This section is from the book "Your Home And Its Decoration", by The Sherwin-Williams Company. See also: Nell Hill's Feather Your Nest: It's All in the Details.
ONE is often impressed with the feeling that there is not sufficient thought given to the treatment of side walls and ceilings of the various rooms of the house. As these divisions of an apartment present the greatest surfaces of light and shadow, the dominating color influence of the room should be found in them.
This is not a question to be lightly settled; there are a number of equally important controlling influences which must be reckoned with in making a decision in regard to the color to be adopted for the several rooms of the house, and the medium which will present it. Where the rooms open well together, in selecting the color, they must be considered as a whole, that perfect harmony or pleasing contrast may prevail. These colors must agreeably complement the stain or finish of the standing woodwork. For the rooms of northern and western exposure, they must be warmer in tone than those employed in the southern or southeastern rooms.
Plate XXVII. A Narrow Line of Plaster Ornamentations Follows the Beams.
Plate XXVIII. The Elegant Simplicity of the Chimneypiece is Perfectly Complemented by the Pattern and Color of the Wall Paper.
Then, too, the character of the rooms, as evidenced in architectural detail and the uses to which the apartments will be put, is of equal importance. A wall covering, or stenciled design, found wholly suited to the entrance hall of the house might prove quite inappropriate for the living or dining-room. This last, however, is a question which must be determined individually. There is, to-day, a decided tendency toward plain or two-toned effects for the side walls of the house, with plain tones for the ceiling. Additional interest may be given such walls by the introduction of a well-selected stenciled design for the frieze.
On the interior walls of the modern house the use of flat paints and Flat-tone finishes is gradually increasing. Very beautiful colors in flat effects may be procured in tones and shades conforming to any conditions. The advantage of this will appear to most of us who have struggled to obtain the desired color by having the workman mix the paint for us, as this nearly always results in a muddy or cloudy effect. Using flat tones, it is possible to obtain a line of samples which show the many desirable colors and shades in which one may procure it, and from which complete color schemes may be worked out. Flat tone is also found an excellent medium for ceiling tints, supplying old ivory, ecru, pearl gray, and other delicate tones suited to this portion of the room.
Where it is the intention to retain uncovered walls, the sand finished or rough plaster is equally as satisfactory as the smooth, hard plaster. Either effect may be used for ceilings. The decision should be governed by the architectural style of the house; for instance, in a house built on Colonial lines, the plaster finish for the ceiling should be smooth and show an ivory tint. Such ceilings may be cross beamed, with the beams treated with ivory enamel, a narrow line of plaster ornamentation following the beams, or a central design in plaster or ornamental cove about the room, showing the egg and dart, or some other characteristic design.
Plate XXIX. Where the Figure in the Paper is Sufficiently Unobtrusive, Pictures may be Hung Against It.
Plate XXX. The Decorative Design on the Ceiling is Repeated in the Swags of Fruit on Either Side of the Mantel.
PLATE D. Beautiful Color in Flat-tone Effects may be Procured in Tones and Shades Conforming to Any Conditions See Specifications, Chapter XXI (The Importance Of Working Specifications).
In Plate XXVIII a Colonial dining-room is shown. The elegant simplicity of the chimneypiece is perfectly complemented by the pattern and color of the wall paper, which is from an old block of Colonial times, supplying thus an excellent background for the really old pieces of mahogany. The small all-over figure of this paper is in tones of faint gray and ivory. The ceiling has been tinted a shade of ivory white harmonizing with the woodwork.
Tapestry effects in wall-papers, where the colors are soft and dull, and the figures retreat well, are often good selections for rooms of Colonial character. Plate XXIX offers a good illustration of such treatment; here the ceiling is sparsely beamed and tinted the same shade of ivory as the woodwork shows. The figure in this side wall is sufficiently unobtrusive to make it possible to use pictures against it effectively.
Where the paneled side walls extend to the ceiling line the effect is dignified and beautiful, provided the arch detail of the woodwork is good. In Plate XXX we offer a very beautiful example of such treatment. This room is paneled in oak which has been stained a nut-brown color, and given a flat finish. The plainness of the ceiling is relieved at the beginning of the cove by a narrow line of plaster ornamentation showing fruit and blossoms. The same design is repeated in the heavily carved swags of fruit shown on either side of the panel above the mantelshelf.
Plate XXXI. Floral Wall Papers are Particularly Appropriate for Bedrooms.
Plate XXXII. The Wall Covering is of Japanese Grass Cloth in a Shade of Golden Tan.
Among the materials other than papers which are favored as wall coverings Japanese Grass Cloth ranks first. This comes in a very beautiful variety of colors and shades, and the soft gloss which the irregular texture shows makes it an ideal wall covering.
In many of the smaller places the paper-hanger feels that this is a difficult material to put on the wall. If, however, they carefully follow the instructions which come with every roll there can be no real trouble. The whole secret of its successful application lies in applying the paste to the wall surface rather than to the back of the grass cloth, as in wall-papers.
Plate XXXII shows a very attractive hall in a modified Colonial house. The wall covering is of Japanese Grass Cloth, in a shade of golden tan, harmonizing delightfully with the ivory tint of the woodwork and the mahogany furniture, hand-rail, and stairs.
Floral wall covers are particularly appropriate for bedrooms, although to-day many people have a prejudice against a figure which can be followed with the eye. However, there are very charming and beautiful designs offered in imported and domestic papers, and used as in Plate XXXI, with plain window draperies the effect is charming.
Plate XXXIII. With Plain or Two-tone Walls in a Bedroom, Figured Chintz or Cretonne Should be Used for Over-Drapery.
Where plain or two-toned striped papers are used in a bedroom, figured floral chintz or cretonne is dainty and attractive when used for over-draperies at the windows, cushions, and furniture coverings, as shown in corner in Plate XXXIII. Here the furniture has been enameled with the same ivory white as was used for the standing woodwork of the room. The walls are plain green in color, showing a two-tone stripe. A material similar in color and design is used to cover the wing chair. Draperies and cushions are made of French cretonne, showing garlands of pink roses and green leaves against an ivory ground.
Most people prefer painted or enameled walls in their bathrooms and in the service department of the house. There are, however, occasional conditions which make the use of a wall covering desirable. In the bathroom, as shown in Plate XXXIV, is a paper of very attractive design of sea gulls against a light gray-green colored background. This paper is heavy in quality and has been varnished, making it washable. A green and white bath rug should be used with this paper, and the woodwork treated with a high-gloss enamel which is impervious to heat and moisture and, therefore, suitable for such rooms in the house.
Many attractive stencil designs can be obtained which are particularly suitable for the bathroom - a water-lily design placed just above the Keene cement or tile wainscoting produces a most pleasing effect. These stencils should be applied with durable stencil colors over a sanitary painted wall. The subject of sanitary walls and ceilings is dwelt upon in detail in Chapter XVII (The Treatment Of Side Walls And Ceilings). Still more exacting conditions governing wall and ceiling finishes are found in the kitchen where steam and other fumes are to be contended with. This is a subject for the paint chemist, who has devoted years of study to it. The only safeguard lies in choosing materials of the most reliable manufacturer. With the many excellent stains and the special stain reducers, these harmonious effects can be easily obtained.
Plate XXXIV. A Green and White Bathroom.