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Six Creative Ways to Divide a Room in Two

Explore ways to divide an open-concept space into rooms with furniture and home décor.

The open-concept design has begun to lose its charm for many homeowners as the world has grown to accept the new normal of virtual workplaces and schools. Creating a remote workspace away from the office has become vital to mental health. The same can be said for any room in the home. The division of living rooms and dining rooms is now sought after where it used to be considered “stuffy.”

Whether you’re designing a mid-century modern apartment or renovating an entire home, browse our six tips for dividing a room into two spaces below.

Special thanks to @tribedesigngroup and @mc1rstudio for two of the designs in our featured image.

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Use a Mid-Century Modern Bookshelf or Cabinet

A bookshelf or cabinet is a good way to create partitioned spaces, such as dividing the living room and dining room of an open-concept home.In many cases where a light design depends on open space, a bookshelf can still allow for more light in the room while creating a sense of division.

tall cabinet can be paired with other furniture items to help segment space when light isn’t as big a consideration. Consider placing two back-to-back cabinets to maximize storage and add division to a room.

Temporary Room Dividers

Using furniture to divide a room isn’t always ideal, and this is especially true for spaces that are limited on space, such as many apartments. When an open, albeit small, room needs to be divided, consider a more temporary solution. Some ways to divide a room involve little or no alteration to the space. Here are some ways to do this without violating rental agreements.

Folding & Accordion Doors

While styling these doors might be a fun challenge in some designs, many of these door types require minimal installation, which is favorable with rental properties or homeowners that may want to remove these doors later.

Standalone Room Dividers

Typically, the biggest consideration for stand-alone dividers is that these folding screens fit in any space and can easily be packed up for moving. Additionally, they come in numerous styles so that you can explore a client’s tastes and unique needs for the space they are partitioning.

Curtains as Dividers

In some cases, neither stand-alone dividers nor folding doors are ideal for a space. Another consideration would be curtains. Easy to install, curtains add an unexpected element to a design and accent an existing structure, like in the image pictured below.

Curtains can also be a temporary solution when a home is undergoing renovations or provide the added benefit of affordability. A cost-effective solution might be an attractive option for clients investing the bulk of their budget into luxury mid-century modern furnishings.

Renovate with Half Walls

Half walls, both vertical and horizontal, can also help divide a room into two spaces. While reserved for property owners, using half walls is an excellent way to break up space without impacting your lighting design. It’s also a good opportunity to explore other ways to add light to a room due to the addition of walls. There are numerous other opportunities that the addition of a half-wall design can provide.

Mid-Century Modern Console Tables

With a new wall, even a partial one, comes a new design. We recommend utilizing console tables for horizontal and vertical half walls to add to the aesthetic and provide a functional space in the room.

Use Paint or Color to Divide a Room into Two Spaces

In many homes, but especially condominiums and townhouses, it’s common for the living space to blend into the dining or kitchen spaces. Permanent renovations may not be possible, and many residents enjoy their open floor plans. Of course, furnishings like side chairs, sofas, and barstools can help provide some visual division, but you may want something a little bolder to define each space. By painting a few walls or following a distinct color palette within each room, you can create a cohesive look that separates your spaces—and brightens up your home.

Go for Contrast

Using contrasting colors makes for a bold yet elegant way of dividing two spaces. Perhaps you paint a wall in your living room a vibrant teal or elect to panel a wall in polished mahogany. You would then want to choose a more neutral color for your kitchen, a particularly wise choice if you have darker cabinetry since it will add even more dimension to the space. You could also elect to keep the walls neutral and use the color of the furniture to divide the room into two. Browse our materials and finishes to find a palette that speaks to you and will complement the palette in the second space.

Use High Headboards to Divide a Space

City-dwellers that call studio apartments home can attest to how it can be difficult to have a sense of privacy when not even a wall separates the bedroom and living room. For those that can’t make structural changes to their home, simply utilizing a high headboard can help in providing a sense of separation and privacy.

When designing a mid-century modern bedroom, there is a lot of flexibility with the style. Both designer and client can be creative in finding ways to divide a space design for relaxation and sleep from an area of the home that most often sees activities and remote work.

Use Plants for Creative Ways to Divide a Room

Plants are a simple, stylish way to elevate the look of a room and divide the space all at once. Potted plants are a classic favorite; they work particularly well in living rooms with plenty of natural light. Hanging plants can play an even larger role in dividing a room in two, creating designated spaces while enhancing the visual appeal of your home. Spring for a succulent garden, as these plants often require less maintenance and remain relatively small. In this example, hanging plants and the Belmont Console Table are used to help provide privacy in front of this window. Plants can function in much the same way to divide a room.

Image provided by @karimcintoshdesign

Things to Consider Before Dividing a Room

When it comes to style, decisions should be made with care and consideration. You want your space to be both functional and fashionable at the same time. You will want to think a few things through as you dream up ways to divide your room into two distinct spaces.

Division May Add Natural Light — or take it away

Most people crave some natural light in their space, even those of us pursuing a particularly moody aesthetic. Color, furniture, and decor have a lot of impact on a room’s natural light. If you’re craving a bit more sunlight, steer away from heavy drapery and opt for a sheer curtain instead. When choosing paint or furniture color, remember that darker walls and darker upholstery will absorb light, while lighter furniture and white walls will reflect it. Be strategic about where you place any dividing furniture, and consider how natural dividers, such as tall cabinets, might cut off light between one space and another.

You May Encounter Property Restrictions if you are Renting

Those renting a space should consult with their landlord regarding property restrictions before making any major changes inside their home. Some properties will allow tenants to paint if they agree to re-paint when they move out. Other properties have strict policies against paint or alteration of any kind. In these types of residences, select other methods of dividing a room in two: using bookshelves and cabinets, temporary room dividers, different elevations of furniture, or cohesively colored upholstery and furnishings.

Pets can Provide Extra Challenges

Pets are part of the family, no doubt about it. Their behaviors and needs will likely determine how you set up your space and the kind of furniture you purchase. You will also want to think about these needs and behaviors when rearranging your space. Hanging plants may present a problem, as both dogs and cats enjoy batting at dangling objects. Temporary room dividers such as curtains or accordion doors may also prove to be a bit of a hazard, as pets may tear them down or knock them over. Of course, our four-legged friends should not hold us back from making the most of our space, but they should play a part in deciding what’s best for your home and your family.

Image provided by Jill Geisdorf of Chic on the Cheap

Frequently Asked Questions

Curious about how to divide a room into two spaces? Read the questions we’ve received about this and our answers below.

How do you divide a room into two?

Anything from stand-alone dividers that won’t alter the architecture to renovating a home and adding walls can create division between a living room and dining room—or any other part of the home. Consider dividers, curtains, and even furniture for partitioning off a space.

What can be used as a room divider?

As far as materials go, this is highly dependent on personal tastes. Materials can be a patchwork of vinyl records suspended on a wall or elegant, like a mid-century modern bookshelf that provides privacy with little light disruption. Many homeowners choose to simply erect half-walls to both create privacy and add function in the form of shelving or space to style a tall cabinet.

How do you separate a room with no doors?

Rounded walls can help create a sense of privacy in a space. For situations where architectural changes aren’t an option, entertainment centers and mid-century modern bookshelves designed to be more open are great options for creating rooms without altering the architecture.

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