Room Dividers Room Dividers

It's a fact that a teenager's priority - other than studying, of course - is privacy. Once your kid hits about 13, he's no longer content to sit around in the living room with the rest of the family, sharing his troubles and his glories. Now, the kid's off in the bedroom most of the time, hidden away.

If you have two kids sharing a bedroom, this period can spell trouble. The teenager will be hungering for privacy and independence, and yet you can't build on another room just to serve his needs. And the younger kid has to keep sleeping somewhere, right? Kids' room dividers provide much needed privacy for your children.

And even if your kids aren't sharing a room, keep in mind the other priority of many teenagers: to unfetter the slob within.

This is where the world of room dividers comes in, just in the nick of time.

There are several kinds of room dividers on the market these days, and with a little creativity, you can make one work as a kid's room divider - and it'll help keep things harmonious on the home front.

First, there's the standard-issue Japanese folding room divider screen. Traditional Japanese homes don't rely on separate rooms the way Western homes do, and so they use these screen to cordon off spaces for privacy. They have the flexibility of being able to be moved according to the needs of the occupants. They're lightweight, and relatively inexpensive. For under $200, you could get enough screen to wall off one side of a bedroom from the other.

A Japanese screen unfolded to its full length could come to the rescue just in time for Aunt Margie's visit, screening off the offending pile of clothes, books, and sports equipment. It can also lend privacy to each side of a shared bedroom.

The Japanese screen has the advantage of also adding a spare, clean line to any room, and so they fit in with just about any décor. You can choose from dark or light stained wood, and from a variety of styles and materials for the inserts, from paper to Plexiglas.

While the Japanese screen will also let in filtered light, Plexiglas blocks will keep a room even brighter, while allowing for more of a feeling of separate room. These blocks can be stacked in whatever pattern you need them, but they're not as easy to move around as the screens are. However, they let in much more light, giving each part of the room a more open feeling, even though it's closed in. The Plexiglas blocks will give a more modern feeling to a room.

Finally, for a whimsical feeling, you can hang curtains to cordon off a section of a teen's room. Simply install hooks in the ceiling and hang a wooden rod from them, from which the curtain will hang. For a more finished look, use a curtain rod with filials. You can find rods - and, of course material - to match just about any style of décor.

Whatever you do, let the teenager in you home choose the room divider, whether it's a red velvet curtain or a Japanese screen. Remember that your kid is trying out different styles in search of his own, and it may take some mismatching along the way to get there.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!