Best screens – room dividers that make open-plan living easy

Whether you’re on the hunt for something stylish to add interest to a bleak corner of a room, or you need to create separate areas within a space, the versatility of a folding screen gives you endless design solutions.

Open-plan living has become very popular in recent years, with many people choosing to open up their living spaces creating one large communal space. Although we can appreciate the benefits in doing this, sometimes it’s nice to create a little privacy, a cosy corner or just somewhere to hide things before your guests arrive!


Photography / Adrian Briscoe / TI Media

This is where the folding screen or room divider comes into play. It does exactly that – divides a room. With origins dating back to 4th Century BC China, the folding screen was once a heavy wooden structure not often moved. However, it was in Japan that the screens evolved into the versatile styles we often see today.

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The original designs were traditionally very decorative, made from ornate and intricately craved wood. Today, the concept that a room divider seems not just to add partitions to a space but to create a focal point within a room – a sort of art piece.

There are endless styles, sizes and materials to choose from, whether you’re looking for something simple to allow you to introduce a home office in your living room, or you’re on the hunt for something glamorous to create a changing area in your bedroom (let’s be honest, it’ll be a clothes-horse in no time!). There really is something for everyone no matter your style or space.

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Our roundup focuses on the best folding screens made from natural materials, whether it is wood, rattan, cane or bamboo. The great thing about these materials is they tend to work in any space. And style-wise, they’re likely to stand the test of time.

We have compiled our favourites with different budgets in mind. From the traditional but well-priced panelled screen from Scumble Goosie to India Mahdavi’s remarkable rattan masterpiece.