Sometimes a large, open-concept floor plan presents challenges. Activities in the kitchen may not be conducive to family members studying or watching television in the family room. Storage often presents another challenge with an open kitchen and family room. A creative, functional divider wall helps solve both problems, adding privacy and dividing up the space. Divider walls may be permanent structures or removable, decorative options.
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Privacy screens, including folding screens, make excellent, temporary room dividers. This concept is ideal for any homeowners who occasionally need to separate the family room from the kitchen. Folding screens come in a wide variety of colours, shapes, materials and heights. For the vintage-lover, search antique or junk shops, consignments, estate sales and thrift shops for vintage folding screens. A plain wooden screen can easily be adapted to match any decor with a few coats of paint and some stencils to create intricate designs.
Large pieces of furniture are ideal for creating more permanent divisions between the family room and the kitchen, especially for families requiring extra storage. The design experts at Sunset suggest using a floor-to-ceiling, free-standing cabinet or armoire. Look for a piece that includes doors to store extra movies, blankets or kitchen supplies. Add open shelves in the same finish on either side of the cabinet to create open storage for collectibles, knick-knacks and family photographs. Also consider using shelving units that don't cover the entire opening between the rooms. These units allow a busy mom to see into the family room, while providing some screening. To store items out of sight, use baskets tucked into the shelves.
To completely separate the two spaces, some homeowners may wish to have a wall constructed between the kitchen and the family room. Walls may be framed out with wooden studs, finished with drywall and painted to match the decor Unless you have adequate construction skills, this is a job best left to a professional, according to Tom Silva of This Old House magazine. Properly framing and anchoring a wall requires an understanding of the home's original construction and the construction of a new wall. A poorly built wall presents a hazard and could collapse, causing significant damage or injury.
In addition to folding screens and furniture, a number of decorative elements exist to act as a wall between the two rooms. Metal sculptural walls work well in modern or artistically designed spaces. Create a planter wall by building a low planter between the two spaces. Add large plants such as indoor-grown citrus trees or evergreen plants to the planters in pots. Fill in the remaining space with decorative rocks. Also consider using panels of fabric suspended from the ceiling.
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