Color, tone, and texture are the elements of the background treatment. A familiar principle in their use is that the walls should be lighter than the floor and darker than the ceiling. This customary treatment reflects the out-of-door tonal relations of dark earth, lighter foliage, and luminous sky. But no rule-of-thumb can be applied to so variable a problem; in a high-ceiled room the proportions may appear favorably changed by darkening the ceiling several shades below the tone of the walls.
The color and tone of the walls, as well as being in harmonious relation to the furniture, should be chosen with reference to the exposure and size of the rooms, the warmer buffs and yellows being in favor for rooms with little sunlight, and fighter shades for small rooms than for spacious ones. ' Neutral shades, such as buff, ivory, and gray, are safe enough, and often form the most attractive possibility; but one should not rely too supinely upon the neutrals, because equally suitable and infinitely richer effects may be obtained through more original color-treatments.
1 Adapted from The House Beautiful Furnishing Annual, I926 (Boston: Atlantic Monthly Co., 1926), pp. 12-15.
Fig. 40. - A rough-plaster finish requires few pictures or hangings for decorative purposes. Interior of Santa Barbara State Teacher's College practice house.
Of equal importance is the question of texture - will the effect sought in the room we are planning be best secured through a smooth painted wall, a rough plaster finish, the finer and less varied texture of wall paper, or the richness of a textile? In general, a rough texture or pronounced pattern on the wall diminishes the apparent size of a room. It absorbs the light and makes one more conscious of the nearness of the walls, just as a dark ceiling usually seems lower than a light one. An exception to this statement is found in the skilful use of old-fashioned landscape papers, which lend their distance and perspective to a small room. In general, tone and texture which often pass unnoticed - through lack of conspicuous qualities - tend to make the room seem larger than it would with a striking wall-treatment. It is well to realize the importance of these and other interlocking details which at first seem obvious and hardly worth mentioning, for they should all be given consideration in choosing the wall-treatment. Before making the final selection, the householder should know the possibilities which lie before him.....