The rise of room dividers

Privacy is the biggest victim of our housebound days. These screens will help increase your indoor real estate and create flexible spaces

Who doesn’t love open-plan homes? Then the lockdown happened. Suddenly modern, loft-like expanses became stifling, with everyone in each other’s spaces. “Clients are calling me up, asking for another den, another study to be added,” says Bengaluru-based architect-interior designer Vinita Chaitanya. One of the quickest solutions to “zone out your house” and create ‘new rooms’ so that various people can work in it is to use a screen or room divider. “What was once confined to the boudoir is now moving out. From traditional folding options and beautifully-louvered plantation screens to glass and metal variations, they are extremely versatile,” she says. Some, such as Canadian designers Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen’s Softwall dividers — with a honeycomb structure — can be pulled, pushed or curved (like an accordion) to create a variety of spaces. “Others [like Rooshad Shroff’s hand-embroidered wooden screens] can provide a backdrop, like art,” says Chaitanya. Did you know (French designer) Coco Chanel used to dress up her home with 32 folding Coromandel chinoiserie screens? Ideal for apartment living, dividers also create dynamic spaces. “They can be moved, they collapse and revert to the original, thus altering spaces to cater to different functions and different times,” says Chennai-based architect and interior designer Vikram Phadke. We pick 10 that can fit different homes and budgets.

Rooshad Shroff: Embroidered Screens

Rooshad Shroff

Embroidered Screens

These recycled Burma teak wood screens, with colourful radiating whorls inspired by agates, are statement makers. “They have double-sided embroidery and each piece is unique, with patterns and colours customised for a client/space,” says Shroff, who has also created variations with geometric and abstract designs. The Mumbai-based designer and architect has used traditional wood joinery techniques and intricate cotton thread embroidery (that can be redone over time, if required). “Screens have historically been used to add layers of privacy to a space without creating a complete enclosure. Free-standing screens [like ours] allow for flexibility.” ₹12 lakh, on

Kam Ce Kam: Divaar Screen

Kam Ce Kam

Divaar Screen

Soft curves and folds define this ‘divaar’. Bringing together wood, cane and glass, the ‘wall’ takes inspiration from room dividers’ early use as a dressing room staple, but London-based designer Jehanara Knowles (who launched her brand last year at the London Design Festival) contemporarises it for use in any room in the house. With its multiple functionalities, why not use it in the living room or to carve out a second space in the den? Available in black ash and natural ash finishes. Approximately ₹3,45,292, on

Sandeep Sangaru: Pinjra Shelves
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Sandeep Sangaru

Pinjra Shelves

Made from Kashmir walnut and deodar wood, these minimal shelves are functional and pleasing to the eye. “They have no back and therefore can be cleverly used to create a cosy niche to give people some much-needed privacy or a smart study corner,” says Bengaluru-based Sangaru. The designer revived Kashmir’s languishing pinjrakari craft — a form of jalli construction made with interlocking wood batons and traditionally used for window shutters and skylights — to create this series. From ₹75,000 onwards, on

Ilaria Ferraro Toueg: Vonnie Separe

Ilaria Ferraro Toueg

Vonnie Separe

Add a splash of colour, even as you screen off your room for some privacy. Vintage in appeal but contemporary in form, Italian designer Ilaria Ferraro Toueg has used a brass frame and silk fabric with a watered appearance for this decorative folding screen. The two-sided wooden panel is upholstered in a Japanese-inspired jacquard featuring playful dragons and colourful fringe. Need we say more? Approximately ₹6,56,664, on

Sebastian Herkner: Venier Screen
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Sebastian Herkner

Venier Screen

The German designer is known for his love of craftsmanship. As he told British magazine Livingetc, “There is a sensitivity and identity to my work that emphasises the function, the material and the detail.” This is reflected in Venier, with its strips of coloured leather criss-crossing across a metal structure “to create an unusual geometric effect and a sense of movement”. One of the most in-demand names in interiors today — last year he was named Designer of the Year for Paris-based furniture fair Maison&Objet — Herkner’s eye for detail is reflected in the meticulous weaving. Details:

Viya Home: Majorelle

Viya Home


“Many of our clients today are using screens as accent pieces to provide an additional layer of decoration. And when double-sided [like Majorelle], they are also being used effectively to aesthetically divide spaces,” says Vikram Goyal, co-founder of the Delhi-based brand. Inspired by flora and fauna (drawn from old botanical prints and etchings), these metal dividers have been created with a modern aesthetic using semi-precious materials in their raw forms. “Our screens are highly sculptural and three dimensional, and add a strong dose of glamour and drama to any interior,” he adds.

Shop Lune: Phases of the Moon

Shop Lune

Phases of the Moon

This divider evolved quite serendipitously. “While working on the interiors of my [jewellery] store [in Mumbai last year], I couldn’t find furniture that appealed to me. I wanted to divide the space into a studio and a store/gallery, so I designed a divider that embodies all my influences,” says jewellery designer Sreesha Shetty, who is currently also developing furniture samples. Made from reclaimed teak wood, recycled materials, cane and mirror, it is “inspired by Lunar tendencies [like my jewellery]. I wanted something that looked timeless, so there’s no polish on the wood; it looks natural and tough”. ₹55,000, on

Gulmohar Lane: Auroville Rattan Room Divider  

Gulmohar Lane

Auroville Rattan Room Divider

This one harks back to the colonial era, and brings to mind plantation manors with rattan and wicker furniture. As the brand puts it: “The uplifting design is from an era where room-dividers were absolute work of arts.” We agree. Completely handmade, the Auroville divider has a clean silhouette with classic cane rattan weaving on wooden panels. The antiqued stained finish — available in cinnamon and forest — is sealed with an oil-based lacquer for protection. From ₹39,000 onwards, on

Scarlet Splendour: 88 Secrets

Scarlet Splendour

88 Secrets

The Kolkata luxury interiors brand turned to Slovenian designer Nika Zupanc for this stunning screen. With meticulously pleated silk fabric drawn over a curved metallic frame, “the screen is dainty yet a powerful design statement”, says co-founder Suman Kanodia. Part of the 88 Secrets collection — an ode to the 88 constellations officially recognised by NASA — it was to have been unveiled at the Salone del Mobile 2020 in Milan. You can use either a single piece or layer a few to create drama and “transform the visual appearance” of any room. ₹2,25,000, on

Gucci: Octopus Three-panel Screen


Octopus Three-panel Screen

Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele believes you must personalise your home much the same way as you would your clothes. So the Italian luxury brand’s home decor sports iconic motifs (from both on and off the runway). While Gucci offers folding screens with patterns such as a garden print, pineapple print and geometrics, we love their ‘under the sea’ take. Bring the wonders of the deep blue indoors with this octopus room divider and sit back for the compliments. Approximately ₹2,248,851, on

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