While an open floor plan is often a highly desired layout, room dividers can help maximize space and compartmentalize a room in both a practical and decorative way. And since they often aren't a permanent or complete separation between rooms, your space will still look cohesive and provide a beautiful flow.
There are endless reasons and methods to divide a space into distinct areas. Whether you're looking for a more private sleeping zone in your studio apartment or an innovative way to carve out a working area within a larger space, we can assure you there's a perfect solution for your lifestyle.
Video of the Day
In order to create these distinct pockets, it pays to know what kinds of furniture and decor items can double as room dividers. To help you make the most of your home's open layout, we compiled a master list of chic and savvy room dividers, with a few tips from our favorite designers. From noise-dulling drapes to tall plants and more, here are 20 innovative ways to reinvent a room in style.
20 Room Divider Ideas to Compartmentalize Your Space
Large bookcases are a functional and efficient divider choice. If you're working with a studio apartment or oversize family room, this solution creates cozier areas without sacrificing the beauty of a big space.
Our pick: 17 Stories Bookcase, $199.99
2. Macrame Curtains
Macrame curtains add just the right amount of separation, without completely cutting you off from the rest of the room. This solution works great for small spaces since the translucence helps avoid any sense of confinement. Plus, macrame curtains are a strong aesthetic choice that will warm up any area.
Our pick: Maison Macrame Room Divider, starting at $195
3. Sliding Panels
Mount these woven track blinds to the ceiling and instantly create your desired separation. This solution allows you to easily open and close off the space to create a true multipurpose room.
Use furniture to separate an open area. "A sofa or console tables are great to visually divide two spaces while also providing the perfect spot to display your favorite objects," says John McClain of John McClain Design. "I also like to flank the console table with floor lamps to provide lighting for the space, and they also add a slightly taller visual separation."
5. Sliding Doors
Sliding doors are a beautiful and incredibly practical way to divide an open space. Opt for barn doors as shown above or a modern frosted glass option. This solution can make the two areas feel like completely separate rooms, so it's wonderful if you're looking to carve out a secluded sleeping area from a greater living space.
6. Folding Screens
Screens are an ultra-easy way to temporarily close off parts of a room. They're a great solution for creating a home office or wardrobe, while simultaneously holding aesthetic value. As designer Ariel Okin says, "They come in all shapes and sizes and can add not only a visual delineation to a room, but also some unique color and pattern."
Our pick: West Elm Ida Woven Screen, $449
7. Folding Divider With Shelves
Get the benefits of a portable folding divider with the practicality of storage. It's a wonderful way to section off a working space while maximizing surface area for your books, office gear, and favorite knickknacks.
8. Rolling Bookcases
Looking for a large shelving unit to divide a space that can easily be moved? A rolling bookcase is for you. If you're open to investing in a more permanent solution, you can even add custom bookshelves on ceiling tracks for an ultra-cool and unique replacement for a sliding door.
Whether it's attached to the larger bed frame or a completely separate purchase, headboards are a smart way to loosely section off an area. This is an ideal solution for a studio apartment where you're seeking just a little separation between the sleeping and living areas.
10. Decor Accents
Use decor accents to separate an open living-dining room. "If your living and dining area is one large open space, make it feel like two separate rooms with rugs and lighting," says Jessica Davis of Nest Studio. She continues, "Overhead lighting, like a chandelier, can anchor and define a dining space." This is a solid choice if you're looking to maintain your large, open space, while also offering a little distinction between areas.
Our pick: Rejuvenation Salen Bare-Bulb Chandelier, $659
11. Beaded Curtains
Take it back in time with beaded curtains. They're the ultimate budget-friendly and stylish addition to your home. Hang them up as an alternative to a closet door — equal parts practical and fun.
"Drapes are a lovely way to divide up an open space," says designer Crystal Sinclair. "Not only can they designate a sleeping area in a large room, but they're also wonderful acoustic softeners — aka noise-blockers — as well." Go with a tension drapery rod for a worry-free, temporary installation.
Our pick: No. 918 Billie Room Divider Curtain Panel, $110
13. Wardrobe Rack
Opt for a wardrobe rack to cleverly divvy up the room. Use it in a traditional manner to hang your favorite clothes or go bold with greenery, as demonstrated above.
14. Floating Art
A two-in-one? Sign us up. Art is an interesting and less common way to section off a space. Go for sculptures, large pottery, or even a print or fabric hanging from the ceiling. It's also a clever way to work with pieces you already own.
15. Potted Plants
"I like to use plants to separate an open layout because it does the trick without looking contrived," says Jess Blumberg of Dale Blumberg Interiors. "Plus, both spaces get to reap the benefits of the feel-good vibes that the greenery adds."
Our pick: Bloomscape Bamboo Palm, $199
16. Hanging Plants
Take greenery to the next level with plants overhead. Line up your favorite hanging planters and create a division that is striking yet seamless.
17. Wooden Slats
Wooden slats are a modern way to subtly close off an area. They can be placed as an extension of an existing wall or as a standalone piece. If you're keen on DIY projects, repurpose shutters or old windows for a vintage-inspired divider.
18. Artistic Ceiling Hanging
Here's what happens when you cross beaded curtains with a wooden divider. Excellent either outside or indoors, this new take on a classic creates a style-forward separation between dining and living areas or lounges and workspaces.
"I'm a firm believer in using rugs to demarcate open-concept spaces," says Becky Shea of Becky Shea Design. "This method creates little rooms within a bigger room and establishes intimate zones inside a large and spread-out space."
Our pick: Lindye Galloway Capri Rug, $120-$715
20. Floor-to-Ceiling Rods or Columns
If you don't want to commit to a long-term installation, but still like the look of something permanent, then these vertical wooden dividers are certainly for you. There's no need to drill since each piece has an adjustable foot attached. They can also be custom-made in bespoke measurements. And if you like this floor-to-ceiling look and don't mind some construction, columns are also an elegant addition to larger spaces.
What Can Room Dividers Be Used For?
1. Creating a Vanity
Room dividers are a great way to create a special spot for getting ready each day. Whether it'll serve as a makeup, hair, or dressing area, sectioning off this space welcomes a sense of privacy. A folding screen is an optimal way to execute this division, allowing you to easily open or close off your own personal pamper room.
2. Increasing Storage Space and Hiding Unwanted Items
Unsightly cords? A junk drawer that overflowed into a junk pile? Up the aesthetic appeal while retaining access to your items with a divider that can be kept up full-time or utilized solely when guests are present. Gently guide your visitors with room dividers that serve as a barrier of sorts.
3. Sectioning Off Areas
Room dividers allow you to create two completely separate spaces or free-flowing areas that provide just a subtle distinction. As discussed above, opt for barn doors and opaque curtains for a more intimate feel or a chandelier and piece of furniture to retain a sense of openness.
4. Showing off Home Accents
Art doesn't simply mean wall hangings. Display your most prized sculptures and potted plants front and center, while also creating smaller pockets within a larger room.
5. Creating Good Flow
We were told for so long that wide-open spaces are ideal, but that's not always the truth. Room dividers can help you create your dream living layout without major construction. Plus, it helps distinguish areas that may have slightly different decor or color schemes.
6. Blocking Light
Is the sunrise waking you up a bit too early each morning? Use dividers to section off a darker nook for sleeping that can either be kept intact or removed during the day.
7. Reinventing Your Layout
Even if you're living in your forever home, there's constantly the urge to switch things up — maybe drastically or ever so slightly. Mobile room dividers allow you the opportunity to mess around with other layouts without permanency. Plus, if you're thinking about doing more long-term construction, they're a good way to ensure you like the planned changes before busting open the walls.