Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
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If you have a large basement and you’ve been dreaming about separating it into separate rooms, you’re in luck! This article suggests many ideas for dividing a basement, so you can create a home theater, an office, another bedroom, or whatever else you need in your basement.
Here are seven ways to divide your basement into separate rooms:
- Add permanent walls.
- Add a sliding door.
- Bring in curtains.
- Get folding screens.
- Use a bookshelf.
- Get some beads or a wall hanging.
- Get creative with furniture arrangements.
After reading this article, you’ll have plenty of ideas for how to turn your basement from one room into many. This way, you can get the basement of your dreams.
1. Add Permanent Walls
Adding a wall to an existing space isn’t too challenging to do yourself if you’re handy with tools. However, it is a bit labor-intensive and will require you to get some unique materials.
Here’s how to add permanent walls to your basement:
- If you’re installing a wall in a finished space, find the studs and joists with an electronic stud finder. Mark the studs clearly to attach the new wall to them later. I like the Merece Stud Finder Wall Scanner from Amazon.com because it has the most advanced sensor technology, which is more accurate than other stud finders. Additionally, the large LCD is easy to see and understand.
- Get some 2-by-4 lumber and sheets of plasterboard.
- Mark where you want your wall. Tap a nail into each line where you want your new wall, and snap chalked string between the nails to make chalk lines.
- Drop a plumb line from each nail.
- Build your new wall on the floor by cutting two plates from the lumber. Lay them side by side and mark the locations of the studs on the plates.
- Cut the studs, place them between the plates, and attach them with nails or screws.
- Lift the wall into place and apply a level to ensure the wall is vertical. Nail or screw the wall to the floor and ceiling.
The following video shows this process in detail:
If you’re not confident with your do-it-yourself abilities, you can hire someone else to add walls to your space for you.
2. Add a Sliding Door
Another way to break up an open floor plan is to install a sliding door. Choosing a sliding door is an excellent option because you can close it when you want privacy and division, but you have the option to open it and have a bigger room again if you’d like.
Here are some things you should know before installing a sliding door:
- You should use high-quality hardware. High-quality hardware will help ensure that your door will be durable and hold up under the wear and tear of everyday use. Additionally, high-quality hardware helps the door move more quietly, so if you’re using one of the rooms you’re creating as a bedroom, opening and closing the door won’t cause a disturbance.
- Make sure that you have enough room. Sliding doors need room to slide along their track, so you’ll need wall space on one side of your opening that is the width of the door so it can slide open. You’ll also need to ensure that the wall doesn’t have any light switches, vents, outlets, or other obstructions that would scratch the door as it slides open.
- You’ll need structural support. Sliding doors can be pretty heavy, so most people mount the track to a header above the door for extra sturdiness.
3. Bring in Curtains
Curtains can divide up your basement, but they can also open when needed. However, curtains do not offer much privacy and aren’t soundproof, so they’re best for a more subtle separation between rooms.
Here’s the best way to divide up a room with curtains:
- Measure the space and attach your rods. Determine where you want the curtains to go. You can hang curtains between two solid beams with a tension rod, but you can also cross a space with ceiling-mount curtain rods. These AmazonBasics Curtain Rod Ceiling-Mount Brackets from Amazon.com mount securely to the ceiling and can hold up to 11 pounds (4.98 kg) in weight.
- Look for curtains that fit the size of the space and the design you want. Curtains come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, so make sure you get curtains tall enough to cover your area sufficiently.
- Hang your curtains. You can use clip rings to hang your curtains. Then, adjust the curtains to your liking and admire your handiwork!
You can also make your own curtains if you wish to choose your fabric or can’t find a set that comes in the correct size. Here’s how:
- Measure the space from the top of your curtain rod to where you want the curtain to hit the floor. Then, measure the width you want the curtain to cover. Add approximately seven inches to these measurements to account for the top pocket and hems.
- Get some fabric. You can get materials from a craft store, but you might also choose thrifted tablecloths, sheets, or blankets for a budget option.
- Cut a rectangle in your fabric according to your measurements, and then cut your lining fabric with the same width but three inches shorter.
- Arrange your fabric with the front facing the lining and pin the two pieces of fabric together. Sew along one side to make a hem.
- Fold up the bottom edge of the lining fabric and the curtain fabric and sew the overlap to make the bottom hem.
- Sew the second side the same way you sewed the first side.
- Flip the curtain right-side out and trim any loose threads.
- Fold the top fabric over approximately three inches and sew along the edge to make a pocket to put the rod through.
- Hang your curtains!
Whether you choose to purchase curtains to use as a room divider or make your own, curtains are an affordable and effective way to divide up your basement into separate rooms.
4. Get Folding Screens
Folding screen room dividers can create rooms and add privacy, and they also make a fantastic aesthetic statement. There are many folding screens available, so you can find one that suits your style and adds to the design of your basement while also dividing it into different rooms.
I like these Giantex Wood Room Dividers from Amazon.com because they consist of a solid wood material that can absorb moisture and is wear-resistant. That means that they can last for a long time. Additionally, the screens are lightweight and easy to move around if you want to change the shape of your rooms in your basement.
5. Use a Bookshelf
Freestanding bookshelves can divide a basement by creating a physical and visual separation, and additionally, you’ll have new storage for books and decor. All you need to do is set bookshelves perpendicular to a wall, and you have a divided-up space that looks great and is practical.
You don’t have to get a bookshelf that goes all the way to the ceiling, but if you want the illusion of a separate room (and additional privacy), get bookshelves that are tall and have a back panel.
I like the Generic Rack Bookshelf from Amazon.com because you can put multiple of these bookshelves together to form a wall. It has a back panel, is tall, and has deep shelves for maximum storage and sound buffering.
If you want to use bookshelves to divide up your basement, but you don’t have enough books to fill the shelves, don’t fret! There are many ways to fill bookshelves that don’t require an expensive trip to the bookstore.
Here are some ideas for what to put on your bookshelves:
- Plants: Are you a Plant Mom or Plant Dad? Plants can transform a space and bring life to your basement, and a touch of green can make any bookshelf come to life. Add some succulents or indoor palms to your shelves to fill up space. If your basement doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, ensure that you use plants that don’t require too many rays, like pothos plants or Chinese evergreens.
- Photos: Bookshelves make excellent display cases that tend to catch the eye, so if you have pictures you want to showcase, this is the perfect spot for them! You can put the photos in different frame sizes and colors for a more quirky and personal flair, or you can keep all your pictures in classic, matching frames for a more chic look.
- Fashion accessories: If you’re a fashionista with a shoe, handbag, or jewelry collection you want to display and show off, use your bookshelf to do so! Keeping these items in full view ensures that they’re appreciated even when you aren’t wearing them.
- Toys: If you have children and you’ve run out of room in their bedroom for their toy collection, pick the nicest ones to have on display on your bookshelf!
- Knick-knacks: If you have any items that you love but don’t seem to fit anywhere else in your house, then your basement bookshelf may be the perfect place! You can use your bookshelf for vintage collectibles, pottery, art pieces, or items from previous travels.
Using a bookshelf as a wall is a great way to add storage to your space while dividing it up, and it can add an academic feel to your basement. Bookshelf room-dividers are especially great if you’re planning on using one of your new rooms for a study!
6. Get Some Beads or a Wall Hanging
If you have a small space that prevents you from having separate rooms, you can purchase hanging beads or some other wall hanging to put in that space to divide up the rooms and add boho flair to your area.
I love this Haymaro Colorful Beaded Curtain from Amazon.com if you want beads. The beads are colorful, so they’ll cheer up even the dreariest of basements, and they consist of high-quality wood. Additionally, the curtain is self-hanging and comes with two hooks pre-attached to the hanging bar, so it is easy to install in your home.
If you’re in the mood to get crafty, you can make your own beaded curtain for a personal touch to your basement divider! This way, you can customize your beads’ color, size, and shape.
Here’s how to make a bead curtain:
- Hang your curtain rod.
- Measure and cut fishing line based on how long you want your curtain to be, usually from the top of the curtain rod to the floor. Take this measurement and double it, then add 12 inches (30.48 cm) because you will be folding the fishing line in half to insert two strands into each bead. If you don’t have a fishing line, you can use thread, string, or wire.
- Tie the fishing line to a split ring in the center.
- Start stringing your beads through both strands of the fishing line, pulling them to the split ring. Continue this process until you have 12 inches (30.48 cm) of fishing line left.
- If you have a 2-hole bead, use this at the end and tie the ends off. If you have superglue, superglue the knot, so it is less likely to slip. That way, you’ll avoid having your hard work come undone.
- Hang the strand on the curtain rod by the split ring and start on the next strand. Continue until you have as many strands as you desire.
Consider using a variety of sizes, textures, and colors of beads for an extra quirky and unique curtain. You can find beads at any craft store. I like the Quefe Craft Beads from Amazon.com because the ink patterns are uncommon, and the bead hole size is perfect for fishing wire.
For a leafier alternative, you can get the DearHouse Hanging Artificial Ivy Leaf Plants from Amazon.com to add some life to your basement. This garland is long enough to cover any doorway, and it looks lifelike, so you can make your basement feel like a greenhouse!
7. Get Creative With Furniture Arrangements
Moving your furniture may not truly divide your basement into separate rooms, but arranging your furniture in a particular way can help divvy up the space. Using your furniture to create division is the easiest way to divide up a finished space without putting up barriers.
So, if you want something that doesn’t require much work or money, being creative about the furniture you already have is an excellent way to accomplish your goal without breaking the bank.
For example, you can create a seating area by arranging chairs and couches to face each other but have their backs to the rest of the basement. You can use a dresser with a back to block off the rest of the space and face it towards a bed to make a “bedroom” space.
The best way to get the effect of separate rooms with furniture is to have big furniture pieces with solid backs, functioning as walls.
You have plenty of options when it comes to dividing your basement into smaller rooms, so you can choose whichever option is best for you based on your space, budget, personal preference, and design vision. Best of luck with your renovations!
- How Stuff Works: What’s the Best Way to Add an Interior Wall to an Existing Structure?
- Knape & Vogt: 5 Things to Know Before You Install That Barn Door of Your Dreams
- House Beautiful: How to Make Your Own Curtains Like a Pro
- Morning Chores: 16 Grand Room Divider Ideas to Smartly Sculpt Your Open Space
- Elbow Room: 11 Easy Ways to Divide Your Studio Apartment Into Multiple Rooms
- Wiki How: How to Make Beaded Curtains
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