The midpoint between open plan rooms and traditional separate rooms, a room divider is the separation of rooms, either partially or temporarily. Think: screens, partitions, and even clever use of bookcases and furniture.
We’ve picked our favorite room divider ideas that use the broken plan look and show how a room divider or partition can be adapted to work in almost any interior design scheme.
room divider ideas
Room dividers and room dividers aren’t just useful – the right person can offer the full range of idea for room color, style, texture and dimension in a space. Whether purely decorative, used to create the illusion of privacy or a small room idea, these room divider ideas may be just what your home needs.
1. Integrated partition design
‘Room dividers are a great way to take advantage of underused space and create a disruptive striped scheme inside a home,’ says Simon Cherniak, designer at Neville Johnson. When designing a room divider to match the home’s natural architectural features, consider using very tall bookcases—perhaps with the addition of a ladder—to take advantage of the height. You can also choose open or hidden shelves that allow you to either display your trinkets or hide the clutter.
2. Look at the classic steel frames
“Replacing a solid polished wall with a glazing system allows for a heightened sense of space by connecting rooms visually and provides an opportunity to bring natural light into areas that might not be served by windows,” says Chris Eaton, associate director of Stiff + Trevillion.
“Steel-framed glazing offers designers the flexibility to create panel volumes to reflect the proportions and rhythm of the rooms and the surrounding architecture they inhabit and opening sections can be precisely integrated as either doorways or casement windows.”
3. Space out with screen
“We love using screens to divide rooms,” says Paolo Moschino, president of interior design firm Nicholas Haslam. “For me, it is very important not to reveal everything at once and that is what screens are ideal; they hide behind a surprise, especially for a large room, they restrict space and create comfort. As a bonus, if you move into a new home, you can just fold your screen and take it With you to new adventures.
Embrace a broken-scheme living room at any moment with moving screens. By choosing a decorative pattern, as designer Paolo Moschino did here, you can also create stylish wallpapers.
4. Use decorative glaze
Sometimes all you need is the same hint in a section to visually set a distance from another space. Use patterned glass carefully and you may find that you only need to extend this foot or so in the center of the room to break the flow of the open plan just enough to create the required separation.
This project from design firm Maddux Creative uses a steel frame with engineered glass panels to divide this open kitchen. Nods in Art Deco decor and design, the panels are filled with a variety of glazing techniques, from stained glass to fluted glass. Keep the feeling of stepping into a new space by adapting the floor accordingly, too. Here, the floor tiles reflect the geometric tones and shapes of the painting, underlining its importance in the scheme.
6. Brighten the dim space
“While open-plan living looks great, it does raise some issues like noise and a lack of comfort and warmth,” says Mike Steve, Principal of Stiff + Trevillion Architects, who uses Crittall glass on many projects.
Glazing allows light to flow in, keeping homes warm and providing quiet areas. This approach also works when opening a house, where a glass wall can replace a solid partition – often a stylish idea for the entrance hall. “The glazed partitions are really successful where a completely open plan space is not needed, but a visual connection to an adjoining room, to the outside or to the window is useful,” says architect Phil Covey.
Be aware of the implications of some building regulations, though. This can greatly escalate the cost and also limit the possibilities with the design.
7. Invest in sliding panels
Broken-plan living is the midway point between open-plan design and the more traditional space made up of separate rooms. One way to achieve this is to look at doors that can be closed when needed, but without affecting the appearance of the room when opened.
This London apartment uses parquet-clad floor-to-ceiling sliding panels, which look equally as part of the space whether pulled up or not. “Using parquet boards as inserts on the wall allows their geometric effect to be enjoyed at eye level,” says Maria Speake, founder of Retrouvius. “When closed, this sliding wall reveals a sunken pocket used to display some of the clients’ art collections.”
8. Create two rooms out of one
Combine a glass partition to separate a large room into two spaces, but take inspiration from this Studio Peake project and leave a gap in the middle. The two areas appear separated from each other, due to the glazing, but the gap allows for unimpeded movement and increases the flexibility of how these spaces are used. Be sure to consider the use of any room you wish to include in a space with a broken layout.
The outermost space here is outfitted as an entertainment center room, so a blackout screen has been incorporated into the design, meaning it can be pulled out completely to plunge the room into darkness, but doesn’t have to remain in sight when the area isn’t there. It is used as a home cinema.
9. Let the light in with steel frame doors
Steel and steel framed windows are a great way to let in light in a small space. It is also a clever way to view greenery from the outside, creating the illusion of an indoor/outdoor space.
With Crittall doors and windows inside and out, you can unify a current period property with a contemporary extension. They also allow the space to be filled with light. Fire rated steel frame dividers and dividers are also available.
10. Create “zones” with furniture
Not all living room design ideas are suitable for a permanent room divider or partition, but being smart with your furniture can still achieve the look. This space by Wendi Wolf Lewitt uses furniture to create areas with an open-plan living room. High-back benches are especially useful for this style. If space allows, use a ceiling height bookcase to separate the space for maximum effect.
11. Hang curtains or blinds
A large bedroom often feels cold and lacks privacy; This can be addressed with curtains or hanging sheer curtains to divide the space. They don’t need to be pulled straight across a room to divide it completely, but they can create a beautiful pause, adding color, texture or dimension and pattern to a space as well, as in the loft bedroom above.
12. Partition with central heating option
“Instead of confining a wood-burning stove to a fireplace, think of it as a free-standing piece of furniture,” says Cedric Wells, creative director at Charnwood.
By placing a central fireplace in the room, you can create a connection between different zones. Make sure to leave enough space around the stove to avoid any material burning – especially if you are building a wood panel divider on the wall. Many fireplaces will include heat plates, which greatly reduces safe spaces, but if they are not, it is worth considering a wall-mounted heat shield to protect the wall.
How to close a room without a wall?
“Room dividers are a great way to take advantage of underused space and create a disruptive striped scheme inside the home,” says Simon Tcherniak, a designer at Neville Johnson.
When considering how to design a room with a divider to match the home’s natural architectural features, consider using very tall bookcases, perhaps with the addition of a ladder, to take advantage of the height. You can also choose open or hidden shelves that allow you to either display your trinkets or hide the clutter.
How do you divide a room into two spaces?
The best way to divide a room into two spaces is glass panels and interior glass. Almost all of us want to live in a spacious and luminous house, but the open plan is not for everyone. Glass walls can be used in various shapes to create a stunning effect in both ancient and contemporary buildings, but such a project often requires the help of professionals.
“Interior glazing provides a clear zoning of the space without cutting and making the areas separate,” says Chris Eaton, associate director of Stiff + Trevillion.
Architect Marta Novica agrees: ‘If you want to add personality, try interior glazing. “Glass enlivens the space. The medium’s surface and transparency, even its color, add an artistic dimension.
For example, you can transform a dark corridor with a room on one side by replacing the dividing wall with a glass window. ‘You have a sense of a bigger, brighter space,’ says Marta.