Bold, beautiful and with the ability to surprise, delight and make an impact. We like to think of decorative screens as the “Super Hero” feature of functional additions to your home or work space. You’ve been stalking the socials for inspiration and you’re craving more from your current space. It’s nice, but it is lacking ‘something’ and you know that decorative screens are the answer to your needs. And why not. However, with so many new options, styles and finishes constantly appearing in the decorative screening market, endless choices can make the process confusing at best. Add to this, not all screens are created equal. Say whaaaaat! Yes, sorry, but true. To take the burden out of the process we’ve put together our 5 top, expert tips you should be thinking about when choosing your decorative screen.

01 Consider your “WHY”

What needs will the screen meet? Are you looking for a screen to meet decorative needs, a stage-stealing piece with an edgy design in a bold colour that oozes “look at me” appeal? A functional privacy screen which offers a visual escape from neighbours (regardless of how nice they are)and the outside world? A subtle yet striking, custom-designed outdoor screen for your garden which gives visitors to your home a gentle insight into your personality. A laser-cut gate? Light box? Or a piece of artwork for your entry? Is the screen required to serve a particular functional purpose or will it be purely decorative? (Generally, most screens offer both).

02 Choosing Your Design

Once you know why we can then look at how the design of your screen can fulfill these requirements both aesthetically and functionally. Fact: Every great design starts with a story. When hearing a story, we begin to picture the missing details. When choosing the design of your screen, you need to know your story or the story of the space to be filled. If you are an outdoors lover, with an award-winning tropical garden, you might continue this story with a botanical design in a leafy pattern which compliments the landscaping. If the interior of your home is Japanese inspired, you might choose to bring the outside in with the inclusion of beautiful Cherry Blossom privacy screens in the garden. On the flip side, for a Japanese styled home you would steer clear dolphins (unless it’s a mascot, we should all steer clear of dolphin designs, just saying!); Wattle flowers and Waratahs also wouldn’t make the list.


Can you find a standard design which meets your needs? Does it instantly build a connection between yourself + your space or will you opt for a one-off custom design to expertly nail the brief? A talented designer will start with a consultation, hear your story and will envision something to fill the missing pieces in an elegant and simple form on which to use as the foundation of the design. They should ask questions, dive deep into your story, look at your surrounds and ultimately build a framework for a design which perfectly matches your needs. The design may evolve during the process, however, the end result should be the same, be it a bold addition or subtle inclusion …. Don’t aim for “nice” aim for “WOW”, “mind blown”, “stunning”, “better than I could ever have imagined!

03 Scale Of Design, Open Area & Viewing Distances

When looking to enhance our space and our experiences in which we live or work, scale of design and the viewing distances at which the design will most often be seen will have the largest impact on functionality. This aspect is sooooooo easy to get wrong and we see it ALL THE TIME. Some points to consider:

  • Thickness of lines within the design
  •  Overall scale of the elements within the design & viewing distances. We pair these together as they go hand in hand. For a decorative screen commonly viewed within 2-4 meters, you would tend to use life-size scale. For example, you wouldn’t include beautiful hummingbirds which are a meter in height, unless they are to be used as the central focal point. You would opt for almost life-like proportions. However, if the hummingbird design were to be used on the external façade of a building, viewed from a greater distance, scale would need to be increased so that the small birds are not lost.
  • Open Area refers to the amount of design which will be cut away from the decorative screen. In terms of privacy screening, the greater the open area percentage = the less material in the decorative screen = less privacy.
  • Use scale to accentuate features and add impact. Are you aiming for “BOOM” – quick glance you have the full picture, or intricate & detailed, capturing the eye of the audience, searching for additional details and pieces of your story.

04 Material Selection & Colour

Get to know your available material options to determine which will work best for your space. You might love the look and variations in colour of weathering steel, however, if you’re adding this to a white rendered wall or have beautiful tiles below, you’ll be setting yourself up for heartache as leaching of the rusted patina is inevitable.


  • Stainless Steel: available in various finishes. Commonly used finishes include Brushed Satin or Mirrored.
  • Weathering Steel: Lyten/Corten Steel, weathers naturally and develops a beautiful, rusted patina. For many months, this material will be in a constant state of change as the rust develops, looking different every time it is viewed. Keep in mind, it is REAL RUST so think about the surrounding surfaces as the weathering steel can leach onto the surfaces below. If leaching is not of a concern, this material is cost-effective, looks great and requires no maintenance.
  • Powder coated aluminum: Low maintenance and easy care. Available in a fabulous range of colours and with so many on offer its easy to find something to suit your own style. Not sure what your style is, jump online on the Dulux site and take their “Find Your Style” quiz. There are also a variety of finishes available, and different colours have different UV ratings which will ultimately impact the longevity of your colour choice. We personally love the Dulux Electro Range with has been designed to mimic on trend anodising, has a super durable finished and subtly changes in appearance as the light conditions change.

05 Installation : How, Who and Why This Will Greatly Influence Your Budget

Sounds obvious, needs careful consideration, and frequently overlooked. Expert Tip No5 : Make sure you know your ‘Who’ and ‘How’ before you begin as it will be a major influence on the overall cost of your project.

Consider the following:

  • Where will you be putting your decorative screen and how will it stay in place.
  • Does it need to move (we are looking at your gates and sliding screens) and how do you get these elements  spot on so that it brings you pleasure, not heartache
  • Will your decorative screen be attached directly to a wall? Would you like your screen offset or sitting flat?
  • Will your screen sit between two objects (posts/house)? How will it be held in place? Attached to the framework? Folded edges? Double folded edges? Angle frames? Timber surrounds
  • Does your project require the installation of posts?
  • Fixtures? Concealed or visible? If they are visible, are they a feature or a messy oversight? Welded or screwed into place? What type of screws? Can you purchase decorative screws (absolutely)? Can fixtures be coloured matched to the screen? (Yes, they can).
  • Lastly, who will install your decorative screen?

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