Portières must serve their purpose, which is most emphatically not that of "drapery" in the sense in which the word has been so much used, but of convenience and utility, beauty, of course, being the twin sister of the latter nowadays. Figured portières with plain walls, and vice versa, are the rule, the coloring blending with both floor and walls and coming between the two in density. Again the neutral tint comes to the rescue if difficulty in matching is met. There is almost an embarrassment of riches in portiere materials in plain and figured velours, woolen brocades, soft tapestries, furniture satins, damasks, velvets, etc., but we are learning the true art value of the simpler denims (plain and fancy), reps, cotton tapestries, rough, heavy linens, and monk's cloth - a kind of jute - for door hangings. The plain goods in dull, soft greens, blues, and browns, with conventional designs in applique or outlining, are not only inexpensive but artistic to a high degree, and are easily fashioned by home talent. Plain strips, too, are used for trimming, and stencil work, but the latter requires rather more artistic ability than most of us possess. Whatever the material, it must be soft enough to draw all the way back and leave a full opening, but not so thin as to be flimsy and stringy. The portiere is either shirred over the pole or hung from it by hook safety pins or rings sewed on at intervals of four inches. Double-faced goods have the hems on the side on which they will show least, with any extra length turned over as a valance on the same side. The finished curtain should hang one inch from the floor and will gradually stretch until it just escapes - the proper length. Single-faced materials are lined to harmonize with the room which receives the wrong side. Lengthwise stripes give a long, narrow effect, while crosswise stripes give an apparent additional width, and plain materials seem to increase the size of a doorway. Rods may be either of a wood corresponding with the other woodwork, or of brass, with rings, sockets, and brackets of the same material, the brass rod to be an inch in diameter and the wooden 1 1/2 inches or more and set inside the jambs.
Portieres are also of service in softening the opening of a large bay window, making a cozy corner, or cutting off an awkward length of hall. When a doorway is very high it is better to carry the portière to within a foot or so of the top, leaving the opening unfilled, or supplying a simple grille of wood harmonizing with the wood of the door. A pretty fashion is to introduce into this space a shelf on which to place pieces of brass or pottery. Beaded, bamboo, and rope affairs are neither draperies nor curtains, graceful, useful nor ornamental, and are consequently not to be considered.
Men of science may cry "Down with draperies!" - but we members of that choicer cult known as domestic science stand loyally by them, for though in draperies there may be microbes, there is also largess of coziness and geniality.