Open Kitchen and Living Room

12 Brilliant Ways to Separate Living and Dining Rooms

In Design Ideas by Giovanni ValleLeave a Comment

If you live in a space where your dining and living area are not walled off from each other, you may be interested in making a distinction between these two spaces. For example, if you have some friends over, but you still live with your family, you may want to hang out downstairs without feeling like you and your friends are interrupting daily family activities there. There are many other applicable situations, but the bottom line is what can be done about it?

What are some brilliantly creative ways that can you separate your living room space from your dining room in an open floor plan? You can differentiate between the two spaces in several different ways, including:

  1. Separate with paint and color schemes.
  2. Use an accent wall to set one space aside from the other.
  3. Apply different textures to the walls of the two areas.
  4. Give each space a different layout or design.
  5. Use furniture as a divider.
  6. Use a creative divider.
  7. Use a carpet to set one space aside.
  8. Use different flooring.
  9. Make a statement with the lighting of each space.
  10. Change the ceiling height.
  11. Raise one space higher.
  12. Create a subtle walkway.

Some of these methods are on the simpler side, while others may take a little more effort on your part to implement. For a better explanation and break-down of how to follow any of these listed division methods, read on!

12 Ways to Separate Living and Dining Rooms

Regardless of whether you live in a smaller apartment or large home, you can easily separate your living and dining rooms to give them their own unique look. The following list details 12 brilliant ways to separate your living and dining room areas so that your open floor plan has distinguished areas for you to enjoy:

1. Separate a Living Room and a Dining Room with Paint 

One creative way that you can separate a living room space from a dining room space aesthetically is by creating a clear distinction between the two spaces by giving each of the spaces a different color scheme.

Paint the walls in each room a different color and give each of the spaces different color accents in the furniture, the rug, or any add-on that pertains to that particular space. Doing this causes your eye to interpret each space as being separate and of its own. Done well, the two will not clash, but rather complement each other.

2. Separate a Living Room and a Dining Room with an Accent Wall 

Another variation on this is to use accent walls to set one of the spaces aside. When there is not a natural focal point in a room, the accent wall can fill this gap and become the focal point of the room. You can place a plant(s) or artwork on or around the wall.

Usually, you would do this with the living room, which would generally be the bigger space to emphasize and draw more attention to it than the dining room space. But you could also choose to bring in an accent wall in the dining area instead to set that space aside and help it stand out as well.

3. Separate a Living Room and a Dining Room with Different Wall Textures

You could also separate the two spaces by giving the wall in each space a different texture. It is important to note in doing this that a complex texture in one space should be complemented by a minimalist texture in the other. Otherwise, you will end up overdoing it with your design and have more of an eyesore than a stylish division between two areas.

For example, you could apply a faux-brick pattern to the walls in the living room and then accent this with a smooth looking, block color in the dining room. Or you could paint the living room to look like it has an abnormal texture and then paint the dining room area to appear as if it is a smooth, untextured space.

4. Separate a Living Room and a Dining Room with Different Designs/Layout

In each of the spaces that you are trying to distinguish or divide, pick a signature piece of furniture. Center this signature piece of furniture and arrange the other pieces of furniture to flow around and bring emphasis to that first piece of furniture.

In your dining area, for example, you can have your dining table as your signature piece of furniture and then arrange the space such that the dining table is not only centered but also so that it stands out as the key focus of this area.

In your living space, you may pick a large coffee table or an ottoman to center in the space. Place a TV on one of the walls opposite of it and arrange the couches around the centerpiece opposite the TV. The flow of attention will have the natural effect of distinguishing this space from the dining room.

5. Using Furniture as a Divider

You can use a sectional sofa, for example. These are the couches with a modular design; they come in units that typically come together at 90-degree angles to form an “L” shape or a “U” shape. Take the longer section and place it such that its back faces the dining area.

There are other, more obvious types of furniture that are used to divide a living space and the dining space. We say these are more obvious because they have some qualities that give them a resemblance to a wall. It can be a bookshelf, placed at the boundary between the living space and the dining space. It could also be a see-through display unit in which different memorabilia and collectibles are displayed.

6. Using a Creative Divider

Yet another type of element that you could use to divide the two spaces is one that serves the primary purpose of dividing two spaces: a divider.

A Lattice Divider

Choose a lattice divider with a cool pattern. For anyone who is not familiar with lattice dividers, they are lightweight wooden structures that are like doors or walls with patterned holes in them that are commonly used in dividing up two spaces. But you can spice this up a little by picking a divider with a cool design or painting it to match your interiors better.

Laser Cut Metal Screen

For this, you will need a thin, lightweight metal screen. You can either get one pre-cut or have a nice design cut into it yourself, like a floral design. Place the metal screen between the dining area and the living room area, and you have a functional divider. Make sure the edges of the screen that someone could touch are coated with rubber or plastic to prevent people from getting cuts by brushing past it on accident.

Glass Wall

You could also use a glass wall to divide the two spaces. While this could potentially be a pricier option, there are a few benefits that make this a trendy choice. The glass wall will not interfere with the lighting in the space, which is helpful if the space does not get a lot of lighting. It also looks very cool!

Opaque Sliding Door

Alternatively, you could install an opaque sliding door between the two spaces. You may vie for this option if you do not want the two spaces to merge with each other visually. Sliding doors have the added advantage of being simple to install. It is important that you look for one that will be easy to install but difficult to break on accident.

Wooden Sliding Door

In a space with a lot of natural lighting, a wood sliding door can separate the spaces but will not block out the lighting and make one space darker than the other. A darker wood varnish can add a warm touch in a room with a cool color scheme, and a lighter varnish can lighten up a space with a darker color scheme.

Creative Columns

You could also introduce columns to the space. They can be brick and mortar columns, but there are a few other creative materials that can be used for the columns. Wooden columns can be used in a smaller space just to recreate the effect of separation without blocking the light and air flowing between the two spaces.

Additionally, you could have columns of plants, for example, dividing the two spaces. For this, you would set up metal frames. Then, you could wrap the frames in real or faux vines and decorative flowers to create the illusion of a column of vines. Or arrange potted plants vertically within the frames you have made to create the illusion of a column of plants.

Beaded Curtain

Beaded curtains are very functional, and not just for a 70’s vibe look in your space. There are many kinds of beaded curtain designs that can be used to separate the living and dining spaces while not taking away from the designs in each space.

7. Separate a Living Room and a Dining Room Using a Rug

Adding a floor mat or rug is a stylish and unique way to separate your living room and dining room areas. You can use one or several rugs if you have a larger living area.

Even if both spaces have the same color scheme and aesthetics, when a person enters the open space, the existence of a different floor element in one space will differentiate the living area and the dining area with a lot of class.

You can experiment with rugs that are all one color or mats that have special patterns on them. You can try a piece that complements the color scheme of the room or one that is in direct contrast with it. There is a lot of leeway in this situation to find the rug that best suits the space you are trying to redesign.

The floor mat/rug/carpet that you choose should be placed in the center of the space in unison with the furniture. So, if it is in the living room, it can be placed under a coffee table, and then the rest of the furniture can be set up around it.

8. Separate a Living Room and a Dining Room with Different Flooring

In line with the idea of using a floor piece to differentiate your two spaces, is using the actual floor to differentiate the two spaces. The floor in the dining area, for example, could be made of wooden planks while the floor in the living space is lined with carpet.

Granted, this idea sounds most ideal for someone who owns the space themselves and is not renting it, like an apartment. So, how can you implement the same idea in a rental space? You could create the illusion of different flooring in your dining area by placing a carpet or a mat on the floor that covers the entire area. Different textures will pop out better, and there is room here to go with bold colors or different designs.

9. Separate a Living Room and a Dining Room with Lighting

Lighting can set a different tone to a room, so changing the lighting between the living space and the dining space serves the function of making these two places separate. This can be done in a few ways; you could put up a statement piece like a chandelier in the dining area and then give the living area light of a different ambiance to differentiate them.

You could use a light in the dining room area that centers the focus in the dining room unto the center of the room, or the table. Then, in contrast, you would have lighting in the living room that spreads across that space and lights up the whole area. The focus in one place and the abundance of light in the other will help to give a different feeling to each space and make them feel like separate places.

10. Separate a Living Room and a Dining Room with Different Ceiling Heights

If the space you are dealing with has a double-height ceiling (maybe because there is a staircase leading upstairs in one section of the room and the staircase causes one side of the room to have a lower ceiling height than the rest of the room), then you can distinguish your dining room in the area with the lower height. At the same time, your living room can occupy the rest of the space.

Even if this is not directly the case, you can bring the height of the dining area downward visually by introducing a ceiling element. Again, a large chandelier, ceiling lights that hang downward, other accents that hang down from the ceiling, can have this effect.

An actual break in the ceiling can be introduced if neither of the first two works. Here a lower ceiling is introduced into a portion of the space; note that this is a fix that requires some construction work to be done.

11. Separate a Living Room and Dining Room by Raising One Side

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can make the floor of one area of the space higher than the rest of the floor in the combined space. You could raise up your dining area on a wooden platform, for example, and then cover this with carpet or place some small steps between the living room area and the dining room area. Your dining room would, therefore, be a little higher than your living room and would effectively differentiate itself from the latter.

12. Separate a Living Room and Dining Room by Introducing a Walkway

If there is enough space to do so between the two spaces, you can introduce a walkway between the two areas with different flooring material. It could be a long strip of boldly colored carpet between the two spaces. It could also be a pattern, or you could change the flooring of just that walkway so that it pops out between the two spaces. Note that if the space between the living and dining areas is not very big, this will not be an ideal alternative.


To conclude, there are so many cool ways to create a divider between a living space and a dining space when dealing with an open floor plan. Depending on the kind of accommodation you have, such as whether you live in a house or a condominium or an apartment, there are some fixes you will be at more liberty to attempt than others.

Regardless of which area or areas you seek to makeover, the ideal solution for separating your living and dining room can be found in one of the methods mentioned above. So, which of these cool ideas would you like to give a try?

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