Sometimes, your space or one of the rooms in your house just isn’t built the way you like it or it happens to be awkwardly shaped. This is true whether you’re living in a tiny studio apartment or a five-bedroom flat.
There are constraints to changing or renovating a space – whether it be budget, space, time, energy or building regulations. And when it comes to designing small living spaces, the main challenge is to make it feel spacious and cozy without sacrificing the functionality of different areas and the space as a whole.
It’s always tricky to divide a space, especially for open floor plans. But, there are various cost-effective ways to do that which can even lend personality and character without having you feel like you’re wasting precious real estate.
If you’re looking for a way to better optimize your small living space, uniquely define areas, increase storage space and adjust the layout to create extra privacy, then incorporating some of these brilliant room divider ideas might be the way to go.
1. Bookshelf divider
Whether you’re a book lover or not, using bookshelves to define spaces and areas in your home is a safe yet effective and attractive way. They come in various shapes and sizes making it a versatile option that can effortlessly fit different spaces.
There’s the common square or rectangle-shaped shelves with even numbers of rows and columns. You can go for multi-level shelves to add a bit more design. Then there’s the low shelf which allows you to put larger displays and decor on top if you don’t want to completely obstruct the ‘view’ to the other side of the room.
Display options and decors are endless and it’s really up to you to decide how you want your bookshelf divider to look. Books are the default option, of course. But don’t limit it to that. To make it more fashionable, place cute, trendy or meaningful small decors that speak to your personality and complement the room’s theme.
You can pack it up with books and other decorative stuff to enhance that closed-in effect. Or, you can keep a few, clean, simple items to still allow a few peeks and welcome the light through.
Photo source: BHG (Better Homes & Gardens)
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2. Plant divider
If you’re not looking to fill up an entire shelf with books, but looking for a little indoor garden, fill that partition shelf with plants instead. Welcome nature into your abode and enjoy the positive benefits and vibes that greenery can bring.
With the multitude of indoor plants to choose from, there are several ways to achieve this plant divider for any size and type of space you have.
- Most doable design is to get a bookshelf and fill it up with different kinds of plants
- Create an indoor wall garden either with hanging plants from the ceiling, or like those vertical green walls you see in malls
- Buy large, tall plants and place them side by side making a literal plant wall
The best thing about plant dividers is that there will always be light that can come through, that feeling of airiness is maintained. Also, having an area that illuminates the natural green color can breathe life in any space.
Photo source: NextLuxury
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3. Soft, hanging partitions
If space is tiny and limited, soft room dividers that hang from above may be your best option. Curtains do not take up additional space and are easy to install. They smoothly cordon off any specific space you want – usually the most common is to enclose the sleeping area from the rest of the space.
Another option is to hang strings of beads or woven strands and keep them untethered from the ground. This way, they have this constant soothing element of motion that also always makes them return to their place. So, there’s no struggle in maintenance here; plus, it’s a work of art on its own.
Furthermore, these are temporary dividers that could quickly be taken down, replaced, or redesigned whenever you feel like it.
One other option is a rope wall – thick, singular rope strands, each a centimeter or so apart and tied to the ceiling and ground, making it look like clean, natural lines serving as a light, airy divider. You can add a bit of the outdoor element here by tying plants onto the rope.
Photo source: Pexels | Max Vakhtbovych
Photo source: MorningChores
4. Sliding doors
If you’re looking for a bit of a DIY project, you can incorporate these sliding doors to divide your space. Albeit a more permanent way of dividing your space, the ‘sliding’ part of the design preserves the spaciousness of the room and does not make it feel cramped in the least.
There are different ways of making this ‘door’ both attractive and functional. You can opt for one that totally closes off and separates an area fully. Or if not, there is still a way for you to maintain the light flow from one space to the other.
For the former, you can install barn doors or any opaque material for that solid feel that can transform your studio apartment into a one-bedroom. With the latter, the doors can be translucent or clear glass. This way, the areas are totally separated but you can still clearly see the other spaces and light can still go through.
Best thing, you can close the space at times when you’re craving some privacy or quiet. And then, open it up to soak up that bigger space or when you’re having people over – which will look amazing especially if you install this between the indoors and outdoors like a patio or backyard.
Photo source: HGTV
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5. Folding screens or partial dividers
Not up for that DIY project in the previous point? Not to worry. Here’s another option that is very manageable, faster installation, easy maintenance and still, very decorative and stylish – folding screens
There are a plethora of designs to choose from. No matter what theme or style you currently have at home, you’ll most likely find the perfect folding screen that will fit it to a tee.
Folding screens have several advantages it can bring to a space, apart from simply serving as a partition, here are others:
- Adds new layer and depth to the interiors’ design and features
- An inexpensive work of art that can be a standalone decor
- Clearly defines a space but many design still allow light through, maintaining spaciousness and the flow of natural light
- Used as a shield for certain areas like secret doors or unused parts of a larger space (such as a fireplace); or to hide flaws and clutter
If you are not looking for something movable, you can input partial dividers. These do not completely block out a space but only serve as a subtle space separator. Similar to sliding doors, you have the option to go for solid designs or glass, depending on how open or defined you prefer the spaces in your home to be.
Photo source: Pexels | Mark McCammon
Photo source: House Beautiful
6. Decorative dividers
You can also go for dividers that serve as the accent piece for the design of your interiors. If you have a neutral or clean palette and theme going on, creative dividers will be able to spruce up the overall look and feel of your space.
There are different styles – solid, built-ins, hanging and many more. These are partial dividers that have a lot more character – having only one in a space or room is enough, two will be overwhelming.
For built-ins, they are installed from floor to ceiling and the central design comes in various shapes and forms. A simple design is to have several wooden bars installed side by side, creating a simple divider of straight lines. While other designs can range from Oriental, to South Asian, to country or European – basically any pattern you desire.
If you don’t want to limit yourself to a rectangular or square-shaped ceiling height partition, there are styles, shapes and materials to choose from. Many decorative dividers use wood, bamboo, and rattan – all looking very natural and soothing to the space.
Photo source: Decoist
Photo source: Decoratorist
7. Get a console
Looking for something simple and straightforward semi-partition but still help to artfully define a space? In this case, a console is your go-to. The beauty of this is it also gives you bonus storage benefits to keep that living area uncluttered.
Consoles are low shelves usually in plain designs and colors. There are open types with unencumbered frames while others come with closed cabinets, so matching it with your current theme will not be a challenge. It is also easy to decorate, simply place some small sculptures and decor on top or on its shelves to inject some personality and style.
These come in different lengths and can be moved around. You can place it in the exact spot where you want that defining line to be. Plus, it’s also not an expensive option and takes no time at all to install – only the shopping part might take a while.
Photo source: Lushome
Photo source: Houzz
8. Use furniture
Another easy method where you don’t need to invest on anything new is to use the current furniture you have and rearrange them to double as a room divider. A couch is the direct answer – movable with enough length and height. A sectional sofa is preferable because it can envelope an area in any type of space but if not, a two-seater should do the trick.
Large furniture can serve as your temporary divider – anything except your bed. When you use furniture to break up a space, just make sure it’s fitting enough to give you that feeling of a separate space you’re looking for and not make that piece feel out of place.
Couches as dividers are usually paired with a console of the same height or a partial divider behind it but it’s not a necessary partnership.
Photo source: Unsplash | Sidekix Media
Photo source: Pexels | Max Vakhtboych
9. Play with elevation
Sometimes, space is really limited. If you look at tiny homes, they use a lot of elevation to make use of height and extend their livable space. When it comes to defining a space, elevation can also be used. Many studio apartments, especially those of industrial or rustic designs, will have a step up when they reach the sleeping or rest area.
You can play with different levels to split up a room instead of having a ‘wall’. To do this, create a platform below your bed or give it some height of a few steps up. And while you’re at it, give that renovation a bit more functionality and transform those additional elevations into storage space.
This multi-function alternative is great for small spaces – they define a space and give you ample storage.
Creating a loft is a different story altogether because that would require a lot of work and your height should allow it. If this is possible for your space, this permanent change will totally transform your space, not simply divide it.
Photo source: Unsplash | Beazy
Photo source: Decoholic
10. Place a rug
Loving that open space layout but looking to add a bit more definition to the space? A rug will do that for you. Rugs are amazing design items that can do so much to the aesthetics and feel of any kind of space.
One of its common uses is to define a space. When you have an open layout, it could be challenging to design and define spaces while keeping it homey without certain areas feeling different from the rest.
Rugs can give you zones without making the area feel disjointed and is a softer substitute compared to shelves and doors. Plus, they do not take up additional precious space because it simply beautifies the same area where you put furniture and other decor on, making it perfect for a space or room of any size.
To make the visual separation and the rug stand out more, choose a deep contrast shade from your wall or other furniture or even try layering rugs to create an attractive, yet subtle design element. Just remember, there are important dos and don’ts for rugs.
Photo source: Unsplash | Andrea Davis
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