Great Divide

Because my home has so many interesting architectural elements, I've found that less is more when it comes to hanging art throughout the space. Select pieces here and there add a touch of color and personalization without taking away from the key features of the home. But when it came to the family room, something was missing.

The open concept space flows freely into the kitchen, dining room and hallways, which makes for a lot of light gray wall space. I wanted to bring a pop of color into the family room, and considered painting an accent wall behind the television. However, with the adjacent wall of turquoise tile in the kitchen, I felt a fully painted wall of color would be too much competition.


My friends are always looking out for me when they're out and about, so when I received a text from a friend about some super cool room dividers from an estate sale in Southern California, I immediately said, "Grab them!" At the time, I wasn't really thinking about using the dividers in the family room, but I knew I wanted them to live somewhere in the house. They were just too cool to pass by! Both were in great shape, and just needed to be cleaned up. 

Room dividers/screens were widely popular in the '60s-'70s, as they helped define large, open spaces. 40+ years later, they are still doing their job. After some research, I found that my dividers came from the JC Penney catalog back in the day. I used to love looking through those as a kid! Dividers came in a variety of styles, sizes, patterns and textures including wood, acrylic and metal. And of course, you could order them in classic gold or avocado green. Mine are a mottled, organic pattern (option B from the catalog).


Originally, these dividers would have come with brass tension rods, but they were no longer intact. I found an ideal replacement option on Amazon, that required just a little extra effort. I sprayed the white/brass rods matte black for a refined look that matches surrounding decor. Using a 1/2" bit, I drilled a couple inches deeper into each end post allowing the 8"-11" mini tension rods to fit inside. Felt furniture pads were applied to the end caps to protect the ceilings.

Each divider measures about 2' w x 8' h, making them the perfect fit for the long wall where the television sits. The semitransparent blocks of avocado green acrylic provide color, texture and interest to the space that also enhance the surrounding architecture.

This corner of the house felt a little dark and heavy, especially with the overhead beam running so low across the entire room. The 2 feet of space between the beam and the back wall seemed like the perfect spot for recessed lighting, so I picked up a pair of these easy-up LEDs. They were a cinch to pop in, and I also had a dimmer installed on the switch. The warm white light illuminates the walls with a soft green glow that offers a cozy feeling for late-night hangouts and watching movies. At full brightness, the space can now be better used for reading, playing games, and browsing records.