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Fresh ideas for decorating with dividers

Creative room dividers blend the openness of a large space with the utility of defined rooms for an engaging new look.Dividers have many functions, including delineating specific spaces, adding extra privacy, concealing clutter and, best of all, creating decorating touches that refresh a room. There's really no limit on what you can do.Better Homes and Gardens magazine, for example, suggested using windows as room dividers - a brilliant idea, since there's no reduction in ambient light. The article indicated a wall of multipane windows between the living room and the front hallway results in an airy feeling for both areas. Shelves below the windows not only add another point of separation but open storage and display areas as well.A variation on the windows theme is to use built-ins as dividers. Storage and style happen simultaneously with a wall of floor-to-ceiling cabinetry that fashions a cheerful separation between front entry and kitchen. Frosted-glass inserts on upper cabinets produce out-of-sight storage with a breezy feel. Better Homes also showed how to define space with beams and columns: A home with an open floor plan and vaulted ceilings is warmed up beautifully with rustic wood beams and columns affixed to the walls and ceiling. Not only do they break up the space into manageable areas, but they form a false doorway between entry and living room. Since these are structural additions, you can also take the opportunity to decorate with designer switch plates and plug covers.Screen it for simplicity Elle Decor called decorative screens one of the best ways to add drama and functionality to a space. Elle quoted New York designer Milly de Cabrol about how these panels can add glamor to a space: "Screens really do decorate a room ... Everybody hides things behind screens," de Cabrol told the news source.She added you can use them as headboards, with suitcases hidden behind them or even set one up to camouflage guests' coats during a party. They are particularly lovely when covered in silk or lacquered with exotic landscapes.What's more, screens come ready-made in a wide range of styles and themes. If you have a country home, for instance, you might prefer a wooden three-panel glass screen. De Cabrol remarked that its carved wood detail and painted finish on one side give it a versatile charm:"It's got that rustic French feeling, so it's perfect for a country house ... The glass panes are also wonderful because the light shines through."

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