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7 Clever Ways to Organize Your Home for Privacy

Woman relaxing in a chair, enjoying some private time.
Oksana Yurlova/Shutterstock

The open floor plan has dominated home design trends for decades. However, the coronavirus pandemic might be ending your love of wide-open spaces. Here’s how to rearrange your home to get the privacy you need.

It’s easy to see why so many people gravitate toward an open floor plan. It makes spaces look bigger. It also allows for more idyllic family moments, like watching your kids play in the living room while you cook in the kitchen.

However, being forced to spend all day, every day with your family might have you longing for a home with some more privacy.

If your home doesn’t have many walls or doors, you’ll need to get creative to add some private spaces. Here are our favorite ideas.

Divide the Room with Furniture

Shifting pieces of furniture around can create a false wall that blocks off one area of the home from another. This way, you can turn part of a common space into a semi-private one.

Tall, narrow furniture items, like bookshelves, cabinets, or even a flatscreen TV, work best for this. If that’s not quite enough, consider adding a row of lush, leafy plants to improve privacy.

Now, instead of one enormous room, you have two or more sections you can devote to different purposes. This trick won’t block out noise from the other sections, but at least it will eliminate visual distractions.

Create a Room Within a Room

Even if you don’t have any tall furniture, simply grouping what you do have into separate areas might make each space feel more private.

A few groupings of sofas, chairs, and tables will create multiple seating sections within one large space. It’s kind of like the separate tables at a restaurant—you’ll still be able to hear and see others, but you’ll have your own space.

Adding different rugs for each section can really make them feel separate. Consider using lamps and other lighting sources to give each space its own customizable lighting options, too. One person might want a bright light for reading, while another might want to dim the lights for a relaxing meal in another section.

Folding Screens or Curtains

A room divided by a white screen.
New Africa/Shutterstock

If you don’t have enough furniture to create separate areas, and you don’t want to buy more, try a folding room divider. Depending on the design of your home, you might also have a space in which simply adding curtains would create a door or wall.

For example, if the entry to your kitchen is open but fairly narrow, add a curtain to function as a door. You can also add a ceiling track for curtains to any part of a room and create a fabric “wall.” You’ll also be able to open the curtains when you don’t need the space divided.

While you can still hear noise through curtains, some are soundproof, which will help reduce it. For the best visual privacy, buy extra-tall, extra-wide curtains designed to function as room dividers.

Acoustic Room Dividers

If you can spend a little more, an acoustic room divider can help block off both sights and sounds from other areas of your home. These were designed to be used in an office, which is kind of perfect, since your home might also be your office right now, anyway.

Display Your Clothing

In bedrooms and entryways, a rolling garment rack filled with coats or clothes can serve as a partial room divider. These racks can easily be moved around to block off different areas, as needed.

This also frees up storage space in your closet or dresser, which might be great if decluttering and organizing are on your quarantine to-do list.

Keep That “Open” Feeling with Mirrors

If you don’t want to sacrifice the open feel of your home, tall standing mirrors can function as partial room dividers and keep things looking spacious. A mirror always makes a room look larger, because it tricks the eye into seeing more space.

However, standing mirrors are easily knocked over or broken by running kids or rambunctious pets, so they won’t work well for everyone.

Check Out Your Closets

If your home has lots of storage space, there’s a chance you might have a spare closet that’s not in use (or doesn’t need to be). If you can empty out a large closet, you can turn it into a makeshift private room.

With some lighting and a couple of furniture items, you can transform a closet into a home office, reading nook, or just a much-needed getaway space. It won’t be huge, but it likely has the potential to be a cozy, private space. Not all homes offer the luxury of a large, unused closet, but if yours does, don’t let it go to waste!

Post social distancing, it seems likely homes with more walls and doors will become popular again. There’s something to be said for having a separate entryway to the kitchen, and living and dining rooms, rather than one massive, open space.

If open space is all you have, though, these simple solutions will help you add some much-needed privacy wherever you need it most.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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