Whether you're decorating a small studio apartment or a large room, a partition is a practical design tool to define your space. Partitions, or room dividers, don't have to fully hide or enclose an area; they only need to set up a definition between two spaces with different functions or add design interest to a larger space. The ideal temporary room partition does both. As a bonus, temporary partitions can be set up with little or no hardware --- ideal for renters --- and are easily moved to another space.
Folding screens were designed to provide small areas of privacy, such as a doctor's office changing area. Over time, these screens have evolved from functional to decorative and are currently widely available to consumers in an endless array of colours and styles. Shop your favourite home decor stores for new screens and online auction sites and flea markets for vintage screens or more contemporary used screens at a lower price. If your decorative style is already defined and represented, choose a screen that will blend in with it rather than serve as the focal point. If you're working with a blank canvas, choose a screen that can serve as a decorative focal point as well as serve its function.
Furniture with a high or wide scale, such as a wardrobe (high) or buffet table (wide) can be used to divide your space. An advantage to using furniture, especially in a small space, is that you can combine the original function of the furniture with its additional room divider function. Shop your own home first and consider using a bureau that you love but that is hidden away, and bring it out to use as a divider between an open living room and dining area. Repurpose the original function of the bureau by using its drawers to store infrequently used kitchen/dining items, such as holiday table linens, and throw blankets and media for the living room.
Use fabric to divide your room by hanging sheers or printed curtains matching your decor from floor to ceiling for a dramatic effect. Choose the same or similar fabric panels of the two spaces you're dividing for a cohesive design. Bathroom shower curtains are also available in a wide variety of styles that you can match to your decor Fabric works especially well with little effort if there are two walls, or one wall and side of a high piece of furniture, to mount a curtain or shower tension rod. If you save fabric of any type, shop your private stock first.
Shelving and plants can be used as room dividers. Any high or wide shelving unit works well; use one with no backing to let more light into your space, or paint or hang art or fabric on the back of an enclosed shelving unit to hide imperfections and tie it into the dÃ©cor of both spaces. A book shelf does not have to be used for books, so examine the two spaces you're dividing when using one, and place thematic items on the shelves, such as glasses and dishware between a kitchen and dining area. Place tall plants stacked on a side table or indoor trees within your space to divide it, and direct electric lights on the plants or trees to add ambience to the function.