Room Divider Buying Guide
Room Dividers 101
Room Divider Buying Tips:
• Measure your floor space and ceiling height to determine the right size
• Choose a divider made of materials that complement your room
• Consider a solid wood or fabric screen if privacy is your top priority
• Rice paper or linen screens are lightweight and allow light to pass through
• Select a stable design that can withstand random contact without tipping over
• Adjustable shutter-style room dividers offer more flexibility
• Check that hinges and other panel connections are sturdy and reliable
• Single-screen models should come with perpendicular feet for greater stability
Uses for Room Dividers
A room divider is a great solution if you need to separate a work space from a common area in your home. A wood panel or opaque screen set perpendicular to the wall creates seclusion and prevents the view of office furniture and other hardware from clashing with your main decor. It can also block other light sources from distracting you while you work and may also act as a partial sound barrier.
Occasional turf battles are inevitable if you have two or more children sharing a room. A room divider offers privacy and creates a clear boundary to minimize friction. A little isolation can also be a good thing during homework time. The same principle holds true for any situation in which multiple occupants of the same area need personal space. A folding wall divider can come in handy during holiday gift-wrapping season or as a portable change room when you’re having a yard sale.
Room dividers are available in a vast array of styles to suit any home decor. Consider using a boldly designed screen to liven up that empty corner of your family room. If space permits, use a folding screen as an artful backdrop for an aquarium or your bed's headboard. A room divider is also a simple way to break up the monotony of a lengthy wall. Colourful printed screens and crafted wood dividers can be art unto themselves.
A tightly woven fabric or rattan room divider screen can help keep a room dark in the morning and block the sun's intense rays in late morning and early afternoon. Choose an opaque (solid) screen material if shade is important. A semi-transparent paper or linen screen can act as a diffuser and reduce glare while allowing ambient light to seep through. Semi-transparent materials are a good choice if you’re using a computer monitor, laptop or tablet close to a window that’s directly exposed to the sun.
A vertical wall unit with shelves and divider bookcases offers space, separation and storage at the same time. Strategically placed and securely mounted, it can create a clear division between leisure and dining spaces and allow you to display books, photography and family keepsakes. An open-concept shelf disperses light without darkening the adjacent room. Enclosed storage in the base can be used for tableware and also ensure that the unit is well anchored and stable.
Room Divider Styles
Wood Panels +
A three-panel room divider made of solid wood performs like an actual wall. Light is blocked completely and the divider creates a visual and physical barrier within your space. You may prefer this style if your goal is to partition a living area or block sunlight at certain times of day. Solid wood room dividers can be made from inexpensive wood products or crafted and stained like fine furniture with detailed lattice work.
Wood Shutters +
Window-style shutters on a room divider can be either fixed or adjustable. The moveable type allows you to control the shutter angle and direct the path of light between the divider and your living space as sunlight travels throughout the day. The panels on some versions have solid wood at the bottom and shutters at the top. A three-panel configuration about five feet in width is common, but you can always buy two to cover a wider area.
Rattan has the advantage of being lightweight and offers an exotic look with intricate detailing. Room dividers made from this natural material range in style from semi-formal to beach club casual. You can always apply semi-transparent stains or solid paints to modify the look to your liking. A folding rattan screen can provide privacy outdoors in summer and be repurposed indoors during the colder months as a catch-all laundry hanger for small clothing items.
Shoji Screens +
The shoji screen offers a classic, clean look that complements an elegantly styled room. The frame is generally constructed of wood and consists of four or six panels. The distinctive screens are made of semi-transparent rice paper that allows light through while still offering privacy. Shoji screens are lightweight but sturdy. The paper is traditionally plain, but colourful prints are available.
Faux Leather +
The rich look and texture of faux leather blends easily with more formal and traditional decor and heavier, darker furnishings. Consider a faux leather room divider as an accent item for the perimeter of a den or living room. Burgundy, dark green, brown and classic black panels can add depth and drama. Some versions feature replica crocodile hide in silver and gold finishes for a glitzy look in your dressing area and a touch of backstage, fashion show glamour.
Printed Canvas +
A printed room divider is a simple way for you to add personal style to a room or liven up your kid's playroom. It’s becoming common to see classic works of art by the European masters printed on the canvas panels of folding, wood-frame room dividers. The beauty of this new genre of "stand-up" art is that you can easily reposition it for variety and effect. For kids, consider choosing a plain canvas and allowing them to create their own art with finger paints, under your guidance, of course.
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Safety and Maintenance Tips:
• Wipe down vinyl and synthetic leather panels with a damp cloth and air dry
• Clean rice paper and lightweight fabric screens with a delicate touch and only if necessary
• Occasionally re-adjust panels to maintain proper balance and stability
• Don’t use lightweight room dividers near drafty doors or windows or outdoors in windy conditions
• Avoid hanging heavy objects on room dividers that could cause them to tilt or topple
• If pets or young children are present, select low room dividers or avoid altogether
• Keep shoji screens a safe distance from busy traffic areas and sources of heat or moisture