This will demonstrate how to convert a college dorm room double into two singles. For those who are unfamiliar with the term double, this refers to a single room occupied by two people. Whether you hate your roommate or just enjoy a quiet and isolated space to yourself this guide will explain all that is needed in order to split the room in half.

This project should be done at the beginning of the new school year.

The duration of this project is completely dependent on how large of a wall you need.

KEEP IN MIND, you will PROBABLY need to drill at least one hole into your wall. Do what you have to, to avoid making the holes too noticeable. In other words... PREDICT damage that may be seen at the end of the year, hint hint. My wooden frame uses about THREE wall holes.

Why: Your roommate smells. Your roommate is noisy. You have a girlfriend. You don't have a girlfriend. Your 21 and think it's unreasonable that your University does not provide adequate housing... you would understand if you knew what we paid per month.

Everything seen in this guide can be found at lowes/home depot... I'm sure you could also supplement some of the items used for hardware found at local stores.

The wall is also really sturdy, but I think I used the bare minimum in order to accomplish this.

Without tools: $120,
With tools: Roughly $50

This project will reduce noise by about 70% and eliminate all light... mostly.

** Also, you should probably get your roommates permission.

*** The entire project took about 5 hours to complete.

**** There was no glue or joint compound used in this project, it is fairly clean and straight forward.

***** If you are concerned that your room may spontaneously combust, this project will probably facilitate the burning process.
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kiafayce3 years ago
I wish I could do something like this. Unfortunately, the building owner doesn't want us putting any screws into the walls or any kind of construction project in our rooms...

It's extremely problematic when we bring guys back to the dorm. :/
when i was in college we built a nice structure that went concrete wall to concrete wall and held it in place by hammering wooden wedges between the wood and the wall- it held well enough for us swing from our new rafters, from which we hung beds, leaving the original bed area clear for living space. make your structure, whatever it is, strong and slightly narrower than your room, and a wedge or three will hold it in place with no screws at all
bennettcrew3 years ago
3M Command Adhesive products. The strips work with all sorts of things. They're just adhesive on both sides... you don't really need to buy the hooks. However... The hooks are super awesome, and will hold quite a bit of weight. The wife and I lived in "married student housing", with the block walls and such... and I never did figure out a way to keep from hearing her!! hahahahahahahahahaha... Seriously though, those 3M strips would have been a lifesaver!

As for a room divider... try 7 men to a room, for a year! Military deployment life sucks, but it will definitely bring out the most creative solutions, for any situation imaginable! I've seen curtain dividers, lockers for dividers, storage containers, all sorts of things used to just have a little bit of privacy. If this sort of thing is really a problem for anyone... stay out of prison!
kevinhannan5 years ago
This is truly a great 'ible, well done! ;-)

Having recently come out of student accommodation, room-checks are done randomly, without warning and very frequently. This kind of thing would have resulted in a large repair bill as the accommodation office would insist on removing the offending installation as well as putting good any damage. My Uni also has a policy of withholding any degree awards if there are any outstanding issues like this.

I had to share with three Kenyan guys,each of whom brought their families with them (illegally housed in the student accommodation). In order to reduce the noise and increase the privacy we put in those free-standing office screens, that can also house doors and windows if desired. (see image).

We did this so it reached from floor to ceiling and the metal legs were stout enough to take the strain (besides which we put bookcases against it each side).

But let me emphasise - this is a great 'ible - and not just for the scenario you describe - all I wanted to do was show an entirely damage-free and removeable solution.

yeah, I'd think that putting holes in the wall would have reprecussions. I agree though, good instructable.
Heh, at my college it's completely illegal and results in expulsion, removal of credits from the records, or massive fines. Admittedly, I can see where they're coming from - something like this is a fire hazard in many cases. kevinhannan's idea would be a great alternative for stricter universities.
Romado12187 (author)  valhallas_end5 years ago
I dunno dude, unless your at university outside the US. Colleges have to abide by very strict fire and life safety codes, like Valahallas said. The rooms are designed with those codes in mind, which is why the only flammable thing in your dorm room is usually just your stuff (also why theyre remodeled so frequently). you know how govt organizations are with the voters kids. "think of the children" LOL (yes i know your an adult, but they still think of you as the kids.) I would bet $$$ on this being an issue with university housing at any US university, and if you havn't checked already you should. Another thing is that for a construction company to do as little as nail a board to the wall at a school (state run or not), they have have to be licensed, bonded, and insured for insurance liability reasons. I know this for a fact, as i have been the construction industry for over a decade. I would think that if they had to go through that, the school wouldn't let joe schmoe student even look at a hammer/drill in the building. not calling you a schmoe, but u get the picture.
Plus there's the requisite sprinkler systems - if they can't flood a room (and they really do flood rooms - I've seen the aftermath after an electrical fire), then the building structure is compromised. Besides, construction in almost any dorm in America has to be officially licensed by the university. A breach could result in forced sale of the building (this happened to a local institute in my city) or massive fines.
myself personally I have never seen a sprinkler system in any dorms that I have been in. just alarms :P
Hm, strange. I've never been in a dorm without sprinklers...haha but then again, all of the dorms I've dropped by have had records of frat-inspired fires sometime in their histories...
Most annoying is the sensitivity of many of these sprinklers, especially the old ones. The dorm my kid sister lives in has an old-style sprinkler head that will gush water if you so much as touch it...they've had water damage from people who've received birthday balloons (there's just no way to control them...), beer pong accidents (I was passing by and saw that one in a dorm basement - it was a beautiful trick shot meant to ricochet off of overhead pipes...but it clipped the sprinkler), and people dumb enough to touch the heads when they are clearly surrounded by signs warning against such actions...
keng Scurge5 years ago
According to the assistant director of maintenance at the Univ of Mo Columbia, "we don't have to follow building safety codes." That was why they refused to replace the battery packs in the exit sign in my dorm group when I advised them that the signs did not light up during a tornado and power outage. He said they were expensive and they wouldn't be replacing them.
Scurge keng5 years ago
...... I'm speechless.... At this very moment, I am Im putting the final touches on a haunted house that I run so we can get codes inspections next week. We are required to pass 3 different inspections, building, fire, and life safety to be able to send one customer through our attraction. It worries me that a place where you live has no restrictions or codes, while I have to have all that for someone to be in my building for an hour. Not that I feel I should be able to "get away with it", but I am worried for your safety. These codes weren't invented for fun outta thin air, just about each and every code has been written as a response to past injuries and or deaths (even the ones that seem silly). Failure to comply has proven many times to cost lives, like that nightclub fire at the white snake show years back for example.
I think that it's cool and quite resourceful especially if he's able to get away with it. But, I agree with you; I can't imagine that this wouldn't require a permit. Butt coverage and revenue are the first two reasons that come to mind (not the official reasons of course). Having said that, my mom says she thinks if he and his roommate are responsible they could pull it off. Keep in mind she's nor I are qualified to make any recommendations regarding the safety or lack there of, just had to put our two cents in. Also she says the tragedy that you referred to occurred during a Great White concert. Anyway, I think you're right about the other stuff and I am in concurrence with you. Still a neat ible on testicular sackitude alone.
NotOurKing keng5 years ago
As valhallas_end says, it's a felony to not meet building safety codes. No building in the US or Canada is above these codes. If you want to be nice, I would recommend going to the administration at you school about this and if you want to be mean, call the local authorities. Even if you don't go there any more, you could save many lives by reporting this.
Can't you report that?
bobdog keng5 years ago
Good old Mizzou....
Wow...that's an interesting take on a felony...the guy could have gone to jail for ages for violating fire codes, dorm safety, insurance, Department of Health, etc. regulations.
demodk Scurge5 years ago
Kids do stuff like this at Iowa State all the time. So I think each school most likely varies on how hard they would come down on such a project, if at all.
I agree with your solution.
You have one big dorm room. Then again I got shafted into a dorm that was meant to be a double that was converted into a triple.
Data6434 years ago
Nice Beatles posters, especially the one with the albums.
Hermea4 years ago
Make sure you check with your Housing and Residence Life department before you build something like this. While I think it's awesome, it would be against fire code in our buildings. just another I wish moment.
rcallowa4 years ago
incredibly clever... seems like a good solution for studio apartments as well
saidthety4 years ago
Nice instructable, I really wish that I could do this in my dorm, but my school has about the tiniest dorm rooms I've ever seen, and I would have to walk through my roommate's half of the room to get to my half anyways. It's nice to look at projects like this and dream about what it'll be like to have my own apartment though...
komecake5 years ago
  Well... I think this is great. And honestly? If you made a bed out of wood and added a sheet, isn't it just as flammable? Anyways, great job. I never would of thought of this. :)
dragonvpm5 years ago
I really like how you worked this out, but keep in mind that this wall becomes a major fire hazard. Not only because it splits one side of the room from the smoke detector but the wall itself is also extremely flammable. In normal construction a wall constructed with 2 layers of 1/2" drywall and the associated joint compound are fireproof for about 60 minutes during a fire, in this case, the wall itself becomes a significant source of combustible material and it would also cut off access to one of your emergency exits in a room. If you do something like this try to be careful about where windows (if they're considered one of your emergency exits) and fire sprinklers end up. I know fire safety isn't a fun thing to think about, but in a communal living environment like a dorm it's an important consideration.
You're wrong. Dry wall and wood is not extremely flammable. Yes it is more flammable than a concrete dorm wall and in a building you want to have walls which limit the spread of fire but they could have had a book shelf there or some desks covered in papers or a shelf with a liquor bottles on it. OMG! liquor bottles! fire danger!!! rules violation!! The room itself is still as fire proof as it was before. This will have no impact on the spread of a fire since it is less flammable that most of the things that would be there. The wall doesn't really block anything since it could be punched through or knocked down if there is a fire.
He specifically remarks about stapling cloth to the surface of the wall instead of using joint compound and paint. Last time I checked cloth is fairly significantly combustible.... Then there are the standard emergency exit considerations that I mentioned in a subsequent comment. A trivial example of how easily this could work out badly is if you're working with a room where one person ends up without a door or a window and behind that partition. If there should ever be a fire and the sheet stapled to the wall catches fire, the person sleeping in the walled off room could be in a lot of danger. Fire safety isn't just about burning but smoke inhalation and toxic fumes from things in the room burning. iirc a significant percentage of fire related deaths have nothing to do with actually getting burned. So yeah, I just do this for a living as a builder/engineer, build whatever the hell you want in your dorm room and assume whatever liability you want if you inadvertently create a fire hazard in the room. I really don't care.
Romado12187 (author)  dragonvpm5 years ago
Look, it’s not that it’s not a legitimate concern... It's just that if there was no wall... there would be clothing and other college like paraphernalia in the middle of the room... So yes, just looking at this, it seems that it is a fire hazard. But when you take into consideration the small things in a college dorm room like... clothing, alcohol, and other flammable materials, it is not a very big deal. I don't even want to think about the wall catching on fire... if any room is divided in half, it is always a risk... especially if there is no exit on one side. There are two fire detectors though, and quite honestly as seniors in college, the small increase in lack of safety in a dorm room, is a price we are willing to take. I am an engineer/builder also... and the safety factor of this wall is not decreased to the point of not wanting to construct it. Everything and anything added to room, minus some obvious items is a fire hazzard. But yes, this is a fire hazzard, it's just a matter of pros and cons.
I didn't mean to make you feel like I was attacking you, but your wall is nothing like "clothing and other college like paraphernalia in the middle of the room". By it's very design, it's meant to completely block access (of light and sound) from one part of a room to another. During a fire, this could be very dangerous either through delaying the time before an smoke alarm goes off or blocking the spray of fire sprinklers or just preventing someone from getting out.

However, you're right it is a matter of looking at pros and cons and if the Instructable was aimed at just you putting it up in your house, I'd tend to be less concerned about fire safety issues, but you're specifically aiming this at people living in doubles in dorms and I thought it was something worth mentioning so that both people living in a room could consider if this was the sort of thing they might want to build.

I can respect that as a builder/engineer yourself you can feel that the pros outweigh the cons, but something like this could be built by someone with less skill or expertise and it might be worth discussing how they could go about selecting a location for the wall that is as safe as possible while still being useful as a room divider. Or, it might be worth noting ways in which they could make this project safer. Things like making sure that there is a smoke detector on either side of the partition and possibly installing a battery powered one (they're ridiculously cheap) on one side if necessary, perhaps having a fire extinguisher in the side of the room without an exit, etc... etc...

While it is true that everything in a room can be a fire hazard, this partition could conceivably be a major enough fire hazard and obstruction that IMO it's worth looking at the safety issues more closely than you might look at how dangerous your books and class notes might be. Plus consider that in a dorm setting there could be liability issues for students and parents (beyond the safety issues) should a fire ever happen.
1+ on everything dragonvpm said, that wall is clearly a fire hazard inaddition to being a code violation.
code violations are irrelevant
Why? Because you say so? A fire marshal would disagree...
fire marshals are irrelevant.  this is instructables not should-I-do-this?-ables.  that giant trebuchet might be awesome fun or a murder weapon.  people can make up their own minds about how to use something, and they don't need you to help them.
No, it is not irrelevant. The difference here is this instructable is showing how to create a fire hazard on property that you do not own. If you make a trebuchet in your backyard and use it properly you aren't harming anyone, however this has the potential to harm his roommate. Now, I never said people SHOULDN'T do this, but the simple fact of the matter is: It IS a code violation. Just because you say "oh it doesn't matter" doesn't make it any less of a code violation.

If he is going to violate building codes he should at least make that much clear in his instructables because other people WILL do this, and without that knowledge they could find themselves in a mess with both their university and city codes council/fire marshal.
The instructable is about putting a new, temporary wall into a little room, the dorm room aspect, and whether this guy owns that building or not is tangential. You never explained why fire marshals are relevant.  Lots of legal things are dangerous and lots of illegal things are safe.  If one focuses on safety then you will be much safer than if one focuses on what the guys with the guns say you can do or not.     

Laws and rules are different everywhere.  Putting in legal warnings would be a huge waste of time.

In the United States, where he did this, this is a violation of the fire code period. The fire marshal enforces the code. Saying something is illegal "but safe" is not an argument. If it is illegal then one should not do it.

Furthermore, if depending on the university someone doing this could result in expulsion, or in the least a fine.

A simple "check the laws in your area, and the rules of your university before attempting" would be ample warning. Most instructables that feature a dangerous or potentially illegal activity have a warning like this.

In addition, this instructable is about putting a wall into a dorm room. Period. This is clearly stated in the instructable, and there are many mentions of not "drilling too many holes". It is not about dividing a "little room" but a dorm room, the whole tone of the instructable is based around this, saying that this is not relevant is simply ignoring the facts.
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