4 Expert Tips To Choose A Room Divider

Functional and tastefully decorative, room dividers have the power of separating a room into two completely different areas without compromising on space. They can easily help you define a specific corner or even ensure some more privacy. No wonder that they've stood the test of time after being invented around the 4th century BC in China!

Since they're so versatile and available in tons of different sizes, shapes and designs, it's important to choose a room divider that matches your home and needs. Here are a few tips to do just that!

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What type of room divider is right for me?

Let's start by dividing room dividers (excuse the repetition) into three main categories to see which one works best for you:

  • Folding: we bet this is the one that you picture when thinking of room dividers! Following the iconic accordion design, these traditional models allow you a higher degree of flexibility: you can make them more or less wide depending on how you fold them. Either way, they will immediately become the most noticeable accent piece in the room;
White Folding Room Divider
Dark 3 Panel Folding Room Divider
Black Elegant Folding Room Divider
Solid Wood Folding Room Divider
  • Single panel: although their dimensions vary, one-panel room dividers are best suited to accent a smaller area or hide a specific piece of furniture, such as a bed or your work desk;
White Single Panel Room Divider
Nature Door Styled Single Panel Room Divider
Beige Single Panel Room Divider
Wooden Single Panel Room Divider
Black Wooden Single Panel Room Divider
  • Hanging: if you have unstoppable kids or pets running around, a freestanding room divider could be knocked down and damaged, which is why hanging designs are a practical alternative!

    They can either hang from the ceiling in an elegant way to separate different areas (such as an open kitchen and the table) or rely on a pole that goes from wall to wall to divide it in two (e.g. if your kids share a bedroom). The latter is similar to curtains and it's a less glamorous but more versatile choice because it still allows you to open up that space whenever you wish.
Premium Heavyweight Large Hanging Room Divider
 Hanging Room Divider in Beige
Short Hanging Room Divider in Red
Hanging Room Divider in Light Beige
Short Hanging Room Divider in Blue
Freestanding Hanging Room Divider

How many panels should a room divider have?

Unless you're planning on opting for a single panel or a curtain-style hanging design, ask yourself these questions in order to figure out how many panels you should look for:

  • What do you mainly need a room divider for?

If it's mostly for decorative purposes, there's no real reason to go above two; if you need to accent a small area or ensure some privacy behind it, four panels are a great starting point; however, if you'd rather close off an entire area from wall to wall, look for wider designs with six or more panels;

  • How big are the room and that specific area?

Unless you go for particularly wide panels, the wider the area the more you will need! Make sure you measure it to know how long your room divider needs to be, but keep in mind that, because it will be slightly folded, its maximum length will be lower than what's stated by the manufacturer; to avoid disappointment and accommodate for its accordion-style shape, calculate the actual final length by subtracting around 20%.

What is the best material for a room divider?

Some materials will immediately fit harmoniously with the rest of the room. Still, given the practical function of room dividers, you should also consider issues such as durability and whether or not you want the light to filter through them.

  • If you'd like to invite an element of light behind your room divider, opt for rice paper, a delicate but elegant option that usually follows Japanese designs, versatile rattan, or sophisticated glass;

  • If you're after some privacy, you should look for more solid room dividers such as models made of wood, fabric, canvas or faux leather;

  • Sturdy materials like wood and metal are the best choice if you're after a durable room divider that you can use for many years, whereas simpler fabric or plastic models will do if you're happy with a temporary budget-friendly choice;

Light Wood 6 Panel Room Divider
Grey Wood Room Divider with Windows
White Wood 3 Panel Room Divider
Wood and Metal Decorative Room Divider
Metal Photo Display Room Divider
Canvas 4 Panel Room Divider
  • Glass can also help you create an illusion of space, framing an area while making it feel airier; obviously, they're not ideal for privacy, but, being moisture-resistant and easy to clean, they're a practical choice in large bathrooms;

  • Modern canvas and fabric models offer a large variety of colors, patterns and designs, making it a breeze to complement the style of the room;

  • Some rattan or wooden room dividers are also suitable for your patio and garden, but the strong and weather-resistant wrought iron might be the safest bet in windy locations;

  • Bamboo room dividers are a durable option that can help you bring some nature inside your home, add an exotic touch, or create a relaxing Zen atmosphere.

Bamboo 4 Panel Room Divider
Full Single Panel Bamboo Room Divider
Glass Door Room Divider
Fabric and Wood Room Divider
Fabric Hanging Room Divider
Colorful Floral Linen Room Divider

What is the right design for a room divider?

Because your room divider has got all the credentials to become the main accent piece in that room, you need to make sure that it does so beautifully and cohesively!

In order to choose a room divider that matches it, consider:

  • The room's palette: is there an existing color that you can pick and that, perhaps, would create a pleasant light and dark contrast against the wall?

  • Other patterns: if your room mainly includes plain furniture and features (such as your curtains), you can easily opt for the quirkiest and most noticeable designs; however, if it already has a couple of eye-catching patterns, you should stick to monochrome or simpler room dividers to avoid an unpleasant clash;

  • The décor style or theme that you're going for: your new room divider is a fantastic opportunity to help you define it even more clearly; you could either look for patterns that match the existing theme (for example, coastal designs in the bathroom) or a style that works well with your décor, such as traditional wooden models or more modern canvas room dividers.

Keep these tricks in mind, too:

  • Thinner and lightweight room dividers in lighter shades or your room's accent colors work well in modern or more casual settings; lighter wood can also make the area feel a bit bigger than it is;

  • Choosing a room divider that follows heavier and darker designs (especially when made of wood) can complement more traditional décors and help convey a cozier, more intimate feel.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.