How to make a room divider

This project creates some privacy for when the cottage is extra-packed

By Catherine DohertyCatherine Doherty


Photo by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

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A natural law of cottaging holds that the number of visitors must exceed the availability of beds-in-bedrooms at least once per season. Inevitably, then, your triple-duty kitchen/ dining/living room also becomes an impromptu dormitory in which you place sleeping guests on display. And that—let’s face it—is almost never pretty.

A room divider offers your visitors a modicum of privacy. This one is built on casters that allow it to roll away out of sight when your friends are out of mind, yet the construction is sturdy in case your divider becomes a semi-permanent fixture shielding a corner of the room that the kids are permanently scheduled to clean up someday.

With the annual budget in mind, we have designed this project to be made with inexpensive materials salvaged from recycling centres, flea markets, the dump, or even—gasp—under the cottage.

Step 1

Remove and save any old hardware. Clean and roughly sand the doors.

Step 2

Paint the doors with a single coat of paint. The objective is to make the doors look worn so, for a distressed finish, gently sand the paint around the knobs and along the edge that would have rubbed the jamb.

Step 3

Make colour copies of favourite cottage photos and crop them in a variety of sizes. Lay one door flat and arrange the images on the panels. When you are happy with the collage, stick the photos to the door with double-sided tape, making sure that the edges lie flat. Cover with two coats of Varathane.

Step 4

Be sure the bottoms of the doors are even for stability. Hinge the doors so that they fold into themselves, making a “Z” shape. You will need two hinges between each door.

Step 5

Drill holes for the casters 15 cm from each end of the two outside doors. Screw the casters in place and flip the doors upright.


  • Do not use original photographs as the Varathane may cause them to bleed and warp.
  • Salvaged numbers and letters and old hardware that came with the doors will add visual interest to your project.
  • Locking casters will keep the screen in position.


Room divider

Photo by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

This article was originally published on June 30, 2007

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Catherine Doherty