A room without a wall (or door!)

My dilemma is this:

 As of yesterday, I will be living with two of my friends in a lovely apartment in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco (if you've never been I highly advise you to...). Through the luck of drawing straws, I go stuck with the faux bedroom.

 My room was actually a living room, which is a large open room between the main hallway and the kitchen. There is no wall dividing it from the hallway, and no door, which is a huge issue.

I would like to make a room divider which is visually (and mentally) stimulating, as well as effective in creating a complete visual block to my space, as well as a sufficient audial muffler. I am aware that nothing will block sound the way a true wall would, but I believe that there can be many creative solutions.

Here is a seriously shitty rendition of the apartment's layout:

A room without a wall (or door!)

 I am very crafty, love sewing and building things, and would rather create something out of unusual materials (cardboard, etc) than go the route of a large curtain. Oh, and I'm a born-bargain shopper so the cheaper the better.

I really appreciate all who have read this far, this is my first post here, my first appartment, and I'm in the middle of final's week, so all comments will be taken straight to heart.

 xo zana

ps. please don't reccomend an asian folding screan, that simply will not do!.

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jeanne s on Dec 13, 2006:

Ikea to the rescue!

In a recent "woman's magazine"  I saw some "artwork" created by a person who made large wall "covers" by hanging pretty ikea  placemats, attached horizontally and vertically by some sort of plastic loops. you could use anything to connect them, once you punch a hole in them with a hole puncher.  The placemats were clear with a pattern on them. So instead of a wall hanging, this could be a large moveable wall as follows. Ikea has  the hardware  for window treatments for sliding doors , that when extended can cover the door, but when pulled back (in thirds) creates an opening. Attach the placemat "art" to these sliders and you have a great (moveable) wall. I thought about using it as a door to a room .  Not sure this is fully explained , but if I come across the ref I will let you know. good luck, jeanne



jasimar on Dec 05, 2006:

-wooden dowels fitted horizontally in pockets on lengths of fabulous flowey fabric hung either by hospital curtain method (ball bearings in a track) or a tension wire.  if you can get the track you'd be able to send the panels of fabric entirely around the room (360*!!!! Fabulous!)

-salvage french door frames, fit with homemade (or homemade looking) paper, hinges and casters make a fabulous screen.  this can be done with any sort of salvaged doors covered in fabric, paint, decopage (sp?), mosaic... 


- the answer to your prayers.. corrugated plastic 


Best of luck, please keep us posted. 

ajftuba on Dec 04, 2006:

I have seen room dividers made from floor-to-ceiling Ikea bookcases, you can hang doors on and full of stuff they seem like they would block a moderate amount of sound. If you put them on the hallway side you might also be able to use them as a headboard if the space is right. I remember seeing this done in a couple of house tours on apartment therapy, I will try and find a pic. But it seems like that would be relatively inexpensive, efficient and DIY, you just might have to hang a door at the end of some sort so you could completely close yourself in. But other than that it wouldn't be too big of a deal. At least, the way I am picturing it. Can you give us your room dimensions?

erinn on Nov 20, 2006:

PS.  My other suggestion was similar to Gregory's.  I was thinking rigid insulation which is either blue or pink in color and can be anywhere from 1" to 2" thick.  You can get it at your building supply store in 4 x 8 sheets as well.  Paint it or cover it in fabric.  That would be the lightest panel to hang.

erinn on Nov 20, 2006:

What if you hung low-density-fiberboard panels from from the ceiling.

You would absolutely HAVE to locate the floor joists above and hang them directly from the joists if possible.

As for the LDF I am thinking specifically of the lighter weight gray colored stuff that people use frequently for tack boards.  You can get it in 4x8 sheets.  It can be smelly, so I would paint it.  But a couple coats of paint covers it well.  Then you have a wall of tack surfaces to hang pictures.

As for the hanging part: Some creative use of hardware at your building supply store.  Heavy duty hooks, maybe some chain link if you like the industrial look, and bolts to secure to the LDF.

Potentially, you could do it without any power tools.  Just a cordless drill maybe.  That would be an important issue for me.  I remember when I lived in an apartment in nyc.  All I had was a hammer and a screwdriver.

Good luck.

vincechan on Nov 18, 2006:

Gregory's idea is a very good one if you prefer a fabric-type solution. It also has the advantage of being pretty cost-effective.

However, if (and it's a big IF) your picture is at all to-scale, even if you built a solid wall there, you would still have a nice-sized room.

My suggestion would actually be to do what amfine wrote - with some changes. Going to Home Depot is fine, but don't have them deliver or do anything more than cut your wood and check you out at the register.

Instead of plywood, I'd recommend building a frame using 2x4 studs. An 8-ft 2x4 sells for $2.40 here in MN. If you give me the dimensions of the room (3-D please) I can help you draw out the framework and that will give you a good idea on price.

After the frame is built, use sheetrock to cover it. A 4x8 sheet typically sells for less than $7. I wouldn't worry about using mud or tape for the seams, since this is a temporary artifact (you probably have to take it down before you move out) - but you could have fun painting, decorating, or adding fixtures to the wall after it had been constructed.

If you want it to block noise, just stuff some insulation or foam or old jeans into the frame before attaching the second side of the sheetrock.

The best thing about it all is that the layout of your unit will make it very easy to carry the wood and sheetrock directly into your room.

gregoryjohnson on Nov 18, 2006:

Hi Zana. At one time I considered designing a home in which there would be no "walls" as such, but instead there would be fabric hanging from the ceiling to define spaces. This fabric could be moved and removed to create new rooms and spaces. Or, two tiny rooms could be made into one large room. Of course, there is the problem of noise. Have you considered creating a fabric wall and then attaching those noise canceling foam squares to it? This would look very "modern" (or perhaps very much like a recording booth). If you don't like the idea of living in a recording booth, you could attach fabric to both sides. So, basically, you would be building a thick foam filled (sound canceling) wall. You might reinforce it with some light wood strips or something. Question: What are the dimensions of the room? Would putting a wall in leave you with too little space? - Gregory

bruno on Nov 17, 2006:

Some other ideas:

From IkeaHacker's "Can I Make A Multi-Room Divider Out of Wardrobe Doors?" come some thoughts on how to do something like this:

And Apartment Therapy has another good example of using Ikea wardrobe doors to create a sliding wall (warning, not that cheap at around $800):


amfine on Nov 17, 2006:

(Apparently the full comment was too long so I have to double post)

We then used the extras to build shelves and a small outward desk on both sides of the wall. The end result was a lot more than we had hope for. It still wasn't that pretty though, it was plywood after all. About a week later some friends and I had found some huge sheets of silver metal in a dump. It had some obvious wear and tear but was overall very smooth. We split it up and I had just enough to cover my side of the wall and shelves. After a bit of hacking and bending in a friend's garage I was able to attach the metal over the plywood giving me a nice shiny silver wall. I made additional tweaks to it later on with some vinyl coverings around the edges of the shelves and desk to put some contrast in as well as have those corners and edges be a little less of a threat.

Overall the whole thing turned out great and was very sturdy. I can't say that you'll have as much luck with Home Depot, or any other hardware store as far as pricing goes. But the plywood idea worked well and there are dozens of different things to disguise the wood with. Wallpaper, canvas, fake brick and plastic tiles are all things I considered before I found the metal. Anyhow, hope this little story gives you some ideas. :D  

amfine on Nov 17, 2006:

I had this same dilemma a couple years ago in an old apartment. A wide entryway opened two bedrooms together. After some brainstorming and bickering with my roommate we decided we would shell out the money to have Home Depot cut some large plywood sheets and build a pseudo wall. The sheets they stocked weren't wide enough for our project so we ended up having to mount two of their largest sheets trimmed down and adjoined with straight brackets. The wood that met the wall was mounted with L brackets. Not the classiest way to approach the problem but it worked and we had some extra wood.

Originally this project was going to cost us two-hundred upwards. The price for the wood, cuts and delivery. Fortunately we lucked out and Home Depot screwed up several times with the delivery date and then after receiving our order the dimensions weren't what we specified. So after about an hour on the phone and some hardcore bitching our final total was about fifty dollars with free delivery and we were able to keep the original bad cuts giving us even more extra wood to play with.

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