The Ever Versatile Folding Screen

design :: richard hellberg, seen in Veranda Magazine

design :: richard hellberg, seen in Veranda Magazine

Folding screens are an extremely versatile piece of furniture -- they can be used to decorate a bare wall, cover an eyesore, divide up a large space or even act as a headboard and there is a folding screen for every design style.

A little history...folding screens originated in China sometime in the 3rd century and adorned Imperial palaces.  They are also widely used in Japan going back all the way to the 8th century where they were used to block drafts and divide up open plan houses {much in the same way they can be used today.}  The inimitable Coco Chanel collected 17th and 18th century Coromandel screens, some of which can be seen in her elegant flat above the Chanel store at 31 rue Cambon in Paris.

coco chanel's apartment at 31 rue Cambon, Paris

coco chanel's apartment at 31 rue Cambon, Paris

They can anchor a seating group, or give a dimensional change to a shoe box or oddly proportioned room.
— Michael S. Smith

As room dividers, a folding screen can signal a shift in function as you move from one zone to another, like living area to sleeping area, for example.  You can use a screen to create a “pause” before you enter a room -- a screen placed near the entrance to a loft or other open plan space can create a foyer where there previously was none.

image via home-styler.com

image via home-styler.com

image via Elle Decor

image via Elle Decor

image via apartment therapy

image via apartment therapy

Folding screens are great for breaking up a long expanse of wall or provide decoration when wallpaper or paint aren’t an option. They also easily serve as a focal point of a room.

design :: alessandra branca

design :: alessandra branca

image via lonny

image via lonny

image via decorpad

image via decorpad

Say you found a fabulous fabric that may be too bold to upholster a piece in, but you want more impact than a few toss pillows... a fabric covered folding screen is the perfect answer!

mitchell gold + bob williams

mitchell gold + bob williams

A mirrored screen can bring more light into a dark corner/area of a room and magnifies the available light.

antique mirror screen by fauxology

antique mirror screen by fauxology

design :: candace barnes. Seen in Veranda Magazine

design :: candace barnes. Seen in Veranda Magazine

A screen is a great way to bring in some ethnic flavor to a room, like this Moroccan style screen, for example.

image via elle decor

image via elle decor

If your room is lacking architectural character, you can bring some in via a folding screen -- like the gorgeous “Dynasty” screen from Barnhardt.

"Dynasty" screen by barnhardt

"Dynasty" screen by barnhardt

Folding screens can also be used to replace window treatments, like in the below images.  The screens shield your bathroom from the prying eyes of curious neighbors and give you something pretty to look at while you soak.

leather+folding+screens+with+nailheads+bathroom+brettVdesign
image via athomearkansas.com

image via athomearkansas.com

Folding screens make fantastic headboards!

image via decopad

image via decopad

image via mcgrath II

image via mcgrath II

design :: danziger design

design :: danziger design

I mentioned above that folding screens can be used to cover up “eyesores,” think of them as “artful camouflage.” Some eyesores would be gym equipment, file cabinets, office equipment, storage, ugly radiators or oddly shaped corners.  For example, you don’t have a dedicated home office space, so your desk, file cabinets, and other office equipment occupy a corner of the living room and it isn’t necessarily the prettiest sight.  An easy solution is to block the view of the office chaos with a folding screen!  You can mount the screens on casters to make it easier to move.  Screens can also cover up your TV and accompanying equipment when not in use.

image via domino

image via domino

In this photo you see a beautiful folding screen, but what lurks behind it?  Only the homeowner knows...

image via domino

image via domino

Screens don’t have to be solid -- open fretwork screens add visual interest to a room and can define areas without blocking light.

BHG screen from light wave laser

BHG screen from light wave laser

image via domino

image via domino

Folding screens are a great addition to random empty corners as well.

image via robertpassal.com

image via robertpassal.com

image via domino

image via domino

Folding screens are easily moved/transported so you can reconfigure a room to your heart's desire and bring them along when you move!


disclaimer :: all images on this blog are copyrighted by their respective owners.  i do not own any of the images posted unless otherwise stated.  if you see your work on my site without proper credit or you would like it removed, please contact me.