Do you need an easy room divider solution without having to build walls, which becomes costly and messy? Asian-inspired folding screens offer myriad practical and decorative use for any home, not to mention affordable. Although originally from ancient China, folding screens have since spread to Japan, Korea, and the West where they have evolved into many different aesthetic forms. The ancient Chinese first built folding screens from solid wood, intending them for use in the home as draft-preventers. However, as the popularity of folding screens grew, artists of the time saw potential for beautification. Since the Tang and Ming dynasties, folding screens have been constructed from materials such as silk or rice paper, providing both a perfect medium for artists to depict famous scenes from mythology and illustrations of palace life and nature, and a centerpiece for imperial palace décor. By the Ming dynasty, many folding screens had become so elaborate as to include materials like ivory and mother-of-pearl!
Since the first Europeans to arrive in Asia were struck by the ornate beauty of folding screens, folding screens have been prized as works of art in the West as well. Homeowners today all over the world still appreciate both the decorative and practical uses of folding screens. They can partition a room into two, hide something unsightly like the utility closet or kitty litter, or provide a changing area or temporary room for houseguests. Above and beyond their practical uses, folding screens provide an easy and inexpensive way to completely alter the décor of a room – and the best part is, you can collapse them and stow them away to revert back to the original room! Having a folding screen handy allows you to transform a space completely, all within the seconds it takes to pull out your folding screen. Why spend thousands of dollars on renovation when you could just as easily transform the original space or create a new space using a folding screen?
This convertibility is perhaps the folding screen’s greatest asset as a decoration for the home. For example, some folding screens are also designed specifically as wall hangings, or may be convertible from wall hangings to free-standing screens. The variety of styles available also allows the savvy homeowner to alter the mood and tone of a space’s décor for the occasion. A rice paper framed Japanese style byobu may be appropriate for a given day, but perhaps for your next gathering you’d like to set out a traditional Chinese screen depicting a mural of a young lovers in a cherry blossom garden or fisherman gliding along the Yangtze River.
Searching for a unique headboard for the master bed? Why not try designing and custom-making your own folding screen? Blogger Jenny Komenda shows that folding screen construction can be a relatively cheap, quick and easy weekend home improvement project: Jenny Komenda Interiors.
Although construction of paper-made folding screens offers a bigger challenge, Ehow.com offers instructions on how to create a genuine paper-made folding screen, in the Japanese shoji tradition: DYI Shoji Screen
A wide variety of folding screens can also be purchased through these online vendors: