24 Creative Ways to Create Space Using a Room Divider

updated Jul 28, 2023
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Curtain as a divider in Megan Hopp's apartment

Whether you have a studio apartment or a five-bedroom home, sometimes there just aren’t walls where you need them to be. But going for a full-on reno is pricey to say the least, or if you’re renting, not an option at all. 

Room dividers are a great way to break up your space and can also double as décor, even in a small bedroom or small living room. Your options include folding dividers, curtains, large bookcases as room dividers, and more. You can use them to change up the layout of a room, provide extra privacy, maximize storage space, or just create a change of scenery.

So ahead, 24 room divider ideas you can use to create a customized space that’s rental- and budget-friendly.

1. Go green.

Aurora Yim, who lives in a Brooklyn studio apartment, separates her sleeping space from her living space with a vertical plant stand attached to the foot of her bed. You can add height for extra privacy. 

2. Separate kids’ spaces. 

This kids’ bedroom in Yonkers, New York features an Ikea KALLAX shelving unit that separates 12-year-old Phia’s space from 5-year-old Anthony’s. It offers functional storage for toys and personal items, while creating a sense of privacy.  

3. Use a curtain. 

No bedroom? No problem! A curtain at the foot of the bed creates a sense of privacy in this Los Angeles 400-square foot studio apartment.

4. Use a bamboo divider.

If you’re lucky enough to find one, a bamboo screen makes a perfect room divider idea, since it can provide some sense of privacy without blocking light. We love this vintage find from @opshopgirlsvintage

5. Feature a dramatic image.

If you have a space that requires complete privacy, consider using a screen like the one here by @crindelbohemian. This one features gorgeous, Asian-inspired art that’s so enticing to look at, you’ll hardly notice it blocks a bit of light from the windows. 

6. Incorporate a partial divider.

Sometimes, a room divider isn’t for privacy, but rather just to visually break up a space. In those cases, try adding just a partial divider, like the one shown here by @bhhcarpentry. This custom-made shelving system allows for extra storage while expertly separating the dining room from the living room. 

Credit: @lebanorge

7. Go modern minimalist.

We’re in love with this stunning room divider by @lebanorge. This custom piece uses glass framed with black window panes to completely divide the space. If you have the budget and you’re looking for room divider ideas, this is one of our favorites. 

Credit: Level Studio

8. Add a fireplace divider.

Looking for room divider ideas to make things more private and cozy? You can’t beat a divider with a built-in fireplace, like the one shown here by Level Studio in Toronto. This relatively simple upgrade gives you the added bonus of having a fireplace in both spaces. And we’ll call that a win-win! 

Credit: Liza Taney

9. Repurpose a clothing rack.

This studio apartment separates a bed from the rest of the space with a clothing rack that houses décor rather than clothes.

10. Bring in some curtains

The bedroom in this NYC home doesn’t have a door, so curtains get the job done in a snap. We love how their color contrasts against the printed wallpaper in the living room.

11. Repurpose shutters.

The room divider separating the bed from the front door of this NYC studio apartment is actually custom window shutters. They offer privacy when closed and natural light when opened.

12. Line up a bookshelf.

Bookworm or not, a bookshelf can be a stylish and effective way of breaking up a space and separating out different “rooms” or areas. This Pennsylvania loft in an old textile factory shows how a piece like this can look like it was almost built into the space.

13. Create a wall of plants.

A wall of plants is the perfect thing to section off a space and make for more privacy. This crafty loft uses a shelving unit to close off the bedroom area while also providing a statement piece and a workspace. Talk about resourceful!

14. Use curtains to section of a sleeping area.

For ultra tiny living, you have to get creative. Curtains are usually a great option to turn to, as demonstrated in this itty bitty trailer.

15. Add a barn door.

For a bigger project, you can install a barn door to break up space. This home in Valencia shows how you can easily break up an open floor plan with a sliding door.

(Image credit: VT Wonen)

16. Get folding screens.

These pretty folding screens with cutouts are on casters, which makes them easy to move around.

17. Strategically place your furniture.

You don’t always have to go shopping for brand new dividers to split up a space. This Los Angeles studio shows how you can break up a room with furniture you already have—in this case a couch—making your sleeping space feel more separate from your living room.

(Image credit: Jay’s Chelsea Loft)

18. Create a shelf wall.

Stacked shelves from IKEA were framed with millwork in this Chelsea apartment to create a barrier between a functional entryway and a bedroom. Not only does it serve as a wall, but it comes with plenty of extra storage space, too.

Credit: Sophia Hardy

19. Play with levels.

Splitting up a room doesn’t mean you have to create a “wall.” Instead of visually closing things off, play with different levels within a room instead. Take, for instance, this cozy bedroom that features an elevated bed with built-in stairs. 

20. Section off an area with a rug.

While the chairs, couch, and tables make this area in a Detroit loft look like its own separate room, the rug is what really pulls it together. Using a color that deeply contrasts against your floor can help create “boundaries” in a space.

21. Craft temporary dividers.

How about a temporary wall? The owners of this Dutch home got creative and made two wooden partitions to separate their kids’ beds, allowing for a little more privacy and a small entryway.

22. Separate a multipurpose space.

A desk, bookshelf, and area rug in this Miami apartment shows how the right pieces can make a studio feel like it actually has rooms, or at least designated areas. You’ve got a place to eat, sleep, and work—no doors necessary.

23. Incorporate a bar table.

Extra storage and a room divider? It’s a win-win. The underside of this rolling cart table in an Oakland apartment serves as a movable form of kitchen organization. Plus, it breaks up the space between the kitchen and rest of the house, creating a mini dining area.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

24. Pick up beads or a wall hanging.

If it’s simply a doorway that’s preventing you from really separating your spaces, a curtain of beads is one of the easiest solutions, as seen in this Brooklyn apartment.

Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann