If we have not done so before, when we take up consideration of the walls we will, if we can afford it, call in a professional decorator. First, of course, we will make sure that he really may be of service to us, for his duty is to give practical and artistic development to the more or less vague ideas of which we have become possessed, and if he seems, from examples of previous work, to be wedded to a " style " of his own that would not jibe with our aspirations, we would better try to struggle along without him.
But it is possible to secure the services of a decorative artist for a sum not necessarily tremendous, and if we get hold of a sensible fellow his advice will be, in the end, worth much more than the extra outlay. If he is a sincere artist, he will plan just as carefully for a modest six-room cottage as for a mansion, and he will be able to take the good points of our own schemes and adapt them to expert application without making us feel too insignificant.
Explicit advice as to decoration, where there are thousands of us, each in different circumstances and with variant tastes, would be rather an absurdity. We may emphasize to ourselves, however, a few phases of the decorative problem in which lack of thought would lose to us some of the joys of a house perfected.
If we are not to employ a decorator we must study out the problem for ourselves. To leave it for the painter and paperhanger to settle would be a fatal error. Much knowledge may be gained by the study of books and magazine articles, provided they are very recent. It will be advisable to weigh this knowledge in the scales of practical observation, however, in houses of late date. This is not so much because of changes in fashion as for the reason that improvements in process are always being made, and even the omnipresent folk who write books sometimes overlook a point. Concerning fashion, which of course has its sway in decoration, we will remember that the simplest treatment survives longest.