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Looking to add dimension and demarcation to your space? It’s screen time

Earlier this year, the Fondazione Prada in Milan hosted the exhibition Paraventi: Folding Screens from the 17th to 21st Centuries, which traced a brief slice of the history of one of home decor’s most decadent accessories.

The folding screen – or dressing screen or privacy screen or room divider – is often one of the most beguiling and artistic pieces you can place in a home. The screens on view at the Fondazione Prada included works by Man Ray, Cy Twombly and Pablo Picasso, which all spoke to how these designs can be as fanciful as they are functional.

They can also be completely contemporary. In its winter group show, the tony Mayfair-based Gallery Fumi in London showcased a sumptuous screen crafted as a collaboration between designers Maria Bruun and Anne Dorthe Vester, and the artist Soren Bach. Made of oak, cowhide and polyester halyard (a type of rope typically used on a ship’s flagpole), it was an elegant punctuation point in the minimalist space.

Crystal Westland, a former interior designer and owner of the decor boutique Avenue Daughter in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood, says she scoops up antique privacy screens whenever she has the chance. “I like anything modular that can easily change a space,” she says of why she’s so into screens, highlighting that these pieces do wonders setting boundaries, but also enhance the beauty of both interiors and the great outdoors. In addition to a sense of glamour, Westland says screens contribute much needed dimension. “Any time we can disrupt the square, or the rectangle – the boxes that we essentially live in,” she says, “it’s going to add so much personality to a room.”

Nodding to the variety of screens on the market today, from a retro-future mirrored style designed by Sacha Lakic for Roche Bobois to House of Hackney’s opulent options to her store’s own found wares, Westland says that a privacy screen is the optimal backdrop for a chic corner vignette or even the top of your bed. As the options on the following page suggest, there is no hiding their versatility.

Edes screen
Reflet mirror screen

Rifle Paper Co. Edes screen in garden party blu, US$495 through

Reflet mirror screen by Sacha Lakic, $14,795 at Roche Bobois (

Open this photo in gallery:

Jean-Michel Frank folding screen

Jean-Michel Frank folding screen, price on request at Hermès (

Robert Kuo lacquer screen
Ecart International Reiko screen

Robert Kuo lacquer screen, $13,296 through

Ecart International Reiko screen, price on request at South Hill Home (

Screen by Maria Bruun, Anne Dorthe Vester and Soren Bach
Artemis Velvet De Beauvoir screen

Screen by Maria Bruun, Anne Dorthe Vester and Soren Bach, price on request through

Artemis Velvet De Beauvoir screen in petrol, US$5,272, through

Malibu outdoor screen
Star screen

Malibu outdoor screen, $1,064 at Pottery Barn (

Star screen, $349.99 through

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