How can I add a non-permanent door to my bedroom?
September 14, 2006 3:21 PM   Subscribe

There is no door between my (shared) bathroom and my bedroom. I love my roommates, but I'd also love some privacy! Help me make a barrier that is vision/sound proof.

The space between the two rooms is about half the width of a typical door, with very tall ceilings. We're renting, so I can't do any MAJOR construction--like adding in a real door and door frame-- but adding a few screws here and there won't hurt anybody. I've done some searching around and seen suggestions of accordion doors (are these hard to install? will they leave permanent "scars" on the walls? What if the ones available--pre-made ones--aren't tall enough?), thick curtains (what materials work best?), tapestries layered with thicker material (love the decorative touch, but wouldn't mind a morning without hearing an electric razor at 6:30) and a few different kinds of soundproofing panels. I'm not marvelously wealthy or particularly handy, but I'm willing to make decent investment and get a little dirty if it means privacy. What's my best option?
posted by xaire to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My first though would be to trim a piece of plywood to fit the opening. Then simply screw in some hinges and add a simple handle. Also, What about blocking the opening with a book case or other large piece of furnature and accessing the bathroom from the entrance with the proper door?
posted by helvetica at 3:34 PM on September 14, 2006

I second the bookcase idea. You can buy a good sized (i.e., the size of the doorway) bookcase for under $80. If there are any gaps, you can you use weatherstripping (the adhesive of which can be removed with some adhesive remover) or, if add a curtain. It will help to soundproof as well as provide some privacy.

(I'd have fun with the idea of turning the bookshelf to face the bathroom. Talk about reading material!)
posted by parilous at 3:40 PM on September 14, 2006

For sound dampening there's a lot of insulation materials you could buy in sheets at Home Depot, if you're willing to seal off the entrance as others suggested. You don't need anything more complicated to cut it than a utility knife and you could just masking tape it over the opening.
posted by phearlez at 3:45 PM on September 14, 2006

Response by poster: I love the bookcase idea, but I should add that this is the only way out of my room, so I can't seal the space off. Has to stay an entrance/exit to the room.
posted by xaire at 3:47 PM on September 14, 2006

a bookcase on castors?
posted by Pigpen at 3:56 PM on September 14, 2006

A mirror on hinges?
posted by leapingsheep at 3:59 PM on September 14, 2006

Two words: carpet remnant. I've done it, and it works great. Get a big piece of carpet, cut it to size, and hang it from the top of the opening. You could even buy a cheap carpet from Ikea and use that.
posted by MarshallPoe at 4:23 PM on September 14, 2006

The only exit from your room is through the only bathroom?
posted by phearlez at 4:24 PM on September 14, 2006

Have you spoken to your landlord about this? I can't imagine they're happy with the situation either, and they'd surely cooperate with a permanent fix.
posted by cillit bang at 4:24 PM on September 14, 2006

the entrance to your bathroom is the only exit from your bedroom? Who designed that house?

Anyway, I'd ponder either a hinged mirror or a shoji screen.
posted by pdb at 4:24 PM on September 14, 2006

So, you are sleeping in the laundry/supply closet of the bathroom?
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 4:30 PM on September 14, 2006

Response by poster: My room is actually the master bedroom in a house the owners apparently intended to 1) never have visitors or kids in or 2) wear earplugs and blinders all the time. The "room" is actually two semi-separated rooms (divided by a fireplace), so my "bedroom" is farther away from the action in the bathroom than you might think. I know it sounds insane, but the fireplace and deck connected to it make up for a lot of deficiiencies, and my roommates are pretty cautious about barging in and out. I threw up a tension rod with a blanket as a temporary fix.
posted by xaire at 4:38 PM on September 14, 2006

At the moment I'm thinking build some sort of wall out of lots and lots of cardboard. I'll sleep on it and if you haven't gotten any better ideas by tomorrow I'll try and elaborate.
posted by Flashman at 4:42 PM on September 14, 2006

My partner used to live in a sharehouse with that sort of situation. The only shower was through someone else's bedroom.
posted by tomble at 4:44 PM on September 14, 2006

I wouldn't recommend an accordion door -- we have one in the house we're living in and it never shuts all the way.
posted by sugarfish at 5:48 PM on September 14, 2006

A bookcase on castors and hinges!
posted by A189Nut at 1:22 AM on September 15, 2006

When I was in a shared situation, I hung curtains in the doorway to my bedroom (which went directly into the living room and for cat related reasons needed to be open most of the time, even when I was sleeping - so she didn't get lonely). That would provide visual privacy, but not the aural privacy which I'm sure your roommates would appreciate (I would not feel comfortable being in the bathroom with just a curtain).

Have you asked your landlord about installing a permanent door? They may not object, if they plan to rent this space long term - it would obviously be an improvement to the apartment. Some landlords appreciate people doing renovations, so long as they check them out with them first.
posted by jb at 3:19 AM on September 15, 2006

Best answer: Yes I was about to suggest the above (reading more about your situation I realized that a wall of scrap carpet and cardboard was definitely not what was called for!). For something temporary, how about a thick piece of styrofoam or closed-cell insulation cut to fit (sold in 4x8 sheets for probably less than $10), and with a track of thin wood or similar screwed in a couple of places to the ceiling (no problem I'm sure) and floor (perhaps a problem if this is nice hardwood, but even then there's probably a way) so you'd have a light, cheap and sound-proof sliding door. You can't paint the foam I don't think, but you could cover it in like wallpaper or sticky film so it isn't too hideous and would be more resistant to dents and abrasion - duct tape the edges too, or tuck-tape (red, sold to tape stuff like this, ask at the hardware store) which would be more slidy.
posted by Flashman at 3:50 AM on September 15, 2006

I got something like this at the hardware store for my pantry, only the one I got was mad cheap - $30 or so. It looks nice and it was pretty easy to install, but the only concern is that it might not be tall enough for the opening.
posted by thejanna at 8:15 AM on September 15, 2006

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