How to Carve Out Personal Space When Square Footage is Sparse

David Deem

No matter how diminutive your shared dwelling happens to be, everyone needs their own space. Whether it’s to find a few minutes respite from busy family life, or to create necessary boundaries with a roommate or among siblings, here are some creative and effective ways to carve out personal space in a small home or apartment.

1. Use decorative screens. An attractive screen will not only add style to your home, but will instantly create a private space in any room, or in a studio apartment. Use a screen to create an intimate reading nook or distraction-free work space, or use one in a shared bedroom to give each person a bit of privacy.

2. Convert a closet. If you’ve got a roomy closet or walk-in pantry, clear it out, remove the door and shelves, and outfit it with a small desk and chair. Now you’ve got a quiet spot for paying bills, writing letters, doing homework or journaling. 

3. Build a loft. Whether it’s in a bedroom or common living area, if your ceilings are high enough, construct a loft space for sleeping, reading or binge-watching. Furnish it with cushy throw pillows and blankets to maximize relaxation value.

4. Hang a curtain. A shared bedroom can easily be turned into two separate spaces by hanging a fashionable curtain in a track or on an extended curtain rod down the center of the room, size permitting. The nice thing about a curtain, is that it can be drawn back to open up the space when privacy isn’t required.

5. Use furniture. Any room or area can be instantly sectioned off for privacy with a large piece of furniture, such as a bookcase, wardrobe or hutch. Fill it with your favorite books for a studious look, or use plants, framed photos, or your favorite collections to add interest. If you’re worried that a large furniture item will truncate your space, paint it the same color as your walls so that it blends in and flows better with your design.   

Remember to keep design in mind when creating private spaces, so that the result looks natural and fashion-forward instead of forced and clunky. 

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