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!

Best-screen-lifestyle

(Image credit: 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.

GWELSEN SCREEN, £3,450, TOM RAFFIELD

Tom Raffield Gwelsen screen

Elongated twists of steam-bent oak make up the frame of this beautiful room divider. The elegant design conceals yet allows glimpses of light through so it won't darken a small space. It's more like a work of art than a folding screen.

GAMEN SCREEN, £475, AM.PM at La Redoute

La Redoute Gamen screen

It looks like the cane trend is here to stay another year, why not dip a toe in with this woven divider screen.The curved design also gives a nod to the arch trend of recent years meaning the Gamen screen is a double whammy on style.

DECORATIVE PANELLED SCREEN, £285, THE DORMY HOUSE

The Dormy House decorative panelled screen

This French-inspired screen will bring a more traditional style to your home. Made from tough MDF, it can be painted in any of Dormy House’s standard colours; an understated shade or bolder tone to compliment the rest of your room. The world is your oyster.

UDAIPUR SCREEN, £220, MAISONS DU MONDE

Maisons du Monde Udaipur screen

The finely carved design on this slightly more decorative whitewashed room divider offers something a bit different. This is a screen for someone who is all about the detail.

COLONY SCREEN, £1010, SKRIVO FOR MINIFORMS AT GO MODERN

Go Modern Colony screen

Designed by multi award-winning design studio Skrivo for Italian brand Miniforms, this contemporary screen is made in Italy from Vienna straw. The design is available as individual sections or as three combined making it suitable no matter what your space limitations are.

HILTON SCREEN, £8,984, T. COLZANI at PORADA

Porada Hilton screen

The Hilton screen from Porada is somewhat of a modern design classic. The three folding sections made from solid Canaletta walnut is built to last and its simple aesthetic means it’ll never go out of fashion.

FOLDING SCREEN, £249, SCUMBLE GOOSIE

Scumble Goosie folding screen

Scumble Goosie have re-introduced their classic folding screen design however this time using solid planks of hardwood rather than MDF. This means it’s lighter and far stronger than before and will look great with just a coat of wax or a lick of paint if you’ve got the time.

ORIGINI SCREEN, £2,833, AMURA LAB AT HEAL’S

Heal's Origini screen

Whether you’re placing this contemporary screen in a bedroom or a living space it will be sure to capture people’s attention. At nearly two metres tall, this sophisticated screen demands are larger space to display its beautiful curves. Enquire with Heal’s for availability.