Turn One Room Into Two With These 10 Simple Tricks

I used to live in a 350 square foot studio apartment, and space was hard to find. Yet, somehow I managed to fit a bedroom, office, living space, reading nook, and kitchen into one open room. How? Some very tricky maneuvering. (See also: 20 Ways to Live Large in a Small Space)

Here are a few ways you can carve out the zones you need without upping your rent.

1. Furniture Placement

Before you install or purchase anything, check your furniture placement to see how it could be modified. In one of my apartments, I set a long desk on the back of my couch (a lot like in this loft space), fashioning an office and living room in one open spot. Before moving anything, measure your furniture and try plotting out different arrangements on a piece of paper.

2. Rugs

Did you know that rugs have a lot of visual power? It's true. They can define spaces without much heavy lifting. Don't shy from larger ones either, since there's a science behind choosing the right size for the room or purpose. Measure your entire seating area, for example, and make sure your rug overlaps the chairs by a few inches.

Tip: Carpet warehouses are great for finding flooring options you need at low prices. You can pick out a remnant roll and have it cut to size and bound into an inexpensive rug.

3. DIY Dividers

Get creative and make your own room divider with simple materials like a wood frame and some yarn or rope. Projects like these go beyond the utilitarian and become practical art. Of course, you can also purchase room dividers at stores like Target or on Amazon. Here's a natural wooden screen divider for less than $50.

4. Bookcases

One of the easiest ways you can divide a room in no time is by picking up a pair of bookcases or those handy cube organizers. The bonus here is that you don't just get two rooms for the price of one, you also gain some much needed storage space for all your stuff. Make your displays eye-catching by mixing decor pieces with more practical items.

5. Custom Shelving

Or try DIYing some custom shelving for a similar impact. This couple made an impressive set of storage shelves that divided out a living space for around $35. If you're into building your own stuff, be sure to check places like Habitat's ReStore, which sells donated building materials for very little money. (See also: 10 Ways to Make Your Apartment Awesome Without Losing Your Deposit)

6. Armoire

Large pieces of furniture make even more convincing room dividers, especially in tall loft spaces. Check out this gorgeous armoire that helps distinguish a bedroom from other spots in an open space. Flea markets, thrift shops, and even antique markets are wonderful places to look for pieces like these — and try to negotiate for the best deal possible.

7. Clothing Rack

In much the same way, a clothing rack can act as a visual barrier between two spaces. Say, if you need to separate a living "room" from a bed area. Those of you low on closet space might appreciate bringing your clothing out in the open and hiding away unsightly things behind closed doors. It's a solid excuse to lean your wardrobe to just the clothes you love.

8. Pallet Divider

My husband recently found a few wood pallets on the side of the road in good condition. They're sitting in our garage, and I would have never thought to make a pallet room divider with them. The rustic look would go well with a variety of decors, and you can connect them with triangle hinges for simple stability.

9. Fabric

I have used fabric and curtains in my apartments and houses to do some heavy lifting. This floor to ceiling curtain installation gives the room some awesome separation — all with a soft elegance. Install a large curtain rod or pole where you need it and slip on your curtains. I find deals on panels at discount shops and dollar stores. You can also make your own curtains in a flash.

10. Sliding Doors

I love how this couple made a nursery out of nothing using Ikea sliding doors (the PAX system). Since these doors move on a sturdy track line that needs to be installed — screwed into the floor and ceiling — it's a more permanent solution. And all together it will cost several hundred dollars even with the least expensive door kit. I think we can all agree, though, that the end result is truly amazing if you need a long-term fix.

How have you turned one room into two?

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