If you live in a small apartment, especially if it's a studio, constantly finding a place for your things is probably an ongoing struggle. You want it to look neat and tidy, maybe even give your place a different feel.
A nice-looking bookshelf would certainly give your apartment some depth. And if you move it away from the walls, it can split up your living space, just like in those Pinterest boards that show up in your feed all the time.
A bookshelf room divider is a perfect DIY project for any beginner and as an added benefit, you can customize it in any number of ways.
Yes, bookcase room dividers are sold in kits by certain Swedish modular furniture companies that shall remain nameless. They make a good product and it will look good in your home. But it has a couple of things working against it. In a custom piece, you can add as many shelves, drawers and nooks as you want. You can also use higher-quality materials. Pine planks and boards sand down well and take wood stain, primer or paint easily.
No knock against plywood and plastic laminate, but you're not living in a college dorm anymore. Why not upgrade? And say goodbye to that one tiny Allen wrench. A charged-up cordless drill will make your life so much easier. People always ask if building your own bookshelf room divider from scratch is that much different than the bookshelf kit with the funny name. And it isn't. The little bit of extra work needed will result in higher quality, custom piece that will outlast anything that comes from Big Blue.
The good news about this home DIY project is that you won't need an extensive collection of tools to get started:
First things first, you'll need to decide what style of room divider you want to build. What works best for your space? Do you want it tall and narrow or short and long? Will it be anchored to the wall?
Measure your space and then decide what features you want to include in your design and plug the dimensions into the site, just remember to convert your measurements into centimeters. Online tools like Woodself will show you a 3D digital rendering of your design, as well as blueprints to assemble it and dimensions for each board and plank, taking out all of the guesswork and uncertainty.
Make sure you get screws the right length and you can either use wooden pegs for the interior pieces and shelf assembly parts, or you can use smaller woodscrews. The only difference will be cosmetic.
You have all the pieces in place. You have your cordless drill charged up and enough wood screws to hold everything together. Now comes the time-consuming part: Marking where your screws and pegs will go and putting the whole thing together. If you're not handy, or if this is your first time building something like this, taking on a project like this may intimidate you. But you know what it's supposed to look like. You have all the pieces, measured properly and laid out, and you have plenty of time. Go slow and start from the bottom up.
Once your bookshelf room divider is upright, consider using a wall anchor to hold it in place. An anchor allows you to drill the bookshelf into the wall to keep it from tipping over. If the bookshelf you're building is tall and narrow, a wall anchor is a worthwhile step. If it's shorter but has a wider footprint, it ought to hold on its own without an issue.
Now comes the fun part. With your room divider built, it's time for fit and finishes. Do you want to sand and stain it or do you want to paint it? What will you display in it? Books? Vacation photos? Your collection of commemorative spoons from all 50 states? The choices are endless, as are your design and style options. And before you ask, no you don't have to fill every single cubby and shelf.
Intended as a room divider to give your apartment a sense of separation between rooms, make sure you stage the bookshelf where it can help you optimize space. Give your space a sense of flow and allow light to come through whichever side of your apartment is further away from the windows. Unless you're going for the messy professor look, remember negative space isn't necessarily a negative in home decor.
This is your place. And it should reflect your tastes. The most interesting pieces of furniture and home decor are the ones with a great story behind them. What story do you want to tell with the room divider you built yourself? Or the chair you found in a thrift store? Or that rug that really ties the room together? Just because it qualifies for free shipping doesn't mean it belongs in your home. It's a reminder that good taste is priceless, and it doesn't have to break the bank.