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Keeping guests happy: Five temporary room dividers

November 23, 2009 |  7:56 am

I recently learned that my parents don't like sleeping on the fold-out couch in the middle of my open floor plan living room when they visit. I can't say this surprised me -- but when my outdoorsy younger sister piped up that a room screen might be a nice touch, I felt truly ashamed.

So this holiday season I'm giving my house guests more privacy. I called upon our archives, design-savvy friends and the Internet to help me come up with workable solutions. Here are the best options I found:

 Screen-fabric Super basic: DIY sliding curtain
In 2005, the Los Angeles Times ran a story on  how to create privacy in loft spaces. Megan Boynton, pictured blurrily above, had an almost life-sized portrait of an elephant copied onto a 14-by-9-foot piece of nylon polyester and hung it from a rope made of pipe.

More options after the jump ...

Screen_softwall Sturdy, pretty, pricey: The Modo softwall
This gorgeous and sturdy soft paper wall by Molo Design opens and closes like an accordion. It was also featured in the Los Angeles Times, in an article headlined "Hip to Be Cheap." Sadly, my 2009 definition of cheap does not jibe with The Times' 2005 definition. Although the Molo would be my first choice in a temporary-privacy screen for style and function, the $1,200 pricetag is beyond my budget.


Beautiful dreamer: The Eames screen
When I e-mailed colleague Lisa Boone for screen advice, she responded with one word: Eames! She found this gorgeous screen of my dreams on the Room & Board website. It was designed by Charles and Ray Eames and is made of six sections of molded plywood held together by polypropylene mesh, so it easily folds away when not in use. The only bummer? Even on sale at $1,486, reduced from $1,749, it's too much.

Cheap, but ... : IKEA PS Plank

At $99, the price is certainly right, but the PS Plank screen by IKEA is too organic for my space. According to the website, the screen is made out of banana and palm leaves, as well as seagrass and coir, all wrapped around a steel frame. 

Happy medium: Bamboo screen at Gaiam
Thank you to my friend Gregory Heller for tracking down this 6-foot bamboo screen for me at Gaiam.com. It's clean, modern, made of pesticide-free bamboo and rolls up for easy storage. I'm worried that my boisterous dog might knock it over, but I'm willing to risk it for $300.

-- Deborah Netburn

Photo credit (top): Los Angeles Times

Photo credit (center): Los Angeles Times

Photo credit (bottom): Room & Board; IKEA; Gaiam