If you live in a small space, chances are good that you’re no stranger to creating creative ways to make the best use of your small space. Whether buying furniture that pulls double duty or opting for space-saving furnishings that take up minimal floor space, you’ve got to make the most of your small space down. However, what do you do when you need to make a small space (or any space, for that matter) more private?
While installing floating shelves or buying a fold-out couch might be easy, splitting your apartment or loft space into more functional and private rooms is a little more difficult. You can’t just throw up a wall, after all … But what if you could? A room divider or folding screen could be exactly what you need.
Whether you’re trying to separate your open-concept apartment’s kitchen area from the bedroom, or you’re a parent who needs to split a shared kids’ bedroom into distinct spaces, here are nine wall dividers that work in even your smallest spaces.
This elegant and on-trend accordion screen would look at home in any beachside cottage. Define separate areas in open floor plans or create a private sitting area in a bedroom. The rattan and brass combine to create a look that will work well with any color palette.
Don’t need a room divider? This screen would look great as a large accent piece in a broader space, against an otherwise empty wall or perhaps even in a corner.
For something with a little more color and vibrance, try this accordion 3-panel room divider with scalloped edges that comes in an array of patterns. Choose from running zebras against a red background (this pattern is based on another created in the 1940s specifically for use in an upscale Manhattan restaurant), cheetahs against a selection of colors or just a standard leopard print.
For a classic look at a budget price, look at this wood room divider from Wayfair. A true blend of function and fashion, the large divider features solid paneling that provides true privacy. The room separator measures 69 inches wide by more than 70 inches tall when fully extended. Choose between a bamboo-style frame or a black frame.
If you’re willing to sacrifice fashion for function entirely, you might want to go with this simple panel divider that features three white panels separated by some plain, black stands. This folding room divider is a little on the cubicle side, but it does the job.
If you don’t need a divider that will completely block someone’s vision on the other side, you might want to go with this stylish and minimalist divider that features a series of slats on a black frame. The single panel measures 60 inches wide, and there are no folds or hinges to work out. Just set up the panel right where you need it for separation between distinct areas of your home.
This 4-panel room divider is both stylish and budget-friendly. Plus, since it’s available on Amazon, you can expect to receive it quickly.
The divider is made from rice paper and pine wood and measures 70 inches wide and 70 inches tall when fully extended. The divider comes fully assembled and folds flat for easy storage.
This sturdy privacy screen looks like a series of shutters, attached four in a row. It comes fully assembled and features a series of handy shelves, nine in total. While the shelves aren’t terribly big, they are large enough to store some small decor pieces, house plants, or maybe some books or photo frames. The divider comes in either white or a natural wood hue.
If you’re looking at the room dividers above and thinking they’re still not large enough to meet your needs, you might consider this six-panel wooden room divider that measures an impressive 94.8 inches wide. The slatted, shutter-like design is still lightweight, even with the extra length, as the partition only weighs about 20 pounds.
You will have to do some basic assembly for this one, but nothing too tricky, and once the divider is assembled, it can be folded and stored flat. The divider comes in natural wood, rustic white or black.
This stylish, rattan foldable panel screen has a very luxurious, tropical resort-style feel. While the gaps between the individual screens make it less than ideal for privacy, and the rattan weave isn’t the thickest, if you’re looking to create a separation of space, this option can achieve just that in high style.
Room Divider Alternatives
Before spending cash on a new piece of furniture, consider that you might already have something in your home that could feasibly work as a makeshift room partition.
Have a few extra bookcases somewhere? You might be able to use them as dividers in specific spaces. While they won’t provide a high level of privacy, even if they are filled with books and knickknacks, tall bookcases can still create a separation of visual space. They’re ideal for separating office workspaces, living areas, kitchens, dining rooms or other similar spaces.
The bookshelf is the separator of choice for interior designer Chloe Charles. “A room divider can be a furniture item or a type of screen that divides or helps zone a space into smaller areas.” She continued, “The best room divider is an open-shelved bookcase unit. It’s not a permanent fixture and you can decide if you like the area partitioned off first. It’s easy to move to a wall or another part of the house if it doesn’t work for you.”
While it might feel a little too hospital-esque for a full-time solution, curtains can work in a snap if you need a DIY privacy divider sooner rather than later, and you don’t have time to wait around for shipping. With a tension curtain rod, a curtain and a little ingenuity, you can wrangle together a makeshift divider that fulfills its purpose for the time being.
Really! Whether real or fake, buying the right houseplants — think large and lush — can provide separation in a space that needs it most. With a few bushy palms, you can add some greenery to your home and create two distinct spaces as needed.
A clothing rack
If you’re dealing with a small space, like a studio apartment, that’s also short on closet and storage space, you can use a clothing rack as a divider. While not ideal for privacy, a clothing rack provides a separation of space — and it might inspire you to keep all your clothes nicely folded, hung and off the floor.
Why Buy a Room Divider
So why and when should you choose to buy a room divider over one of these other alternative options? There are a few key benefits that traditional room dividers provide that these other options just can’t.
Unless they’re one of the few types that require installation, room dividers can be easily moved around your home to fit varying purposes as your needs change. For example, maybe you need a room divider for the kids’ room only when your eldest daughter is home from college for the summer, but the rest of the year, you use the room divider in the den to create a more private space for your daily yoga and meditation.
You can’t move curtains or heavy bookcases around your house with the same ease and convenience.
Room dividers are designed — unless used in a corporate setting, as a makeshift cubicle wall — to be stylish additions to your home. Unlike curtains or houseplants, which can divide a space in a pinch but aren’t made for that purpose, room dividers are meant to divide, and they do it with panache.
Lots of options
Truly, if you want a room divider for your home, you can find a room divider that fits your particular home decor style. So whether your home is more rustic modern farmhouse, bohemian chic or industrial and sleek, there’s a room divider for you.
Easy to keep clean
Let’s face it — bookshelves and house plants gather dust like nobody’s business. You don’t want a big, dusty divider drawing attention away from the rest of your carefully-chosen decor.
If you know there’s no way you’ll be dusting between all those books or every individual plant leaf, if you go with either of these options to divide your space, save yourself some trouble and go with a traditional divider. Then, keeping it clean will be as easy as quickly dusting once a week.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Room Divider
Of course, before deciding to go with any room divider — or a room divider alternative — you’ll want to consider a few factors.
What size room divider do you need? If you’re working with a small space, you likely don’t want a divider. That will be more hassle than it’s worth. Avoid anything so big that’ll overwhelm your space or make it more difficult to move around as needed. If your room divider is in a high traffic area, where it’s likely to be bumped by children, pets or guests, it’s more likely the room divider could fall if not properly stabilized.
The most common type of room divider is a folding or accordion freestanding divider. These dividers are typically lightweight and either easy to assemble or come assembled. They’re versatile and provide varying levels of coverage.
Other options include hanging room dividers, but these typically require you to install some hardware on your ceiling or walls, making them less than ideal for those living in rental properties or who don’t want to deal with a divider that’s more of a permanent fixture.
Depending on the type of material your room divider is made from, it’ll provide varying levels of privacy. For example, wooden dividers typically provide high coverage, while rattan or wicker dividers may not provide as much privacy or noise blockage. On the other hand, dividers with fabric or paper screens, set within a wooden or metal frame, give the least amount of privacy and noise blockage.
Why are you shopping for a privacy panel?
Do you need it to block out sound and noise, to create a private home office in the corner of the living room? Then you might want to go with something a little bigger.
Do you need something that will provide privacy, such as a place to change in the corner of a studio loft? Then go with something that puts privacy first.
Do you want to create visual interest in your space as you block off various room areas for different uses? Then you may have more options, as you look for something that puts fashion first, rather than function.
Whatever your needs, keep them in mind as you shop, and don’t be distracted by stylish options that may not suit your intended purpose.
Just like all furniture, room dividers range in price. You can find room dividers for around $100 or room dividers for $10,000 or more.
If you only plan on using your room divider for a short time — such as in a shared kids’ bedroom until the eldest leaves for college next year or in an apartment that you plan on leaving soon — don’t drop a ton of money on your purchase. It might not be worth the investment.
However, if you’re shopping for a piece of decor you intend to use for years into the future, consider some of the more luxurious options.
The Perfect Division
Whether you need to create an intimate, solitary space in one of your home’s more common areas or create privacy where there currently is none, a divider can be the perfect solution.
You might also be interested in: 21 Home Decor Items Under $25 to Elevate Your Space
9 Room Dividers:
- Serena & Lily Balboa Screen
- The Inside by Havenly Scalloped Screen
- Rattan and Bamboo Room Divider
- Leveille Panel Room Divider
- AllModern Audra Single Panel Room Divider
- Roundhill Furniture Panel Wood Frame Divider
- Breault Panel Folding Room Divider
- Ecomex Six-Panel Room Divider
- Anthropologie Scarlett Rattan Room Divider Screen