Close off doorway to convert dining room to bedroom

lilac33July 20, 2011

Hi, this is my first post! I'm hoping you guys have good suggestions for me. :)

We just moved into a very small place, and we need to use the dining room as a bedroom. There are 2 open doorways - one to the kitchen which is 81h x 29.5w and one to the living room which is 81h x 70w. I don't need to have access to the kitchen from our "bedroom", so I'm thinking of just putting a bookcase in our bedroom to completely close off that entrance. However, I need a creative idea for closing off the larger entrance. My needs:

1) Must close off the entire 81x70 space.

2) Must have a very easy way to get in and out (which is why I've ruled out those standard room dividers).

3) Can't require too much construction. I don't think the landlord will mind if I put in a few holes, etc. but I cannot do anything major.

I'm pretty stumped right now. I was thinking of just installing a window curtain rod and getting a nice curtain, but I would prefer something more substantial because curtains aren't going to keep out any sound.

Any ideas would be majorly appreciated!! :)

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Oops, one more thing! Can't be too expensive! We are living in a one-bedroom apartment because we're broke. :)

I absolutely love what I'm seeing from the Sliding Door Company, but I imagine that would cost me a small fortune, oh well. :(

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:08PM
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You could make curtains out of the foam-backed painter's drop cloths. They wouldn't block out sound like a solid wall, but much better than regular curtains. Which door are you going to use as the door to the bedroom, the big one or the smaller one?

I had a friend who used the den as their bedroom. It had a door going in from the hall and another door from the kitchen. She used both doors all the time. She said the one to the kitchen was really handy.

I'd say live with them awhile and see which door you want to keep, or both. Maybe your landlord would let you install a hinged door in the smaller opening. You can find doors on freecycle or free craig's list all the time.

We used a 3 piece wall unit as a room divider one time. It worked for privacy, but of course didn't block the sound since it didn't go to the ceiling. To keep them from moving, we used C-clamps at the top to attach them together. If you have small children, be sure you attach the bookcase to the wall also so they can't push from the back and topple them.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:16PM
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I was going to suggest the bookcases too. I used two china cabinets once with tension rod between them with curtain and it worked just fine. They did not go to the ceiling either but it did not seem to matter.

Good for you to make do with what you have for now.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 12:29AM
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Wow, great advice! I suppose using the drop cloth with a pressure mounted rod would work, even as a temporary solution until I figure something else out. What a cool idea!

We were thinking of just closing off the doorway to the kitchen entirely by using a bookcase simply because the apartment is so small, and this way we don't waste the space on something like a door/curtain. A bookcase would look ugly there because of our setup, but it would be practical. I was thinking of getting a bookcase slightly larger than the door frame, positioning it just in front of the frame, and this way the entire area would be blocked off (so if I'm in the kitchen and my husband is sleeping, he really won't be bothered by the light/sound). Of course we'd need to attach it to the wall because of the kids, good point!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 12:30AM
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Oops, just saw your post now, SOI. That is an interesting idea - positioning the rod between two pieces of furniture. This would prevent the gap that would inevitably be there if I placed the rod in the actual door frame. Hmm... food for thought! :)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 12:36AM
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Lilac, welcome to the group.
If that doorway is 70 inches WIDE, that will be too wide for a tension rod to span. However, you might think about getting a SHOWER ROD, WHICH IS ABOUT 6 FEET LONG, and a diameter of more than one inch. You could even put a sexy shower curtain on that rod and also hang the canvas drop cloths on the same rod. Shower hooks are great, or even the set of shower rings.

I have used the 9 strand 100 pound stainless steel picture hanging wire to hang curtains. In my case, I bought a 100 foot roll of it, but you can get it in lengths.

OR, you might go to a place like RESTORE which is a Habitat for Humanity resale place. They have many many doors that came off closets, like the bifold shutter doors. I've found many nice doors that way.

If you cannot screw them to the woodwork, and you want to take any purchased items with you when you go, think about attaching the doors to a bookcase or entertainment center at the side so you can open/close the bifolds.

It is possible, depending on the size of the room and the location of that wide doorway in it, that you could position an entertainment center in front of the opening, and leave only enough space to have a 28 inch entry to your bedroom.

I'm assuming that closing the passage to the kitchen from the dining room will still give you another entry to your kitchen?

Quite an interesting question, and you can definitely make your choice attractive.

Also note, I use the regular canvas painter drop cloths, available in all sizes, very washable and quite durable, as slip cover for my furniture, bird cages, curtains, pillow covers, bed throws, and I can paint on them and make them tough and hard for small rugs at the doors. Very washable, very durable, and the cheapest thing you can buy. Sort of the color of oatmeal denim, and as durable as a canvas bag.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 11:06AM
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I also used a china cabinet married to a pie safe one on top of the other to create a storage area in my studio.I put the two cabinets one on top of the other out from the wall a bit to be able to store large sheets of glass behind them. But that is not necessary. I then put tension rod between top of cabinet and wall and hung a curtain to hide the clutter on my shelves.

OK Well I changed the room since this picture and now have the two cabinets and NOT the china cabinet it would worked well too. I just wanted it in my sewing room for fabrics.

I painted the back sides of the cabinets when I used then as dividers so they looked like a wall. I even hung pictures on them. Then I had the storage in the china cabinets too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Storage

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 4:13PM
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It's a one bedroom, without the dining room conversion? Is that currently being used as a child's room? Just curious about how the apartment fuctioned, before you moved in.

Since the landlord will need to rent again (when you move) and most people need one bedroom and a den or two bedrooms, more than a separate dining room...would this work? Would the landlord allow you to install french doors, between the dining room and living room? If you could find a REALLY good deal (at Habitat for Humanity or Craig's List) you might be able to get some cheap doors and frame them in.

This would make a much nicer transition between the two rooms and allow more flexible use of the space, in the future. Maybe the landlord would even take a few dollars off the rent, for the improvements? Maybe a long shot, but some will, for painting and improvements, as long as they appeal to the general public. Just a thought :)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 6:53PM
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Hello I saw your post and thought I may be able to pass along a few ideas we used for our similar situation. The materials are not too costly and the results are great. Also it is easy to remove when your done. We chose to go with a sliding barn-type door. I don't know if you have access to tools but this would require a few to do. Skill saw, drill and screws (or hammer and nails) sandpaper, primer and paint (optional, the raw sanded wood looks great too) and a little time. Just google diy sliding barn doors or check out the link. Also save money by making the door yourself, like from pallet wood!

Here is a link that might be useful: how to make a sliding barn door

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:03AM
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eclecticcottage landlords we're pretty flexible so I can't say this goes for others, but-

We've allowed our tenants to make improvements which would add to the value of the home should they 1) move (they are long term, but you never know) or 2) we need to sell it (not planning to, but again, you never know). All improvements were made with our supervision to be sure they were done properly. We've nixed a few ideas as it wouldn't have added to the value, would have cost US money, or just weren't a good idea in the long run. Things we've allowed include garage door openers and an enlarged patio space.

Perhaps you might speak to your landlord about your needs-obviously if they rented you a one bedroom and you have kids, they are expecting you to use the dining room as a bedroom. I would be anyway. Even if they want it as a one bedroom, they might allow some changes to be made that can be reversed-if they would require modifications that would cost money to be reversed but not cause permenant damage/changes, they might still allow it if you offer to give them the $$ to reverse them up front.

Although the ideas of using a bookcase and a curtain of some sort are pretty good, imo. You might find some older long curtains that are thermal at a goodwill or salvation army-those probably would help reduce noise, the lining makes them fairly heavy. They'd probably be kind of outdated looking design wise since I don't think they're nearly as popular as they used to be, but maybe not. We've got some we "inherited" from a neighbor that are haven't found a home in our house yet and I'm not so sure they will, but they do have some value as far as keeping the place cooler/warmer (my grandparents had some as well, and they certainly work).

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 10:15AM
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