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.
The idea that a room must be furnished exclusively with one suite of furniture is happily defunct; and yet, like most such popular conceptions, it contains a certain amount of validity; the errour lying in its being narrowed into a decorative dictum. If we substitute may for "must" and delete "exclusively" we shall arrive at the truth that in some instances a suite of furniture is an excellent basis upon which to work.
In a large drawing-room, particularly of the Georgian period or in the styles of Louis Quinze or Louis Seize, it is highly advisable that sofas, chairs, stools, couches, cabinets and tables should form a suite or be sufficiently in keeping essentially to do so. To these, however, may advantageously be*added other pieces, still in keeping, but sufficiently different to give variety. In the dining-room it is well that the chairs about the table should form a set, but if the room be large we may well add wall chairs of harmonising but different build to redeem the room from bareness and too great uniformity.
Even in the informal drawing- or living-room a settee and a few matching chairs among other furniture undoubtedly give an aspect of unity which is not so evident if all the pieces differ one from another.
One of the best plans in the furnishing of informal rooms is to select a sufficient number of pieces of one period or style, though not necessarily matching, to form a basis, adding to these other furniture various but not conflicting. With these may well be used a few appropriate lacquered or painted pieces.
The whole subject of the mingling of cognate styles is fully and scientifically treated in Part III on Inter-national-Interperiod Decoration.