This Little Miggy Stayed Home: Room Dividers

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Room Dividers

Dilemma:  In our new place we have a large family room where we're going to partition off a portion for my sewing/painting studio.  The problem is in the execution.  I want it to be both functional (meaning I need storage!) and pretty.  Also inexpensive and safe...nothing that could possibly topple over on any little kiddos.   A typical folding room divider just won't cut it--not stable enough and no storage.  A curtain is the cheapest option, but once again we still have the storage issue.

What I'm looking for is a 'wall' that is about 5-6 feet high and about 10-12 feet long.  It needs to have shelving or storage of somesort, and ideally the storage could be accessed from both sides so I could store fabric/sewing/paint supplies on the studio side, while also using it to house toys that the girls can access on the family room side.  So if we go the curtain route for example, how could we also implement storage for both sides while not looking totally lame/ugly/janky?  Here are my thoughts, please feel free to share your opinions and any ideas you may have as well.

First plan:  Epxedit bookcase from Ikea.
pros:  Definitely will give plenty of storage and works well as a temporary wall.
cons:  One bookcase will only give me 6 feet of wall, and I was hoping for 10+ feet of partition.  At $200 each, I don't think we could do 2 of these, we really want to spend less than that.

Plan #2.  I LOVE this idea.  In the first picture they took inexpensive Ikea storage boxes, held together with paper clips(!) to create unique, functional and beautiful modular storage solution.  (Seen here on Poppytalk.)  My idea was to try and re-create this same look, only substituting crates or just use the crates au natural as shown in the pictures below.

Pros:  Beautiful, functional and with some choice paint colors you can really make it a one-of-a-kind piece.
Cons: So far I have been able to locate 6 old wine crates...I can't find crates anywhere!  Also they're a little on the shallow side as far as depth goes.  I was thinking that there would be tons of places I could get these for free, just like you can find pallets for free everywhere, but so far I've got nothing.  I called wine stores (most wine comes in cardboard, but I scored 6 at $5 each), the grocery store, home depot, and checked craigslist.  The one place that was getting rid of crates only had crates that were way too big for what I need.  And if I tried to recreate the wall with the Ikea boxes, it would quickly become expensive for the size I'm thinking.  And buying old crates on ebay, etsy or other sources also adds up... we've thought about making them ourselves, but that's probably more of a project than we want to undertake.

We've even thought about building a free standing wall, or purchasing room/cubical dividers from old offices from craigslist.  So any other ideas out there?  More importantly where can I find cheap or free crates?  


  1. I love those ikea shelves, and I keep trying to pretend that I have room for them. But I don't.

    I like the crates idea. SUPER cool.

  2. just as a thought, have you checked craigslist in cities where you may have families or friends who could mail them, like parcel post or something else very cheap? I found one right off the bat on my local one, for $5:

    There may be more, I don't know. Did you try freecycle?

  3. We share a room with Odin and we use 2 of the 8 square cases. We put them horizontally, got some 6" legs and attached them to the bottom, put some 3" plumbing tube circle things to create a little space between the top and the bottom case. We put magazine holders on top so it pretty much goes to the top of our NYC ceiling. It has been great for us. And it was less than $200 by the end... easy. I love the ikea cases because they allow you to put full bins, drawers, cupboards or cover partially/diagonally or leave completely empty of dividers - fill with books, plants, anything... GOOD LUCK!

  4. I have these IKEA shelves, and I love them because they look great on both sides. You can use them as open shelves, or fill them with different types of baskets. Perfect for storage for both your space, and the general living space. They also make some that are half as tall, so you could get the distance covered, with the same amount of storage space. And they are low enough that you can be in your space and work, and still watch your munchkins on the other side.

  5. I love your sweet little blog.

    so just a thought! I have found some nice wooden wine crates just at our local costco for storage. sometimes if there aren't empty ones... I'll shift things around to be able to take one home with me. they aren't nearly as cool as the one's on your inspiration photos- but pretty darn nice and free. worth looking into!

    have a great week!

  6. Tamra--I know the crates right?

    Angela--when I saw that craigslist crate you linked I just rolled my eyes like "What the?" That's EXACTLY the kind of crates I want and can't seem to find...for less than $25 that is. A local antique architecture store was selling them for that much.

    Linda....Oooh I like the idea, but I just want a higher wall than that...but still considering it, especially with the legs.

    Cara S--yes we already have a couple units currently being used in Princess Sparkles room, but I want the big 5X5 mother...

    FL--thank you! and thanks for the great tip I'll def. check costco.

  7. Anonymous5:27 AM

    My neighbor has the Ikea shelving AND a curtain. If it's enough storage for you, use 1 wall of shelving and divide the rest by curtain. It looks nice with a combo of the right textures/colors. Love your blog. Good luck!

  8. A typical folding room divider just won't cut it--not stable enough and no storage. ...