I. International-Inter Period Decoration

By far the most satisfactory method of furnishing, either for the elaborate or the simple house or apartment, is that combining nationalities and periods which properly accompany each other as under sufficiently dose decorative influences. Of such importance is this plan that it has been fully developed and exemplified in Part III. Its title indicates the scope of this method, its infinite variety, and its freedom from all narrowness of view.

Full provision is also there made for period furnishing where the walls must necessarily be simple, owing to the property being rented, or for other reasons. Many new houses and apartments are finished interiorly with wood-work of simple, classical design appropriate to almost any epoch. Doors and windows are usually in good proportion, the former being simply panelled. These features are so unobtrusive and non-committal that they may be left as they are, and with a treatment of the walls either in simple, tasteful style, or adapted more closely to the period chosen, furnishing may be in accordance with almost any period style. In many conditions and for non-plethoric purses this is an excellent method.

II. The One-Period Method

This method with its limitations is also mentioned in Part HI, which see.

III. The "Modern" Method, Or The "Newer Decoration"

This is a various, adaptable, and inexpensive style of decoration enabling those occupying small houses or apartments, if possessed of taste and judgment, to secure excellent and artistic results by simple means. It is fully described in Part I, Chapter IX (Nineteenth Century Episodes And After), and details for its carrying out are provided in the various chapters of Part II.

IV. The Non-Committal Method

In many cases families possess much modern furniture, including wicker, of various kinds and of no particular style, and there is no alternative to using it While it is not an advisable method of furnishing to be deliberately chosen, where it already exists and the owners have taste the results may be very charming and homelike.

Frequently it is possible to weed out gradually the less desirable pieces and substitute more desirable things. Many hints may be taken from the "Modern Method," or a transformation effected by easy stages to Inter-period style. If either is done the decision made should be adhered to, as a fluctuating policy hinders good results here as elsewhere.

The improvement of our home-life and surroundings throughout the country, on the farm, and in remote districts as well as in the centres of civilisation should be a purpose dear to all of us. On holidays and anniversaries no better gift to relatives and intimate friends could be found than pieces of furniture or furnishings which are good in themselves and appropriate to the surroundings of those receiving them. As it is to the rising generation that we must look for improvement, so every boy and girl should be encouraged to take pride in the rooms they occupy and be helped in their development.

Great insistence has been laid upon the need of "expressing one's own personality in one's surroundings." The counsel when so baldly stated is apt to lead to self-consciousness, artificiality and a false striving to be different, resulting merely in freakishness of effect. If, with sincerity, we endeavour simply to make our surroundings as beautiful as in us lies, as homelike, as consistent with our needs and our social standing, we shall in the end find that we have expressed ourselves - as we are, and not according to some vain imagining of what our personality is.

Of the four methods of furnishing above described it will be seen that two contemplate the use of Period Furniture. There seems to be an impression among many who have given no particular attention to the subject that there is something esoteric about Period Furniture, that it is beyond their comprehension - and also that the furniture itself is beyond their pocketbooks. Both suppositions are probably wrong for readers of this book. Half the time spent on bridge, motors or "movies" for a few weeks would give them much valuable information, and for those who cannot afford genuine antiques there are always faithful reproductions.

"But why should I trouble myself about the styles of the past?" may be asked. Because there we find a beauty unapproached by modern designers. With the decadence of the Empire style the art of great furniture-design died, and we still await its resurrection.