To screen or not to screen?

That is the question – of the day.

One unfortunate consequence of an open floor plan is the lack of doors one can use to shield beloved furnishings from the destructive forces known as: indoor cats. First may I present: the culprits.

Here’s Rocket, who fancies herself an interior designer of sorts. Always so helpful.

And Bandit, more affectionately known as “Shmoo” because he’s such a mush.

Oh sure, they look cute and innocent here, but as my first 100% indoor kitties they wreak havoc on our upholstery. We’ve tried everything: Soft Paws, Bitter Apple, Feliway, Sticky Paws – you name it. We’ve had a constantly rotating selection of cardboard cat scratching posts. Clearly we are of the mindset that de-clawing is cruel and inhumane and therefore off the table. But as much as we love our pets, we also adore our furniture (especially when it’s new or newly reupholstered) and are loathe to stand by and witness its destruction.

To combat our beloved felines’ innate need to scratch the living daylights our of our sofas, I have chosen upholstery fabrics that are (let’s hope) much less appealing as they provide little to no purchase for their little daggers, such as micro-velvet and micro-suede. I have also trolled the interwebs for new options, including some pretty spiffy cat furniture (traditional carpet cat trees are an aesthetic no-no) to entice them to scratch something they are supposed to.

In addition to these preventative measures, I’m also thinking about adding a room divider screen in the one location where we will have no door to close: the living room. When we leave the house or head downstairs for the night, we can slide the screen in place and rest assured no critters are making spaghetti out of our fine fabrics.

OK, if I had some PhotoShop skills (or even a copy of PhotoShop, for that matter), I could draw an arrow and add text showing the proposed screen location. But in the absence of that, I’ll explain that it would be placed right next to that gray line above, which indicates where the kitchen ends, and extend to the wall on the left, which creates the living room corner. Does this make sense? Putting a screen here would effectively block access to the entire living floor: living room, dining room, and kitchen.

Because this is the “big wow” part of the house, and where an open plan is a big plus, I think the screen should be transparent, translucent, or perhaps even cut out in some way. So far I’ve found a few contenders.

The first option that popped in my mind immediately was Jonathan Adler’s Desmond Screen. Let’s face it: I love Jonathan Adler and his “happy chic” sensibility.

Shamefully, I haven’t yet measured that “hallway” – it’s on my To Do list for tomorrow. But at 48 inches wide, I suspect this would fit just fine. And I don’t think those gaps are big enough for the cats to squeeze through; besides, our cats are fat.  What I love about this is the color (white), and the materials (lacquer and nickel), and the style (modern-retro, not too serious). At $1,500 it’s not the cheapest option out there. It might also be heavy, which is great for ensuring that enterprising kitties don’t tip it over, but could prove a hassle when the humans have to move it.

When cost is a factor and I don’t want to compromise on style, my go-to source is, of course, IKEA. Their Risor screen is a classy option.

Made of solid wood and polypropylene, it offers an understated yet not too boring look, and at 73 inches wide overall, it will definitely fit. In fact, it may be a bit too wide for the space; it all depends on how wide each section is and where the folds are. At 35 pounds it’s not nearly the lightweight it appears in the photo, and at $99.00 a very economical choice. Definitely worth a trip to the showroom to have a look-see in person. We can do this the same day we finally buy our TV room sofa.

The final contender (for now) is called the Bookmark Screen.

Compared with the IKEA screen, the rectangles here appear busy, but if you just take this piece on its own it’s actually pretty nice looking – kind of a mix between the first two. It’s the same width as the Adler screen, 48 inches, and a 61-pound piece made of solid wood. At $231.56 (what kind of price is that?) it’s not as cheap as the IKEA screen, but still a far cry from the spendy Adler option. It’s sold online at Roomdividerstore.com; certainly an appropriately-named vendor, but much less known to me than Adler and IKEA and therefore instills some trepidation.

I did take a gander at the styles available at Overstock.com, which tend to fall into three categories: Asian (of the shoji screen persuasion), French country/beach house, and photographic/do-it-yourself canvas. None of these are even remotely appropriate for what we’re creating here.

I’ve never used one of these before, so the big question is: will we use it? Or will we be bothered by having to fold/unfold or even slide back and forth every time we think we’re going to be gone for a while? Given that this is a trial of sorts, perhaps we should start with the IKEA low-cost version, and if it turns out to be something that works with our lifestyle we can save up and reward ourselves with the Adler design.

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