New Rooms for Old

Skilful rearrangement of the furnishings will often transform the commonplace room into the distinctive room

F. L. DEN. SCOTT November 1 1932

New Rooms for Old

Skilful rearrangement of the furnishings will often transform the commonplace room into the distinctive room

F. L. DEN. SCOTT November 1 1932

New Rooms for Old

Skilful rearrangement of the furnishings will often transform the commonplace room into the distinctive room



THERE are two ways, generally speaking, to bring new interest to old rooms. One is by the introduction of new furnishings; the other by rearranging the old ones to the best advantage.

In the room illustrated here both methods were used. A few new pieces, new draperies and slip covers on two of the chairs plus imagination and untiring effort in trying new vantage points for the original furnishings, resulted in an original and interesting living room. No permanent alterations were made; the background remained the same.

The first picture shows the room in the conventional arrangement, one which is seen in thousands of living rooms from Sydney to Victoria. The chesterfield runs across the window group; two armchairs flank the fireside; the radio has been fitted into a space near a doorway where it would be most inconvenient to sit. The room is badly lit, and there is a lack of those small things which contribute to personal comfort.

The color scheme, which does not show up in the photograph, is commonplace to a degree. The coppery brown of the rug does little to bring out the warm brown of the furniture covering and the tans in the w'all paper. The cushions are tan ; the draperies dull blue.

Clearly, the first requirement is additional color and a bold, definite design, for the wall paper and the draperies both have indeterminate, all-over figures. Therefore, in the second picture, gay, flowered cretonne curtains were introduced, and, to give the window a more decided character, two pairs of draperies were used. Two of the chairs were slip-covered, thus carrying color to the fireside.

A new arrangement is tried. The chesterfield is pulled along nearer the comer, and extends farther out into the room in a catercornered style. A new and larger lamp was put on the table and an easy chair pulled up beside it. The radio is put into a comer with a chair near it; a table replaces the radio; and an end table near one of the slip-covered chairs completes the arrangement.

The Fireside Problem

ALTHOUGH the room is now greatly improved, it is ■ON still far from our ideal. The fireplace, which is the centre of interest, is entirely neglected. Floor space is wasted behind the chesterfield. The walls are bare and uninteresting. There is still room for improvement.

In the last stage, an unusual solution to the fireside problem was found. The chesterfield is pulled up at right angles to the hearth, facing the pair of chairs which are concealing their pasts beneath slip covers. Between these chairs the narrow table holds a friendly lamp, magazines, smoking accessories. The balance is better: the chesterfield and the chair-table-chair group compensate each other.

The window has come in for a share in the changes. The chair which formerly stood beside the radio has resigned in favor of the comfortable overstuffed armchair which is far more to the liking of the radio operator.

There is a tall, narrow bookcase in the corner, relieving the monotony of an unbroken sky line. Hitherto, all the pieces around the walls were about the same general height, apparently breaking the room in two, horizontally. In a

well planned room, that is, a room in which people like to linger, in which they are happy and at ease, there is no line of demarcation between the dark color of the floor and the lighter color of the upper portion of the wall. The draperies carry the color up the wall gradually, and the bookcase contributes to this effect.

An interesting feature of this room is the use of many medium-sized tables. In

the average living room there are always a large table for magazines, books and miscellany, and several very small tables of armchair height. In this room no less than three mediumsized tables were used, offering convenient restingplaces for various objects.

The fireplace has been so treated that it is equally effective in summer and winter. There are growing plants on each side of the stone mantelpiece; a pair of pottery jars make agreeable ornaments, their bright Oriental colors showing to advantage against the neutral background.

The new arrangement is not only pleasing to the eye but is far more comfortable than the old one. With the chesterfield in front of the windows, the person sitting there would feel the draught on his back when the windows were open. The second placing of the chesterfield resulted in a diagonal line; which is bad, for diagonal lines are psychologically irritating, especially when the piece is large.

There is an air of sociability and welcome in the present room. The chairs are all within easy conversational distance; yet the occasional chair beneath the lamp is sufficiently isolated to permit its occupant to read or pursue a solo interest undisturbed. The fireside treatment suggests intimate association for small or large groups.

Accessories make a great difference in any room, and their choice is far more important than most people realize. As color accents they should not only play a definite part but should have some intrinsic interest of their own. The oval

mirror, for instance, was carefully selected for the position it was to occupy : a longer, narrower one would seem distorted, while a short wide one would not improve the skyline.

The pottery lamp in the window, its base in browns and yellows, its shade canary velvet, is important enough in both color and size to dominate that portion of the room, but not so large as to seem top-heavy on the medium-sized table. This oval table, incidentally, helps to break the monotony of straight lines; the same thing is true of the oval mirror and the small Hepplewhite chair.

Light, always an important consideration, has been evenly distributed by the use of two fairly large lamps in the

window group; the lamp between the pair of slip-covered chairs, the small one on the table under .he mirror and a floor lamp back of the chesterfield.

In this room the variety of fabrics used for draperies, upholstered covers, slip covers and lamp shades, affords an agreeable change from the average living room which is in uniform of one kind all the time—slip covers for every chair and chesterfield in summer, the upholstered covers for winter.

In the room as it stands, “traffic lanes” are apparent. It is possible to cross the room in any direction without bumping into chairs or knocking over small tables or magazine stands. At the same time, through careful planning, there is no large expanse of bare floor creating a hard, cold atmosphere.

While many rooms have not the basic possibilities there are here, nevertheless a

“best” arrangement is possible for every room. Most rooms can be improved, some entirely transformed, with a small outlay of money—if combined with taste and imagination. There is always at least one feature in any room which can be played up—an important wall, a window group, the intimate cosiness of a fireside, even a dark comer, with the judicious addition of light and color and a well placed easy chair, can very readily be made to radiate charm and hospitality.

The author will be pleased to answer any questions which have been evoked by this article. If you would like his advice on arrangement, do not forget to give sizes of the room and pieces. If you want advice on color schemes, just state what you must keep or say what you would like. Be sure to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.