come in various styles, including traditional barn doors, sleek glass doors, pocket doors, and modern metal doors. You can hang them from a track on the ceiling or mounted on a wall, depending on the design and layout of the room.
6. Create a Bookcase Room Divider
Bookcases are perfect for small spaces where a permanent wall isn't an option. They create physical and visual separation while providing new storage surfaces for books and decor.
To create a freestanding bookshelf room divider:
- Start with a tall, sturdy bookshelf and place it perpendicular to the wall.
- Anchor the bookshelf to the wall to minimize the risk of tipping over.
- Fill the bookshelf with books, plants, and other decorative items to create a functional and stylish room divider.
- Always put heavier items on the bottom shelf for more stability.
Another idea is to use a built-in bookcase as a room divider. This type of bookcase is perfect for creating a permanent separation between two areas. It can be customized to fit any space and provides ample storage space for books, decor, and other items. A built-in bookcase can also create a focal point in a room, such as a fireplace or a TV.
7. Go Green for Natural Boundaries
Greenery is a great way to add a natural touch to any room while serving as a creative divider. You can build a living wall by mounting planters on a wall or using a modular system to create a custom living wall. Succulents, ferns, and other low-maintenance plants are great options for a living wall.
Creating a plant screen is another way to use greenery as a room divider. This can be done by arranging potted plants to create a natural barrier between room areas. For example, tall plants like bamboo or fiddle leaf figs can make a privacy screen, separating a living space from a dining area.
If you want to create a more unique and eye-catching room divider, consider using hanging plants. Do this by hanging plants from the ceiling using macrame hangers or other hanging planters. This creates a refreshing partition that also adds visual interest to the space.
8. Soundproof Your Room With Dividers
Consider using acoustic panels to create a soundproof partition. This clever room divider idea is beneficial in shared spaces, such as a home office, where privacy and noise reduction are essential factors to consider. The acoustic panels are usually made of foam in 3D designs, with varying noise-reduction abilities.
Stick the foam pads on three wooden boards. Attach the wood panels to each other with hinges. Et voilà! A custom sound-blocking room divider.
9. Open Up With a Short Wall Divider
Another option is to create a partial or low wall divider. This is a practical idea for the entryway as it partitions without making it feel cramped or closed off.
You can use shoe cabinets or short BILLY bookcases from IKEA. Place the two units back to back and secure them together. Add a wood countertop on the bookshelf and cover the sides with trim for a built-in look.
10. Get Knotty With a Macrame Room Divider
Macrame room dividers are a great way to add a bohemian touch to any space. These hand-woven pieces can be made from various materials, such as cotton, jute, or hemp, and knotted the way you like. They can be hung from the ceiling or attached to a wooden frame for stability.
Macrame room dividers can also create a cozy reading nook or shield a balcony space without blocking light.
11. Make a Pallet Room Divider
Pallets are a versatile and affordable material you can repurpose into DIY room dividers. Pallet room dividers can be made by stacking pallets on top of each other or by attaching them with hinges. They can be painted or stained to match the decor of the room.
Pallet wood may be rough and nail-ridden, so spend some time sanding the wood down and removing the nails before painting or staining.
12. Picture This for a Room Divider Idea
Picture frames can be repurposed into a unique and artistic room divider. They can be attached to each other with eye-hooks and hung from the ceiling with chains. Place images in some of the frames and leave a few empty. Mix and match different-sized frames to create a hanging gallery wall.
A room divider is an easy item to add to your home furnishing. It immediately adds a personalized touch to your room and creates intimate spaces for conversation, working from home, or getting a good night's sleep. If your open-plan studio apartment feels less than cozy, wait no more. It's time to divide and conquer.
Jules Yap is the founder of IKEA Hackers, a site dedicated to capturing amazing IKEA hacks from all over the world. She is a self-taught DIYer who believes that anyone can add their personal style to mass market furniture. Jules has two IKEA hacks on the permanent collection of the M+ Museum in Hong Kong and has been featured on The New York Times, Slate, 99% podcast and New Straits Times.