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.
As has been said in Part I, Chapter IX (Nineteenth Century Episodes And After), simplicity and right organisation are prominent tenets of the newer school, and it is recognised that the correct handling of backgrounds is necessary to this result. If they are to be prominently decorative a restful balance must elsewhere be secured and, as this involves the sacrifice of many other decorative possibilities, it is frequently found more feasible that they should remain backgrounds and allow the introduction of decoration in other objects. There is, therefore, with this school a recognised use of walls in greys, creams, buffs and other tints and light tones. These have now for some time past, however, been so largely employed by good decorators that it is felt by the moderns that they make somewhat for monotony and that stronger colour may often advantageously be used. This is but a return to the past, for during the period from Queen Anne to Adam walls both plain and panelled were often in virile tones. They were still tones, nevertheless, and bright blues, red orange, and the like, were certainly not used.
If we had but one or two rooms to consider, quite brightly coloured walls might easily be managed, but if a certain degree of unity be lacking in the background it will be difficult to supply it elsewhere, and if one strong colour be adopted throughout it will become exceedingly tiresome before many months of its company.
For plain-coloured walls, whether quiet or in brighter hue, any of the resources mentioned in the previous section may be drawn upon. Painted and sand-finished walls are among the very best for this method, but paper also is frequently used. That with some texture or slight mottling is better than a perfectly smooth surface. Narrow vertical stripes are also good and give an approximately plain result. Gold and silver papers are rich and handsome and grass-cloth papers are unexcelled.
As a sense of unity is all that is required, there may be some considerable variation in colour or surface in the different rooms. If, for example, a silver-grey grass-cloth paper is the general covering the employment of a grey blue of fairly strong shade, or of silver paper in one or two rooms would not create undue dissimilarity; nor would strong yellow, salmon or light tan vary too greatly from a general tone of cream,