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DIY Storage Shelves for a Room Divider

You can create partitions that do double duty as storage shelves to break up a large room without sacrificing storage space. Whether you choose permanent, semi-permanent or a temporary option depends on your building experience and the room's design needs. You do not need to be a professional carpenter to create a room divider. Even a building novice can create shelves for storage to partition off a section of a room.
  1. Crate Shelves

    • Stacked and turned on their sides, milk crates become storage shelving.

      Room dividers do not require carpentry skills or even wood. A simple room divider consists of interlocking plastic milk crates tied together. Stack the crates on their sides with the open end facing the same direction. Create a low room divider by stacking only three or four crates. Low crates can hold toys and books at a child's level. With this type of room divider, even a toddler can put away his toys in the open crates. For additional strength, alternate the sides of the divider the open part of the crate faces. This is especially useful for taller dividers or in rooms where both sides of the divider will be needed for storage, such as in shared bedrooms.

    Open Shelving

    • Shelves without a back create a physical barrier in the room without blocking a view.

      Open shelving divides a room without blocking the view. Tall bookshelves with the back removed can be used as an open shelf room divider, or you can make your own. The simplest shelving consists of sturdy wooden boards supported at the ends by coffee cans filled with sand. When stacking multiple shelves, align the coffee cans supporting each shelf with the cans of the shelves above. By sandwiching the shelves between the heavy weights, you add more stability to the shelving. As long as the divider will be used in an area away from children or pets that could knock over the supports, you can use this option. More permanent options with wooden supports nailed to the shelves are another variation of this type of divider.

    Built-in Fixtures

    • Shelves built into a wall partition are a permanent solution.

      For those with handyman skills, building a non-load-bearing partition wall with built-in shelves is an option. The wall is framed like other non-load-bearing walls, but when it comes time to finish the wall, you build shelves between pairs of studs. You can choose to finish the wall on one side so the shelves are only accessible from one end, or leave the shelving open.

    Hanging Shelves

    • Instead of a hanging wall, hang bookshelves from the ceiling to divide a room.

      Rooms with sturdy ceiling joists directly above the divider location can use hanging shelves. These suspended shelves create an eye-catching illusion of floating off the ground. The top shelf can be installed flush with the ceiling or hung from each of the corners by a stable rope. Attaching the shelving to the ceiling in at least four places will keep the shelf from swinging. Lightweight shelves and items are best for this type of shelving in case something does fall. If you have small children in the house, a hanging shelf installed high from the floor divides the room for adults while giving children free rein to run under the shelf. It will also keep items out of the reach of little hands. Since it does not extend to the floor, a child cannot climb up a hanging shelf.