Published on December 25, 2018

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Courtesy of Ferm Living

Once a utilitarian household staple, room dividers have, as of late, morphed into decorative fixtures in their own right. Historically, they were first used by royals in ancient China and as delicate partitions for tea ceremonies in Japan. Throughout time, they’ve teetered the line between functional and decorative, more recently coming into light as a small-space essential.

Naturally, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a collective of major players in the design world has earmarked the storied staple as a subject for a modern revival. The result is an inspiring renewal, where a functional decor accessory is transformed into an artful accent that borders on the sculpturally avant-garde.

With that in mind, we set out to uncover the best renditions of the trending revival, proving that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the dated decor essential. See for yourself.

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Courtesy of Dante

Minima Moralia Room Divider, Dante – Goods And Bads, $3,300

It’s difficult to distinguish what we love more: the rich Bordeaux hue or the intricacies of the bent steel and pleated fabric, which inspire an enthralling hint of movement.

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Unfold Room Divider, Ferm Living, $1,305.47

Available in three chic colorways, a once practical design solution is reimagined as a luxurious decorative accent with a touch of Scandinavian flair.

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Courtesy of Lucia Massari

Leatherscape by Lucia Massari

Lucia Massari’s rendition of the concept marries an unapologetic use of color with eye-catching pattern and materials, which results in a dynamic structure with an architectural feel.

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Astra Room Divider Screen, Urban Outfitters, $299

A woven yarn detail extends a semi-sheer quality to this minimalist divider, earmarking it as a functional essential ideal for small spaces.

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Courtesy of Karin Johansson

Something to Hang On To by Karin Johansson

This aptly titled divider features a unique gridded detail with sleek brass hooks, resulting in a purely functional structure that hardly compromises on style.

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Photography by Philippe LACOMBE for Hermes

Les Necessaires d’Hermes “Groom” Valet, Hermes, $51,300

Leave it to the iconic design house to give the storied staple a makeover so daring it’s almost difficult to distinguish its intended purpose.

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Courtesy of Cristina Celestino for Sergio Rossi

Icona by Cristina Celestino for Sergio Rossi

If you’re going to have a massive partition in the middle of your home, it may as well boast a functional detail, even if it’s just a visually driven one.

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Courtesy of Asher Israelow and Hart Textiles

Roving Screen Room Divider, Asher Israelow and Hart Textiles, $6,250

This multidimensional divider comprises an eclectic mix of metallic finishes—brass and copper—and wooden materials—oak, maple, and walnut—resulting in an eclectically refined quality.

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Courtesy of Seletti

Woodland Folding Screen, Seletti, $871.18

Consider this a lesson in color-blocking with an inspired element so striking that it’ll instantly transform even the drabbest spaces.

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Courtesy of Marco Taietta

Shade by Marco Taietta

Here is where we draw the line between a room divider and an actual storage unit—this streamlined piece manages to take on both with effortless ease.

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Courtesy of 1stdibs

Kazimir Screen by Colé, Abstract Pattern Type A, Decor Divider by Julia Dodza, $2,284.43

This Deco-inspired take on the folding screen is one surefire way to extend a bold dose of color to your home.