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.
We have just looked over a series of interiors of modern club-houses and handsome dwellings and the first expression occurring thereat was decidedly unlit-erary. It seems to be a weakness of human nature that where an allowance is made for the sake of variety and use it too often becomes an obsession. As many of these interiors with furniture set "anyhow" over the floor can only be described as a conglomeration, it is well for us to take warning.
Let us consider then what we may properly do in the placing of furniture out upon the floor space. We may do nothing if it will result in crowding. Even the setting of a single table in the centre of a room is bad if we must spoil our tempers to get around it. In small rooms we may, however, make another disposition of a table which is pleasing and convenient. Instead of placing it flat against a window or wall space, with a chair before it, its back to the room, or instead of placing a chair at either end, we may set the table endwise to the wall, or to one side of the window, and a chair at one or both sides of the table. With a few interesting objects upon the latter, we shall find that we have an attractive grouping.
A small table or stand in front of an end of a sofa or by a large chair at once commends itself because convenient.
The arrangement of a sofa backed by a table has its convenience - we may sit on the sofa and read by the light placed upon the table - but we should be careful that the two pieces chosen agree better than they sometimes do. One "set-out" arrangement which seems to have widely spread among householders is the placing of a couch or seat at the foot of a bedstead (Plate 88 A) - another good device under proper conditions. But often we have been obliged to smile at the absurdity of an imposing couch at the foot of a negligible bedstead, an amusing example of the "tail wagging the dog." We often wonder why persons who use common sense in most concerns of life fail to do so in such simple matters. Is it that they are determined to follow a vogue of which they have heard, at whatever cost 1
Chairs in front of bookcases, wardrobes and cabinets are annoying, as each time a door is opened the chair must be moved; and why add to human misery by strewing chairs and stools everywhere around to fall over or stumble against: in short, why so crowd a room with set-out furniture that our progress through it becomes a process or a pilgrimage? The blocking of doorways is equally bad practice.
It is also to be remembered that the littering of a room with all sorts of unrelated objects and personal effects is utterly destructive of repose and charm.
Finally, the large pieces of furniture set out upon the floor space should follow the direction of the one wall or the other. Impossible angles distract us through disturbing the harmony of line. "Women, through a mistaken idea that "setting things cata-cornered9' gives homelike character, are notable offenders in this respect. A chair, or resting stool or two, may be left at the convenient angle at which naturally occupied, but if we go beyond this we have disturbance.