Folding screens come in all sizes, from those that fit onto a tabletop to those that reach from floor to ceiling. Most folding screens sit on the floor and range in height from four to seven feet tall. Smaller screens can cordon off smaller areas, hide radiators or even serve as a piece of wall art.
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Folding screens, also called room dividers, can be used to section off part of a room, hide storage or unsightly areas or provide a bit of privacy for a changing area. Some people use them decoratively to add colour, texture and height to a room. If they are upholstered, they also soften hard corners and add pattern.
Folding screens can be louvered, panelled or upholstered with fabric, In an office, they are used to hold photographs, postcards or other mementos, if they are crisscrossed with ribbon or backed with a cork notice board. Some screens are made of woven material, such as grasses or bamboo, for a natural, textural backdrop.
To add an Asian flair to a room, add a Japanese shoji screen. These translucent screens have a delicate wood frame, giving them the look of a multipaned window. Traditional shoji screens are backed with rice paper, but today's versions are often backed with fabric or synthetic. Shoji screens can be room dividers or placed in front of a window to provide privacy while allowing in filtered light.
The smallest folding screens are about 36 inches tall. There are many varieties, from shuttered to lacquered and hand-painted for visual appeal. Some small folding screens are mirrored and placed on a dressing table. Others serve as fireplace screens or even wall art. They are also useful for hiding children's play areas, toy storage or short items such as radiators.
Though screens are available from many different sources, it is easy to create one of your own. Use bifold doors or shutters from a home-improvement store. Add the finish of your choice with paint, distressing techniques, stencils, wallpaper or even maps to personalise your screen. Use door hinges and screws to attach the doors or shutters together.
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