Room dividers are portable walls that provide visual screening between rooms. They're great for dorm or apartment dwellers or just about anybody who needs a quick solution to a privacy problem. Since they're 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 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.
Here are five of our favorite types of room dividers sure to add style and functionality to your home.
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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.
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 dividers tend to be twelve inches thick or more when unfolded.
If space is limited, this type of divider may not be for you. With the slightest gust of wind or a bump, folding dividers will easily fall over.
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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 the 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 a minimum, they need two screws attached to the ceiling.
Available on Amazon, this Kernov DIY Room Divider consists of separate PVC 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.
This top-rated muslin curtain is a full 10' long from end to end, and 8' tall. Made of 100% hand-dyed cotton muslin, it will is actually one of the better room dividers in this guide for keeping sound in check.
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Bookcase Room Divider
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 ceiling; unattached bookcase dividers are prone to falling.