Room Dividing Screens BE DAMNED!
December 8, 2010 4:55 PM   Subscribe

How should I separate my bedroom 'area' from my living room 'area' in my studio apartment... without using those stupid dividing screens? (More info inside!)

I have an alcove studio apartment (that I own) and the alcove is large enough to accommodate my bed and my nightstands to the point that I could even put up a thin wall and make it a proper room.

However, considering that it is a studio, I don't want to actually divide the room and block out the light with a silly screen such as this. Ideally, I use something that creates the 'idea' of a separation, but also allows you to see through to an extent, such as THIS but for less than $1,500 (which is what it would cost).

So, do any of you Interior Design MeFites know a great way to create a division while maintaining the feeling of space!!??
posted by darkgroove to Home & Garden (33 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
What about a curtain of transparent material like this. You could also pull it back, or scoop it back when you felt like it.
posted by b33j at 5:04 PM on December 8, 2010

Four thoughts come to mind:

1) Doing a home-made version of the screen you like. I would have to investigate the local yarn/sewing/craft/hardware stores to find something I liked, but after you identify the "thread" material it's a bunch of make-work at that point. You'd probably have to tie a bead or other weight to the bottom of each strand. You could use anything that hangs...chain, thread, yarn, strips of fabric...

2) Bead curtain. Depending on your decor, could be a fun chintzy thing or just awful.

3) Gauze, as in the fabric. It's see-through at a roughly 50% opacity (depending on the fabric) and you could make simple curtains from it.

4) Depending on how much room is in the alcove, you could position the head of the bed so it is in the opening and use a high headboard as the divider, even positioning a cabinet or other piece of furniture on the other side.
posted by maxwelton at 5:05 PM on December 8, 2010

ikea expedit?

it takes up a bit of room but is very handy for storage.

posted by cheemee at 5:05 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Maybe a bamboo beaded curtain?
posted by epersonae at 5:05 PM on December 8, 2010

What about sheer linen curtains? That way you can open them when you want light and close them when you want privacy. Even when open their presence will still suggest the idea of separation without actually doing it.
posted by amethysts at 5:06 PM on December 8, 2010
posted by cheemee at 5:06 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

i've known people to do this with sheer curtains - hang and anchor a rod, add some curtains - light still gets through but gives the illusion of different spaces.
posted by nadawi at 5:07 PM on December 8, 2010

Ikea makes a system of sliding panels that I think would be similar to your THIS example. Their meant as window treatments but can be customized to pretty much any length. You'd install a track on your ceiling and load is up with a variety of panels to suit your needs. Let me see if I can find it on their web site.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:09 PM on December 8, 2010

Use open bookcases as dividers.
posted by TDIpod at 5:09 PM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]

That Ikea Expedit bookcase is what I use. Bonus feature: you can put books on both sides of it, effectively doubling your library space.

If you own the place, you could probably get someone to make you a built-in that has the same basic design, but look like it's a wall made out of bookcases instead of just a piece of furniture. It shouldn't be terribly expensive to have something like that built.
posted by decathecting at 5:09 PM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: Just to be clear, I don't need a storage solution or anything that is an actual object/piece of furniture (I have enough storage, thankfully).

So far I'm leaning towards a sheer piece of fabric/curtain, although it certainly won't have the 'movement' like the item I suggested, at least it will get the job done for a lot less.

DIYing the curtain could be an idea, but I would want a professional finish to it, which I don't have the time or energy to do.

Bamboo beads, etc, are cheap and corny. I would never do this in a million years.

In general, the apartment is very very modern, so I would want to stick with that theme. These are great ideas though!
posted by darkgroove at 5:10 PM on December 8, 2010

I once lived in a space somewhat like that and used bookshelves to separate the sleeping area from the living area. Mine were tall shelves almost all the way up to the ceiling because privacy was a concern, but if you only want to fool the eye you could use shorter shelves. Which would let plenty of light in.
posted by Sara C. at 5:11 PM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: That's chainette fringe, if you want to search for it. It's not what I would call cheap in that length, but should be far, far, far less than $1500.

A local fabric store probably won't have that type of fringe, but should have a good selection of other sheer fabrics, or you could cut holes in a thicker fabric. Hang from a curtain rod with those little sliding clips, larger fabric stores will have those too. Higher end fabric stores will have things like burnout silk at around $50 a yard or so, if you want to get fancy.
posted by yohko at 5:12 PM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: Here we go! Ikea panel curtains.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:13 PM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: And here's the track system, in case it isn't clear how they'd work.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

if you have air moving in your apartment at all, the sheers end up having quite a bit of movement - it's one of the things i love about them. i also like them because they come ready made in basically any style/color you could want.
posted by nadawi at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2010

Anyone who does alterations should be able to do a professional finish on a curtain. Be sure to let them know you want it to be sheer, might need a lining for strength but that can be sheer. Fabric stores often have a bulletin board where you can find flyers for people to do that sort of thing.
posted by yohko at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2010

I don't have a specific suggestion, but Apartment Therapy is chock-full of brilliant ideas for small spaces. They even recently had an article about neat alcove beds. Curtains appear to be popular for your purpose.
posted by mandanza at 5:19 PM on December 8, 2010

Or, like, this?
posted by tel3path at 5:19 PM on December 8, 2010

Here's another beautiful take on the hanging strands theme for inspiration.
Minimalissmo is a pretty cool design site/blog, anyway.
posted by artdrectr at 5:20 PM on December 8, 2010

Or wait, maybe you'd want the Kvartal system, which looks more versatile.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:21 PM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: Good to know that it is Chainette Fringe, and with a quick google you are right, you really can't get them in long sizes.

I think I may go, at least temporarily, for the Ikea sliders. The fact that I could move them from side to side is pretty cool. And they are cheap enough that I could change them with the seasons if I felt compelled. (I will need to go check them out though, if they seem too cheap then the hell with 'em!)

I may also try to have my own sheer material turned into a curtain a la yohko's suggestion. These are really good ideas though!!!
posted by darkgroove at 5:24 PM on December 8, 2010

create a division while maintaining the feeling of space

Can you create a platform? Raise the level of one of the areas to create a visual separation. This assumes your ceiling is high enough so that you won't feel cramped if you raise the floor 6-10 inches.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:29 PM on December 8, 2010

Carolyn See's first book concerns poor, early-1960s graduate students at UCLA, some of whom are assigned housing in Quonset huts. She mentions them creating room dividers in these huts by using a ball of string. I can imagine how this would be accomplished, looping the string somehow between floor and ceiling anchors, but I'm guessing they worked from some plan which I'd love to see but have never found.
posted by Rash at 6:23 PM on December 8, 2010

I always liked the old window frames that people sometimes hang as room dividers. See-through enough to make the rooms separate but let light through. I bet you could do it even cheaper by hanging large used picture frames on some chain to make a screen-thing. Maybe I'm not describing it well but I swear it sounds cool in my head :)
posted by gilsonal at 6:35 PM on December 8, 2010

Old window frames.

Is totally cool.
posted by kjs4 at 8:01 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

I love the space demarcation solutions at studio bird - this apartment in particular uses a variety of solutions: screens, ceiling mounted installations and artworks.

If it was my space I'd use my favourite product at the moment: The Locker Group's Stainless Steel curtains. About $150AUD a lineal metre [think it's 1800W] They look absolutely amazing and are a cheaper, more stylish and individual solution than Ikea. They have a lot of reasonably priced materials in different gradients - I've seen most of them used in commercial applications but I've used a variety for domestic, small scale applications with no bother at all. For kinda the same look, I've gone and bought termite mesh from hardware - it's the same thing, slightly less sheen, as the stainless steel curtains. But I'd rather get a professional finish and pay the professionals to get it :)
posted by honey-barbara at 8:17 PM on December 8, 2010

If you were to take something like your THIS picture of the silly screen, the remove the white parts and leave only the black outlines, that might look cool. Sort of like French patio doors.
posted by CathyG at 9:31 PM on December 8, 2010

I saw a room divider made of translucent plastic panels attached together with jump rings that hung from the ceiling. It was in a modern looking apartment (and I think it was orange, but you could do translucent white or silver or whatever cool colors go with your decor.
posted by vespabelle at 10:24 PM on December 8, 2010

Pax wardrobe doors
posted by zug at 10:46 PM on December 8, 2010

This takes some doing, but I knew a guy with a very modern apartment, lots of strong colors and chrome and sort of minimalist lines, and he used a mylar "space blanket" with fishing weights sewn along the bottom. It even matched his couch, although he mentioned he has to wipe it down every month or two so the fingerprints didn't accumulate.
posted by d. z. wang at 12:22 AM on December 9, 2010

If you're willing to find someone to do your finishing, you might check out Rose Brand. They're a theatrical fabric supplier and just about any type of fabric that's out there, they've got. You may find something interesting.
posted by Morydd at 12:55 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Depending upon the lighting situation, potted plants could do the trick. Large ones can cost a little bit of money, but if properly cared for, they can become companions (of a green sort, of course) for a long time.
posted by cool breeze at 3:04 PM on December 9, 2010

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