AMONG the many fallacies engendered in the mind of the modern upholsterer, and delivered by him as wholesome doctrine to a credulous public, is the notion that all conditions of decorative art must necessarily vary with the situation in which that art is employed. It is not sufficient for him to tell us that the dining-room table and sideboard should, on account of the use to which they are put, be made after a more solid fashion than the drawing-room table and the cheffonier. He is not content with informing his customers (if, indeed, they need such information) that bookcases will be required for the library, and flower-stands are suitable for the boudoir; but he proceeds with great gravity to lay down a series of rules by which certain types of form and certain shades of colour are to be, for some mysterious reason best known to himself, for ever associated with certain apartments in the house. In obedience to this injunction we sit down to dine upon an oaken chair before an oaken table, with a Turkey carpet under our feet, and a red flock-paper staring us in the face. After dinner the ladies ascend into a green-and-gold-papered drawing-room, to perform on a walnut-wood piano, having first seated themselves on walnut-wood music-stools, while their friends are reclining on a walnut-wood sofa, protected from the heat of the fire by a walnut-wood screen. A few years ago, all these last-mentioned articles of household furniture were made of rosewood. In the early part of this century it was de rigueur that they should be mahogany; so the fashion of taste goes on changing from age to age; and I firmly believe that if the West End upholsterers took it into their heads that staircases should be hung with moire antique, and that the drawing-room fender ought in summer time to be planted with mignonette, there are people who would repose implicit confidence in such advice.

Take, for instance, the case of carpets. If the chaste and deftly associated colours which characterise the Oriental loom are right, and content us downstairs, why should we lapse into the vulgarity of garlands and bouquets for the decoration of our drawing-room floors ? And so with regard to cabinet-work. It is of course unnecessary to fit up a boudoir with furniture of the size and capacity which we require in a dining-room sideboard. But though the shape of a cheffonier may differ from that of a buffet, there can be no reason whatever why the style of design in these respective articles of furniture should vary. We may require, in a modern reception-room, chairs of a lighter make and more easily moveable than those in a library, but why the former should necessarily have round seats and the latter square ones is a mystery which no one but an upholsterer could explain.

The truth is, there is an absurd conventionality about such points as these, to which most of us submit, under a vague impression that if we differ from our neighbours we shall be violating good taste. We pass from one principle of design for the ground-floor, to another and completely distinct one when we have ascended two flights of stairs. We leave a solid, gloomy, and often cumbersome class of furniture below, to find a flimsy and extravagant one above. It may be a question which of these two extremes is the more objectionable. Judged by the standard of any recognised principles in art-manufacture, they would probably both be considered wrong. But it is obvious that they cannot both be right.

In the early part of the present century a fashionable conceit prevailed of fitting up separate apartments in large mansions each after a style of its own. Thus we had Gothic halls, Elizabethan chambers, Louis Quatorze drawing-rooms, etc. etc, all under one roof. It is scarcely possible to imagine any system of house-furnishing more absurd and mischievous in its effect upon uneducated taste than this. Indeed, it was the practical evidence that a healthy and genuine taste was altogether wanting. Choose what style of furniture we may, it should surely be adopted throughout the house we live in.