How to Make Cheap Room Dividers

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Folding screens and repurposed doors make good room dividers.
Image Credit: TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images

You're sick of work-sleep-living in one cramped studio space. Making your bed is a daily travail, but staring at the rumpled comforter from the breakfast bar is depressing. You desperately need a one-bedroom apartment but that rent's not happening -- so cheap out and create a clever room divider from found objects, leftovers and craftsy little projects. Everyone will think you are uber-stylish and brilliant, and you can stop worrying about the unmade bed.

Window Shade

Scour flea markets for old wood-framed windows -- the more personality they have, the better. Look for multiple mullions, stained glass inserts, shabby and crazed frame paint, even odd shapes. Drill holes at the compass points in each frame and attach the frames together to form one or more large, hanging panels. Screw hooks into the ceiling joist closest to the ideal place for a divider; add eye hooks at the tops of the panels, and hang the windows to create a "wall." Fasten the panels to the floor with hooks and eyes if it's important that they remain immobile. For more privacy when most of the window glass is clear, apply colored or frosted film to the glass for a nearly opaque or tinted light filter.

Fairy Frame-Up

Knock together three rectangular wood frames and hinge them to make a stand-alone folding screen. Paint the wood to match or complement your decor. Screw small hooks around the inside of each frame and weave a web of fairy light strings, crisscrossing from hook to hook in the frame. Connect the strings along the bottom of the frames; arrange the privacy screen in place, and plug in the lights for a twinkly space transformation.

Water Works

Repurpose plastic to make your divider. Cut the bottoms off clear plastic water or soda bottles with corrugated -- bumpy -- bases. The knobby bases look a little like abstract five-petaled flowers. Poke or drill holes at the top, bottom and both sides of the bases and attach them to each other on all four sides with silver binder rings to create rows that form a "curtain." Add rings to the top row to slip over a curtain rod or tightly drawn wire. Don't make holes in the very bottom of the last row of bottle bases. Hang the curtain of plastic flowers to define two separate spaces in one room.

Staged Curtain

Take one or more natural canvas dropcloths from the hardware store, and hem the top and bottom. Punch metal grommets along the top hem. Insert rings into the grommets and tuck small weights at regular intervals into the lower hem. Mount a pole or curtain rod on the ceiling, fastened securely to the ceiling joist so the whole fabulous project remains hanging where you place it. Or use a taut wire instead, stretched between two eye-hooks screwed into the wall studs at ceiling height on opposite sides of the room. Hang the minimalist and very budget-friendly curtain from the top rings, sliding it open and closed as needed for privacy. The small weights will keep the curtain from blowing wildly in a breeze.

references & resources

Benna Crawford

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .