This section is from the book "Homes And Their Decoration", by Lillie Hamilton French. Also available from Amazon: Homes and their decoration.
The head of the bed goes against the blank wall with the night-table beside it. At the foot of the bed is the couch, facing the fire, one end being toward the window. To the right of the couch, on the side nearest the window, is the reading-table, with its books, flowers, and work-basket. A low chair stands by this table; another chair is at the other end of the couch. In this way, as it will be seen, all the movement of those who enter the room is from the bed - which becomes a subordinate feature during the day - and toward the fireplace, the living part of the room being in front of the fire, between the couch and chairs. Even the lights for reading] have been arranged to make this concentration of interests possible. In no other place could the couch and table have the same results.
The writing-table is between the fireplace and the window, which arrangement permits the light to fall over the left shoulder. To balance this table, on the other side of the fireplace is a tall chiffo-niere. Between each of the windows are dressing-tables, one being reserved for the hair, the other for the last touches of the toilette, the putting on of the hat, and so forth. Between the two doors is a high chest with drawers below, and shelves protected by doors above for the bonnets. On the door leading into the closet and completely covering it, is a mirror with bevelled edges and no frame. A mirror on the door, by the way, is a delightful addition to a bedroom. Another mirror is over the mantel. All the furniture is of mahogany except the bed, which is painted white and trimmed with white, as it was when first imported into this country from France a century or more ago. Every provision for comfort has been made in this room, the owner having, as I said, no morning-room at her command. When there is a morning-room, or library, as it is apt to be called in New York, the bedroom is without books or writing-table. Thus with white woodwork and ceiling and fireplace, there is in another brown stone house a bedroom with flowered paper. A bathroom immediately adjoins this, and is reserved for the exclusive use of the owner. The bed is opposite the fireplace and lengthwise against the wall, its head toward the window, and protected by a tall screen. It is of white enamel trimmed with brass, the valance and cover of finely embroidered French muslin over pink. The curtains, chairs, and couch cover are of chintz with pink flowers. There are two windows to the south in this room, the couch going lengthwise between them. The toilet-table stands at right angles to the window. Two tall chifFonieres stand, one between the fireplace and door, the other between the two closet doors. No necessity for the exercise of particular tact in the arrangement of furniture existed in this room, which is reserved for the use of one person, and as a place in which to sleep and dress only. Therefore her need alone had to be considered. The owner's taste, then, has been displayed in knowing just what should be left out.
"THE HEAD OF THE BED GOES AGAINST THE BLANK WALL".
Curiously enough, the disposition of a bedroom lounge often presents itself as a perplexing problem to householders, who imagine it must go flat against the wall or out of the room altogether. The disposition of such a lounge, intended as it is for afternoon naps, or whatever quiet is taken with a book or a needle, is to be studied from its owner's point of view only, not as seats must be studied in a parlor where the point of view of a visitor or of the family as a whole must be considered. There should be a table beside the couch for the holding of a lamp and books.
When this couch is placed in a corner with its head toward the window, a table by its side, and with a row of book-shelves immediately behind it, it not only helps to make an agreeable composition in a room, but adds to the comfort and the pleasure of the idler, who has only to lift her hand to take what books she chooses from the shelf. But wherever it may be placed, the presence of this lounge is imperative in all bedrooms, and it is only when a room is too small to admit it, that its absence is to be excused. It should have on it a pillow or two, and a soft silk blanket neatly folded for covering the feet.
Sometimes, there are six or seven of these soft pillows, each pillow being finer and more beautifully laid than the other. When the couch is like a divan and pushed against the wall, larger pillows are provided as well, in heavy linen covers that have been embroidered and trimmed with inlays of heavy lace. The large furniture establishments are full of couches from which a selection may be made. (Rooms that are made to follow some period must of course have couches belonging to that period, and if the householder cannot ransack an old palace for them, she must go to dealers in old furniture, not to designers of new.) When one's means are limited, a cot covered with chintz, or a wash material, makes an excellent couch. Or again, in simple rooms the rattan couch is good, filled with cushions covered with cotton stuffs.
Properly speaking, the couch should never be covered with anything but a wash material. In elaborately appointed rooms, satins may be proper. Covers of heavy white lace are then thrown over them. This lace can be washed. Chintz is the generally accepted material. Effects of upholstered woollens are altogether reprehensible. A box spring put on castors or a support, and having a mattress on top, makes a comfortable couch. A slip cover can be made for it with a flat top and plain side pieces, the edges bound with braid. This cover can be taken off and laundered. Care should be taken with the braid. Something of cotton, not wool, should be used, otherwise the braid shrinks and the cover is rendered useless.