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.
We have the expression "Hearth and Home," and when there is a fireplace, it is the central object of interest and should be so treated. In many old houses, a 19. settle often stood endwise to the room at one or both sides of the fireplace, and in modern use the same device may be employed. A tea-table, sensibly set at its end, does much to relieve the stiffness of a settle and adds to the home-like atmosphere of the composition.
In more elegant rooms it is now happily qnite customary to place a sofa in the same position. An excellent example of fireplace treatment is shown in Plate 56. If space is limited it is sometimes better to employ an easy-chair, with perhaps a stand or small table, for the opposing side. There should be a hearth rug and cricket, hassock or a sitting pillow or two upon the floor. Such an arrangement at once gives an air of comfort and rest. If a room is too small to admit of a full-length couch or sofa, we could use one of the double-chair settees, or simply another comfortable chair. Sofas are sometimes placed directly before the fireplace and backed by a table.
In large living-rooms or libraries, it is often pleasing to draw up a small table with books and a chair before the fireplace, placing them sufficiently far away to avoid any appearance of crowding. If, owing to the arrangement of the room, this should be found to look artificial, take them away - nothing but sincerity is tolerable.