The second floor of our home features a loft and three bedrooms. For our first three years in the house, our daughter had her own room, and our three boys shared a room. When it was clear that our oldest son needed his own space, we converted the loft from a playroom into a bedroom.
We chose a cheap, versatile solution that lets us keep everything we love about the loft while still adding privacy for a bedroom.
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Temporary Dividers or Permanent Walls for a Loft Conversion?
The biggest decision we had to make was whether to permanently convert the loft into a bedroom by replacing the banisters with walls. There are several reasons why we opted for a temporary solution.
Building two new permanent walls with a door and a closet would not be cheap. In addition, adding new interior walls may have required a permit or electrical changes.
While we might be able to do some or all of the work on our own, my fear of heights would have prevented me from doing as much of the drywall finishing and painting as I normally do. Most likely, we would have had to hire a contractor.
Related: Living Debt-Free in a Fixer-Upper
Closing in the loft would have made for a small bedroom, especially if we added a closet to give it official bedroom status.
Because our loft features two large windows and a skylight, it offers a lot of natural light to our living room and upstairs living space. We were not willing to sacrifice this light by blocking it with permanent interior walls.
Openness of the Space
By choosing to keep the loft as is, the space it offers seems larger because it is open to the upstairs landing and looks out over the living room. Permanent walls would have diminished the perceived size of the space. In addition, our upstairs landing and hallway would have felt tight and closed off.
Future Purpose of the Space
At the moment we need all the bedroom space we can get because we have four kids living under our roof. However, that time is limited. As our kids mature into adults and move out on their own, our need for so many bedrooms will diminish except when they return to visit us.
When we’re empty nesters, we will likely prefer having an open, airy loft rather than a fourth bedroom.
Adding Privacy to the Loft with Temporary Room Dividers
I spent several hours on Pinterest and Houzz looking for ways to give the loft privacy at night but keep it open during the day. The most obvious solution was to use curtains as a room divider. In the end we chose two different dividers: a tall curtain and a roller shade.
A Roller Shade for the Banister Wall
The banister wall of our loft includes a center support for the beam that runs above it. One day as I was staring up at the loft while lying on the couch in the living room, I realized that a large roller shade might be able to span the distance from the exterior wall of the loft to the center support. During the day when not in use, the shade itself would be completely hidden from the downstairs view of the loft by the beam.
In addition to being completely hidden from view, the roller shade was ideal for this use because it didn’t take up any wall space. This allowed more room for furniture on the exterior wall near the banister.
Why We Divided the Room at an Angle
(1) The shape of the loft is not a perfect rectangle. The banister at the top of the stairs does not line up with the interior wall.
(2) We wanted to maximize the bedroom space for our son. At the same time, we also wanted to keep a small portion of the loft as a community space for all of the kids to enjoy together.
(3) Even at night we still like the openness of the space. By keeping a corner of the room open to the landing, we were able to preserve the airy feeling.
(4) The air return for the room had to be included within the curtained area for proper airflow.
A Tall Curtain to Divide the Room
Though still visible during the day, the thin wire “rod” does not detract from the view of the loft. We pull the curtain so that it sits against the interior wall of the loft during the day rather than at the banister.
The curtain is easy for our son to move when he needs to enter or exit his room. The roller shade, on the other hand, takes much longer to roll up or down.
As for closet space he still shares a closet with his brothers. Check out closet #8 in Maximize Space with EasyClosets to see the remodel we did of the boys’ closet in 2020.
Removing the Temporary Dividers Someday
The roller shade and curtain solution for adding privacy to our loft did require marring the walls with screws and mounting hardware. Fortunately, these holes will be easy to patch and paint in the future should we ever decide to remove our temporary loft walls.
Total Cost of Loft Privacy Solution
We only had to buy a few items to add privacy to the loft. The items below were purchased in January 2023 at the prices shown.
- Roller Shade from Blinds.com: $223.51
- Long, Wide Curtain from Amazon: $65.06
- Wire Hanging Rod from Amazon: $42.67
The total cost of our roller shade and curtain solution came to $331.24. Permanent walls would have been much more costly.
Temporarily converting our loft into a fourth bedroom created the space that our son needed. He loves having his own room. We hope to paint the two walls of the loft soon so that he will feel even more at home.
When the time comes to repurpose this room once again, it will be an easy transition because we didn’t make lasting changes to fix a temporary problem.