Divide and Conquer

Divide and Conquer

No matter how much fun communal living can be, even the closest of siblings or college roommates need to retreat into their own corners for some privacy.

On sitcoms, drawing a line down the middle of the room can solve the problem or make it worse. Luckily, in real life, interior designers have come up with some better ways to keep the peace.

Curtain Call: Fabric can do more than split a room in half. Curtain panels can cocoon beds on opposite sides of a bedroom, leaving a big area in the middle for play or work. Designer Louis M. Pereira principal of Alberta, Canada based design firm thirdstone inc., created such a space for boy-girl siblings to share. The curtains can easily be moved or taken down in the future as the family's needs change.

En-cased: Bookcases and other furniture - temporary or permanent - work as privacy partitions when placed in between two beds. For a vacation home bunk room, Milford Cushman, founder and president of Cushman Design Group Inc., in Stowe, Vermont, wanted a space that encouraged togetherness but allowed for some alone time. "It gives them the sense of being in a bunk - a big, cozy space - but the dividers create a little bit of separation," Cushman says.

Power Positioning: Create harmony in shared spaces just by moving the furniture around. Designer Laura Umansky, president and creative director of Laura U Inc., in Houston, Texas, positioned bunk beds in the middle of a large room shared by two sisters. On one side of the bed are twin vanities and on the other is a reading nook. "Even though the room is shared, there is plenty of opportunity to have some quiet alone time," Umansky says.


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