Many children share a bedroom out of necessity, creating a need for creative privacy solutions. Dividing a shared bedroom can decrease conflict between children over space, toys, privacy, noise, having lights on or off and general fighting while in close proximity. In addition to dividing the room, make sure each child has her own lamps and toy and possession storage. The same solutions can be used to divide a room for teen or adult roommates.
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Build a Wall
If your space and budget allows, erecting an additional wall to divide the room can be an effective solution to literally divide the room in two. Access to the second room can be either through a door or pocket door in the new wall, or a new door to the outside installed in the second room if your home's floor plan allows. This solution affords the maximum level of privacy for a shared room. Follow all applicable building codes when dividing a room and make sure each room has a proper fire escape route.
A simple, inexpensive and attractive solution is to place privacy screens in the middle of the room. The screens can be moved, removed or rearranged at any time and are available in many styles and designs, including traditional Japanese shoji-style screens. They do not require any permanent modifications to the room itself. Freestanding screens are most appropriate for older children or adult roommates sharing a bedroom because young children may get rambunctious playing in their room and knock the screens down. Screens do a good job of visually dividing the space, but they won't do much in terms of light and sound privacy.
A curtain hung from the ceiling can be opened and closed at any time, allowing the room to function as a single room at times and two rooms at other times. A curtain also wastes a minimum of floor space and if a thick, heavy fabric is used, can help block light and perhaps some sound from the other side of the room.
If privacy isn't a concern regarding the children sharing a bedroom, the room can be divided visually through design elements to make each child feel like he has his own space within the room. Each half of the room could have its own theme or colour scheme. This set-up allows each child his own clearly designated space with an added bonus that the juxtaposition of two different themes in one room may have a very fun effect. For alone time, each child could have a curtain that can be drawn around her bed.
Furniture is a functional way of dividing a bedroom. Wardrobes or bookshelves placed back to back in the middle of the room separate the two halves of the room without taking up functional space with a divider that doesn't serve any other purpose. Another functional solution is to install floor-to-ceiling open shelving. The most important consideration when using furniture is to be certain that the furniture cannot be pulled down or knocked down by the children in the room. Kids are not above climbing on furniture like dressers and bookshelves, so make sure the furniture is either too large and heavy to move, or secured to the floor or ceiling.
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