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.
Every large wall space should have an object of central interest about which other objects may group, and if it be not there we must either supply or create it. It may be supplied by one of the larger and taller pieces of furniture, by a large mirror, or a tapestry or other hanging; it may be created by building up a series of objects.
As these built-up effects are among the most interesting and attractive decorative facilities we possess, several of them will be suggested.
First of all, they give us the opportunity of making the most of and of bringing out the true beauty of fine pieces which yet are not of large size. One might, for instance, be the happy possessor of such a handsome inlaid console cabinet as that shown in Plate 92 A, but be so unknowing as to place it, because of its size, in some convenient but undistinguished corner where its beauty would be hidden and its effect as a decoration fatally lost. On the other hand, but little is required to make of it a centre of interest worthy the name - the placing upon it of a few choice objects and the hanging above it of the unusual but simple mirror shows its true value. This group might be flanked by handsome chairs or settees, thus furnishing the side of a room which it would be a pleasure to enter.
A different but similar result may be obtained by the use of a long but low bookcase. Above this we may hang a panel nearly as long as the bookcase and, upon the latter, place a few objects that will unite the two and give interest. These objects might be a plaque or vases, a couple of small pictures and a pair of candlesticks. Or as a centralising object we might use an attractive table or chest with a panel, mirror, or picture hanging above it, and a sconce on each side.
For a stately room, no better centralised group could be imagined than such an arrangement as that of the Italian Renaissance furnishings shown in Plate 89 B, and if one lack such distinguished materials much the same result might be obtained by articles of far less cost.
Probably as comfortable and homelike a composition as could be desired is that which occupies the end of a little room illustrated in Plate 92 B. Here is a. roomy couch with a backing to match the covering, hung from a brass rod upon the wall. There are abundant cushions, and above it is a panel consisting of a series of four attractive and colourful Japanese prints in one mat and frame, flanked by a sconce on the one hand and an upright panel between the long one and the antique bookcase on the other. As usual, photography has emphasised the pattern of the covering. A Sheraton settee with quieter coverings has since taken the place of the couch.
Small hangings are less often used in such situations than mirrors, but if one is on the lookout for such things it would be possible sooner or later to pick up some attractive and unusual piece of drapery that would give individuality to such a setting (Plate 80 A).
Of the built-up effects that have been suggested it may be said that each of these devices has its own interest and that all might be used, each in its own situation.