7 Ways To Separate Your Kitchen And Living Room In A Small Apartment

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If you’re moving to a small apartment for the first time, one of the challenges you’ll soon encounter is the separation of spaces. 

This is especially true if you live in a studio. Sure, the sink and stovetops automatically signal the cooking area/kitchen, but if you don’t make an effort at some sort of separation, the kitchen, living room, and bedroom can all mesh together into one chaotic space.

Now to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with separation. If you like your apartment to be one big space, you do you. Personally, I prefer a little separation so I can transition between activities and be fully present when I’m doing them. 

And it is possible to separate your spaces, even if you live in a studio. You just have to employ a little bit of creativity. Here are seven ways to employ some sort of separation between your living room and kitchen when your living space is not very big. 

1. Foldable room dividers 

A simple but obvious solution is a foldable room divider. This is an excellent option if you are someone who prefers to have separation some of the time. With a foldable room divider, you can fold it up and put it away in your closet (or against the wall as a decoration) when you don’t want to use it.

We like this option at Amazon: FDW wood screen divider.

Room Divider 6FT Wall Divider Wood Screen 4 Panels Wood Mesh Hand-Woven Design Room Screen Divider Indoor Folding Portable Partition Screen,Black

You don’t have to commit to any one style. Hell, you can have several dividers and use them like an accessory for your home (assuming that your living space can store all of them in its folded state). 

Maybe you can’t decide between a bamboo or a decorative one, because you enjoy switching up between minimalist and maximalist looks. Why not get both, and use the bamboo one when you want the minimalist zen feel and the decorative one when you’re in the mood for a maximalist vibe. 

2. Partial glass walls 

A partial glass wall is excellent if you want some physical separation without the look of physical separation. This isn’t really my jam, though I will admit that if you want to eliminate clutter and not add any sort of furniture, this makes for a great minimalist look. 

3. A shelf of some sort 

One of the best hacks I’ve ever discovered when living in a small apartment is to make everything multi-purpose. My dining table was my working table, and my bed also doubled as a couch.

Furniture can also serve as dividers, and one obvious option for that would be to place a shelf of some sort in the area where you want your kitchen area to stop and your living area to start. A bookshelf behind a couch often works well, as does a floor-to-ceiling shelf that you can fill with miscellaneous decor and plants. 

4. Color blocking

If you don’t want a physical divider, another thing you can do is color block your spaces. Perhaps your kitchen could be variations of one color and your living room another. It’s a simple idea, but it really does make a difference in terms of the feeling of separation. 

5. Strategic placement of plants 

Plants can go a long way in improving the look and feel of an apartment, especially if you live in a concrete jungle. When I first moved to New York, I didn’t understand why so many of my friends spent so much of their hard-earned cash on plants. I meant, their apartments looked cool, but I always wondered, did they really need another fiddle leaf fig in their balcony and living room?

But when I started to get some plants for my own apartment (for purely decorative purposes), I understood the obsession. Now, my space never eventuated into jungle status, but it did feel a whole lot cozier with some plants in it. 

And it can act as a divider too. A big plant (like a full-grown monstera or a fiddle leaf fig) or several medium-sized plants can separate the kitchen and living space. 

6.Hanging wall partition 

Lchen Hanging Room Divider Panel, 12 Pieces White Screen Panels Solid Board Cut Room Partition Home Decoration(Mixed,15.7"x15.7"x0.03")

If you don’t mind getting a little involved, you can also hang stuff from your wall as a partition. It can be anything….plants, fairy lights, origami, rugs, macrame rugs, the possibilities are endless.

7.Sliding divider 

Finally, if you really want to divide your kitchen and living room, you can install a sliding divider. YouTube is full of DIY options if that’s your jam, though I’d personally hire a professional to do it. 

Having lived in several small spaces, I’m of the firm belief that tiny doesn’t have to mean cramped and chaotic. With the right arrangements, small can be cute and cozy. 

One way to do that is to separate your spaces, like your kitchen and living room. Whatever form of divider you choose, you’ll be surprised with the difference it can make.

If you live in a small apartment you might like our post on getting rid of cooking smells that permeate the whole space.

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