Screens are one of my favorite pieces of furniture for two simple reasons. First, they provide a dose of elegance and architectural interest to a room. Yes, there are some frightening screens out there, but for the most part, don't you usually see very chic screens? There are screens that are covered in charming fabric or wallpaper, and screens sheathed in glamorous mirror. And the ultimate, to me at least, is a Coromandel screen. Coco Chanel obviously agreed because her lacquered screen was the centerpiece in her iconic Paris apartment.
But aesthetic appeal aside, screens are also quite functional. Mirrored ones reflect light and shimmer in otherwise dark rooms. Some screens can hide that dead space in the corner of a room. Or, they can be used to mask the mundane, such as service doors between dining rooms and kitchens (this is why I call these type of screens "Service Screens", although I know that's not the proper term at all).
Designer Marcia Sherrill affixed this Coromandel screen to the wall above her living room daybed. (Photograph by James Weber NY)
Eliza Bolen cleverly used this gorgeous antique screen behind her caned bed- it certainly adds drama to the bedroom.
Albert Hadley added this chevron-etched mirror screen to this Summery showhouse room.
I've always liked this simple mirrored fire screen designed by Kelly Wearstler, and it's certainly one of the easiest screens to make.
This red dining room designed by Frances Elkins is a favorite of mine. Notice the screen used to hide a door (at least I believe it is hiding a door, but if not then let's just pretend it is). Elkins painted the screen in the same shade of red as the room's walls so that the screen would blend in with its surroundings. Since it's hiding something, why draw attention to it? (Photographer Fred Lyon)
This funny little half screen, in a bathroom designed by David Hicks, was used to hide the toilet. A little unusual I admit.
A half screen, hiding the piano legs, in the legendary living room of Syrie Maugham. You don't see too many of these little screens anymore, although I believe they were used quite frequently in interiors from the first part of the 20th c. Many examples I have seen were used to hide piano legs.
Image at top: A marvelous Vertes screen in the home of writer Amy Fine Collins