Published March 05, 2013
Studio apartments can be cozy and easy on the budget, but there is no question that they pose a certain organizational challenge. There is a need for division of space and use, while maintaining flexibility and a sense of openness. And, if you’re a renter, you are likely unable to make permanent structural changes to your space either. Here is a roundup of five brilliant room divider ideas that are functional, attractive and can be managed at many budget levels.
Rooms have been divided by curtains, or tapestries, for eons. Large swaths of fabric hung on simple rods can be dramatic and romantic and are easy to open and close. Best of all, while these do take yards and yards of fabric, the fabric itself doesn’t need to be high-cost. Simple muslin or painter's cloth comes in large sizes and cost a few dollars per yard. Finish the panels with simple seaming and hang off rods with clip rings for easy installation and movement. But you can also create a simple pocket across the top and run the rod through for a gathered treatment. This style is a little harder to open and close so make sure you make deep pocket for ease of movement.
Bookcases make excellent room dividers for a more architectural look that also provides great storage. Open bookcases (those with no backs) are light and airy in feel, but standard cases will provide a level of privacy and are a great idea for blocking off a bedroom area. It’s very important that these cases be bolted or otherwise stabilized so that they can’t be pushed over.
For a lighter look and more flexibility than book case dividers, room screens provide a more solid look than curtain dividers, but are movable and highly decorative. Shoji screens offer a clean yet exotic look that can sit on the floor or be hung from the ceiling. Paneled screens can be painted, mirrored or dressed with photographs, small paintings or fabric. These traditional room dividers are the most personalized and decorative of the category.
For a more expensive option, panel track systems usually used on windows can also be used as room dividers. These offer a modern, high-tech look that is attractive and functional. Cover up a kitchen wall or the bedroom area. Panels are modern looking yet provide a great deal of privacy without totally blocking the light. This is an excellent option for those looking for a clean look in their space. Installing the tracks that the panels hang from could require the help of a handyman; check with your landlord before installing the panels to ensure that you will get your security deposit back.
Free standing walls
Interior designer Vicente Wolf lives in a loft apartment in the Garment District in New York City. Large open spaces can be even more of a challenge than small spaces when it comes to dividing up the space. In order to create a sense of privacy for the bedroom area of his space, and to add additional storage, Wolf built a three-sided standing wall that backs up to his bed. A very theatrical, yet practical solution. One side of the wall is bedroom, the other side could be for display, covered storage or whatever is needed.
Linda Merrill is an interior designer who works with Boston painting contractors and writes for Networx.com.