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.
Paint, enamel, mahogany and dark oak, real or stained, and many other woods less usually employed, are all good. The first two may be either in white or in tint. Great stress is laid by some upon the use of ivory or cream rather than pure white, and this is often advisable, but pure white quite usually becomes ivory and the deeper shades grow "more so."
Where walls are in tint or in colour, whether painted or papered, the painted trim may either be of white or of the same of a kindred colour, in the same or not greatly differing tone. This question will by-and-by be dealt with in detail.
If the trim is not keyed to the wall it may be keyed to the wood of the furniture. If the furniture is mahogany the woodwork had better be of mahogany tone, or in some light tint or one of the whites. Dark oak woodwork is naturally the best for furniture of the same tone. Unlimited varnish is disturbing upon any wood, not less so over that which is dark than over the lighter species.
Grey-fumed oak when well done is in itself not an unpleasing finish, but it is not a practical one except where the furniture is also grey, white enamel or harmonious in colour. The writers recently visited a new apartment-house in which this grey was the universal finish, and thought with many a head-shake of the deplorable result when the unusual mahogany or oak furniture should be placed by the tenants.
As previously mentioned, the trim may be keyed to the walls, or it may be white, or it may be dark. The first means harmony, the last contrast. If the walls be of the Whites, white trim will be harmonious; if they be in colour white will be a contrast. For strong effects the section on Modern Decoration should be consulted.
There is room for a broad and unprejudiced choice. As Mr. George Moore said of literature, "all methods are good," but all methods are not equally good in every circumstance. If our furnishings are likely to be so full of life, colour and contrast that further emphasis would be disturbing, by all means let us have harmony. If we feel that our rooms are strongly balanced in mass and colour, we may well afford ourselves some contrast.