Home Decoration: Tips for Your Dream Space

This book had its beginning in a series of lectures on house furnishing. It was found that people are eager to learn what is good from a critical standpoint, providing that personal opinions were left aside and adequate reasons given for each decision. It would indeed be difficult to select a subject of more universal interest. Sooner or later nearly everyone faces this problem of furnishing his home.

The only guides we have are books, an occasional magazine article, and possibly some school training in the beauty of form and color.

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It may be well to discuss briefly one plan for the arrangement of rooms in a modest dwelling. It is not supposed that this is an ideal plan which will meet the approval of all, for every house ought to be built around the needs of the family which it shelters. This plan will, however, serve to call to our attention several worthy features which ought to be considered in any domestic dwelling. It is taken from a copy of The Craftsman.

The Entrance Hall

The house is nearly square, the most economically shaped house that can be built. The entrance hall is of sufficient size to remove wraps, to contain a coat-rack and a chair or two, and is well lighted. It is not a spacious reception hall, which would be an inconsistency in a small house, yet it is of sufficient size to allow one to greet the insurance agent with a firm shake of the hand and head, or to transact other business of brief nature. Doors give entrance to both living room and kitchen.

The Living Room

The living room is, as it should be, the largest room in the house. It is well supplied with windows and has a generous fireplace. Note that the windows are arranged in groups that the light may enter in an undivided flood. This concentration of the windows into groups marks one of the recent advances in architecture.

The houses of 1880-1900 had only portholes punched through the side of the house wherever there seemed to be a chance to destroy a restful space, and these holes were sometimes accentuated by making all the sash lines invisible from the outside by painting them in dark colors. The result of such planning was a house freckled with windows, monotonous because everywhere equally spotted. There was no contrast of occupied and vacant space. The light which entered these portholes crossed and recrossed in all directions inside the house, making it practically impossible to hang a picture where it would receive adequate light.

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Most houses have too little provision for sunlight to enter them. In winter, sunlight tends to reduce coal bills. Scientists claim that sunlight is an excellent disinfectant. How generous is the space devoted to windows in this plan, and how well concentrated is the light!

The Dining Room

By opening the sliding doors the living room and the dining room are made into one large room, a very convenient arrangement at times of festival and entertainment. The dining room is equally well provided with windows. There is a door opening onto the piazza, where meals may be served in summer, if desired.

The living room is most used in the afternoon and should be placed on the west side of the house. The dining room should face the east, that it may have the good cheer of the morning sun to help awaken and arouse to activity those members of the family who have a tendency to continue unduly their dormant condition.

The Piazza

The piazza is located at the rear of the house where it belongs, unless the builder is influenced by the excellence of the view from the front, or unless the house is situated well back from the street. A gentleman who had visited a well-known seaside resort was asked his impression of the place. He replied, “Three hundred old ladies rocking.” It is a pert and just criticism of our placing of the piazza so that we are on parade whenever we occupy it.

A piazza is a place for quiet and rest, for comfortable lounging in the open air. Why should we put it half way in the street, so that the passing throng need apologize for walking in front of us? The Orientals have no “American back yards”; theirs are their gardens. Our back yards might be in better condition if our piazzas were located where we had to look into them.

The Kitchen

The windows in the kitchen are where they ought to be, in front of the sink and the table. The adjoining rooms and compartments are conveniently situated.

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