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How to Use Room Dividers in an Open Floor Plan

by John Buccelli 06/27/2022

The secret to decorating an open floor plan is to create smaller spaces within a large space. While this sounds like something only a contractor could help you with, there are plenty of construction-free ways you can define areas of an open layout. Here are some ideas for breaking up a large open floor plan space into more manageable and comfortable parts.

Open Bookcases

Backless bookcases with cube-style cubbies have been all the rage in interior design for some time, and it’s easy to see why. You can just as easily place one of these shelving units against a wall for a modern look and traditional function, but you can also use them as room dividers. One of the best things about this type of room divider is that it won’t block out natural light or restrict airflow. It also allows you to keep enjoying key benefits of your open floor plan while also separating the space in a simple and decorative way.


Curtains have always been a mainstay room divider option for open-layout studio apartments, but they have their place in larger spaces too. Hanging curtains from the ceiling to break up a room adds privacy and definition while also giving you a chance to add some personal style.

You can hang colorful blinds or even blackout curtains to cut out glare in a media center corner of the room. Install smart blind systems right into the ceiling for automated options that can open and close with a single command. Curtains are an excellent room divider because they are permanent enough to make a solid statement but also mobile enough to open and close whenever you please.

Barn Doors

Barn doors are another more rustic and heavy-duty option for dividing up a large space. While it certainly doesn’t require as much effort as building a brand new wall, there is a bit of construction involved in the installation. However, they are perfect for separating a space into distinct rooms as if it were an actual wall between them. A solid barn door is perfect for adding privacy, peace and quiet. Even when the door is open, it makes a great design statement in your home.

Area Rugs

It’s possible to separate a room into smaller pieces adding nothing vertical into the design. One expert designer tip is to use strategically placed area rugs to define specific “zones” of an open floor plan with no actual barriers. Two different rugs with space between them creates a natural feeling of transition when you pass from one area into the next, but is unobtrusive and lower maintenance than brand new furniture or installations. Try mixing different rug styles, colors, textures and sizes to make bold separations between spaces. You can also use multiples of the same rug for a sleek modern vibe that achieves the same separation effect.

These are just a few ideas for ways to divide up an open floor plan for your design needs. One or more of these strategies will help you define a space and make it your own, no matter the size or shape.

About the Author

John Buccelli

John is a native Somerville resident and has been a dedicated a real estate sales professional for nearly thirty years. As a strong well respected businessman and former owner of Prudential Buccelli Real Estate, he was thrilled to merge with the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani brand to expand the global outreach and name recognition for his clients. He has a forward thinking approach, embraces innovation and focuses on all resources to assist his clients. His diverse experience includes residential, commercial, investment land. His experience enables him to understand the challenges of the fluctuations in the real estate industry. John is focused on time tested principles that he has learned on how to produce results and he knows how to respond to the market. He has been involved in thousands of real estate transactions in his long career. Since all real estate is local, he is the area expert!