Living in/sharing small spaces is becoming pretty common, as is having to use one space for multiple purposes. Right now, my search is for an affordable divider for a bachelor pad where the only window is a glass balcony door to quite a deep room.

The pad is an open plan bed/living/dining/kitchen/wardrobe room.

The only space that allows a bed is by the balcony door meaning I need a divider that allows privacy, as well as lets light in, while being affordable. I’m desperately searching for solutions/ideas that meet those criteria and right now am tearing my hair out! Help?!


Hey Eegee! I love finding fun and funky room dividers, so this question was really fun to receive. We’ve previously featured 3 quickie ideas for unconventional room dividers, but I’ve gone ahead and found even MORE room dividers this time that will separate a space, let light in, and I tried to keep my finds $100 and under.

I think this four-panel shoji screen divider is a good option — it’s light-colored wood, which doesn’t feel imposing, the rice paper will let light in but add privacy, and it’s on sale for $35!

Her’s another shoji screen option that has more rice paper than frame, which means a lot more light. It also offers a super pretty bamboo design that’s not too girly or not masculine enough. Fuck yeah bamboo. It’s pricier at $73.

I happen to LOVE this hanging option with its very mod design. This one, obviously, won’t allow for 100% privacy, but it will divide a room without being too imposing and looking really swanky. It’s on sale for $108, but I think it’s worth every penny.

Here’s a fabric paneled room divider. At $44 you could afford to keep this room divider for a long time and make custom fabric panels whenever the mood strikes.

Have you considered an open shelving unit? Like the Ikea Expedit Bookcase? Once you fill the bookshelves up with books and accessories this creates a private space AND a storage solution that also lets light in.

Here’s a cheaper, even funkier, shelving divider option!

This white swirly room divider is $99 and ticks all the boxes.

I’m a big fan of Moroccan and Indian-style room dividers. My buddy has one she uses as a headboard for her bed that’s placed in front of a window. It looks gorgeous and lets in light. The one pictured above is pricey, but you may be able to find them second-hand for less.

Okay, here’s my favorite offbeat option for $60 — Made from recycled, double-wall cardboard, Butterfly Nomad is a modular system that can be assembled into free-standing room dividers without hardware, tools, or damage to existing structures.

What about getting those sliding panel systems and installing them from the ceiling instead of in a window? As long as they’re very light-colored panels, it should let enough light in even when closed.

Ooh ooh, check out how cool these Koziol Fusion Partition Element squares! Each square can be assembled in no time, with individual components easily linked with convenient hooks and form a REALLY neat room divider. Also comes in red and clear, and they’re $12 a square.

And I’m spent. Homies, whatchu got as far as room divider suggestions that let in light and don’t cost a billion?

Comments on I need help finding the perfect room divider!

  1. I have a friend who has a long planter of bamboo dividing a room. It’s gorgeous and if you build the planter high it will give you some privacy… sort of like a wooden garden box except thin and high?

    • I almost did something similar to this! Its fairly easy (at least in my area) to find people who are willing to let you cut bamboo from excess they may have on their property. I was able to find several people through craigslist offering free bamboo if you go cut it yourself. … I was too lazy at the time to cut, gather, and construct the room divider out of said bamboo but I think it could look really cool!

      • Yes, basically tall indoor bamboo in a wooden planting box almost counter height. I’m sure it has some kind of lining in it to keep moisture from getting on the floor.

  2. I actually have the first room divider. The 4 panel shoji screen and I love it! It lets lots of light through and doesn’t feel cumbersome in my room. Its a little more wobbly than I was hoping but I added small pieces of wood to the bottom for extra weight, you’re getting what you pay for. Be careful though because the shipping on that item fluctuates and can be as high as $70-$80. I shopped around a lot and calculated the item price vs. the shipping cost and still found this model to be one of the more affordable options after everything is totaled. I was about to make my own but decided the time saved by oredering one at that moment was more valuable to me 🙂

    • I loved the shoji screen I used to have … unfortunately my cat loved it too, and punctured many little holes in it! No more shoji for me, alas.

      • One thing I didn’t realise before getting my cat was how much she would dictate home decor decisions! Not that I mind – her company is well worth the extra thought when bringing new things in 🙂

  3. I would hang some curtains from the ceiling. If the ceiling is too high to tack curtains directly onto, put the curtains on some pvc pipes, tie fishing line around the ends of the pipe and tie the fishing line to nails or hooks in the ceiling.

    • Yes! I use a 2×4 and a 4×4 Expidit to divide my living room/kitchen from my office in my apartment. The bottom row of shelves have boxes of stuff on them, the middle two rows have books and the top row has toys. Keeping the top shelves slightly emptier lets more light through (in my case). I really love how they divide the rooms and are useful storage space.

  4. I second the curtains idea, if only because I would personally want something I can open up to make the space bigger, and easily close if I’m having guests over or having a naked dance party.

    That said, if ceiling is super high or it’s not your style, put whatever you choose on wheels! Put everything on wheels! Casters with locks are available at Home Depot and it means you can easily make more room for your naked dance party.

  5. We used sliding-panel curtains from IKEA to divide my husband’s office from the living room in our previous house.

    It occurs to me that if you needed something easily movable, a wheeled garment rack with a curtain on it would work (or you could even hang your clothes on it and have a closet as well as a room divider!).

  6. In addition to whatever dividing option you chose, I would still use artificial light sources. Like maybe fairylights along a shelf, a big floor lamp, etc.

    What about some kind of bead curtain option? It would work to block the view to your room, but just act as a mental divider for guests to not tresspass. Or a curtain of origami cranes? I LOVE the bamboo idea up thread!

  7. This is not exactly a divider, but it will let in light and hide your bed from the outside world!

    These are window clings that look like stained glass! They also come in other patterns, a frosted look, or just a privacy tint. Just buy as many as you need to cover your window & trim to fit. Also easy to take down when you move!

    My sister used these on an apartment window so the creeps in the parking lot couldn’t see in. 😛 In the daytime it looks gorgeous from inside the house because it’s back-lit by the sun, and at night all the neighbors see is your beautiful illuminated windows when you turn on your lights!

    • The girl who lived in my apartment before me did something similar with translucent shelf-liner. I live in a studio where the main window looks in on my bed/living area, and my neighbors walk right by it on the way to their upstairs apartment. With the liner, I can change clothes without worrying about anybody creeping. She also did it in the sunroom:

  8. IKEA once had on display ends from their wooden bookshelves (the kind you buy in pieces and put together in your own design) and fabric draped over them. I’ve made something similar and it’s pretty cool. Just need to buy hinges, varnish, and fabric you like. I asked the woman at JoAnn’s to leave the fabric uncut so it would drape with a swoop at the bottom.

  9. Why not simply use light curtains? There are plenty of curtains that do let the light enter, but filter your sight. Cheap, easy and you can change colour anytime you’d like!

  10. I had a similar problem in an apartment whose window was right on the walkway. I got a pretty plain wooden room divider/screen with plantation shutters at the top. It closes up to be totally private, but you can open the shutters to let more light in, too. It worked perfectly for me. It’s from Pier 1, and it’s on sale right now, but when I looked it up it was $270, which is still way pricey:
    I got mine on Craigslist for much cheaper, so that’s what I would suggest. When I was looking there were a few options with shutters on Craigslist.

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