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Chic, simple ways to partition your space 

Living in New Orleans, you're bound to encounter an array of different living spaces, from Creole cottages to French Quarter townhouses to beautiful St. Charles mansions. It's variety that gives New Orleans architecture its charm. But what do you do when faced with the cavernous rooms in some shotgun houses or a studio space in a loft apartment?

  "There's a lot of different ways to divide your room," says Jennifer Cheatham, interior designer and owner of Jennifer Cheatham Designs. "You want to make sure the design is cohesive with all of the space."

  Cheatham suggests using rugs to delineate areas of a large living room or dining space. Use one rug under a sofa and armchairs to mark a sitting area, and another underneath a table and chairs to mark a dining area. Rugs give the illusion of different spaces within the same room.

  Cheatham also suggests hanging chandeliers or other light fixtures above separate areas to mark off their different uses.

  "Today, the trend in building is having the kitchen open to the living room," Cheatham says. "Hanging different lighting in the different areas can also create different spaces."

  Another option is Nomad partition walls, which are flat, freestanding modules that add flair while creating a functional wall.

  "The Nomad partition walls are perfect in an office, kid's room, or a dressing area in a store," says Nomita Joshi-Gupta, owner of Spruce Eco-Studio (2043 Magazine St., 504-265-0946; www.sprucenola.com). "They're great for whenever you need to divide your space."

  Their built-in notches simplify installation while providing different levels of privacy — units can be tightly fitted for a solid wall, or spaced farther apart to create a wall with small openings and a more airy feel.

  Sturdy and lightweight, Nomad walls are easy to put up and take down, making them ideal for people who want openness during the day and privacy at night. They also can be used to section off a workspace or a play area for the kids.

  "A lot of people live and work at home," Joshi-Gupta says. "It's nice to divide up space when you're working so you can concentrate without an enormous open space, especially if you have children or live with someone else." Nomad walls can be built to any height or length.

  They're also eco-friendly; all Nomad walls are made from recycled paper and can be recycled again.

  Joshi-Gupta suggests painting the pieces at home with splatter paint or different washes.

  "I'm currently taking the pink pieces and doing a gold wash for a more glamorous look," she says.

  Cut up sponges and use them to apply paint for a vintage effect, or use fine paintbrushes for intricate designs. Use different-colored pieces to create bold custom patterns.

  Joshi-Gupta also suggests dividing a room by stringing burlap cloth as a floor-length drape, which adds texture while being cost-effective. Velvet, although more expensive, provides texture that's more luxurious. Getting creative with partition walls lets you express yourself and add to the atmosphere of your home while providing privacy and flexibility in your space.

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