5 Room Dividers That Max Out Your Space, Give You Instant Privacy

Room dividers are portable walls that provide visual screening between rooms.  They're so great for dorm or apartment dwellers or just about anybody who needs a quick solution to a privacy problem.  Because they are light-weight and portable, you can take them with you when you move homes.

Some fixed dividers attach to ceiling, floor, or walls with light hardware. Other dividers are even easier to install with eyehooks screwed into the ceiling. Folding dividers require no installation; unfold...MORE them and you're ready to go.

It is important to remember that they only act as nominal borders to define private spaces.  Even the most substantial divider available, the bookcase divider, provides almost no soundproofing.

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    Risor Room Divider - IKEA
    Risor Room Divider - IKEA. IKEA

    Folding dividers are easily the best for mobile owners. If you have an apartment or condo and you decide to move, it's as simple as folding up the divider and putting it in the moving van.  Also called accordion dividers, they do not attach to your residence in any way.

    Materials run the gamut: wood, bamboo, paper, fabric, metal, glass.

    Keep in mind that folding dividers have a long but wide footprint. Fixed or hanging dividers might be only one or two inches thick. By contrast, folding...MORE dividers tend to be twelve inches thick or more when unfolded.

    So, if space is limited, this type of divider may not be for you. Also with the slightest gust of wind or a bump, folding dividers will easily fall over.

    Shown Here

    From IKEA, this Risor room divider provides quick privacy.  Just unfold it and your room is instantly divided.  The frame is made of solid pine that is stained and treated with acrylic clear coat.  The window sections are polypropylene.  

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    Some dividers hang from the ceiling, but unlike fabric dividers, the field pieces are acrylic, resin, light wood, or other solid materials. At bottom, the dividers attach to the floor to prevent the divider from swaying.

    In other cases, an attachable weighted bottom section will dampen swaying. These are a good option for either homeowners or renters, since at minimum they need two screws attached to the ceiling.

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    Available on Amazon, this Kernov DIY Room Divider consists of separate PVC...MORE panels, each 15.75" square.  As an alternative, you can apply them flat against a wall as a decorative piece.

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    By far the least physically substantial, yet sometimes cheapest, room dividers are those that are made of paper or fabric.

    Often, they come in narrow 24" or 50" widths that can be ganged to create a continuous divider that is as long as you like. In other cases, they span a generous 8' long, making it possible to divide an entire room with two or three panels.

    Shown Here

    This top-rated muslin curtain is a full 10' long from end to end, and 8' tall. Made of 100% hand-dyed cotton...MORE muslin, it will is actually one of the better room dividers in this guide for keeping sound in check.

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    This is the only divider that has a function besides demarcating spaces: it holds books, curios, pictures, artwork, ceramics, etc. It's also the only divider that has a modicum of sound-blocking abilities (if filled with books).

    On the downside, few bookcase-style dividers will extend even close to the ceiling. The one pictured is 54" high (stacking not recommended). The only way to have a bookcase-style divider that reaches to the ceiling is to attach it both to the floor and the...MORE ceiling; unattached bookcase dividers are prone to falling.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    Fixed, Semi-Permanent Divider

    Redi-Screen Room Divider from Crestview Doors
    Redi-Screen Room Divider from Crestview Doors. © Crestview Doors

    Best for homeowners rather than renters, fixed room dividers attach to the ceiling, walls, or floor with screws. One of the best examples of comes from that purveyor of mid-century modern home accoutrements, Crestview Doors.

    Crestview is known mainly for its 1960s-style doors, the kind that might have had a Gold Medallion by the door and a Barry Goldwater sign on the lawn. They also sell Redi-Screens, 24" wide x 80" tall rotary-carved MDF, stain-ready plywood, or exterior-grade Medex...MORE hardboard. Being fixed, these dividers do have to attach semi-permanently to your house. I say "semi" because this level of permanence is not on the level of installing a bathtub or kitchen cabinets.

    Crestview, unfortunately, does not provide installation help, saying that they "don't have installation experience." They do say that "some people [attach] extra trim to the left and right side to make it look floating, others just attach it to an existing wall directly." With that 80" height, you'll have a little over a foot of top clearance if you install it directly on the floor. The only thing I don't like about the Crestview dividers is that they are blisteringly expensive. That 24" width will cost you $1,250; so, if you're looking to screen off eight linear feet of a room, you'll spend $5,000.