Make Space With Clever Room Dividers

These room dividers not only maximize space but also double as works of art. Check out how some designers divided (and conquered!) using bookshelves, curtains, metal and more.
By: Colleen Sullivan

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Create a Multi-Use Divider

This room divider not only separates the master bedroom and sitting area from the bathroom, it also doubles as a headboard. "By adding a cantilevered shelf to the other side of the headboard, I was able to create a makeup vanity in the bathroom area, says Kimberley Selden, designer and owner of Kimberly Selden Design Group, Toronto, Canada.

Custom Upholstered Room Divider

Delineate a work area from sleep or living space by customizing inexpensive, bi-fold doors to create a one-of-a-kind room divider. Get step-by-step instructions from designer Brian Patrick Flynn.

Light Up Your Divider

These spalted maple fins provide privacy between the dining and living room areas, while adding a bit of architecture and proportion to the room. They’re wired with incandescent bulbs set on dimmers to create the perfect ambiance for dining. Design by Betty Wasserman Art and Interiors, New York City, NY.

Try a Semi-Transparent Metal

"I created this three-panel screen out of a fine chain-link stainless steel mesh, then mounted it on a traversing track. It acts as a backdrop to the dining and living room area while still permitting light to filter through," says Maia Winter, owner, Wintercreative Interior Design, Scottsdale, AZ.

Control Drafts

"I found an old paned window at a salvage yard and cut it down to fit the opening between the entry and dining room. It not only looks cool, but it cuts down on drafts," says Emily Jones, graphic designer and owner of Jones Design Company, Seattle, Washington.

Double Up on Dividers

"We utilized two dividers in this room — the screen with its starburst pattern provides privacy and a beautiful look-through to a small garden, while the fireplace gives shape and structure to an otherwise open space," say designers Guy and Karen Vidal, owners, Design Vidal, Silver Lake, California.

Carve Out a Workspace

"This vintage screen walls off an area of office space in my dining room. I bought it on Craigslist for $50 and then painted it a grayish-white to make it more tonal with my wall color. These see-through cutouts remind my family I'm close by if they need me, but that I still have to get work done," says Jennifer Bertrand, designer and HGTV Design Star season three winner.

Create Interest at the Bottom of the Stairs

This screen rests at the bottom of the stairs and was used in place of a railing. It mimics a piece of furniture and the square design adds an interesting textural element to the area. Design by Guy and Karen Vidal, owners Design Vidal, Silver Lake, California.

Put Your Divider on Track

"I needed to create a transition between the homeowner's office and the lounge area, but didn't want to shut off the space with a traditional wall and door. These wide wood barn doors allow for both privacy and openness, says Betty Wasserman, owner and designer, Betty Wasserman Art and Interiors, Ltd., New York City, NY.

Build in a Study Area

There are only three rooms in this home — a bedroom, bathroom, and open living space that includes the kitchen. These hardware-free walnut storage cabinets divide the living area and bedroom, and include shelving, hanging rods and drawers. A space-saving cutout is a perfect spot for a desk. Design by Matthew Hufft, creative director, Hufft Projects, Kansas City, Missouri.

Keep the (Barn) Door Open

This sliding barn door references the surrounding buildings on this farm. Made of reclaimed wood, it separates the bedroom from the bath, embracing the traditional farmhouse in a modern way. Design by Matthew Hufft, creative director, Hufft Projects, Kansas City, Missouri.

Enhance your Foyer

You're greeted by this steel rod screen as soon as you walk in the door of this midcentury modern house. Softer than a solid wall, the rods allow light to carry through beyond the foyer. The screen's box shelf holds keys and mail, while the two detached ottomans provide a place to take off your shoes. Design by Matthew Hufft, creative director, Hufft Projects, Kansas City, Missouri.

Define a Foyer

"Without this divider, the front door would open directly into the living area and you'd see the lake view as soon as you entered the house. I created this diamond peek-a-boo wall to give visitors a glimpse of the water without giving everything away, " says Kimberley Selden, designer and owner of Kimberly Selden Designs, Toronto, Canada.

Add Some Personality

"The idea was to conceal an ugly kitchen vent and create a focal point above the banquette, so I designed a modern version of a shoji screen. To make it more personal, I took words from an Arabic prayer the homeowner learned as a child and stenciled them on the Plexiglas using silver paint," says Betty Wasserman, owner and designer, Betty Wasserman Art and Interiors, Ltd., New York City, NY.

Add Height to a Room

"We love how this wood divider draws the eye up, giving the illusion of height in this longish room. It also echoes the shapes in the art nearby, making it feel like a continuation of the painting, say Guy and Karen Vidal, owners, Design Vidal, Silver Lake, California.

Add Drama on a Stair Landing

"We inserted Moroccan screens into two of the three openings at the top of these stairs. Both anchor the center arch but don't touch the ground or the ceiling, providing an airy feel. The dark wood on these dividers plays off the highly saturated colors around them," say Guy and Karen Vidal, owners and designers, Design Vidal, Silver Lake, California.

Create Extra Seating

"The divider was original to this midcentury home, so I restored the tracking system and counter before backlighting the burlap panels. The amber glow filters through the panels mimicking candlelight, while the counter provides the perfect spot for sitting and serving," says Shannon Baird, designer and owner of SBaird Design, Portland, Oregon.

Divide a Room With Furniture

This floating bookshelf defines the entryway so you don't walk right into the living room and kitchen area; it also an ideal spot for picture frames, books and plants. Design by Garrison Hullinger, owner and principal designer of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, Portland, Oregon

Add to Your Art Collection

"Screens create the perfect finishing touch to a blah corner, plus a tall divider adds height to a room that may need it. This one has a distinctive seventies flair but the bold squares make it modern, says Jonathan Adler, potter, designer and author.

Use Bookshelves to Define a Room

"These mahogany bookcases define the foyer, dining and living room area without compromising the open feel; they also provide a creative way to display sculptures and artwork. The use of pure square design is a theme you'll see throughout this room and the house — on these dividers, the windows, even the stair balusters," says Shelby Littlefield, interior designer, Siemasko + Verbridge, Beverly, Massachusetts.

Hide Clutter

This curved partition cleverly conceals the mudroom while adding architectural interest to the lower level of this home. The blue adds a pop of color and ties the inside of this beach house to the ocean outdoors, while the square cubes provide holding spot for fun finds. Design by Shelby Littlefield, interior designer Siemasko + Verbridge, Beverly, Massachusetts.

Say It With Sheers

The brown and white curtain casually defines the space between the home office and lounge area. It operates on a track, so it's easy to pull back when guests want to fully enjoy the beautiful northern light. Design by Shelby Littlefield, interior designer, Siemasko + Verbridge, Beverly, Massachusetts.

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