As time honored treasures, dressing screens continue to be a decorative room accent preferred by today’s interior designers. The traditional dressing screen style is rooted in Chinese artistic expression, matched by a design foundation that satisfied functional needs of the day. Originally, Chinese artisans crafted dressing screens from lacquered wood panels, adorned with imagery of art, life and nature. Through the years, as this classic form spread across the Orient and throughout Europe, decorative elements of dressing screens began to be reinterpreted. A variety of shapes and materials were introduced & applied and its purpose within a space reflected period trends.
As the name implies, dressing screens provided privacy when dressing, but the simplistic folding design made the screens easily movable and versatile within a space. Stylistically, dressing screens served multiple roles, including room dividers and draft protectors, while also establishing the design as an important example of highly regarded artistry. Current designers are inspired by both the practical and decorative uses of dressing screens.
In an NYC townhouse, designer Celerie Kemble selects an antique dressing screen, affixed with De Gournay wallpaper in a classical landscape scene. The dressing screen not only serves as a focal point, but extends balance to the fireplace and mirror hung above.
A pair of 1790s Zuber screens flank a custom sofa. The pair work to balance scale within the room’s tall ceiling and stylistically provide an artistic element to the design scheme.
This example of a dressing screen shares insight into a more modern interpretation. The panels have been custom designed in a Moroccan inspired style and upholstered in a fabric influenced by the room’s color palette.
A very traditional Qing-dynasty dressing screen mounted above a sofa serves as a decorative focal point in a contemporary styled room.
Designer Miles Redd strikes the balance between current and classic in this Atlanta living room. The antique dressing screen accents the refined color palette and furnishings.
A 19th-century Chinese lacquer dressing screen is mounted above a luxuriously upholstered sofa. Accent lighting highlight the screen’s artistry and its grand design works in scale to the room’s vaulted ceiling.
A traditional Chinese coromandel dressing screen grounds a dining room and serves as focal point to the space. Color tones lifted from the design are reflected in the furnishings.
A classically designed dressing screen, with raised panel details echoing the wall finish, infuses the dining room with color while also serving as a form of a window treatment.
Designer David Netto plays up lines in this California bedroom. The dressing screen, designed longer in form and in a material inspired by the room’s natural elements, is positioned perpendicular to the ceiling’s wood beams.
The classical imagery of this grand Chinese dressing screen, positioned floor to ceiling, strikes a balance to the more modern chrome designed four poster canopied bed. The finished looks exudes timeless romance.
A contemporary dressing screen, designed to allow light to pass through the panels and crafted in a natural material inspired by the room’s accessories, complements an airy furniture arrangement.
Designer Michael S. Smith positions a pair of Chinoiserie style dressing screens on either side of a custom canopied upholstered bed. The screens are inspired by the room’s soft tone on tone color palette and refined style.
In a New York City master bedroom, designer Daniel Romualdez selects a dressing screen by sculptor Marc Bankowsky. Crafted from resin, the screen bridges a design historically rooted in function to a modern representation of fine art.
If you love these timeless pieces, shop our collection of dressing screens here on The HighBoy: