How to buy outdoor shoji screens

Shoji screens remain a traditional element in Japanese decor. They play a role outdoors in Japan at dances, Buddhist ceremonies and processions. American homes incorporate shoji screens for their versatility. Shoji screens feature rice paper in wooden frames, which allows light through. The term "shoji" refers to rice paper, though shoji-style screens are made in silk and plastic. Some retailers use the term "shoji screen" to refer to other types of room screens and room dividers. With a basic plan you can buy an outdoor screen to suit your needs.

Determine your needs for the screen. Measure the area to be screened, if necessary. Make a note if the screen needs to be a minimum height, such as five feet, to function as a privacy screen. Note any width requirement.

Contact local shops that carry patio furniture and large retailers in the spring when summer goods get stocked. Outdoor screens tend to be a seasonal item and may be difficult to locate in the off season. Shop online: search under "outdoor shoji screen," "privacy screen" and "room divider."

Check the materials of screens you consider buying and compare prices. For outdoors, the most durable screens are made with fade- and mildew-resistant fabric or resin intended for outdoor use. Traditional wood and rice paper shoji screens could work well for a patio or deck, though they will get weathered.

Contact makers of custom shoji screens if the specific style and dimensions you require aren't available in a ready-made screen. For example, for sliding shoji screens to add privacy to the hot tub and dressing areas, Portland Shoji Screen advises sending dimensions and a drawing, and offers a choice of materials to specify for your project.

Make your final selection and get a copy of the return policy and the expected delivery date.


For a dressing area screen, you may want an opaque screen. Some shoji screens come in translucent rice paper or plastic that may allow bodies to be visible through the screen.


Some outdoor screens come with hardware to anchor them. In windy areas, screens can fall over and even fly, so make sure to secure them to prevent injury and property damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape (optional)
  • Notebook
  • Pen
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About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.