Folding room dividers may conjure images of Old Hollywood starlets, but the classic piece of furniture has some seriously modern perks. If you work from home, for example, but don’t have room for an office, add a screen and presto, you’ve got one. Or maybe your kids have to begrudgingly share a room—a divider is a nice alternative to duct tape down the middle. If you’re looking to create some private, discrete space in your place (or outside of it), consider a room divider.

Top Pick

This style with louvered slats provides seclusion but also sunshine—just flip up a slat to let there be light. Hinges allow you to move it around into whatever shape you want. Rose Home Fashion

If you’re planning to stand up behind your divider (e.g. to change your clothes), make sure to check its height before purchasing. If a divider is only 5 foot 6 inches and you’re, say, 6 feet or taller, you might want to pick something else.

Also Consider

A no-assembly-required free-stander isn’t just great for indoors but works on a patio, deck or grass too, especially if the neighbors live a little too close for comfort. The patterned Russian camphor pine with paper rope is so pretty, you’ll want to display it. Sorbus

Consider the weight of your screen if you plan to move it from room to room, or back and forth between inside and outside. You’ll want something light and hinged (so you can fold it up) if your screen is going to be fairly mobile.

A black-powder steel frame and sheets of polyester fabric get the job done on this utilitarian design, which has extra metal base pieces for stability. At 12 pounds, and with some assembly required, just set it and forget it. GOJOOASIS

Though not its primary use, a room divider is also a great way to conceal a mess. Those piles of clothes you keep meaning to sort through and fold? Next time you’re having company over, just unfold a room divider around it. Poof! What pile?