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Homework: Screens rescue the room

This screen from Ore ($89.99 at is

This screen from Ore ($89.99 at is made from a traditional Caribbean tropical paper straw weave. Photo Credit: Target

The room divider or folding screen is a versatile and hardworking home accessory. If you've thought that they were only used in movies for someone to undress behind, then it's time to give screens a second look. Folding screens solve problems as well as add a decorative element to your home.


Folding screens might not seem like the first thing you think of when you think of room accessories, but they offer incredible design options. In fact, a folding screen is often an overlooked furnishing that can give homeowners a lot of decorating versatility. As a problem-solver, folding screens can be used to cover up pipes, radiators or even camouflage a mess. If you have an unattractive window view, a perforated screen will still allow light in while covering up the unfortunate scene. Dark room dilemmas? Mirrored screens are a terrific option for doubling the light in a dark room.


Perhaps one of the best ways to use a folding screen is when your room needs more definition. For today's open-concept homes or loft-style living, open spaces often create problems with a lack of defined living areas. A folding screen is the perfect way to add in architecture where there isn't any. One useful way to use a folding screen is in a house with soaring cathedral ceilings. Because these rooms can sometimes dwarf the furnishings, a folding screen placed in a corner or behind a seating area will help balance out the room visually with its height.


Folding screens can be found in every possible decorative style today, from Asian to Contemporary, and that's what makes them a natural fit in any home. Besides their ability to solve problems, folding screens perform a variety of different design duties. Asian folding screens can be used in place of artwork, especially when folded flat against a wall. But, truthfully, any screen can be used this way. Because they're portable, folding screens can easily be moved to suit your mood or change of decor. The folding screen can be placed behind the bed as a stand-in headboard or placed in the corner of a room to soften it. If privacy at the front door is a concern, adding a screen here will help create and delineate a foyer.


Screens are easy to find online and in every style, taste and budget. When searching online, be sure to use both "room divider" and "folding screen" as search terms to help you find just the type you're looking for. If you can't find a screen for your home, it's easy to create your own simply by attaching hinges to panels that are the size and style you like. A beach cottage would look wonderful with a divider made out of louvered bi-fold closet doors. If you have traditional furnishings, cover simple panels with fabric and batting. Or, split the difference by ordering a blank, customizable divider that's ready for your inspiration.

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