How to install a hanging room divider

DIY, Living Room, Organization

Whether you own or rent, it’s not always easy to decorate a studio apartment to keep the bed out of sight. In this episode, you’ll see how to divide a studio apartment with an IKEA KVARTAL system. Panels, curtains and art hanging from the ceiling tracks give the illusion of a wall, creating a separate living room that’s easy to open up anytime. All it takes is a few simple tricks and you’ll see what an easy project this is for decorating a studio apartment or any space that could use a room divider, including rental apartments.

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30 Comments

  1. I have a story and a half house. The two grandkids are upstairs in the half-story. The stairs separate the upstairs. this sounds like a great idea to turn them in to two rooms without puting up walls.

    • Glad this might turn out to be a solution for you. Thanks for watching!

  2. Isabelle, all your videos are very inspirational, and this one is no exception. However, you forgot to describe how to attach the panels (the last step). Is it possible you include the description in the near future? I am very looking forward to trying this idea in my apartment.

  3. Hello Isabelle,

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I’ve never done anything like this and this page and video were perfect because it outlines everything I need and what to do.

    I did have a question: I intend on getting standard fabric curtains instead of the panel curtains, so would I just get the two single track rails?

    Also, I had a part of my ceiling literally fall out after stress was put on a crack in it. The landlord came by and patched the hole up the next day, and past the layer of plaster (drywall?) I saw wooden support beams, I’m guessing for the floor of the unit above mine. Does this mean my ceiling is drywall? I just want to know so that I get the right type of drill.

    Thanks again for this vid.

    • Hello Kari,

      I will do my best to answer your questions:

      1. Rails: Yes, you can use single track rails if you are only using curtains.
      2. Ceiling: It’s hard to say exactly what your ceiling is made of without seeing it first hand. You can ask you landlord what it is made of or you can make a small pilot hole in the ceiling to see what it is made of – you shouldn’t need a hammer drill unless you’re drilling into concrete. It sounds like it could be either plaster or drywall and you will want to use a different kind of anchor depending on the type of ceiling, and wether you can screw into a stud or not. The tracks don’t weigh much but you want to make sure the anchors can support the weight of the curtains. I would ask the person at the hardware store to recommend the right anchor system for your particular situation.

      I hope this helps,

      Thanks for watching!
      Isabelle

  4. Hello and thank you so much for all your tips!

    I just found your videos tonight as I was trying to figure out how to install those rails from IKEA before I buy them (I would like to remove the doors from my closet and put some panels in front of it instead to create more room, or maybe some curtains, and also perhaps hide the bed from the rest of the studio) and stumbled on all your videos accidentally! I’m hooked and you have a new fan in California! 😀

    I have 2 questions then: would you recommend single track for curtains and multiple tracks for panels? Do you not get good results from having panels on a single track? That part went a little fast so I didn’t get it. Also, can you anchor the railing anywhere in the sheetrock in the ceiling with an anchor, or do you have to find a supporting beam? I can’t imagine the curtains or panels will weigh more than a couple of pounds, but they will be opened so there will be force applied. Or would it be easier to just get a tension rod and what kind do you recommend for a 6 foot closet space.

    Thanks very much. Sorry for the beginners questions!

    • So happy you stumbled upon my videos and to have a new fan from sunny CA!

      To answer your questions:

      1) I definitely recommend a multiple track rail for panels – it allows the panels to collapse one behind the other. Otherwise they all have to move together and unless your track is much wider than the panels, you won’t be able to move them very far side to side. Hope that makes sense.

      2) As a substitute to a closet door, I find a tension rod with curtains is the easiest solution. Here’s one option for Amazon that goes to 76 inches: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QUYLJI?ie=UTF8&creativeASIN=B002QUYLJI&linkCode=xm2&tag=engyouspa-20

      You could also use a tension shower curtain rod – they accommodate up to 72 inches.

      Hope this helps and I would love to see pics of your project when it’s done 🙂

      Isabelle

  5. I need about 130 inches so I will buy 3 triple rods…I get they need room to collapse on each other. I am going to divide my kitchen from family room with these. do you have to have a rail on the bottom? also how many supports will I need? on your list there are some things I don’t need I see but what is a draw rod? the rod to close the panels?

    • The bottom rail for the panels is needed so the panels hang straight. To be safe, I would have a support at each connection, especially if you are using the tracks at full length, and one support at each end of the tracks. The draw rod is to open and close the panels. Hope this helps!

  6. I am a renter and my ceiling is wood. Is it possible for me to hang these without doing any damage? How would I need to alter the procedure if at all. Thanks for the great tutorials!

    • Glad to hear you like my videos! There’s really no way in getting around making a hole in the wood to install the ceiling supports, but you won’t need an anchor so the hole shouldn’t be that big. But it still might be tricky to patch up without it being noticeable if the wood is stained… If the ceiling is painted, then you can use wood putty to fill the hole and then paint over it with paint matching the existing color.

  7. Hi my ceiling is too high so I would like to run a piece of wood across then add the track on that how would I do this its about 12 across will I need support in the middle. Please advise

    • It’s really hard to say if this will work without seeing the space but I’m thinking you will probably need some sort of support for a 12 ft span.

  8. brilliant idea,this is the solution i was looking for,THANK YOU sooooo much

  9. Hi from Denmark Isabelle,

    I admit to being challenged by the 3-dimensional world so I feel lucky having found your video collection.

    I’m moving into a 2-bedroomed house in the next few weeks and have been thinking for weeks about possible solutions on how to partition a largish bedroom (6.4m by 2.8 m) in to two separate spaces for my daughters of 11 and 14 years age. I was about to embark on a major, likely disastrous, DIY project with new walls etc until I saw your video using the kvartal system.

    I hope you don’t mind but I’ve taken the liberty of uploading the plan of the House/bedroom (in gray) . I’m thinking of a 3 track dividing across the middle of the room. Do you think that will work?

    Many thanks for any feedback

    Michael

    • Hi Michael,
      Greetings from LA! I definitely think that using the KVARTAL system could work but if you want some more ideas for “dividing walls”, check out my pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/EngineerurSpace/dividing-wall-ideas-for-studios/. There’s lots of ideas there that could also work, like using bookcases. Hope this helps and good luck in your new home!
      Best,
      Isabelle

  10. thanks! really well explained:) one tip is to place your curtains as wide apart as you can from the window, and also a bit higher than your window, itll make your windows look bigger plus itll make your space look bigger as well as higher. here is a link to what I mean, sorry my english isnt perfect!

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/113364115592390867/

    take care!
    Johanna from sweden 🙂

    • That’s a great tip Johanna, and it would also work well if you have a window that’s now centered on a wall!

  11. Hi Isabelle – thanks for your great videos, I always wait keenly for your next episode and have adapted some of your ideas for my studio. I actually made a version of the banquette just this weekend!

    Anyway, I’ve been looking at this video and trying to work out how I might incorporate this into my rental to divide up some spaces. My landlord is particularly pedantic about drilling into walls and so I’d rather not, if it’s at all possible. What I was wondering was whether I could fix the supports with the heavy duty 3M / Command strips? I imagine to spread the load and avoid exceeding the max-weight of the stickers, I’d need to use additional supports, but do you have any thoughts on these as a removable solution for mounting a Kvartal curtain track?

    • Hi Katherine,

      That’s great to hear – I would love to see some pics of your banquette, hope you’ll share some pics here!

      For your Kvartal question, I would hesitate to use the 3M command strip on a ceiling – gravity will not be your friend and I have a feeling that the stickers will fall off over time. I had a drywall ceiling in my NYC studio and I used small plastic anchors (the same type you would use for a small mirror) for my 2 supports and nothing budged in 3 years – that’s not necessarily what’s recommended but my panels were very light and I hardly ever moved the panels so there was never much stress on the supports. That left only 2 very small holes to fill in when moving out. Hope this helps! Isabelle

  12. Hi Isabelle,

    Very inspiring video – so great you can do it all almost by yourself!

    I looked online at ikea and they don’t seem to have the Kvartal corner piece anymore for 90 degree turn.. Is that true? What other source to buy a track would you recommend? Thank you!

    • Hi Julia, I just checked on the IKEA website and it does look like they don’t sell that corner piece anymore but you would have to check with IKEA directly if that’s truly is the case. I haven’t used any other type of tracks but I’m sure if you do a search online, you’ll find some alternatives. Thanks for watching! Isabelle

  13. Isabelle,

    I live in a tiny studio with my 7 year old. I need to divide between the kitchen and his room area. The back of his bed is next to the fridge 🙁 not cool, the bead headboard itself and some of his furniture is serving as “divider” but not pretty.

    I was planning to separate with one line panel or something, but this video makes me think I can use this “L” to also separate his bedroom from mine… but I will need to use a part as a door to enter his room. I guess I need to upload a floor plan… we only have a kitchen area, a room for him and a room for me. that is it, well and the bathroom. I cannot use bookcases in this case, I dont think because of the space available…

    The other huge challenge for me is that there are only two windows, one small and one smaller and I get very claustrophobic with the lack of natural light…I would also would love ideas on how to maximize the light we do get, and/or what lighting to get so it looks as natural as possible.

    Thank you much!!!

  14. Hi Isabelle.

    I am in search for videos related to putting a partition wall. My dining area is right in front our bathroom and I feel uncomfy about the sight you know what I mean. If you can help with a suggestion I would be forever grateful. FYI. I am not renting so I don’t mind drilling my walls.

    Thank you so much in advance!

  15. Hi Isabelle,

    Just wanted to share this with you and your readers. At MBS we have exactly what you need for both art hanging systems and a room divider.

    For art hanging systems visit our site http://mbs-hanging-systems.com/

    To make a really cool room divider I suggest you look at our hanging cable systems or rod systems. One of the coolest solutions is to make a glass room divider.

    • Hi Frank, Thanks for sharing about your product – I took a look at the different options and it looks like an easy to use system! Isabelle

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