A friend recently radically downsized and moved across the country. He landed in a lovely cottage surrounded by palm trees and tropical flowers. Perfect; he welcomed a simpler, more minimal life. But the cottage is essentially one big room; how to make the bed into a cozy private space, out of view from the main part of the room? “What was the great screen you used to use for all sorts of things” he asked.

“You mean the Wave Screen?”

Made of thin bamboo slats that unfurl to create an organic wavey shape, it is a poor man’s version of the Eames plywood screen.

Eames Office

For my purposes, Wave Screens are better (though not quite as elegant):  They are a few inches taller and a foot longer than the Eames AND they lend lovely curves to an angular space. At about $300 each, two 6-foot screens cost a quarter of a single Eames screen, and yield 12 feet of camouflage or partition.

I still have the same two I bought 20 years. I’ve used them in many ways over the years:

In my previous apartment, I put two wave screens end-to-end to hide file cabinets and office equipment in a room that doubled as a photo studio AND bedroom (check out the Murphy Bed on the other wall) as well as the TV, which I don’t like looking at unless I am watching it.

Ellen Silverman

Ellen Silverman

The screen quieted the multi-purpose room of clutter immediately.

Ellen Silverman
Ellen Silverman

When I moved into my Harlem space, one screen effectively obscured an unfinished closet door and a pile of projects in a corner of the bedroom.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

And for months two screens hid an ugly wall in the living room that was stacked with wood, sheet rock, concrete and other materials for pending projects.

Since the wall bed-with-bookshelves was finished in the living room, the two screens wait neatly rolled-up and ready to unfurl around the open bed to afford a guest privacy.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Recently, I loaned one of my screens to a friend to try out as a partition to create a sleeping space in the room that houses her office and library. When the screen is unfurled it blocks any view of the office from the bed; my friend just sees the library books which added to the cozy feel. When she is in the office, the screen hides the sleeping nook and provides a backdrop for Zoom calls.

Meanwhile, my downsizing friend figures a Wave Screen is a worthy purchase for his pared-down life.

(Caveat: If you do buy a Wave Screen, buy from a place that will honor returns. Even 20 years ago when I bought mine, they were prone to flaws and I had to exchange one; some reviews recount a similar experience.)

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