Women and the Home

Furnishing the Bedroom at Modest Cost

Extremely attractive results can be secured at low cost providing ingenuity and taste are the tools of the designer of the small bedroom

MARY AGNES PEASE March 15 1930
Women and the Home

Furnishing the Bedroom at Modest Cost

Extremely attractive results can be secured at low cost providing ingenuity and taste are the tools of the designer of the small bedroom

MARY AGNES PEASE March 15 1930

Furnishing the Bedroom at Modest Cost

Extremely attractive results can be secured at low cost providing ingenuity and taste are the tools of the designer of the small bedroom


A YOUNG homemaker whom I know complains that most of the people who write learnedly on the problems of interior decorating are so busy advising the public what not to do in furnishing, that they quite overlook the importance of advising them on what to do. She says: “This method is faintly reminiscent of the one employed by those parents who are constantly saying ‘Don’t do that’ to their children, but who neglect to provide their young hopefuls with some absorbing work or play to keep them interested and employed.”

Bearing this admonition, in mind, I shall endeavor to abandon the negative manner and tell of the doings of some homemakers of modest means who have used wit and ingenuity to supplement and enhance their furnishings.

Very few of us, when moving into a new place of abode, can make a fresh start in furnishing, unhampered by the accumulations of years. Sometimes old pieces seem to bourgeon into new beauty in changed surroundings, and sometimes furnishings that seemed quite adequate for one house are insufficient in another.

Two Beds From One

A CASE in point is that of a family who had among ^ their possessions a very fine old bed of Sheraton design. This had been happily placed in a small room, for which only a single bed had been required, but in the new quarters it was necessary to get a twin for it. The man of the family, while acknowledging the necessity for duplication, grumbled heavily about expense, and stipulated a very conservative amount to be spent for the new piece. After much seeking and pricing, it was found that a new bed of similar type would be quite prohibitive in price. For a time despain reigned, as the movies have it. Then, as already stated, wit and ingenuity came to the rescue, and with the help of a cabinetmaker two beds were made from one.

The foot of the original bed was almost as high as the head and was equally decorative in design. This was used as a head for the second bed, and following present day ideas, there was practically no wood used for the ends of the beds. There was, of course, some expense involved in this conjuring trick, but this was negligible compared with the cost of an entirely new bed. Added to the saving effected, there is the same old wood in both pieces with the fine cabinet work and the desirable touches of age. A modern effect was gained by using the simple expedient of cutting down the legs to bring the beds nearer to the floor. By doing this, none of the native beauty of line and composition was lost, while the pieces were in much better scale with the room and the rest

of the furniture. The result shows a respect and affection for the past with full appreciation of modern living comforts.

This method of reducing the height of furniture is one well worth considering.

Large pieces of furniture lose the effect of size when they are lowered. I have a very tall piece of furniture which was out of scale with my other pieces and with the room it occupies. It has four deep drawers and an upper glass fronted part which has shelves for china and the like. By removing the lower drawer and its immediate environs and attaching the legs to the denuded portion, the appearance of this rather heavy piece has been brought into better accord with its surroundings and has been much improved. It is hardly necessary to say that this method could not be recommended as a general measure of reduction, as in many cases the balance and grace of a piece might be completely destroyed by such surgery. The plan to follow is, first be sure you’re right, then go ahead.

A Modern Bedroom

BUT to return to our two beds for one: the room in which these are so well placed extends across the front of the house. It is to be regretted that the large window in the room is not included in the photograph. It is of the bow variety, is very deep, and begins just a little beyond the bedside table at the right. The beds are therefore perfectly arranged for light and for protection from drafts.

The color scheme in this room is very well carried out. It owes its success to the following of that recipe which is so seldom observed—the importance of soft neutral tones on walls and floor and of relying on hangings and accessories for the needed richness of color. The bedspreads are made of India cotton which has a purple background with a pattern in which are mingled yellow, blue and green. The small pillows on top of the beds are covered in a lighter shade of purple taffeta. I think it is Emily Post who says that in decorating a room one of the determining features is the bedspread which may be decorative, may be negligible, or may be a mistake! In this case, the spreads, while decorative,

are neutral in tone and suggest several possibilities for harmony and contrast. The green tone was the one decided upon for curtains and accessories. For the windows, one of the new French cotton materials was used in cross stripes of green and cream. This color is reflected in the tiles of the fireplace, in the glass lamp on the table at the right, and in the green flowers painted on the parchment shade. There is just enough variety given by this means to make interest. A dash of similitude makes the whole room kin.

The other pieces in this room are also reminiscent of an earlier day. There is a lovely old mahogany bureau and a fine old wardrobe. The chair which is included in the picture and which hides the fact that the fireplace is undergoing repairs, is of the type complained of by an invalid that it was so comfortable that her callers, once they got in it, stayed too long. It is excellently placed for the lady of the house to occupy when she does her morning telephoning.

A bedside table is an almost indispensable accessory. It provides a place for a book, a glass, a lamp and the many other odds and ends that we deem necessary for our comfort. These little tables have their uses and are at home upstairs, downstairs or in my lady’s chamber.

Matched Pieces

' I l,HE second room illustrated has radiant color as its main recommendation. It would have made an ideal sewing room, but had to be pressed into service as a guest room. Architecturally, this room precludes any different arrangement of furniture than that pictured. The very excellent rule that a bed must be placed so that the light from the window will not fall on the sleeper’s eyes, could not be followed in this case for the reason that there was really no other place to put the

bed. It is not pleasant to breakfast in bed or to read the morning paper facing the light. For the guest who is an early riser, however, the position of the bed in respect to the windows is of small importance.

The pieces of furniture in this room, though unrelated, have a common spirit and are of good wood and simple lines. They are further brought into unity by the repetition of gay color in the wall paper, the curtains, the rugs and the silk comforter on the bed.

In a former article in this department we gave a color chart which showed the color families. It is an immense help to keep these in mind when launching on the decoration of a room. To know just what color will complement another color means that you have it in your power to bring to a room tbe same quality that spice brings to food flavor. In the room just described, there is a combination of rose, blue and cream, each of which complements the other and gives an effective and lovely combination.

A prospective bride showed me some furniture that she is painting for her bedroom. The pieces consist of two spool beds, an old-fashioned bureau and two sturdy French Canadian chairs, all of which cost about one-fourth of even an ordinary set of bedroom furniture. For these pieces she is using paint in a soft grey tone and edging them with silver paint. A floral design in yellow and violet will be applied at the head of the bed, on the front of the top drawer and in smaller size on the top of the chair backs. These will be lovely in a room with a delicate wall paper of deep cream with old-fashioned nosegays of flowers. She is also planning the further addition of a dressing table flounced in delicate shades of violet lined with pale blue. I am promised a photograph of this room when it is completed.

Color Schemes

rT"'HERE are endless combinations of

color that one might suggest for bedrooms, especially with the painted furniture. If your furnishing was done in the days when brass beds were the vogue, do not despair. The new paints will transform them into beauty, and can be applied by anyone who is not afraid to handle a paint brush. I speak as one

having authority, because I painted one of them most satisfactorily, and in this way obtained a charming effect at little cost.

At this season of the year, gay colors seem to have a special appeal, and there is hardly a condition of furnishings or hangings that cannot be improved by the magic of color. A woman I know says that few people seem to realize the beautiful materials for curtains that can be bought at little expense in a comparatively untouched field for this purpose—the dress goods counter. She is at present making curtains for her sunroom of canary and black cotton crêpe. Printed voiles are also an excellent choice for bedroom curtains, especially in a bedroom where a definite color scheme is worked out. A most accommodating material for curtains is gingham. Its color combinations are limitless and it feels equally at home in kitchen, bathroom, dining room and bedroom. Then, too, its purchase does not necessitate a financial strain. Of course, this material does not combine satisfactorily with pretentious furniture. It is essentially a cottage type of material and lives best with simple things.

This article has been altogether concerned with the outward and visible signs of the various bedrooms described. It is well to bear in mind, however, that a matter of great importance in a bedroom is the hidden quality of a bed, and this should be very carefully chosen. Be sure that your mattresses are filled with new material; that they are not whited sepulchres with cast-off mattress fillings encased in a sprightly new cover, as all too often happens when bedding is offered at a low price in some of the shops. This is a case where the best is none too good and will pay in the long run, both from the standpoint of health and of wearing quality.

It is so easy to improve conditions of furnishing, to add to beauty and comfort, that sometimes one is surprised at the ready acceptance by many people of the dull and uninspiring. Just a little effort and ingenuity and the odd dollar will remove unsightly excrescences in furniture, will add the odd touch of bright color, or will change the grouping of pieces into more harmonious arrangement. Have you tried any of them?