Room dividers instantly make something out of nothing, turning single-use rooms into double spaces with separation and privacy. They can even create the illusion that a room has more square footage.
Some room dividers can be built with such substance and sturdiness that they serve nearly the same function as interior partition walls. But it's more typical to scale down the divider—because when you are doing it yourself, who wants to make things complicated?
For DIY room dividers, put your carpentry and drywall skills on the back burner. Instead, think along the lines of simple tools and easy-to-handle materials. For tools, staple guns, hot glue, hammers, and finish nails tend to be the norm. For materials, almost anything is fair game: rope, license plates, plastic pipe, chicken wire, repurposed IKEA doors, pallet wood, vinyl records, and metal. Or just about anything else you can dream up.
01 of 10
Simple Jute Rope Room Divider
What better room divider for an upholstery collective than one made of organic fibers? Morgan Satterfield, who loves remodeling her mid-century modern home near Palm Springs, has a friend who offers upholstery classes in a giant warehouse, and that warehouse was just too big. Adding a divider near the door was the perfect way to soften this cavernous space.
This DIY room divider is dead-simple, and the materials are cheap. Thick jute rope, available at hardware and craft/hobby stores, is very inexpensive. And if you are willing to go with thinner 1/16-inch jute rope, costs drop even more.
Mount wooden shoe plates on the floor and ceiling, then thread the rope between the plates. While this project won't create a total visual block, it is superb at demarcating and separating spaces.
With such simple materials, this DIY divider should cost no more than $50 to $100.
Jute Rope Room Divider, from The Brick House
02 of 10
Frosted Glass Room Divider
Studio apartment dwellers know how cabin fever can develop: Something about having just one room really cranks up the claustrophobia. It intensifies when two people dwell in that same single room. Can this be fixed?
Where there is a need, there is always an IKEA hack. Jules Yap, the founder of the popular blog, IKEA Hackers, relates the solution that one of her readers hit on. The idea is to cut the room into two parts with a sliding wall.
IKEA PAX wardrobe doors with frosted glass come in sizes large enough to stretch from ceiling to floor. They slide effortlessly on tracks and, like a just-sharpened knife, slice one chaotic room into two separate calm sanctuaries.
Since this DIV divider relies on a large piece of furniture, it will cost from $700 to $1,000. Tip: Scour listings of freebies or used wardrobes.
IKEA Pax Door Room Divider, from IKEA Hackers
03 of 10
Free-Hanging Divider Wall
If you want a DIY room divider that is easy to put together, look no further than this one. Jennifer Eckert over at the design blog Fresh Crush was dialed up to genius levels when she dreamed up this fabric-covered room divider, hitting every DIY sweet spot there is.
For one thing, this divider is cheap. Jennifer pulled this one in for less than a couple of hundred dollars for two panels. And of course, it is DIY-friendly. The complete list of tools and materials she used: drill, bit, pencil, measuring tape, ceiling hooks, adjustable connectors, hurricane tape, hammer, staple gun, staples, and safety glasses. Those adjustable connectors attached to the ceiling allow for easy vertical adjustment and make this a very flexible design.
This divider is out-of-the-box fast because the fabric is stretched over pre-built artist canvases, each one measuring 30 by 50 inches.
This DIY room divider should cost about $200.
Fabric Adjustable Room Divider, from Fresh Crush
04 of 10
A classic DIY room divider is one that has found its way into college dorms and other shared spaces for decades: the carefully positioned bookcase. This is one IKEA hack that is more about placement than it is about drills, screws, and saws. All you have to do is rotate a shelving unit so that it is perpendicular to the wall.
It's important, though, to secure the unit so that it can't tip. This doesn't just apply to earthquake-prone areas; it is necessary everywhere, and especially in homes with active children.
IKEA provides free tip-over hardware restraint kits, but these don't work when the shelving unit is positioned at this angle. Instead, use solid restraints, such as metal L brackets attached to a wall stud and to the top of the unit.
Supplement this with screws driven through the side of the unit, directly into the same stud. Screw heads will be visible, but you can cover them with tiny plastic white screw cap covers. Anchoring the bottom of the shelving unit to the floor will also help reinforce it.
A series of three IKEA bookcases will cost about $150 to $200. In total, this project should cost in the $200 to $225 range. Every 32 linear inches that you add will scale up the cost another $50.
IKEA Shelving Unit Room Divider Hack, from HomeditContinue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Chain Mail Divider
You might be excused for thinking that this DIY room divider looks like fabric. Except it isn't. Instead, this is a coiled metal wire mesh that drapes and hangs just like fabric. Oregon's Cascade Coil made this room divider for a Hyatt Hotel. But do-it-yourself makers can purchase metal coil products directly from the company and make wonderful things.
Premium coiled metal wire mesh can run several hundred dollars for every 8-foot by 4-foot panel.
Coiled Wire Fabric Divider from Cascade Coil
06 of 10
Exposed Lath Room Divider
Anybody who has ever taken a sledgehammer to a plaster wall knows the distinctive, beautiful strips of wood that emerge from the dust once the plaster surface is removed. These are the lath boards. In traditional construction, lath was nailed to the studs and acted as a base for the wet plaster coating.
The family-run collective The Brooklyn Home Company created a unique room divider out of the lath boards from a plaster-and-lath wall. This room divider wall pays homage to the roots of this old Brooklyn, New York duplex.
If you manage to source real lath boards destined for the landfill, this project can cost less than $150—with most of the cost for the lower section and paint.
Deconstructed Room Divider, from The Brooklyn Home Company
07 of 10
Retro Room Divider
Terracycle, a New Jersey-based recycling company, practices what it preaches with this innovative vinyl record divider at its Trenton headquarters. If you are interested in making your own room divider, this project is as simple as purchasing low-cost LP vinyl records at a local thrift store and joining them with fishing line.
If you have old LPs on hand, this DIY room divider will cost $10 to $20 for the fishing line. If you need to purchase LPs, be sure to source them from thrift stores. You might even be able to buy entire boxes of LPs at a lower cost.
Record Album Room Divider, from Terracycle
08 of 10
Two for One Room Divider
Both horrified and amused that a Boston retailer was charging a fortune for a pallet wood room divider, Staci and husband Doug made their own. After sourcing local pallets for materials, they quickly put together this divider to separate one big room into an office/bedroom combination.
The divider does double duty as a kind of vertical scrapbook: Finish nails pounded into various places on the divider act as hooks for binder clips, which in turn display mementos of trips and Broadway shows.
When the pallets are found for free, you'll pay only for fasteners and a few other minor items: about $20 to $40 total.
Wood Pallet Room Divider, from My Friend StaciContinue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Emily at the fun craft blog Jones Design Company spent very little on this gorgeous salvaged antique window sash. After mounting it to the ceiling with a barn door track, she and her family had an instant DIY room divider. As Emily notes, she wanted to define the space yet "keep things bright and open." This window does just the trick.
A salvaged widow sash at an architectural salvage yard should cost in the range of $30 to $75.
Hanging Window Room Divider, from Jones Design Company
10 of 10
Design blogger Susan wasn't eager to trash her outdated but fully functional tri-fold room divider. As a mother, grandmother, and teacher, it's not exactly setting a good example to send stuff that still works to a landfill.
So she punched out the flimsy pressboard inserts in the divider, retaining the wood frame. Shabby chic and elegant country are her preferred styles, so she purchased chicken wire and stapled it to each of the three sections. After adding curios and photos, she now has a personalized DIY room divider that separates her kitchen from the dining room.
When repurposing an existing tri-fold divider and purchasing chicken wire, this DIY divider will cost no more than $30 to $50.
Chicken Wire Divider, from Home Road