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How To Be A Decorator:
Principles Of Decoration
Colonial Living Rooms
The English Room
Spanish-Italian Living Rooms
The Living Room Without A Mantel
Living Room Points
Dining Rooms Points
Combination Living Room - Dining Room
Living Room - Dining Room Points
Halls, Sun Rooms And Porches
Points For Halls, Sun Rooms And Porches
Colonial And Modern Bedrooms
Colorful, Comfortable Nurseries
New Fashions In Draperies
How To Make Curtains And Draperies
Slip Cover Points
How To Make Slip Covers
How To Paint Furniture
Finishes For Natural Wood Furniture
( Originally Published 1930's )
Make a Center of Interest
Where there is no mantel in the room, there is no established center of interest, unless it is made. There are a number of ways of doing this, and one which suits a small room is illustrated. This is in every sense a modern room, a comfortable room, and the furniture used is inexpensive. Let us determine to give livableness and comfort to the room which we will now furnish, using pieces with an eighteenth century feeling-not a period scheme-but a secretary and a table or two with the beauty of walnut or mahogany, and the grace of this period. Having now determined on our type, we consider the background, which in the sketch shows a plain plastered wall with nicely proportioned moldings used to give a paneled effect. Paint the walls a gray-green. The gay color, which is permissible even in a small room, is given in the chintz. Choose one, for instance, with a yellow ground, patterned with red and some blues, with an accent of brown. So much for the color.
As there is no fireplace, make a center of interest in the way you group the furniture. A davenport may be drawn up at right angles to a wall space. Emphasize this wall space by hanging a piece of chintz or a Japanese print at the end of the davenport to give height. Place a lamp at one end of an oval-shaped walnut console table, placed against the wall, and an easy chair at the other end of the table, opposite the davenport. This arrangement gives comfort, as there is place for a group of people. Opposite the davenport, in a small square room, in which the window happens to be placed as in this sketch, put a secretary desk, as shown. This gives weight to the opposite wall space, and balances the davenport, at the same time giving height where it is needed.
It is near enough to the window to have a comfortable light for the daytime, and a lamp is placed on it for the evening. Next to it is a tip-top walnut table for books, flowers, and a lamp. Drawn up beside this table is an overstuffed easy chair, that also has a good light. With the desk and the table this forms a second group.
The brown mahogany wood pieces of furniture are nicely balanced by the two overstuffed pieces covered in brown sateen. The davenport is relieved by the pillows repeating the colors in the chintz in a solid color, or covered with the chintz itself. If the room has but one or two windows, it is well to make a slip cover for one of the chairs of the chintz used at the windows, thus bringing the chintz into another part of the room and in this way tying the color scheme together.
In a small room, if there is a nice floor, stain it a walnut tone, wax it, and use small Oriental rugs, choosing colors which harmonize with the other things in the room, and avoiding vivid rug tones. The softer colors with more browns, blues and rose are better than bold patterns in red.
In a large room, where there is no mantel, a pretty scheme is to place a high piece of furniture, such as a secretary desk, in the center of one wall space, using two pictures of corresponding size on each side of it. Or, if you have no pictures, a decorative chintz may be set into panels formed by the molding. In such a room, the davenport may be placed as it is in the one just described, with a large mirror over the table between the davenport and the chair. A floor-plan is given showing the placement of the furniture which is numbered to correspond. The secret of making rooms of this character a success is to use some upright as a center of interest for a group, as in the case of the secretary desk balancing some other part of the room.
Another wise arrangement is to place some piece of furniture at right angles to the wall. Sometimes a table and an easy chair may be one side of a group, with a small table and a moderate sized chair opposite it, with a window, if it happens to be in the center of the room, between them. In the daytime the light and the view from outside makes rather a natural center, and at night, by having decorative chintz curtains that can be drawn, the pattern of the curtains gives much the effect of a picture.
The Use of Wall Pieces
In this country today, we are only just beginning to know the decorative value of wall pieces. An uninteresting room with plain walls and a stretch of unbroken wall, may be made most attractive by placing a piece of brocade, an interesting pattern of chintz, or one of the India prints back of a table, reaching from the top of the table to the ceiling. Chairs naturally group themselves at either side of the table. For the sake of variety, it is well to place a lamp at one side of the table rather than in the center. This gives a reading light for one of the chairs. A standard lamp between the chair on the other side of the table, and the table, gives another light and a decorative bit of color.
Wall pieces were used abroad in the form of tapestries and very costly fabrics. Today, however, it is possible to get nice prints very inexpensively. The India prints, for instance, which are very colorful, are quite inexpensive, ranging upward from $20. These prints are sometimes spoken of as bedspreads. Those in the Paisley patterns (similar to Paisley shawls) have so many soft colors in them that they fit into almost any color scheme. It is also possible to use one or two widths of the chintz used for curtains, binding it with one of the colors in the chintz, which makes a nice contrast. In some formal rooms, brocade is used-most frequently in the Italian and Spanish rooms. In rooms of a French character, if brocade is used on the walls, it is set into panels. This is quite a different thing, and not to be confused with a wall hanging. Though it is possible just to tack these pieces to the wall, the proper way to hang them is to run a fiat stick, like that used in a window shade, through a casing at the upper end of the piece. Small rings are sewed to the under side of this casing, and it is hung as a picture from the picture molding-not with cords but on picture hangers. Should there be no molding, the rings may be put over tacks which do not show, so that the piece is invisibly hung.
Decorative Quality of Potted Ivy
Any one with a love of flowers, usually feels the charm of potted plants in the house during the winter when flowers are out of the question for most people. An excellent substitute for this bit of color is ivy put in rather dull metal stands and allowed to hang nearly to the floor. Sometimes a pair of ivy stands placed in a wall space either side of a window have a delightful decorative quality. Or again, if there is a window on each side of a fireplace, they may be placed in front of the windows. Many women overlook the decorative quality they will add to a room by the use of plants. For a few dollars ivy or ferns may be purchased which, if given ordinary care, will last the winter and perhaps go into the garden in the summer. In watering, soak thoroughly but not often.