Plain flat-tone2 paints, tints, wallpapers and commercial wall oilcloths in a cloudy, allover3 pattern make the best backgrounds. For rooms facing north, the best colors are the yellows, ranging from a cream color to a deep pumpkin yellow. For rooms facing south, use light grays, which might range to a deep putty color. In sunny rooms it is possible to use any colors except those which fade easily. On the walls of rooms with northern or eastern exposures, or a combination of both, use warm colors; southern and western exposures demand cool tones. In the rooms of uncertain exposure, for example where windows on the west conflict with windows on the east, use neutral tones, which are neither warm nor cool colors.
[Note: Although exposure doubtless is the most important factor which influences the choice of color, such considerations as size and shape of rooms, type and size of furniture, and individual preference also should be kept in mind.]
Warm Tones Red, light or dark Rose, light or dark Pink, light or dark Brown, light or dark Orange, light or dark Yellow, light or dark Gold Neutrals Ivory Cream Buff Putty Tan Cool Tones Blues, light or dark Greens, light or dark Violets, light or dark Grays, light or dark Silver The best way to treat adjoining rooms, with a wide doorway between, is to have the walls of both rooms alike, preferably in a neutral color, allover design paper, or plain flat-tone paint.
1 From How To Furnish the Small Home (Better Homes in America, 1929).
2 A flat-tone paint is a paint which contains more turpentine than oil and gives a velvety, smooth finish to walls.
3 An allover design paper includes any of the mottled types or those showing a repetition of a small, close design which lends a soft, cloudy appearance to walls as background.
There are numerous types of finish for woodwork, such as paint, enamel, stain, waxed or a rubbed finish, and each, in turn, is in good taste, providing it is in harmony with either the furnishings or the wall decoration.
Where walls are lightly colored in either a paint or paper, it creates greater harmony to paint the trim white, cream, or ivory. These colors are suitable for Colonial houses, and are agreeable in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. Dark woodwork and light walls are not usually in harmony, excepting in the case of all dark furniture; for example, if the furniture is dark mahogany or walnut, and the house is not strictly of a period; it would be permissible to have mahogany or walnut woodwork. If the furniture is dark oak, woodwork of the same wood and tone would be in harmony. Painting woodwork in any of the light tones creates harmony with light painted or papered walls, while finishing the wood in darker and natural tones makes a contrast, and should be used in connection with the more mellow-colored wall paints or papers.
Highly varnished light oak and pine woodwork is the most difficult and trying to make harmonize with either walls or furniture, and should not be considered. Mahogany, walnut, oak and all hardwoods should be finished with either oil, wax or varnish, and rubbed down and finished dull. This helps the woodwork to blend with the furniture and hangings.