This section is from the book "A Girl's Problems In Home Economics", by Mabel B. Trilling. Also available from Amazon: A Girl's Problems in Home Economics.
You have already learned that one very important thing in making a room attractive is to keep it clean and orderly. However, the appearance of the clean and orderly room can often be improved by rearranging the furniture and furnishings.
The two pictures in Fig. 125 show two different ways of arranging the same furniture in the same room. Look at these two pictures and try to think of them as designs rather than as plans for the arrangement of furniture. Which one makes you feel as though it had been carefully planned and arranged in an orderly fashion? Any good, artistic arrangement of furniture is an orderly arrangement. It is just as important to have this kind of order in a room as to have things put away in their proper places. The second picture in Fig. 125 seems more orderly because the rectangular-shaped pieces of furniture are arranged so that they fit into the rectangular-shaped room in an orderly way. The edges of the furniture are parallel with the walls of the room. This orderly arrangement gives an effect that we sometimes call unity. The furniture and rugs are arranged so that they are in harmony with the shape of the room.
Convenient Arrangement of Your Bedroom. - In arranging a bedroom we must not forget that convenience as well as artistic effect must be considered. For example, the bed should be in the best possible relation to the window for light and air. It is very annoying to have a bed face a window, because the light, especially in the morning, may prevent one from sleeping. Yet the bed should be near enough the window so that the sleeper secures as much air as possible. Notice that the bed in the second picture of Fig. 125 is well placed with relation to a light and air. What do you think of the position of the bed in the first diagram? There are two things to consider in placing the dresser properly. First, the mirror should be placed so that the light falls on the person who is standing in front of it. If the light comes from behind the person, the face is in shadow and can not be seen clearly in the mirror. Second, the dresser should be placed as near the closet as is possible, so that one does not take unnecessary steps while dressing. Another point to be considered in the arrangement of the bedroom is the general effect upon entrance. A bed placed so near the door that one has to walk around it gives the effect of a small, unattractive room.
A Problem to Do. - 1. Make a sketch showing the arrangement of furniture in your room or some other room as it is at present. 2. Before your next lesson take measurements of the room and of each piece of furniture and rug. Have the measurements written down so that you will be ready to use them at your next lesson. In making a plan for this room it will be necessary, of course, to reduce it to a more convenient scale. A scale of one foot to one inch or one-half inch is convenient to use, according to the size of your paper. Mark and cut out a rectangle of paper the proper size for each piece of furniture and rug. Draw a rectangle of the correct size for the room, showing the location of the doors and windows. Fig. 126 shows each piece of furniture ready to be placed in a room. Using pieces of paper to represent the furniture is better than drawing on your paper because you can move the papers about more easily in order to try new arrangements than by redrawing. This scheme for working out the best arrangement for a room is sometimes easier than actually to move the furniture about. It is important, however, that the drawing be done to an accurate scale. Otherwise, you will find it possible to do things with your pieces of paper that it is not possible to do with the real pieces of furniture.
Something to do at Home. - Can you rearrange the furniture in this room or any other room at home so that it is more conveniently and attractively placed?
An Attractive Wall. - An attractive arrangement for the wall depends partly upon the placing of the furniture against the wall and also upon the way the pictures and other decorations hang.
In Fig. 127 you will see furniture and pictures arranged on the same wall in three different ways. In the first picture there is obviously no orderly and well thought-out arrangement. It has a cluttered, disorganized appearance lacking unity. The wall has an unbalanced look because there are so many things crowded to the left-hand side. Picture 2 shows a wall with a more balanced and orderly arrangement. The bed is placed near the center and the other things arranged to balance on each side. What balances the one picture on the left? In Picture 3 there is also a balanced arrangement, although the bed is not placed in the center. How is it that the large bed and picture are balanced by a chair and two small pictures? If you will lay your pencil across the picture so that it divides the wall in half, you may be able to answer this question. Then you can see that the bed is placed much nearer to the center than the chair and picture. When a large, heavy weight balances a small, light weight, the heavy weight must be placed nearer to the center.