(Figs. 31-33). The character of every room should be obvious at the moment of entrance. It should be immediately evident whether the room in question is used for a family gathering room, for literary or social pursuits, a playroom, or a workroom. All parts of the room should contribute to this simple and sustained impression. It is for the moment a complete picture in which no one object compels undue attention because of conspicuous size, color, or decoration. Unity is the whole idea.

The contents of the room should show first of all, orderliness of arrangement. The distribution of the furnishings should be adjusted to the structural lines of the room; rugs parallel with the walls of the room, draperies hanging in straight folds in rectangular openings, tables, couches, bookcases, beds, bureaus, and dressers following and fitting the available wall spaces. Pictures, single or grouped, arranged with direct relation to the furniture and to a continuous line of a given height, table runners and books straight with the library table, square lunch cloths and doilies straight with the edges of the dining-table, - all are manifestations of order in arrangement. Diagonal lines introduced by curtains looped back, rugs askew on the floor, furniture placed across the corners, or at oblique angles to the wall, pictures hanging in steps, set at defiance the rectangular lines of the room and disturb the sense of order.

The furnishings of the room should be so arranged as not to crowd all the interest on one or two walls, leaving the other parts of the room empty and dead. Instead, the interest should be distributed throughout the room by a balanced arrangement. For example, heavy features, such as a fireplace on one side of the room, may be balanced by a long davenport on the opposite side, with bookcase, table, and desk occupying end positions.

The next step is to consider the arrangement of furnishings from the standpoint of convenience and use. The comfort of a room depends on the grouping of the pieces that are to be used together. Thus a generous living-room may provide a hearth center, a reading center, a music center, and a sewing center if the furnishings are properly grouped; or, in the case of a bed-room, a bed, night table, and lamp might form one group, with dresser, chair, and closet in another.

Fig. 31

Fig. 31. - Top, a typical square living-room showing an erratic but not unusual arrangement of rugs and furniture. Bottom, the same room arranged in a reasonable and orderly way.

The arrangement of the furnishings depends very greatly on the location of windows and doors. The good light necessary for reading, writing, or sewing puts a premium on the positions near the windows, for, while theoretically it is possible to see in all parts of a comfortably lighted room, the direct light from a window is the best for all kinds of close work. The furniture grouping must, therefore, adjust itself to this requirement. Desks arranged with a good light from the left side, the principal reading seats within comfortable distance from the windows, and adequate lamps or lighting fixtures provided where most needed, insure satisfaction in this respect.

Care should also be taken to arrange furniture groups away from drafts and paths of travel. Bookcases, cabinets, and the like, may occupy odd bits of wall in locations where it is not comfortable to sit.

Just as the form of a chair may be less rectangular than other pieces of furniture, so its position in the furnishing scheme is more free. The very use of chairs implies that they cannot in general occupy fixed positions, with the exception perhaps of an occasional upholstered or straight-backed chair. This flexibility of chair arrangements introduces enough variety to keep the room from looking stiff. Nothing in the room is so insignificant as to escape the need of thoughtful placing; vases, clocks, lamps, and pictures, all are elements in the scheme.

Arrangement, however, is as much concerned with the elimination of superfluous features as with the proper disposal of the essentials. Souvenirs, trinkets, and family photographs, no matter what their personal significance, cheapen the effect and lessen the dignity of rooms intended for general use. A room is a good design only when nothing can be added and nothing can be taken away without marring its completeness.