How to Make a Dividing Door

Many houses are now being built with open floor plans, and wide-open spaces like loft apartments continue to be popular. However, if there are spaces in your home that you would rather not expose to visitors, creating a divider to define separate spaces may allow you the privacy you desire. You can choose a simple, portable solution or something more semi-permanent that you can install yourself without expert construction knowledge or spending a great deal of money.

Movable Dividers

A dressing screen is a lovely and effective source of privacy.

Step 1

Choose a movable divider that fits with the aesthetic of your home.  There are several options to select from, including stand-alone screens, rolling shelving systems and, for the gardeners, large, rectangular planters on casters available at many home improvement stores.

Step 2

Consider which areas you wish to divide.  Sometimes it is best to use more than one divider.

For example, you can divide a large loft space into a kitchen, living area and bedroom by using multiple dividers.  However, one of the benefits of portable dividers is that you can change your mind about their location at any time.

Step 3

Place your divider or dividers in your chosen location(s).  Allow yourself two or three days to grow accustomed to the new layout of your space before determining whether or not you are satisfied with the placement of your dividers.

If necessary, relocate the dividers until you are happy. 

Semi-Permanent Bi-Fold Doors

Step 1

Determine whether you are certain of which areas you wish to divide.  If so, a semi-permanent solution may be a better fit for you.

Bi-fold doors work well in narrow spaces, though you can purchase them in multiple lengths that will extend to cover most openings. 

Step 2

Measure the distance between the wall surfaces where you will attach the doors.  Then, measure the height of your walls.

Write these numbers down and take them with you to purchase your doors so that you know which ones are long enough for your space without being too tall. 

Step 3

Install your chosen doors according to the included instructions.  These may vary depending on which type of bi-fold doors you choose -- for example, track doors versus non-track styles – as well as the manufacturer for your particular product.

Semi-Permanent Bookcase Dividers

Step 1

Bookcases can be used as dividers that are not only attractive, but also useful.  Choose bookcases that are tall enough and wide enough to give a sense of privacy, as well as ones that have an attractive back, since it will be visible.

One might do for a narrower space, while you may prefer a matching pair for a wider area. 

Step 2

Finish the bookcase(s) as you wish before arranging them.  Place one long side of the bookcase against a wall to divide the space on either side.

If you are using two or more bookcases, decide which direction each set of shelves should face. 

Step 3

Attach multiple bookcases to each other using screws or L-brackets.  If your bookcases are sturdy and in adult-only areas, you may wish to leave them free-standing against the wall.

However, if the bookcases might tip, or there will be children around, you should attach the endmost bookcase to a wall stud with screws or L-brackets, as well.  Hang garment hooks or pictures on the exposed backs of the bookcases to make them more attractive and increase the usefulness.

Things You Will Need

  • Dividing screens
  • Rolling shelving system
  • Large rectangular planter
  • Bi-fold door kit
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • 2 1/2" Screws
  • L-brackets
  • Drill
  • Stud finder


  • Always wear proper safety gear when using a drill. Only paint or stain in well-ventilated areas away from heat and flame.

About the Author

Jourdan Townsend has been writing since childhood. Her articles appear in a collection of student works at the University of Oklahoma as well as in the school's "Honors College Journal." Townsend also composes poetry, some of which can be found in an edition of the "Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans." Townsend holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images