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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 )
Consider Conservation of Space and Comfortable Arrangement
With the growing conservation of space today, combination rooms have become a serious consideration in modern life. This condition has been met quite squarely by women themselves as well as the decorators, and some delightfully livable and attractive rooms have been created as a result.
Since this room must serve several purposes, it must contain all the features that make for comfort and livableness, and like all rooms, it should be inviting, not alone to eat in, but to read in, to sit and talk in, and to write in. It is necessary therefore to put in the room the pieces of furniture that are required for a living-room and to compromise with the pieces of furniture required for dining.
Let us first consider the pieces of furniture which are necessary, and then their background and arrangement: a sofa placed near the fireplace, if there is one; or two overstuffed chairs-one of them put opposite the sofa to complete the group; and four to six smaller chairs which can be easily moved about-in this case the six small chairs will be used at the dining-table; a desk, large enough for a man to use, and attractive enough for a woman to feel that she can fill it with her personal writing accessories; and a place for books, which is always nicest when it is in the form of built-in book cases. At least three small tables are needed-end-tables for the sofa, and a larger one to put by the easy chair near the fire. A screen is always useful, especially in a combination room as it can be used to screen the pantry or the kitchenette while meals are being served. The dining-room group of furniture consists of the larger table, or today a combination table which can be drawn out; a cabinet which will hold china, glass, silver and linen, and the side chairs already referred to. In a combination room of this sort it is well to remember to keep the china and glass out of sight, unless a Welsh dresser suits the type of room. Then pewter, silver, china and glass typical of the period can be put upon its shelves with perfect propriety.
In arranging the furnishings of the living-room-dining-room, or the dining-room-living-room, it is well to group the pieces used for dining at the end nearest the kitchen or kitchenette to facilitate easy service, and also to permit the larger articles of furniture, like the sofa, to be grouped at the other end or side of the room. In many apartments throughout the country today, the space which would have been allotted to two rooms is being made into one so that a room 16' x 22' is not unusual.
The living-room fireplace grouping of this room is the illustration at the head of this chapter. Just beyond the sofa is a Governor Winthrop desk of brown mahogany, placed between two windows.
I feel so confident that a picture to look at will tell so much more than many words, that I hope you will refer to this picture. The fireplace side of the room and the end with the windows was the living-room end. Opposite the fireplace was the doorway to a porch or terrace. In an apartment such a plan would probably put a window there. This arrangement naturally puts the table for dining between the two windows, on the wall directly opposite where the desk is, and the cabinet on a wall space near it. Such an arrangement of furniture of the more or less usual, though nice pieces which we used in this room, would fit into various backgrounds. The Studio paneled the fireplace side of the room and used a wall covering of cream color on the other three sides. The paneling was of birch veneer waxed, giving a soft natural tone to the wood, deeper than cream and lighter than brown. Instead of this background, the room could be painted or papered in a solid color of cream, gray, apricot, or putty color with a hint of gold or green in it.
Let us consider that a neutral tone-putty color, for instance-has been decided upon for the walls. The curtains, could be a large-patterned cretonne in various colors of brown, blue, terra-cotta reds, on a cream ground. The glass curtains might be of a two-toned silk net in a rather deeper cream or tan with a thread of red in it. Two of the overstuffed chairs could have slip covers of the cretonne-one of them put by the fireplace and the other on the he opposite side of the room. The sofa and one large chair could be covered in a dark brown dull-finished sateen, with the welted seams made of a contrasting color. Sofa pillows of the cretonne can be put on the plain-colored sofa with good results. For the screen, choose one of the attractive Chinese type with some color which will add warmth and 'interest, as well as pattern to the room.
Some of the Things That Make ¢ Room Livable
Lamp shades and shields for the side lights could be of tan silk, lined with warm orange or soft yellow. Let the lamp bases in the room repeat the blue and the terra-cotta of the chintz. Hang one or two of your favorite pictures on the wall. But use restraint in the hanging. That is, it is better to have only one good picture than half a dozen poor ones of sizes that do not fit the space and of a quality that has little or no value. It is far better to have one good reproduction than a number which are inappropriate in style and color.
Many a woman follows a correct color scheme, has nice furniture in the various rooms of her house, good pictures or prints, and yet the room or house is cold. It lacks livableness. It has no charm. And if you look further, the chances are it will be found rather uncomfortable. One of the things that adds greatly to comfort is the use of a number of small tables.
Many women feel if they have a living-room-table that is all that is necessary. There may be an over-head light, and they do not realize the necessity of small tables to hold lamps. Over-head lights in the first place are necessary only in very large rooms. Side lights are greatly to be preferred. There is no question but that general illumination is essential, but some concentrated light for reading and writing is not only an added comfort but a very great charm. Therefore consider your tables. This living-room-dining-room has five tables as well as a desk, and it is a room but 16' x 22', and there. is not a table too many. Another thing about the occasional table that adds attractiveness to a room is the variety of the designs of the tables. In many a living-room, a pair of end tables used at either end of the davenport may be supplemented by a table of a different shape placed by the easy chair. For a larger space, the tip-top pie-crust table, with a lamp on it, is both useful and pretty. In a smaller room, such a table may be tipped up against the wall, forming a bit of decoration when not in use, and placed where desired or needed for serving tea or any such purpose. Although they did not happen to be used in this room, there is nothing more convenient in a living-room than a nest of tables. They take but little space, are always pretty, and serve a multitude of purposes.
Another important consideration in making a room livable is the selection of the right style of davenport and comfortable chairs. Consider such furniture from three standpoints -all equally important-design, construction and comfortableness. When the first two qualities seem right, sit in the chair to be sure that it gives you comfort-you who are to use the room. The chances are if it suits you, it will suit your friends as we all respond to the great comfort this modern furniture gives us.
Another quality of livableness is given by the use of sofa pillows. The plain colored davenport has cushions of the chintz. This brings the gay color from the windows to the largest and most sombre piece of furniture. Note also that the plain-covered furniture is placed against the pattern of the curtain while the chintz-covered chair is placed against the plain-colored background. In other words, as I have often said, place a plain chair by a figured curtain and a chair covered with a figured material near a plain background.