This section is from the book "The Practical Book Of Interior Decoration", by Harold Donaldson Eberlein, Abbot Mcclure, Edward Stratton Holloway. See also: The Victorian House Book: A Practical Guide to Home Repair and Decoration.
As previously seen, yellow stands for light and in its pure shades makes for cheerfulness in rooms which have but moderate sunlight. By the same token, in strongly lighted rooms it makes for glare. If used in such rooms, therefore, the quieter shades of yellow, such as buff and tan, are usually chosen. Quietness need never mean dullness, but in household practice it too frequently does. We have previously inveighed against the deadness of many American homes; is it from simple inertia or from incapacity for any originality that so many rooms exist with walls of dead and dull mustard-colour oatmeal paper, which absorbs all light as a sponge does moisture; rugs and portieres in perhaps a darker and still duller shade, "relieved" perchance with brown pr sickly cream. Frequently added to this is Mission furniture in the dullest of oak, and leather cushions of the same hue, unrelieved by any ray of brightness, a veritable symphony of mud and mustard I If any reader is unfortunately possessed of such a room we trust he will make speed to import into it some notes of strong- orange or blue as previously suggested; but in newly furnishing let us point out the better way. If one wishes to use a quiet shade of buff, etc., there is no objection to quietness if it has life, i.e., enough yellow or orange in its composition to avoid the deadness which, all considered, is really a note of the "ordinary" and the "neutral."
But quiet tones in even an highly lighted room are not of absolute necessity. It is to be remembered that there are always such things as awnings, shades, Venetian blinds and curtains rich and heavy enough to modify and diffuse a garish light to a happy glow. With such a light it is therefore possible, if one wishes, to employ tones of orange, buff, gold or Chinese yellow, all making for life and cheerfulness.
These tones go well with golden or dark oak, with mahogany, walnut, ivory or painted furniture, so that the yellows are among the most desirable shades for furnishing. It is well, however, not to let this colour - or any other - "run away" with one. A mingling with other harmonising and pleasantly contrasting colours is advisable in some of the draperies or in the various objects of ornament a room contains, so as to obviate the artificial air always given by an apartment too definitely of one colour. This is notably the case with a strong yellow, for it is unbecoming to some complexions and does not invariably form the best background for the dress of modern women.
The browns are derivatives from yellow mixed with red and some blue. There are many attractive shades, and brown velour for hangings is rich and handsome: The colour should, however, be sparingly used, as it makes for darkness and dullness.