Partitioning a large studio apartment
December 16, 2003 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving into NYC for the first time. It's a studio, but a relatively large one, and I'd like to partition it. I've looked mainly at shoji screens, but I'd rather not take up the extra space with the accordion footprint. I don't want to spend a huge amount of money, or do anything that requires a permit. What are some creative options?; for_name=condour75

and follow up question: any other advice for a NYC newbie?
posted by condour75 to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
any other advice for a NYC newbie?

don't be cowed into submission by snarky/rude cabbies/grocers/whatever

shoot back a snarky comment yourself, and you'll be a New Yorker
posted by matteo at 3:35 PM on December 16, 2003

Are you able to hang lightweight objects from the ceiling? If so, you might look into using suspended screens... sheer and/or opaque fabrics, roll-up wooden blinds that can be painted or left plain.. or wood or metal screens that can be drawn up close to the ceiling. It's a great way to get some visual privacy without losing flexibility or floor space, and can look nifty.
posted by vers at 3:41 PM on December 16, 2003

If your ceiling isn't too high you could use blinds - they'd have to be floor-to-ceiling length - made either of grass/bamboo stuff, or canvas. Either can be had cheaply, it's just a question of being able to find the right length.

Suspend them from above by nailing a simple frame (2x4 with hanger-screws dangling from it). They could be "opened" upward when you want your apartment barrier-free and it would not take up any floor space.
posted by contessa at 3:41 PM on December 16, 2003

or you could just use a wall unit or big bookcases--you still get light that way.

and advice-wise: don't use a wallet, or if you do, put it in your front pocket, and most importantly, enjoy yourself! anything you could ever want (and many things you might not know you want) is here! : >
posted by amberglow at 3:44 PM on December 16, 2003

I considered a lot of the same options, but decided I'd prefer to just live in a single, large room.

Advice-wise, try to learn basic landmarks and train routes ASAP; use cabs at night and in the rain, but don't go crazy; walk up the left side of the escalator; try to pay attention to what direction the train is travelling, so you aren't disoriented when you come out of the station; take advantage of the conveniences offered by doormen (if you have them); buy some bottled water for when we're finally nuked or whatever; take advantage of the conveniences offered by doormen (if you have them). Oh, and I find FlavorPill, Gawker (and the sites it links), Fandango (et al.), and TONY to be invaluable.
posted by subgenius at 4:01 PM on December 16, 2003

Go exploring frequently. Take the subway to an unfamiliar place and look around. Check out a neighborhood you've never been to before. Go to museums. It's easy to get stuck in the home-work rut; don't let yourself.

Gothamist and Manhattan Users Guide are some more good websites.

(that, and go to MeFi meetups. We're friendly and don't bite)
posted by Vidiot at 4:39 PM on December 16, 2003

Response by poster: Well whadaya know, this ask metafilter thing works! Thanks for all the advice -- Sub, I'm definitely trying to keep it temporary, in case I decide that a single room would be better. That said, the idea of using blinds is very interesting. If I can drill into the ceiling, it might be an option.

I've been a New Jerseyan for most of my life, and I've worked and studied in the city, so I have a pretty decent familiarity with the city itself. I'm a pretty regular Gothamist and Gawker browser, but I'll definitely check out some of these other sites. And I'll be attending the meetups too!
posted by condour75 at 5:01 PM on December 16, 2003

When I was living in studios as a graduate student, I went for the small bookshelves approach--sturdy and functional, and they divided the room without taking up too much space.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:11 PM on December 16, 2003

Also, if your ceilings are high, you could build in a free-standing loft, effectively partiioning the room width-wise rather than length wise.
posted by zia at 5:17 PM on December 16, 2003

If you like the look of shoji screens, you might also like noren curtains. I've got a few of these in my own apartment, as doorway dividers - they're the perfect height to let the cats wander from room to room, yet they impart a nice feeling of privacy and separation. Plus, they're quite pretty. They run anywhere from dirt cheap and somewhat plain (mine were about $10 per) to expensive and elaborate.
posted by vorfeed at 5:26 PM on December 16, 2003

Another option might be to visit Ikea (I'm pretty sure there's one out in the Meadowlands; there may be others...) and pick up their aircraft cable curtain "rods" - they're sixteen feet long and come with the hardware to affix them to the wall. This might have the added benefit of allowing you to hang your dividing fabric on rings or hooks on the cable, opening and closing the divider for variety or privacy as desired.
posted by JollyWanker at 6:34 PM on December 16, 2003

If you want a one-bedroom feel but you can only afford a studio, you could always put up a pressurized wall. They usually get used by people splitting 1BRs into 2BRs, but it'd work for a studio, too. Installation will run you $800 or so, but for less than a month's rent you can transform your space. I personally couldn't deal with a studio apartment--I need somewhere else to go.

Examples of pressurized walls. They work pretty well.
posted by werty at 6:42 AM on December 17, 2003

I second the screen-suspended from the ceiling option. it doesn't have to touch the floor (easy to clean under) OR the ceiling, but still provides separation. A neighbor upstairs used black screen fabric on narrow diameter chrome tubes top and bottom. Looks nice, and effectively divides his formal living area from his TV hangout.
posted by yoga at 2:58 PM on December 17, 2003

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