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Color in House Interiors.

The principles of the proper use of color in house interiors are not difficult to master. It is unthinking, unreflective action which makes so many un-restful interiors of homes. The creator of a home should consider, in the first place, that it is matter as important as climate, and as difficult to get away from, and that the first shades of color used in the house, on walls or ceiling, must govern everything else that enters in the way of furnishing?that the color of walls prescribes that which must be used in floors, curtains and furniture; not that these must necessarily be of the same tint as walls, but that those tints must govern the choice.
All this makes it necessary to take first steps carefully, to select for each room the colors which will best suit the taste, feeling or bias of the occupant, and then take into account with this the exposure of the room and the use of it. I will illustrate the modifications made necessary in tint by different exposure to light by supposing that some one member of the family prefers yellow to all other colors, one who has enough of the chameleon in her nature to feel an instinct to bask in the sunshine. I will also suppose that the room most conveniently devoted to this person has a southern exposure. In using yellow in this room, which is naturally flooded with warm yellow light, the quality of the yellow must be very different from that which could be properly and profitably used in a room with a northern exposure, and it must differ not only in intensity, but actually in color. To get the best effect in each, the room with southern exposure should be paler and colder, the tint of yellow should be the lemon, and not the gold-yellow; one should be treated with a chrome-tinted white, and one with almost pure ocher-color. Of course these differences belong to technical knowledge and experience, but the want of experience can be in a great degree supplemented by careful study, and the results warrant both care and study.
In simple houses with plaster ceilings, the tints to be used upon them are easily decided. The rule of gradation of color from floor to ceiling prescribes for the latter the lightest tone of the gradation, and as the ceiling stands for light, and should actually reflect light into the room, the philosophy of this arrangement of colors is obvious. It is not, however, by any means an invariable rule that the ceiling should carry the same tint as the wall, even in a much lighter tone, although greater harmony and restfulness of effect is produced in this way. A ceiling of creamy white will harmonize well with almost any tint upon the walls, and at the same time give an effect of air and light in the room. It is also a good ground for ornament in elaborately decorated rooms.
In considering simply the proper and best use of color for house interiors, it is not necessary to include the question of ornament or elaboration either of walls or ceiling. These may follow, but tint must go before, and, if thoroughly studied and well chosen, can very well dispense with ornament. Harper's Bazar.
- Taken from The Manufacturer arid Builder April 1894

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