The hall, living-room, dining-room, and library, if there is one, represent one group of interests, and may be considered to form the social, recreative, or living area of the house. The general character of these rooms should be spacious and decorative in effect. Though each unit of this group should have its own distinctive character, these living-rooms, on account of their inter-relation and common use, should show some harmony in color and treatment.

The hall is the threshold of the house. It serves as an introduction. This first impression should be one of welcome and dignity and, above all, of order. Good light, genial colors on the walls and floor, a sense of free space for the passage of persons, an ample provision for the necessary wraps and umbrellas in a tidy and concealed form, are the essential characteristics of a well-considered hall, regardless of its size. If a regular coat closet is not provided in the hall, a generous rod with coat hangers arranged in an angle behind curtain or screen is far neater and more satisfactory than some form of mongrel hat rack exposed to view.

The movable furnishings necessary to equip the hall of a dwelling for its use are very few, a rug on the floor, carpet on the stairs, a chair or seat, a well-lighted mirror, a clock perhaps, and a small stand with drawers for gloves, time-tables, pad and pencil, and other incidentals. Decorative touches may be introduced by a figured wall paper, a potted plant, or a spray of flowers.

The character of the modern living-room should unite the dignity of the old-fashioned parlor and the genuine homely qualities of the old-time sitting-room. The large living-room of the modern house is an attempt to amalgamate into a single space the interests formerly represented by separate rooms, such as reception-room, music-room, parlor, sitting-room, and library. Its character should accordingly represent dignity, hospitality, comfort, and recreation. This room must be general not personal, in its decoration and furnishing. Walls and rugs sufficiently neutral in color to form a good background, harmonious furnishings adjusted to the space and suitably arranged for the interests to be accommodated, and a method of comfortable lighting both by day and by night are the essential considerations. The position of such structural pieces as the fireplace and the location of the windows give the cue to the general arrangement for the room.

Fig. 32

Fig. 32. - Top, a room showing the effect in furnishing of one large rug, a fireplace in the center of one long inside wall, and the other furnishings well related to these. Bottom, a room showing a good arrangement of two rugs; a fireplace in the short inside wall, and the furniture well arranged in occupational centers.

Character Of Rooms Expressed By Furnishings 81Character Of Rooms Expressed By Furnishings 82Character Of Rooms Expressed By Furnishings 83Character Of Rooms Expressed By Furnishings 84Character Of Rooms Expressed By Furnishings 85Character Of Rooms Expressed By Furnishings 86Character Of Rooms Expressed By Furnishings 87Character Of Rooms Expressed By Furnishings 88Plate IX

Plate IX

Simple and serviceable types of bedroom furniture that may be developed in different woods suitable for rooms with varying finish..

The selection of the furnishings in each case will depend on whether the main interests of the household are youthful or mature, studious or musical, industrial or social.

One or two large rugs are more appropriate for the living-room than a number of small ones. Small rugs in a living-room are an aggravation, because of the tendency to slip about, turn up at the corners, and give a scrappy appearance to a floor.

In general, a typical living-room for general family use should include a fireplace, some form of lounge, bookshelves, a generous table with lamp, a place to write, and plenty of comfortable chairs. A piano or victrola, a sewing-table, small or folding tables that can be moved around to serve a cup of tea or for games and the like, may also be needed. Added to these are a number of small furnishings that should be thoughtfully selected to complete the comfort of the occupants as the room is used. Footstools or hassocks, a dictionary-stand, lamps and candlesticks, a waste-basket, a neat wood-box or basket, a few pillows, a vase or two for flowers, a clock, are all worthy adjuncts to the family room. A place should also be provided for the quick disposal of transient paraphernalia, such as father's newspaper, mother's mending, and the children's toys.

The artificial lighting of the room should be adjusted to the spaces that are used at night. A general diffusion of light over the whole space can be provided most simply by some central form of ceiling light. In addition to this, lamps will be needed for reading or close work. The soft light of candles or the open fire are sufficient when the room is used only for conversation.

The character of a dining-room should above all be cheerful. Eastern windows admitting the morning sun, light colors on the walls, plants or flowers, are a real aid to good digestion.

Fig. 33

Fig. 33. - Top, an effective and logical arrangement of furniture in a square dining-room. Bottom, a well-planned bedroom showing a serviceable arrangement of dressing and sleeping equipment, with plenty of free space for passage.

In contrast to the living-room, the dining-room has but one function and therefore but one center of interest. The decoration and furnishing of this room should focus on the idea of the table in use. A dining-table capable of enlargement, a rug perhaps, chairs, a serving-table, and a place to keep the dishes, against an interestingly papered or paneled background, constitute the real requirements of the dining-room. Anything provided in addition to this is purely by way of decoration which implies that the added features must enhance the general appearance. Clean linen - white, cream, or gray -simple forms of knives, forks, and spoons, china with refined outlines and restrained decorations, furnish a dining-room with more distinction than an abundance of ornate furnishing.

Unlike the living area, the rooms of the sleeping area stand each one by itself, a complete unit, both in furnishing and in decoration. A sleeping-room should above all be personal in its use, light, airy, and intimate in character. Sufficient window space, light colored walls and woodwork, fresh looking curtains, furniture stained or painted to accord with these, carry out this idea. A clean comfortable bed, conveniences for dressing and storage of clothes provided by dressing-table, bureau, chiffonier and closet, a well-lighted mirror, a comfortable chair or two, a bedside table, and rugs in the open spaces are the essentials. Facilities for writing or sewing may also be needed. Whatever accessories are introduced are of a personal nature.

Bed and dressing arrangements should be located with special reference to good lighting both by day and by night. The bed should be so placed as not to face the light, while the mirror should be so placed that the person dressing is in full light. Side lights are a particularly appropriate type for bedroom use.

The character, equipment, and use of the kitchen are discussed in connection with its planning on pages 100 to 120.