Dividers in RecyclerView

My question on this topic got a considerable amount of attention, which only proves how insufficient the official documentation can sometimes be, even with regard to the basic issues a developer will encounter sooner or later.

A few very useful answers were posted by the community, but none of them covered both dividers and spaces, and some were based on deprecated code, so I’m posting a short wrap-up.

Unlike ListView, the RecyclerView class has no divider-related parameters. Instead, you need to extend ItemDecoration, a RecyclerView‘s inner class:

An ItemDecoration allows the application to add a special drawing and layout offset to specific item views from the adapter’s data set. This can be useful for drawing dividers between items, highlights, visual grouping boundaries and more.

All ItemDecorations are drawn in the order they were added, before the item views (in onDraw()) and after the items (in onDrawOver(Canvas, RecyclerView, RecyclerView.State).

Vertical spacing ItemDecoration

Extend ItemDecoration, add custom constructor which takes space height as a parameter and override getItemOffsets() method:

public class VerticalSpaceItemDecoration extends RecyclerView.ItemDecoration {

    private final int mVerticalSpaceHeight;

    public VerticalSpaceItemDecoration(int mVerticalSpaceHeight) {
        this.mVerticalSpaceHeight = mVerticalSpaceHeight;

    public void getItemOffsets(Rect outRect, View view, RecyclerView parent,
            RecyclerView.State state) {
        outRect.bottom = mVerticalSpaceHeight;

If you don’t want to insert space below the last item, add the following condition:

if (parent.getChildAdapterPosition(view) != parent.getAdapter().getItemCount() - 1) {
            outRect.bottom = mVerticalSpaceHeight;

Note: you can also modify outRect.top, outRect.left and outRect.right properties for desired effect.

Divider ItemDecoration

Extend ItemDecoration and override onDraw() method:

public class DividerItemDecoration extends RecyclerView.ItemDecoration {

    private static final int[] ATTRS = new int[]{android.R.attr.listDivider};

    private Drawable mDivider;

     * Default divider will be used
    public DividerItemDecoration(Context context) {
        final TypedArray styledAttributes = context.obtainStyledAttributes(ATTRS);
        mDivider = styledAttributes.getDrawable(0);

     * Custom divider will be used
    public DividerItemDecoration(Context context, int resId) {
        mDivider = ContextCompat.getDrawable(context, resId);

    public void onDraw(Canvas c, RecyclerView parent, RecyclerView.State state) {
        int left = parent.getPaddingLeft();
        int right = parent.getWidth() - parent.getPaddingRight();

        int childCount = parent.getChildCount();
        for (int i = 0; i < childCount; i++) {
            View child = parent.getChildAt(i);

            RecyclerView.LayoutParams params = (RecyclerView.LayoutParams) child.getLayoutParams();

            int top = child.getBottom() + params.bottomMargin;
            int bottom = top + mDivider.getIntrinsicHeight();

            mDivider.setBounds(left, top, right, bottom);

You can either call the first constructor that uses the default Android divider attributes, or the second one that uses your own drawable, for example drawable/divider.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<shape xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    <size android:height="1dp" />
    <solid android:color="#ff992900" />

Note: if you want the divider to be drawn over your items, override onDrawOver() method instead.


To use your new class add VerticalSpaceItemDecoration or DividerSpaceItemDecoration to RecyclerView, for example in your fragment’s onCreateView() method:

private static final int VERTICAL_ITEM_SPACE = 48;
private RecyclerView mUiRecyclerView;
private LinearLayoutManager mLinearLayoutManager;
public View onCreateView(LayoutInflater inflater, ViewGroup container,
        Bundle savedInstanceState) {
    View rootView = inflater.inflate(R.layout.fragment_feed, container, false);

    mUiRecyclerView = (RecyclerView) rootView.findViewById(R.id.fragment_home_recycler_view);
    mLinearLayoutManager = new LinearLayoutManager(getActivity());

    //add ItemDecoration
    mUiRecyclerView.addItemDecoration(new VerticalSpaceItemDecoration(VERTICAL_ITEM_SPACE));
            new DividerItemDecoration(getActivity());
            new DividerItemDecoration(getActivity(), R.drawable.divider));


    return rootView;

There’s also Lucas Rocha’s library which is supposed to simplify the item decoration process. Haven’t tried it though.

Among its features are:

  • A collection of stock item decorations including:
  • Item spacing Horizontal/vertical dividers.
  • List item

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