Published on February 4, 2020

When the entirety of your home is confined to a single 250-square-feet room, it’s hard to tell where, say, your bedroom begins and where it ends. Never mind being able to carve out an ounce of privacy or degree of separation from the rest of the teeny space. Listen up, studio dwellers: It’s about time you invested in a room divider. (Your sanity depends on it.)

Partitions come in all shapes and sizes. Some solutions, like folding screens, barely take any effort to set up, while others, such as built-in bookcases and non-structural walls, require a little more planning. All that to say, breaking up your space can be as involved as you want it to be (often, a row of large plants will do the trick!). Try any of these seven hacks below and you’ll be living large.

The Step Bookcase

blue sofa in a white room with red tablePin It
Photography by Aaron Bengochea

Graphic designer Timothy Goodman’s bookshelf checks off two boxes at once: It disguises part of the bed and offers a ton of storage. High-to-low pieces like this are key because they maintain an open and airy feel.

The Bamboo Screen

bamboo divider and cactus plantPin It
Photography by Sugar and Cloth

The quickest way to create a sense of separation is with furniture, specifically folding dividers. The beauty is that they can go anywhere (between the bed and the sofa, in front of a clothing rack, next to the dining table) and they’re easy to spice up. Sugar and Cloth transformed a simple one from IKEA with a few long strands of colorful yarn.

The TV Sofa

open living rom with large sofa banquettePin It
Photography by Sean Litchfield

Since there was only one wall available for artwork in this 600-something-square-foot apartment, designer Charlotte Sylvain of Studio Fauve came up with an ingenious invention: a banquette-meets-media console with a remote-controlled lift that conceals (or reveals!) a flat-screen at the touch of a button. When left up, the TV separates the living and dining areas.

The Large, Leafy Plants

airy studio with exposed pipesPin It
Photography Courtesy of Jess Blumberg

Designer Jess Blumberg delineates her sleeping space with decor, specifically a butterfly chair and a grouping of tall greenery, including a snake plant and palm tree. There’s always room for a mini jungle, no matter how tight your quarters.

The Drapes

pink dining room with large sliding glass doorsPin It
Photography by Nirut Benjabanpot

With just the flick of the wrist, this Hong Kong dining room can be made to feel like a private booth at a restaurant, thanks to two sliding glass-and-steel doors. But that’s not what has us most excited: The space also features a ceiling-mounted track for curtains, something any renter can emulate without sacrificing their entire security deposit.

The Built-In Shelves

open bookcase with wood shelvesPin It
Photography by Kirsten Diane

DIY blogger Kirsten Diane didn’t craft this minimalist bookshelf for a studio apartment, but that doesn’t mean her bright divider idea can’t be applied to one. If you see yourself in your place for a long while, consider investing in a more permanent partition that stretches floor-to-ceiling.

The Cafe Curtains

yellow ombre kitchen curtainsPin It
Photography by Allyson Lubow

While we appreciate that pass-throughs encourage connection when we’re cooking for friends, we don’t always want the lingering smells following us out. An immediate fix: hang some curtains cut to size (ombre optional). See you on the flip side.

This story was originally published on May 2, 2017. It has been updated with new information.

See more small-space ideas:
How to Squeeze a Dining Room Into a Small Space
11 Finds From IKEA That Were Made For Small Spaces
The Best Shelves for Small Spaces

Discussion