Divide and rule

Divide and rule


Divide and rule

Though a large room means many possibilities in terms of decorating, it can also pose a problem if you want to make your space look cosy and inviting. Carefully designed partitions and dividers are the best answer to such practical decor issues, discovers Swati Kapur

When you want to create a separate room in a large open plan office, there are a few considerations to make. Cost is a big factor, so is the time involved. Constructing permanent walls or stud walls can cost a lot of money, involve workmen and can take a long time to get the desired finish. Walls once knocked down can’t be reused. Partitions give us an easy way out. They are flexible and can be accommodated easily.

Why separate?

Last week, I happened to meet a senior officio of a University and had the pleasure of being a guest at his larger-than-life living room. The conversation gradually moved to the subject of interiors; about how a partition or screen could make this overwhelming room more guest friendly and lot more cosy.

A huge room needs separation not just to make it visually more appealing but to make sure not to separate the people sitting across the room. You definitely would not want to shout out to the other person, especially in a gathering of people. When the room is large and there are many people, little groups of people huddle together and hang out.
Separators (needn’t be screens or doors but just a demarcation perhaps) make it comfortable for such groups to carry on easily. If your home has a loft condo or rooms that are seamless, use a screen or sheer curtains to define and separate the spaces.

Practical issues: Geeta Sharma from Delhi faced a functional problem when she moved into her new house and, “had to use a glass screen to separate the wet and dry areas of the bathroom.”

“Water after every shower would flow into the dry area giving our maid a tough time because she had to mop it many times,” she said.

The glass screen has made life much easier for the Sharmas now. If the floor plan offers more open space in the bathroom than you would like, then a screen can partition off the bathtub and wet areas creating a private dressing area for you.

Out of vision: At times, there are housing elements like pipes, utility areas, etc that you would rather keep off the sight. A screen becomes very useful here. Make any such place like a laundry room or a washing area look more inviting and less utilitarian when not in use. Then, on wash days, just roll back the screen and get to work.

Add some zing: Sometimes there are areas at home that are perhaps corners or sides of a room, and not much can be done to beautify them. In such cases, a hand-painted screen adds not just a design element but also makes your boring do-nothing corner look better.

Window treatments: A pair of tall, matching screens on either side of a window can be unfolded a little so they cover a few inches on each side of the window, something like drapery panels. They frame the window without blocking light and work as sunscreens.

Options galore

Room divider screens are available in many different materials and styles, and can be handy accessories to use at home or office.

Conventional wooden: Intricately carved and designed wooden panels have been in use from a long time. They are easy to install, can be moved around and offer a visually appealing partition. Akshita Narang from Bareilly has used such partitions at several places to keep the dining area separate from the living room and to make a small prayer room in the corridor. “In Bareilly, getting wood work done is easy and cheap too so I have got some interesting wooden panels done that can be moved and offer a good partition,” says Akshita.

Chalkboard screen: This is an interesting screen divider that can add a lot of fun and activity to children’s rooms. “Ever since I have got a chalkboard panel installed to make for the lack of a door between the bathroom and closet area and my children’s bedroom, the children are mostly seen scribbling and drawing on the screen separator,” says Latika Saigaonkar from Pune.

Aquarium: A very interesting and fun element once again very useful in the children’s room is a big wall-size aquarium offering a partition between the room and bathroom or a walk-in wardrobe. The children are happy with fish and other marine life, and it adds to the green quotient of the ambience as well.

Shoji screens: This is a Japanese screen made from a timber frame that is covered with traditional paper or a translucent material such as PVC. Special fibreglass panels with traditional Chinese and Japanese drawings too make for interesting screens. They let soft light through while still maintaining privacy.

A shoji screen can be used as a door, a window, or a partition. Shoji screens can be used in between kitchens and living areas, on wardrobes, as a bedroom door, to separate a home office from the living area, to screen off an en suite, to screen a home theatre area and more. It really is up to you where you use them as they can be used anywhere inside the home.