How to use room dividers instead of partition walls

About room dividers: Alventosa Morell Arquitectes - LB flat renovation

There are two ways to organize an apartment: you can either have “one room – one function” situation, or you can combine a few functions into one single, probably large, room. For example, you can design a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen, or you can design one room with kitchen area, dining area, and living area/lounge.

Basically, you can integrate or divide your space. But sometimes, there’s a very thin line between those two possibilities.

Interior design is often focused on the interior space, while actually, borders of that space is where it gets interesting. Borders, like walls or even openings, are what defines the room. They can be completely static and neutral (like walls usually are) or they can bring an extra value to the room.

How to use room dividers instead of partition walls? : FrontOfficeTokyo - Akasaka Flat
FrontOfficeTokyoAkasaka Flat // photo: © Toshiyuki Yano

This wonderful divider defines three different areas (different functions), of one room: sleeping, cooking, and dining.

It is off topic, but notice the borders of this space. They are rough, aren’t they? And yet, the divider, with its clean design and carefully chosen colours and material, combined with the smooth floor finish, creates a calm atmosphere in the apartment. One might think architects didn’t bother much with the existing walls, but notice how the contrast of the surfaces affects the overall ambience. Something like this simply doesn’t happen by accident.

How to use room dividers instead of partition walls? : FrontOfficeTokyo - Akasaka Flat
FrontOfficeTokyoAkasaka Flat // photo: © Toshiyuki Yano

The room divider is deliberately detached from the ceiling, clearly implemented into the interior as a new element with a specific purpose. Serving as storage space – a pantry for the kitchen and a wardrobe for the bedroom – the divider added an extra value to those areas.

Closets as room dividers are useful space-savers. But, while they might separate rooms physically and visually, they are not the best solution for rooms that must be soundproofed: bedrooms (when the apartment is for more than one person or a couple), nurseries, home offices, and bathrooms. For those rooms, standard partition walls are probably the best.

Or maybe you want to connect your workspace with the living room? We love bookshelves used as room dividers.

How to use room dividers instead of partition walls? : Architekten Innauer Matt - House Feurstein

How to use room dividers instead of partition walls? : Architekten Innauer Matt - House Feurstein
Architekten Innauer MattHaus Feurstein // photo: © Adolf Bereuter

They can be used from both rooms they divide and depending on the number of books (or other stuff) kept on the shelves, one can constantly change the level of integration/separation of the space.

This type of bookshelf can look just as interesting left completely empty, or perfectly styled.

But bookshelves aren’t for everyone – potential hoarder might use them as an excuse to collect clutter. And clutter is the no.1 nemesis of every interior.

So imagine our thrill when we saw this amazing idea.

Room dividers ideas and tips

Room dividers ideas and tips
Alventosa Morell ArquitectesLB flat renovation // photo: © Adrià Goula

The effect is similar. Do you see how it defines the room, even though the room is completely open to the rest of the apartment? We can imagine a playroom for the kids in this room. Wouldn’t it be perfect? You could easily keep an eye on the kids, but also tolerate the mess – after all, it would be in the other room. It would also be a wonderful home office. Calm, but not introverted. We love problem-solving, creative elements designed to the last detail.

Also, there is something irresistible about wooden structures in interiors. Look at this one!

How to use room dividers instead of partition walls? : Husos Architects - Bathyard Home
Husos Architects (Diego Barajas and Camilo García) + Martín Orbea (intern) and Rebeka Nemeth – Bathyard Home // photo: © Miguel de Guzmán, Imagen Subliminal

Transparent dividers visually connect rooms with different temperature and humidity. How amazing is this bathroom? The divider really highlights the plants. Their presence in the interior is crucial for the ambience, as much as wooden elements and the warm yellow colour of the floor. It is relaxing just to look at this photograph, we can only imagine how it feels to read a book while taking a bubble bath.

The secret about dividing interior space into a number of single-function areas is this: it doesn’t need to be physically divided, for us to perceive it as divided. People perceive psychological borders of the space – like a difference in ceiling height, or difference in floor finishes. Or subtle structures and built-in elements. Even the contrast between light and shadow can define a specific area of the room.

You see, none of this would be possible if architects didn’t second-guess the borders of these rooms. Yes, partition walls are the most common option for apartment layout organization. But often, they are not the most practical nor the most functional option. They are not the simplest option. They are not even the cheapest option. Just the most common one.

Our suggestion is this: when designing your own apartment, instead of trying to figure out what to put in front of the wall, try to figure out what else could that wall be, and what else could be used as a wall.

Interior design is all about thinking outside the box.

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4 thoughts on “How to use room dividers instead of partition walls

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