While seating and tables tend to get the lion’s share of the attention (and budget) when redecorating a space, there’s no denying the transformative powers of a folding screen or room divider. Whether used to wall off sleeping quarters in a loft or hung as art, considering clever room divider ideas can help energize a room. While room dividers have been in use for thousands of years — in 8th-century Japan folding screens were used to create privacy among open floor plans — they’ve fallen out of necessity in recent centuries as interiors have become increasingly walled off.
Despite this, designers remain devoted to them, employing them in less expected scenarios. For instance, designers love to use a screen to create the illusion of distinctive rooms in small apartments where dining rooms and living rooms share a wall. Other designers like to use them simply as an architectural feature. Stationed in a corner, one can provide height and interest similar to a bookcase. Don’t be afraid to use screens in multiples, either. Coco Chanel reportedly had more than a dozen lacquered Chinese Coromandel swanning in her Paris apartment. Room dividers can also be used as artwork on either side of a bed, or simply framed and displayed as an arresting piece of diptych art. No matter how you decide to use a folding screen that you can easily DIY or a luxe room divider, chances are high it will make your room look designed with intention.
If you’re considering a folding screen for your space, but still screening candidates, so to speak, we’ve collected 25 scene-stealing decorative screen and creative room divider ideas. Here’s to screen time that you can actually feel good about!
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A tambour screen sets a dramatic mood in this city apartment designed by studio CAK.
Artist Angela Crusciaki Blehm deconstructed a room divider into two separate panels to frame an abstract of her own making and a sleek slipper sofa. A coat of white paint lends the dividers a plaster-like, postmodern vibe.
Vibrant, cerulean-colored walls make the perfect complement to a tapestry-like room divider in this sophisticated living room by New York City designer Nick Olsen.
Designer Vicente Wolf pulled inspiration from Joan Miró’s surrealist, abstract shapes to create this custom room divider in a chic city apartment.
A room divider can be an excellent way to integrate additional pattern and texture to a room, as shown in this arresting sitting room cued up by Dane Austin Design.
A tribal patterned room divider lends this maximalist den designed by Nick Olsen incomparable verve.
For a serene and minimalist office, Gemma Parker Design opted to cocoon the walls in Shoji screen details. While these room dividers are normally used free-standing in Japanese abodes, hanging them on the walls procures a similar calming effect.
Rather than hanging art over your nightstands, consider doing as Grange does, and back each stand with a room divider. The effect can create the illusion of a dramatic headboard.
A towering upholstered room divider adorned with nailhead trim heightens the drama in this elegant sitting room by New Orleans-based designer Ware Porter.
To draw attention away from an ill-placed stairwell, designer Maureen Stevens uses a scenic, painted room divider. As a bonus, the screen also works as a window covering!
Intricately carved folding screens, fashioned as doors, give this Texas living room designed by Wills Design Associates an elevated, bespoke feeling.
An ordinary bedroom receives extraordinary polish thanks to the custom screen designer Todd M. Haley built to backdrop the bed.
To divide an office from a living room, designer Vicente Wolf installed a room divider constructed of minimalist louvered panels.
A wood room divider stationed behind a floor-skimming bed brings instant sophistication to this bedroom designed by Form + Field.
A Moroccan-style trellis screen designed by PepperJack Interiors dramatically elevates a Sacramento home’s entryway.
For a California ranch home — which just so happens to be her own — designer Sarah Walker uses a neutral screen to effectively weave together Danish Modern and traditional southwestern influences.
A chinoiserie room divider can make a compelling art piece when hung over a sofa, as shown in this vibrant and playful room designed by Meg Braff.
If you have extra space between your nightstand and wall, consider doing as New York City firm Mendelson Group did in this haven-like bedroom, and install an artful screen.
Taking liberties with the traditional room divider format — and stylistic themes — can have stunning results, as put on display in the Park City escape designed by Redmond Aldrich.
Neal Beckstedt proves that a room divider doesn’t need to be a ceiling-scraper to make a big impact, as shown in this tranquil-feeling sitting room.
You needn’t track down a traditional room divider to create a spellbinding effect. As McCaffrey Design Group illustrates, framed paper panels, hung behind a bed to mimic a room divider can be just as arresting.
Designer Elizabeth Metcalfe shows how a simple doorway can be transformed into something delightfully new with the addition of a basic screen panel.
Try partnering a traditional Asian room divider with metallics as designer Cecilie Starin does in this serene retreat to procure a show-stopping effect.
Designer Becky Nielsen illustrates that a lacquered room divider is always an inspired way to energize a corner.
Try a paper divider in a room with ample natural light. As this room, designed by Ayromloo Design showcases, a little sunlight can make it positively glow.
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