Our English notions of cleanliness would scarcely permit us to tolerate any kind of coverlid for a bed which could not be periodically washed. Hence the modern counterpane, in some form or another, is likely to remain in permanent use for our beds, though it must be confessed that both in design and material it has greatly degenerated from the quality of those made some five and twenty years ago. From an artistic point of view the counterpanes now manufactured for servants' bed-rooms, in which coloured thread is introduced for the knotted pattern on a grey or white ground, are very suggestive in colour, but I fear that any approach to this style of coverlid would be regarded as objectionable in 'best' bed-rooms.

The striped 'Austrian' blankets which have been lately offered for sale in London shops indicate a certain tendency towards the picturesque in design, but unfortunately the colours hitherto used for them are, like most modern dyes, far too crude and violent in contrast to satisfy artistic taste.

Carpets are now so universally used to cover every portion of the floors throughout an English house, that few people find themselves comfortable without one, yet there is no doubt that the old custom of laying down a bed-side rug, and leaving the rest of the floor bare, was, especially in London houses, where dust accumulates so insidiously and rapidly, a healthier and more cleanly, as well as a more picturesque fashion, than that now in vogue.

Bed-room chairs of modern manufacture are, as a rule, of simpler, and therefore of better design, than those made for the drawing-room. Some very fair examples have of late been executed for this purpose, but perhaps the best which can be found ready-made are the rush-bottomed 'nursery' chairs, of which the wood-work is stained black, with low seats and high backs. They are still to be bought in the East of London, and traditionally retain in their general shape the spirit of an earlier and better style of work than is common in more luxurious furniture.

As a lady's taste is generally allowed to reign supreme in regard to the furniture of bed-rooms, I must protest humbly but emphatically against the practice which exists of encircling toilet-tables with a sort of muslin petticoat, generally stiffened by a crinoline of pink or blue calico.

Something of the same kind may be occasionally seen twisted round the frame of the toilet-glass. They just represent a milliner's notion of the 'pretty,' and nothing more. Drapery of this kind neither is wanted nor ought to be introduced in such places. In London, especially, where dust and blacks collect whenever the bed-room window is open, it should be avoided. A mahogany toilet-table with marble top, and a few convenient little drawers, is a cleaner and infinitely preferable contrivance, and, though more costly at first, saves something in the weekly washing bill.

Never buy 'shaped' chests of drawers - i.e. those which bulge out in front, or veneered work of any kind, if possible. A good plan is to find out some place where mahogany furniture is made in large quantities. Order what articles you require to be made in solid wood, and either simply rubbed with linseed oil, or if they must be stained at all, let them be stained black before they are polished. White metal drawer-rings, etc, may then be bought of any mediaeval ironmonger, and attached to the 'ebonised' wood with excellent effect.

Of course the above suggestions are only made for the benefit of those who do not care to incur the trouble and expense of ordering furniture expressly for themselves. But an intelligent carpenter (one who does not work 'for the trade' will be best) ought by the aid of a few hints and sketches to turn out a more workmanlike and picturesque object tor bedroom use than the uninteresting and often weakly-constructed drawers of modern make.

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For practical purposes they generally are far too deep. Every one knows the inconvenience of being obliged to delve down below innumerable strata of clothes to find a coat or waistcoat which is wanted in a hurry. A depth of five or six inches is quite sufficient for a single drawer of ordinary use, and by the additional height thus gained in the whole chest, another drawer may be added to the set. It is also desirable that the sides of the chest (i.e. the framework which supports the drawers) should project a little beyond their fronts. This will be found to give a greater look of stability to the whole, and it also affords an opportunity to introduce a little decoration in the way of mouldings or carved-work to relieve the rigid box-shaped appearance which characterises this piece of furniture as it is usually constructed. *

With a little alteration in design the modern hanging-press could be made a very picturesque, as it certainly is a most serviceable, article of domestic use. But here again the fashionable upholsterer condemns us to adopt his own notions of elegance by rounding off corners which in a legitimately constructive sense can only be angular - shaping panels into extravagant curves, gluing on strips of paltry and meaningless scroll-work, and surmounting the press with a heavy and uninteresting cornice. Now the cost involved by this mode of decoration, and by lacquering the whole woodwork with French polish, would be sufficient to pay for a soundly-made oak or mahogany wardrobe, which by the general proportions of its form, and few judiciously-introduced mouldings, might become a really artistic feature. In this instance, as in many others, improved taste can only be effected by the dictates of common sense, and it should be always borne in mind that increase of cost, while it may help to enrich furniture, can never invest it with the true spirit of good design.

* The design represented on the preceding page is for a chest of drawers which may occasionally be used for a toilet table in a small dressing-room. It is of course not intended for ladies' use.

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