The regarding of the floor as Foundation will be found particularly appropriate when we consider such Structural Floors as light-coloured tile (Plate 81B), white marble, mosaic and cement, all of which are deficient in depth of colour. Fortunately, we not only possess a colour-sense but also that which appreciates weight, and in these instances we so feel the solidity of the Foundation that the balance is supplied to the weakness of "value." Even then if we use floors so light in tone we shall usually need to keep the walls light and quiet in effect, though here as elsewhere the old masters of decoration surmounted every obstacle and solved all problems of balance (see Plate 139), Red tiles make excellent flooring of good colour value, but we shall here need to use caution as to the tones of reds we employ in rugs, draperies, etc., so as to avoid conflict.

Cement floors may be successfully executed by incorporating borders of polychrome tiles or medallionlike inlays at certain intervals. The illustration (Plate 81 A) shows part of a cement floor in an oval breakfast room with tile border and polychrome tile medallions at ends and sides.

From such examples as the above we see that we may employ resources whch come near to opposing usual principles, provided that we frankly recognise the difficulty and offset it by proper action in other directions. The wide-boarded floors are so obviously structural that they convey to the eye a satisfying sense of adequate foundation, despite their colour, but with very light-toned hardwood floors of narrow boards we do not feel the helpful sense of weight, and if they are lighter than the walls and cannot be darkened, they should be fairly well covered with rugs which are somewhat darker. But here again we must go with caution: if we laid down upon such a floor but a few small rugs as dark and heavy as the Beluchistans, for instance, we should then have such violent contrast that the result would probably be more upsetting than the original floor. Rugs, therefore, in such conditions should be of but medium strength, or else the light flooring should be almost covered with one or two larger rugs or a carpet.

Finish

Waxing is usually recommended as the best treatment for hardwood floors, but their slipperiness is the cause of painful and even fatal accidents. Shellac is also commonly used.

In old houses the flooring is often of wide boards (a survival of the Colonial method) sometimes coarse and badly worn. If not too hopeless, staining and shellacking will give good results; if very bad the cracks and crevices may be filled with putty and the floor painted and varnished. Sometimes nothing remains but to carpet them entirely, or to cover with a "filling" or matting, in which case rugs can be used over this preliminary surface.