How to divide a room without walls

Looking to divide your open-plan living area? Or just want to add more privacy? Find out how to divide a room without walls in this article.

A living room dining area separated by tall black shelving
Wooden shelving in a living room
Dining area separated by a black wooden divider

If you’ve lived in a studio apartment, then you’ll likely know that it can feel overwhelming, open, and bare at times, due to its open-plan layout. The typical solution of incorporating interior walls isn’t always a viable option and can turn out to be a costly design project.

Luckily for those of us in this situation, there are plenty of options for us to create areas and add more privacy to our space. With this in mind, we’ve curated the top tips and solutions for how to divide a room without walls.

Why divide a room without a wall?

There are plenty of benefits to dividing a room without a wall.

Firstly, the cost saving. Building a wall can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars for just a simple internal wall. In some cases, you can separate your space into different areas without having to spend a penny.

Secondly, walls are permanent and can’t be moved without major work and high costs. Many of the ideas in this article can be easily moved and even stored away when not in use.

Finally, walls can block light and enclose the space. Of course, this is great for privacy, but for those of us with small spaces and low natural light, this is a huge dealbreaker.

Best ways to divide a room without walls

Dividing a room without walls is far less challenging than you may think. It can also cost far less than you might think, too. When thinking of dividing a room, physical dividers and screens come to mind. But there are a number of clever ideas we can use to create zones and areas without using a wall.

Here are the best ways on how can you divide a room without walls.

Wooden partition

A living room with wooden dividers splitting the room up into different areas

Wooden partitions are a great way to divide your space without an intrusive wall that blocks most of your natural light. They separate the space effectively and are relatively easy to install, making it a great option for anyone who enjoys DIY.

This simple solution is ideal for separating your space into different areas, while retaining natural light. However, if privacy is your priority, then opting for a decorative screen or curtain is a great alternative.


A white bookshelf in a living room, next to a sofa

Using a bookshelf to divide the room is a space-saving and functional solution for renters. With no need for permanent fixtures or installation, this option is completely flexible and often budget-friendly. Whilst it’s not ideal for privacy, it does a great job in creating different areas by splitting the space up.

Choosing a bookshelf with a low height allows plenty of light to pass through the room to keep a spacious feel. Alternatively, if you’re lucky to have an abundance of natural light, then a taller bookshelf will enhance the division in the room.

Rug to create areas

A beige rug on a wooden floor, with 2 chairs and a sofa

Using a rug to map out an area is a great way to create a division without using any walls. While there aren’t any vertical boundaries, rugs provide a subtle way of separating areas without taking up height in the room and keep all the current natural lighting.

If you’re a renter, or are simply looking to keep an open-plan feel to your space, this is an effective way to divide your room.


A white cupboard with 2 plants on top, in a living room

Besides the main benefits such as air quality, improved mood, and reduced stress, plants can also act as a natural divider between spaces. By placing plants on surrounding shelves, this creates a visual division in the room without blocking any lighting.

By allowing some light to pass through the foliage, this keeps your space feeling light and airy. Plus, they just look great.

If you’re looking for an effortless way to separate your room, plants are always a safe and cost-effective option.

Different wall colors

A studio apartment with a bed, shelving and dining table

When it comes to DIY partition walls, factors such as budget can mean installing a physical wall isn’t always an option. Painting walls different colors is a simple and budget-friendly way to make the space feel as though there are separate areas.

This idea is perfect for studio apartments and open planned kitchen-living areas, as it enables you to create a clear, distinguishable separation between each area.

If you want to enhance the divide, play around with different flooring or rugs to create an alternative decor in each “room”.

Glass partition

Glass partition separating the dining area to the kitchen

For many of us in smaller apartments and spaces with low natural light, it’s crucial we retain as much natural light as possible. If you’re not looking for a privacy focussed partition, using glass partitions could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

This sleek design option enables your space to be divided while allowing each room and the light within it to flow freely throughout the space.

Folding screens

A wooden folding screen on a wooden floor

Whether you need a temporary fix or are in need of a private place to dress, folding screens are a simple and affordable option to introduce as a division.

They provide an easy solution for dividing a room without walls and can be easily folded and stored when not in use, ensuring you aren’t taking up any of your precious floor space.


A living room dining area separated by tall black shelving

Shelves are an unsung hero when it comes to dividing a room without walls. They allow light to pass through them, keeping your space feeling light and airy as before, while providing more storage and opportunity to showcase your favorite decor.

We love their versatility and their ability to be moved around easily if the space doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped. If you’re worried about building a DIY partition wall, shelving is an easy answer for how to separate rooms without walls.


A living room with a curtain separating 2 areas.

While this may feel like a very temporary solution, curtains are actually an affordable, effective solution that provide good privacy without breaking the bank. This solution enables you to create and remove the division between each space based on your needs.

This is the perfect choice for studio apartments to separate the living space from the bedroom, but still provides the option for sociable open-plan living.

Decorative screen

Open plan bedroom with a white screen separating the bedroom from the bathroom area

Decorative screens offer an affordable way to divide a room without walls. These abstract screens give you adequate privacy with added character you wouldn’t find in a drywall.

You can find decorative screens for under $75 from retailers like Amazon and Walmart. And if you’re into DIY and looking to get your hands dirty, you can install a DIY partition wall relatively easily.

Create levels

A bedroom with a raised bed and bicycle

Dividing a room doesn’t always mean using partitions and physical objects to create a barrier. This bedroom is the perfect example of how creating different levels in your space can divide a room without using walls and losing precious floor space.

With space being limited for many of us, using a temporary wall or partition isn’t the ideal solution. This clever idea is a great way to divide your room and without losing precious floor space, and even adding some storage below the elevated level.

Use furniture

Brown sofa in a living room, with a black and white rug and wooden floor

Using furniture is a free and easy way to create the illusion of a divided room. Although there is no physical partition or divider in place, using a sofa along with a rug can effortlessly separate the living area in your open-plan space.

This simple alternative is ideal for super-small spaces or studio’s with limited natural daylight.

Kitchen counter or dining table

A kitchen with a dining table and green chairs

Open-plan kitchen-living areas are becoming increasingly popular, but it’s not unusual for the space to feel a little overwhelming and bare. If this sounds familiar, introducing something to break up the space up can help to seamlessly separate your areas.

Opting for a dining table, breakfast bar or kitchen island is a great option that divides the room without a wall and keeps the space feeling open and usable.


A living room with black shelving, wooden floor and a black fireplace in a wall

If you’re looking to divide a room without walls and create a cozy space, this one’s for you. A narrow partition wall with a built-in fireplace is the ultimate way to achieve privacy without being too intrusive.

During the day, the narrow wall along with glass fireplace allows light to travel through the room, keeping the space feeling light and airy. In the night, you can benefit from a warm glow and cozy feeling on both sides of the wall.

This is a permanent solution and is certainly not the cheapest or easiest way to divide a room without walls. But if you’re working with a larger budget or looking to elevate your decor, then this is an ideal option.

Half wall

Dining table with blue chairs on a wooden floor, with a half wall in between table and sofa

For those of us who are hands-on and know how to build a room divider wall, building a half-wall is an effective way to separate your space into different zones.

While this DIY partition wall is still technically a wall, a half wall is less invasive and allows the spaces to feel more sociable and open-plan.

For more decorating ideas and tips, check out our related posts.

Apartment Pride is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Similar Posts