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SCREENS VERSATILE, FUNCTIONAL

By ROSEMARY SADEZ FRIEDMANN - Scripps Howard News Service

Remember the old movies where the actor would slip behind a decorative folding screen to discreetly change clothes while still conversing with a guest in the room? Those quaint folding screens, also called privacy screens, are still in vogue today. They have many uses, and they're not necessarily related to apparel change.

Are there school-age children in your house? If their bedroom space allows it, put up a folding screen to create a study area. It will help separate homework and study time from leisure time. It might even help their focus. This idea works in the master bedroom or the guest bedroom also, if either of those rooms is used as a home office. Try to set the folding screen so it blocks off the computer and other work-related things from view of the bed. It has been suggested that you will sleep more peacefully without those objects in your direct line of sight.

Do two children share a room? A room divider can be both decorative and a delineator of space. It could save you from "This is my space and don't even think about crossing this line!" arguments. If the kids sharing the room have different decorating tastes, the room divider can solve that problem. The divider itself can be decorated one way on one side and another way on the other.

These screens can also stand alone as decorations. An attractive screen can be hung on the wall as art. Or it can stand in a corner, serving as an elegant dining-room piece. It can also be used as a headboard, either hanging on the wall or just sitting on the floor behind the mattress. It's up to your space and your tastes.

Let's consider another scenario. What if your home is on the smaller side? It might seem that there is no space for a room divider, but think again. That divider can make a small room look bigger. And it can make better use of the available space. One idea is to use the screen to divide a cooking area and an eating area. Now you have a kitchen and a dining room. Smaller spaces often come without enough storage. The screens can be used to hide clutter. Put up a screen and put the clutter behind it. Toys can be hidden behind a screen, too, making cleanup after playtime quicker and easier.

An attractive screen can be hung on the wall as art. Or it can stand in a corner, serving as an elegant dining-room piece. It can also be used as a headboard.

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