Whether you live in a small apartment or a spacious house with an open floor plan, it never hurts to break up your space. And while building a wall may not be an option, room dividers are a great alternative that can help organize and accentuate a large area, as well as provide privacy.
Room dividers, or folding screens, have been popular in China for centuries. Traditional folding screens were decorated with art and calligraphy, but modern room dividers are made using a variety of materials and come in contemporary designs. Even if you don't need one for purely practical reasons, a room divider can add a decorative element to the room it's styled in.
Here, the best room dividers for every style.
The Inside Modern Screen
When it comes to bold patterns and vibrant colors, you're forgiven if you feel hesitant to commit. For a less permanent dalliance with a fun color scheme or maximalist design, The Inside's Custom Room Divider is a great option.
Upholstered in your choice of nearly 130 fabrics, this room divider is offered in two shapes—modern and scalloped—and lets you create a totally customizable piece. From solids and stripes to saturated hues and iconic animal prints, there’s something for every design need and creative whim. It's definitely on the expensive side, but you also get a one-year warranty and 30-day return return to be sure you love it.
Bayou Breeze Cecilia Rattan Folding Room Divider
If you're in the market for a stylish yet affordable option, Puzzlider's Room Divider is the perfect pick. The design is offered in three neutral colors—white, black, and gray—and will double as a piece of art hanging in your home.
Handmade of PVC, the set includes 12 plastic pieces that connect to create a stylish wall divider. Once assembled, it's meant to fasten to the ceiling so it creates the feeling of a true wall. And if you're concerned about installation, don't stress—the set includes all the necessary hooks and hardware so you can set it up with ease.
World Market 3-Panel Patterned Kaia Folding Screen
For a simple yet luxe design, consider World Market's Kaia Folding Screen, which is hand-upholstered with a camelback-curve silhouette and minimal design that lends subtle charm to a room. The 3-panel design is made of solid pine wood and has padding that's upholstered with 100 percent cotton in a trendy pattern.
Each piece is custom-made, and though it's certainly a bit of a splurge, it has a timeless elegance that'll complement other decorative pieces so you won't have to worry about replacing it if you redecorate.
Anthropologie Scarlett Rattan Room Divider Screen
Every day can feel like you're at a resort thanks to Anthropologie's Scarlett Rattan Room Divider Screen. The 3-panel screen offers a modern charm that's reminiscent of warmer climates and relaxed summer days.
The design features a neutral color palette that'll complement spaces with more of a Bohemian or Mid-Century Modern feel. Though it's sealed with a clear lacquer for protection, the screen is only meant for indoor use—and it has either a bedroom or office's name written all over it.
Wooju Traditional Korean Folding Screen
Folding screens were first used in China and have been popular throughout East Asian countries like Japan and Korea for centuries. South Korea-based Etsy seller Wooju sells traditional folding screens like this one, which is made of wood and has two panels to easily separate a small space.
The panels contain several narrow wood strips, creating privacy without completely closing off whatever's on the other side. You can play around with wall hangings, fabric coverings, and even throw blankets depending on the level of privacy you want, making this not only a well-made choice, but a versatile one too.
Urban Outfitters Amber Carved Wood Room Divider Screen
For a shabby-chic look, you can’t go wrong with this intricately carved and slightly weathered wooden screen from Urban Outfitters. This leafy silhouette relief creates a soft, rustic aesthetic, but this mango wood tri-fold is both heavy and sturdy. For a little added privacy and boho flair, you can even loosely drape a brushed cotton pastel throw over the corner.
Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse Bowersville 3-Panel Folding Room Divider
No matter where you're living, you can get a farmhouse feel in your home thanks to this 3-panel room divider by One Allium Way. The fir wood design features a distressed look and is finished with an antique white paint that'll complement other home accessories you already own.
The panel is 11-inches high and is ideal for bedrooms or other areas of your home you want to create space in. Unlike most other designs, it can also be used outdoors if you want to create a private oasis to lounge in.
Red Barrel Studio Wellsburg Folding Room Divider
Room dividers are offered in a bunch of shapes, sizes, and colors but Red Barrel Studio®'s Wellsburg design keeps it simple with a traditional shape and color palette. The 6-panel divider is made of woven palm and features a modern design that'll pair well with other design styles.
The room divider features dual directional hinges, so you can fold panels in if you want a smaller design. And, the indoor- and outdoor-friendly style is fairly budget-friendly as well, so it won't break the bank in case you need other room accessories to go with it.
IKEA KALLAX Shelf Unit
Sure, your bookshelf can go against the wall, but can it also pull double-duty as a wall? In the case of IKEA's KALLAX Shelf Unit, it can. This unit features tons of storage and is ideal for anyone trying to make the most of a small space.
The KALLAX, a classic IKEA design, is offered in four neutral finishes, each of which can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you want to add drawers, keep it open concept, or lay it on its side, it's a highly versatile piece for your home. It's worth noting, however, that it needs to be secured to a wall at least on one side of the unit.
Little Deer Interiors Birch Plywood Pegboard Room Divider
If you’re living in a small space, you probably know how convenient (and smart) a pegboard divider is. This design from Etsy shop Little Deer Interiors allows you to designate space and add more storage at the same time, making it a great option for anyone looking for a multifunctional piece.
Place the pegs up high and store your favorite hats and scarves, or, alternatively, pair the pegs to accommodate shelving for books and tchotchkes. You can even show off your crochet skills and plant babies by hanging macrame plant hangers with a variety of succulents or trailing plants. The options are endless, so feel free to play around.
Overall, we recommend The Inside's Modern Screen Room Divider (view at The Inside) because it's totally customizable and comes in nearly 130 fabric choices. For a more budget-friendly option, we recommend the Bayou Breeze Cecilia Bamboo Room Divider (view at Wayfair) because it's made of durable and versatile rattan and costs under $100.
What to Look For in a Room Divider
Traditional folding screens were made of wood, paper, or silk, and most modern room dividers today are made of wood or at least have a wood base. As rattan has exploded in popularity over the past years, boho-friendly rattan dividers have become more and more popular. You can also find upholstered options if you want to have more flexibility with colors and patterns, as well as metal screens that have a more industrial vibe.
Most room dividers these are about 70 inches tall, creating enough height to designate space without giving the appearance of being a true wall. When it comes to width, you have plenty of options—smaller styles have two or three panels and are best if you're looking for a decorative piece, while 6- and even 8-paneled screens are made for larger spaces where you really want to create totally different zones.
The least expensive room dividers typically cost around $100, with luxury options going for as much as $1,000-$2,000. Price will depend on materials, brand, and style, so be sure to keep that in mind while you shop. If you want an antique or vintage folding screen, be prepared to shell out at least $1,000 for a one-of-a-kind piece.
Why Trust MyDomaine
Jessica Joblin writes about décor and lifestyle for MyDomaine. While pursuing her Ph.D. in English literature she focused on domesticity, sociability, and the twentieth-century avant-gardes. Her favorite room dividers are the spontaneous creations of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell (of the Bloomsbury group and the Omega Workshops)—unfortunately, those are not for sale!