Often the best way to deal with space-planning challenges is to divide and conquer. Room dividers can make all the difference when it comes to providing privacy, concealing a cluttered work space, or separating living and sleeping areas. Room dividers can make two spaces out of one, such as when used to set off an entryway or dining nook from the living room.
To carry out these looks, you need a way to visually separate the spaces. Instead of resorting to the old standby of plants stacked on top of a bookcase, why not make something that’s personalized and tailored to your space. There’s a wealth of ways to make your own room divider, and some of them are even portable. Here are several creative ideas:
Hang and Drape
Curtains offer light and airy visual screening, and as room dividers they can be sized up or down to meet your needs. For example, you can make an easy, portable divider for privacy in a dorm room or studio apartment by hanging a curtain panel on a wheeled garment rack. Larger curtain panels can be hung from the ceiling with hooks spaced at intervals along the curtain’s top edge; make loops from ribbon, twill tape, or bead chain to suspend the panel at the desired height. Another option is to run the curtain on a wire strung across the space to be divided. You can purchase one of the kits that are commercially available, or do it yourself with picture wire, turnbuckles, and eyelet screws. Make sure the ends of the wire are firmly attached to the wall studs or anchors suitable for the wall surface. Bedsheets and drop cloths are thrifty fabric sources for any of these options, and you can decorate the plain curtains using fabric paint with stencils or rubber stamps.
Assemble and Connect
Slices of PVC pipe, turned on their sides and adhered together; old vinyl phonograph albums, joined through holes drilled into their edges; or the flower-shaped bases of plastic soda bottles might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to room dividers. But when decorated and assembled into a panel, as many inventive DIY’ers have done, these assorted materials divide the space stylishly. Other examples of this nearly limitless concept include room dividers assembled from crocheted doilies, hearts or other shapes cut from colorful cardstock, curtains made from lengths of ribbon, or ropes tied in plain or fancy knots. Most of these assemblage dividers will need to be suspended from the ceiling, so include the installation of sturdy ceiling hooks in your divider plans.
Salvage and Repurpose
A folding screen is a time-honored way to divide a room, so why not make your own screen by hinging together salvaged materials such as old doors, garden gates, or pallets? You can add storage options with shelves and hanging hooks, or hinge together bookshelves for your screen panels. Other salvaged materials can be permanently installed. For example, consider a floor-mounted screen made from peeled and cleaned tree branches, or a ceiling-hung garage door. You can even mount a repurposed barn or garage door with appropriate hardware to slide it out of the way or roll it up or down as needed. To successfully pull off a salvaged room divider, you need a source of materials as well as reasonably adequate know-how with refinishing and installation techniques.
Room dividers don’t have to be expensive to be unique and exciting. With basic DIY knowledge and an eye for inviting combinations of materials, you can divide and conquer your space in a creative way that enhances the room while expressing your personal style.