6 cheap and easy tips to help you divide open spaces like a pro

September 7 2016 | Guest post by Raf Howery
Photo by lilinwonderland.fr
Photo by lilinwonderland.fr

Ah, the cool and laid-back feel of lofts. With today's reduced spaces, this is a decorative style that's here to stay. However, it's not that easy to master the open space distribution. Without the help of walls, it can turn into a cluttered storage of furniture.

How do you prevent having your loft or open floor plan feel like a furniture display warehouse? You don't necessarily have to renovate and tear down (or build!) walls to divide open spaces well. Here are six cheap and easy tips to help you master the open space trend like a pro…

1. Draw up a basic plan

This is the best way to easily envision and decide how you want to distribute your space. Consider the different environments you want to have: a relaxation area, reading corner, study, and so on. Having your personal needs clear before you start is key for optimized distribution.

Photo by Hares and Foxes
Photo by Hares and Foxes

2. Use curtains to separate spaces

The fabric lets the light through it doesn't feel tight or heavy. When choosing curtains, avoid blackouts and venture into innovative designs, such as: bamboo curtains.

Photo courtesy of Modern Love 20
Photo courtesy of Modern Love 20

3. Screens

They can be a very fashionable solution when it comes to dividing spaces. There are millions of different styles and materials. Wood or metal are ideal for that cool industrial look.

Photo by Freshideen and DigsDigs
Photo by Freshideen and DigsDigs

4. Japanese panels

They're easy to install, and perfect to separate spaces with some charm. In the same way as the curtains, you can buy Japanese panels customized-made and in a variety of styles.

Photos by uncovet.com and Re-Nest
Photos by uncovet.com and Re-Nest

5. Large shelves or libraries can be a great option

You can organize your collections, and create different environments simultaneously. It is a very practical way to create areas of study and reading and also showcasing your personal taste.

Photo courtesy of My House Ideas
Photo courtesy of My House Ideas

6. If your loft has a very high ceiling

You can create the sleeping area on a mezzanine for a more intimate area, and enjoy your privacy at any time without the need to build walls and doors.

Your turn! How do YOU divide open spaces in your lofts or open concept space?

    • Yeah, building a mezzanine or installing large bookshelves seem like neither cheap nor easy projects.

      Though I was under the impression that lofts, particularly ones like those displayed in the pictures, were very high in demand and not easy to come by. So maybe I'm just annoyed that I don't have the issue of too much open space.

      • Remind me of a saying, you can have it cheap or easy, but not both.

        I'm in the process of building my own built in bookshelves into my study. It's certainly cheaper than hiring a carpenter, but it's still not that cheap and definitely not easy!

      • Well, there's always brick-and plank bookshelves. Those are pretty cheap. Basically it's just cinderblock bricks alternating with the cheapest planks you can get in the lumberyard that will still hold books. I've done that, and I'm not rich. I'd recommend museum wax between planks and bricks (although it means that those planks will be permanently stained where they touch the wax, limiting options for future use.) Do not use if you live in earthquake country.

        As for building a mezzanine, that does sound pricey, unless you build it yourself out of salvaged wood, and then it's not easy.

        Oh, and I almost forgot–you can get really cheap plastic storage shelves that you can assemble in a number of configurations, at the hardware store, where you can also buy paint for plastic, with which to spice them up a bit.

  1. You can buy loft beds in several sizes to fit different ceiling sizes. The lower ones will mean that you can only do seated activities underneath, but that's okay, I have my office under mine and it works out fine.

  2. And then there's bead curtains, which define space nicely and allow room for creativity. You can buy bead-curtains ready made, or you can make them yourself. Use tough string or cord, not thread, and beads with a large bore. A bead can be anything either with a hole through it already (chicken-leg bones, vertebrae, spools) or which you can drill. (I would not recommend drilling golf balls–they're pressurized inside.) To save time you might want to use something larger than your classic bead curtain, like corks or tennis balls, but you would still need smaller or at least narrower beads in between to space them out. The larger the "bead" the more lightweight it should be. If it's not light, you've got to think about heavy-duty cord or twine, and not hanging it with the idea of walking through it. (Punctured toffee-cans come to mind.) If you drink soda or water from clear or translucent plastic bottles, consider swirling around some glue and glitter inside, puncturing the bottoms, and using those. Or sand, or aquarium gravel. You could throw a curtain-stringing party, admission one bag of pony beads, and figure out the design together with whatever turns up.

  3. And branch screens! Get the leftovers from some gardener. Snip off twigs that keep it from being more or less flat (which you might reuse) wire it all together and hang it from the ceiling or a frame. I'd recommend using a fine-bit drill for holes in the wood for the wire to pass through to make it more secure, and reinforce with a glue gun if you think best, because when something like that falls apart it can get spectacularly messy. You can leave it au natural, or paint it.

  4. Area rugs! (The large ones.)

    While they don't technically divide the space, different blocks of color on the floor really help ground and visually seperate spaces with different functions.

  5. I just thought of another idea, in the curtain category. I've mentioned how, for lack of closet space, I hung fishnet on the wall to hang my clothes from (layered scale-like horizontally and vertically.) One could also make a curtain out of this and have a simultaneous wall-divider/clothes-storage thing. But it would have to be a pretty sturdy rod because if you put on too many clothes, otherwise, it would bend. Also, I'd recommend not hanging coats or capes from it–use knobs on the wall for that.

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