Friday, January 27, 2023

Decorating With Folding Screens

The folding screen was originally made in China but is now a mainstay in interior design throughout the world thanks to its beauty and functionality. By the end of the 19th century, they were highly fashionable. Extremely versatile, screens, or room dividers as they are also commonly referred to, are a wonderful addition to any space and they bring so much style to a room. They can guide visitors through your home by defining pathways and halls. Folding room dividers are an economical way to add character and individuality to an otherwise dull and boring room. You can also use a screen to hide less attractive features in your home. They’re a decorative way to conceal just about anything you don’t want seen. Screens are masters at separating different spaces in your home. If your home has large rooms or rooms that flow into one another with no natural break, use a screen or two to define and separate spaces. A folding screen can be a decorator’s secret weapon. 

Now that we have established how useful they are, I 'd like to list my favorite reason for using folding screens. They are lovely to look at! I love them for purely aesthetic reasons. Rooms look fabulous with folding screens are used and that's just the bottom line.

Folding screens are available in an assortment of styles and colors, so that they will blend in with just about any style of decor. This way you do not have to change your entire room to match the divider. You will be amazed at all the different choices available to you.

Iris Apfel is a lady that definitely knows how a folding screen can transform a room. 

As did Sir John Richardson! Folding screens displayed in Old World style rooms create some of the most stunning interiors ever.

The folding screen was originally created to serve as a ‘paravent’, the French word meaning screen from the wind. However they became quite the chameleons, serving home interiors as furniture, decorative accessories, and even works of art.

I am delighted these lovely screens are now becoming more popular with the revival of maximalism and the return to elegance.

From the book Arriving Home: A Gracious Southern Welcome 
by James T. Farmer (Author), Jeff Herr (Photographer)

Grand Millennials are smitten with the folding screen's timeless elegance and nonpareil versatility. This has been the major reason for their upward trend.

The folding screen provides one of the best ways to bring color and pattern into a room's décor, making them a tremendous asset in terms of decoration. Interior designers LOVE them!

Folding screens lend themselves to almost every decorating style which is part of why they have endured.

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge's Paris dining room via

Your style may be French.....a folding screen works perfectly!

Screens are placed in oversized rooms of chateaux to make smaller, more intimate spaces. Any large home can benefit in the same way.

Prominent European artists treated floor screens as blank canvases on which to paint.

Or your interior may be a bit more English.......a folding screen will still work perfectly!

Folding screens are excellent at adding depth and visual interest in a room.

In large European houses with cavernous rooms and long halls, the screens greatly helped with drafts and can still today if you have large rooms. This screen is positioned to help with drafts coming from the doorway.

Sue Alfantis

Folding screens are perfect room dividers. Wherever you're looking to create a small private space folding screens are the perfect answer.

There are many lovely colorful folding screens with which to create an aesthetic vignette in any room of your house.....

.....or open up your living space while providing for a little privacy.

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, folding screen dividers are extremely lightweight and easy to move when you have to change up the space a bit.

I love the sense of mystery associated with a folding screen.....especially when displayed in an eclectic old world interior.

Nathan Turner via

A folding screen can also be a great place to hang wall style!

With a colorful folding screen you instantly have wall art to add color and drama to your living space.

Peter Copping via

Toby Fairley

SGH Designs

Try using a folding screen to add a great visual to your living space as well as to create a small private dining space by using it to separate the two rooms.

Joey Marlowe with Boxwood Antiques & Interiors

A folding screen can bring warmth and elegant charm to a foyer and stairway.

Loving this grisaille screen!

Consider using a folding screen in the bath. Here is gives intimacy to the tub area as well as displaying as a work of art.

A screen like this will really make an elegant tub the focal point of the room.

Screens are wonderful for hiding technical equipment that involves multiple cords such as your stereo, tv, or computer.

Don't forget the dining room. Folding screens can be used to design an intimate dining area, or even shut out light or drafts from windows as seen here. I have a screen that I use for this very purpose as during the summer months sunlight comes strongest into my dining room around meal time.

via Victoria Magazine

I love how a folding screen gives a feminine touch to a bedroom.

Henri Samuel via

A bedroom is a great place for a folding screen. We all have a bit of clutter there that could be hidden.

Timothy Corrigan, designer

Actually it is nice to have a folding screen in the bedroom in the event you might want a bit of privacy, all the while adding a stylish design element to the room. 

Mary McDonald via

Or simply use your screen for artwork, color pop, or pattern!

After their arrival in Europe during the Middle Ages, Chinese folding screens became wildly popular toward the close of the 17th century.

A Coromandel Screen is a wooden folding screen coated in dark lacquer that is carved before being painted with gold or varied colors. CoCo Chanel was an avid collector of Chinese folding screens, especially the Coromandel screens like these shown in this dining room, and is believed to have owned 32 folding screens of which eight of them were housed in her apartment at 31 rue Cambon, Paris.

While black was the most common background color for these screens, red, green, blue, and brown were sometimes used. This screen is perfection in this Chinoiserie room with the fretwork and beautiful blue and white transfer collection.

This image shows another way that a beautiful folding screen can be used..... as wall art!

Like I said, there is a folding screen style for everyone. You might like antique styles and can still find them at estate sales, auctions, antique stores, and antique and vintage malls.

via Pinterest

Antique 18th century screens are very beautiful and quite expensive.  You can make an alternative by having a frame built and using one of the many lovely period wall papers out there today. Fabric is another alternative if you are considering making a screen of your own. Attach some decorative hardware and you will have a wonderful addition to your décor.

Many antique screens have a mural or scene of some kind painted on them.

A beautiful antique French glass screen.

Or you might prefer a more modern style folding screen. There are so many exciting and chic styles to choose from

Rather than invest large sums of money in making permanent structural changes in a home, people are opting to buy beautiful screens instead.

They are a wise investment! Best of luck finding your perfect screen!

This blog post was published by
Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I will be glad to correct it.

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