The best room divider ideas for small studio apartments and larger

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Whether you live in a studio apartment or have an open floor plan that's suddenly feeling a little cramped, Too Open spaces don't necessarily require walls to provide privacy within your home, and sometimes the next best thing is a simple room divider.

Solutions like folding screens require almost no effort to install, while others like built-in bookcases and non-structural walls require a bit more planning, meaning dividing up your space can be as complicated as you like. Try any of these shape-shifting hacks and you'll enjoy spacious living no matter what your layout is.

Headboard and closet divider

Leanne Kilroy designed her London bedroom to be circular, meaning she could walk around the freestanding wardrobe that doubles as the headboard. Not only did Kilroy realise that dead ends often lead to dark corners, but she also says that the open-air feel makes her life easier as a mother of three. “I'm always walking around with my arms full of things that need tidying and cleaning, and I end up forgetting things here and there. Having a shortcut is a small but constant joy,” she says.

White cabinet

Pax Wardrobe Frame, IKEA ($170)


Multi-room divider

Grace Lee Lim pulled off the seemingly impossible in this LA living room: She transformed it into three separate spaces without actually putting up drywall. First, she created a formal seating arrangement with swivel chairs that take in the outdoor views. She separated this area from the lounge with a fireplace using a rattan screen. Then, she created an entirely private office thanks to two well-stocked shelving units.

bedroom curtain divider

The space's sheer linen curtains, designed by Megan Grell and set on a curved rail hidden in the ceiling, can be drawn to completely conceal the sleeping area. Capture the moment for an easy way to transform a studio into an airy one-bedroom.

White Curtains

Textured Luxury Linen Curtains, West Elm ($149)


Tent-like room divider

To add even more whimsy to this British treehouse, Sophie Rowell of interior design firm Côte de Folk came up with the idea of ​​entering the master bedroom through a colorful patchwork curtain. Creating the tent-like shape took a bit of math and a seamstress' patience, but Rowell says the drama of the finished room was worth it.

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Glass room dividers

Lawyer Jessica Wright's Parisian-style space looks like an artist's loft, but it's divided by a 14-foot wall of glass and steel. A see-through divider separates the living room from the sleeping area, but it's airy and translucent curtains provide ample privacy when needed.

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Built-in divider in bed

Figuring out where to put a bed in a tiny studio apartment is always a challenge, but like most New Yorkers, Brett James found a way to make the most of his 442 square feet of space. A built-in headboard helped create the perfect place to hide the bed, but a freestanding option would also work for those who aren't handy with power tools.

Storage bed

Midcentury Headboard Storage Platform Bed, West Elm ($1,599, was $1,699)


Fringe Curtain Room Divider

in Homes for Rent in Kansas City, MissouriDesigner Spencer Saito chose a bamboo hanging that is attached to the ceiling. Bead varieties from the early 2000s We all had one in our bedrooms. It separates the dining area from the kitchen without taking away from the open feel of the floor plan. It really is the best of both worlds.

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Long sofa room divider

If your bedroom is also your living room, you need to make good use of your furniture. Jen Levy Her sunny 600-square-foot studio: A large cream-coloured sofa creates a clear boundary between the two.

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Arya Modular Sofa with Open End, Rove Concepts ($2,865)


“Fliglu” Room Divider

Photographer Thayer Gowdy wanted to include a refrigerator in her open-concept home in Ojai, California, but realized it wouldn't be ideal to have guests looking at the back of the fridge every time they sat on the couch. Her solution was a cleverly divided space with an arched structure (which she called “Friglu”) that not only houses electrical and plumbing, but also provides a place to display her extensive record collection on the other side. If you're not up for DIY projects, consider installing an arched cabinet on the other side of your large appliance to neatly hide any eyesores.

Black Cabinet

Darcy Wide Cabinets, McGee & Co. ($3,500)


Perforated Screen Room Divider

Natural light is key in a small space, so Sarah and Adam Gilmer wanted to screen off the adjacent breakfast nook, creating a relaxing space for the family, while blocking the sunlight streaming in through the staircase window. They opted for a perforated metal screen that not only blocks the sunlight, but also separates stair traffic from dinnertime.

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staggered stainless steel perforated sheet, online metal


Breezeblock Room Divider

Mariah Burton used Breezeblocks, the clear concrete blocks popular in the '50s and '60s, liberally to separate her living room from her kitchen. She simply stacked them and applied a sealant. When the light hits it just right, it casts beautiful geometric shadows on the floor and walls.

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Vista Breeze Block, Concrete Collaborative


Step Bookcase Room Divider

Graphic designer Timothy Goodman's bookshelf does two things at once: it partially conceals the bed while providing loads of storage. Symmetrical furniture like this is key to keeping the room feeling open and airy.

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Cube Organizer Shelf, Target ($45)


TV stand room divider

This 600-square-foot apartment only had one wall to display art, so designer Charlotte Sylvain of Studio Fauve came up with an ingenious invention: a combination media console and banquette with a remote-controlled lift that hides (or reveals!) the flat screen with the push of a button. When the TV is left up, it separates the living and dining areas.

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Rosanna Ceravolo Media Console, West Elm ($1,279 was $1,599)


Large leaf room divider

Designer Jess Blumberg divides her bedroom space with a butterfly chair and a collection of tall plants, including sansevieria and palm trees. Even in the smallest of rooms, there's always room for a little jungle.

Palm tree

Large Majesty Palm, The Sill ($228)


Built-in shelf room divider

DIY blogger Kirsten Diane didn't make this room divider for a studio apartment, but that doesn't mean you can't apply her minimalist bookshelf idea to a studio apartment. If you plan on staying in the same place for a long time, consider buying a more permanent room divider that stretches from floor to ceiling.

Wooden shelf

Index Bookcase, Barrow ($679, was $799)


Cafe curtain room divider

While it's nice to have a pass-through that creates a connection when you're cooking for friends, it doesn't mean you want the smell to linger forever. Quick fix: Hang some cut-to-size curtains (ombré is optional). See you on the other side.

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Twill Stripe Cafe Curtains, Target ($23)


Ask Domino

What are Domino editors' favorite room dividers?

“I'm a big fan of using bookshelves as room dividers,” says Domino's style editor Julia Stevens. “Partially filling them with bookshelves allows you to see into the rest of the space, without the risk of dividing the entire room like a folding screen or wall would. Alternatively, you can't go wrong with a long sofa. Want to add height to your divider? Place a slim console behind the sofa and style it with plants, books, and cordless lamps.”

Can I DIY my own room dividers?

Whether you're looking to separate the living room from the bedroom in a studio apartment or add privacy to an open-concept living/dining room, you can make your own divider in a pinch. Laurence Lienert, artist and founder of Moroccan brand LRNCE, attaches handmade textiles to the ceiling with metal hooks, making them the perfect hanging divider if you have the right space. But if you're looking for something a little more sturdy, why not dream big and create a movable wall, like Anthony D'Argenzio did in his This Old Hudson rental. All you need is a ceiling rail, some iron hangers, a vintage door, and a little patience.

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