How to divide a living room into a bedroom

Tips & Tricks

Have you ever had the need or desire to install a wall in an existing room to transform it into two separate spaces? If you’ve looked into this, you know that one wall installation can quickly turn into what feels like a full home renovation. We’re here to tell you that you can separate a room without needing to phone a contractor or call in the experts! Whether you’re looking to create more space in your studio apartment or want to divide an extra large living space into a functional guest room for last-minute guests, we have some room divider ideas that won’t require a professional — or really much work at all. 

For those of us living in cities, we’re all too familiar with the struggle of configuring a small home or apartment in a way that maximizes space in a thoughtful way. This can be tricky — perhaps even frustrating, but we’ve got you covered and soon walking into your living room that doubles as a bedroom will spark more joy in you than you ever imagined. You may even have this strange desire to tell Alexa to play Wide Open Spaces by The Chicks. 

Install a quick and easy room divider

If you’ve watched Downton Abbey or The Crown recently, you’ve probably seen the characters dressing behind a folding screen. These screens have a much older history and first made their way into the home decor scene during the Han dynasty in China. Throughout history they were often hand painted with beautiful works of art, many derived from nature scenes. In the 17th and 18th centuries, these screens spread across Europe and today are still used by interior designers across the world. 

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The Inside’s Modern Screen in Emerald Zebra by Scalamandre

What does this have to do with dividing your living room and bedroom you ask? Quite a bit actually! One of our favorite ways to create two separate spaces in one room is the use of a room divider. These screens are inexpensive and aren’t permanent, which is especially great if you’re renting or don’t have the time or budget to undertake a larger design project. 

Depending on your design needs you can quickly fold up your screen and move it on a daily basis. Need a better Zoom background for your workspace? Simply move your screen behind your desk for those important meetings when working from home. If you don’t have a home office, this is also a great way to create one. Place a screen in your living room or bedroom, and you now have the perfect work-from-home office without having to break the bank. 

Perhaps you’re looking to add a dining room to your living room. Many open floor plans have one large room that functions as your entire living area. A screen can help you create a space that’s dedicated to entertaining to host as many dinner parties as desired.

Create a cozy space with curtains or sliding doors

If you live in a small apartment, space-saving design ideas are your go-to. Rather than jumping on the temporary wall trend that many city dwellers are all too familiar with, create two separate spaces by throwing up a curtain or sliding doors. Both can be installed in a matter of hours (not days!) and will help you turn an open space into two clearly divided rooms. There are advantages to installing both of these, especially if you’re creating a bedroom or sleeping area off of your living space. 

Another bedroom idea we love is the use of a curtain to create an instantly cozy feel and allows you the ability to customize to your design style. Lover of rich, deep colors? Try a navy velvet curtain. Prefer the minimalist approach with very few colors? Go for a white linen curtain. If you wanted to, you could even change out your curtains based on the season using patterned fabric by the yard to create your ideal window accessory.  

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Curtains in a Studio Apartment | Photo Credit: The Spruce

Sliding doors on the other hand give you a bit more privacy and is the closest thing to having separate rooms without needing to install a new wall. Installing a sliding door might be a bit more intensive compared to a curtain, but a quick trip to the hardware store and a tutorial should turn you into a pro DIYer in no time. If you’re up to getting into the DIY mindset, we love a repurposed old barn door that’s given a new life in your urban apartment. Want a more streamlined and modern design? Check out this wooden sliding door that not only hides the bedroom, but can slide across the room and cover the kitchen as needed.

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Sliding Doors | Photo Credit: Architectural Digest

Stock up on books and create a bookshelf your guests will envy

If you’re the kind of person who browses used bookstores on Sunday mornings and knows the best flea markets to find those barely used coffee table books that look brand new, you’re going to love this next design hack. Order a simple shelving unit or bookcase and place it between your bedroom and couch to create two unique spaces. The shelves create new storage space that’s especially helpful in small spaces. 

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Bookshelf in Studio Apartment | Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you’re truly looking to optimize space, we recommend taking a look at built-ins that create a loft bed space above. If heights don’t scare you, the lofted space can become a cozy sleeping area for you or your guests. The bookshelf will create a little nook below that can easily be transformed into a home office. With a loft, you not only add floor space to your home, you also create a small room that didn’t exist before.

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Lofted Bed with Bookshelf | Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy

If you want to keep as much natural light as possible flowing through your apartment, try something that’s a bit more open like this studio apartment in Boston. The bookshelf is actually above and creates a natural barrier to prevent you from rolling off your lofted bed. We think this is a pretty ingenious interior design hack!

Divide space by what’s on your walls

Maybe you don’t need a physical division between rooms and are looking for one continuous room that flows together seamlessly. This could be the case if you have a large living room you’re hoping will do double duty as a dining area or small alcove that doubles as a work from home space. Simply install some peel + stick wallpaper or use paint to divvy up the space. 

The beauty of dividing one larger room into multiple smaller rooms is there are no limits. You can take full creative authority to create rooms that are functional and fun. While this list gives some great starting points, there are other ways to turn a living room into a bedroom. There are no boundaries or limitations.

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The Inside is a home furnishings brand that believes in the joy of decorating. That is why we’re making furniture fun, with access to more design for more value. Think of us as your shortcut to a chic home, for every style and budget.

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