Ideas for types of room dividers

Written by erik devaney
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Ideas for types of room dividers
Bookcases allow some light and air to pass through them. (livres image by Claudio Calcagno from

A room divider is an interior-decorating tool that homeowners use for creating two distinct spaces within a single room. For example, you can use a room divider to divide a bedroom between two quarrelsome siblings or to create a small sitting or dining area within a larger living room or parlour. In comparison to installing new walls, setting up room dividers is a less expensive and less labour-intensive project. If you are interested is using a room divider, there are many types to choose from.

Translucent Room Dividers

Translucent room dividers allow light to pass through them without allowing for detailed images. This means a translucent room divider can create privacy for a changing area without blocking a room's lighting, be it natural -- from the sun -- or from electric light bulbs. One of the most popular examples of a translucent room divider is a shoji screen, which has Japanese origins. A typical shoji screen consists of a network of wooden frames, which resemble small window frames. However, instead of holding panes of glass, the framework of a shoji screen holds panels of light-filtering paper. These paper panels often have decorative features, making shoji screens some of the more elegant varieties of room dividers.

Reflective Room Dividers

Unlike a translucent room divider, a reflective room divider does not allow light to pass through it. Instead, a reflective room divider bounces incoming light back outward, which can help interior spaces appear both brighter and more spacious. One idea for creating a reflective room divider is to set up a large, tall free-standing mirror that has two reflective sides. Alternatively, you could cover both sides of a shoji screen -- or similar structure -- with multiple, small mirrors.

Beaded Curtains

Another option for creating a reflective room divider is to use a beaded curtain covered with reflective beads. Beaded curtains, in addition to contributing to a vintage, 1970s-inspired style, allow air and people to pass easily through them, which increases air circulation as well as convenience. Provided you position consecutive strands of beads close enough together, a beaded curtain can block out enough light to create privacy. There is a variety of materials -- apart from reflective ones -- for creating beaded curtain room dividers. These materials include acrylic beads, small wooden panels, bits of metal and shells.

Repurposing Furniture

As an alternative to building or purchasing a new room divider, you can create a room divider by repurposing an existing piece of furniture. Using a free-standing mirror that you already own, for example, is a way that you can repurpose furniture to create a reflective room divider. Other ideas for a room divider include positioning a buffet table at the centre of a room or positioning a bookshelf against a wall so that its longer, broader side sticks out, creating a small wall.

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