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Relaxation and repose are to be cultivated for beautiful hands

Relaxation and repose are to be cultivated for beautiful hands

“I take thy hand, this hand,

As soft as dove’s down, and as white as it;

Or Ethiopia’s tooth, or the fann’d snow,

That’s bolted by the northern blast twice o’er.”

—Shakespeare

Pretty hands—like sweet tempers and paragons of husbands—are largely a matter of care and cultivation. Much more so, in fact, than most of us are aware. While tapering fingers and perfect palms count for considerable, the general beauty of the hand lies not in its correct outline so much as in the whiteness and velvety softness of the skin and the perfectly trimmed, well-kept nails. Read more »

Avoid anything dark and somber for the sleeping room

Avoid anything dark and somber for the sleeping room

The walls of bedrooms should be decorated in light tints and shadings, with a narrow rail and deep frieze. Most housekeepers prefer rugs and oiled floors to carpets, but this is a matter of individual taste.

Rugs are as fashionable as they are wholesome and tidy. These floor-coverings should be darker than the furniture, yet blending in shade. If carpets are chosen they should be the lightest shades and in bright field-flower patterns.

Avoid anything dark and somber for the sleeping-room. Pink and ceil blue combined are very pretty, scarlet and gray, deep red and very light blue. Dark blue with sprays of lily of the valley running through it is exceedingly pretty for bedrooms. Dark furniture will harmonize with all these colors, but the lighter shades are preferable.

Cretonnes in pale tints and chintzes in harmonizing colors are used for light woods. Square pillows of cretonne on a bamboo or wicker lounge are very pretty. Canton matting is often used, either plain or in colored patterns. Formerly the bed-coverings were spotlessly white, but the profluent tide of color has included these also. The coverings now in vogue are: Nottingham lace, darned net, applique, antique lace, and Swiss muslin. These are used over silk and silesia for backgrounds, and are exceedingly pretty, with pillow shams to match. Cretonnes, chintzes, dimities, and silk in crazy work and South Kensington patterns are also used.

Cheese cloth, bunting, Swiss muslin, cretonne, and Swiss curtains are used for window drapery. These may be trimmed with the same fabric or antique lace. They are hung on poles above the windows and draped back with ribbons. The appointments of a bedroom are a low couch, a large rocker, a small sewing-chair, a workbasket, footstools, a toilet table prettily draped with muslin, or a dressing-case, brackets for vases, flowerpots, a few pictures, small table, hanging shelves for books, etc., and the bed.

The washstand should have a full set of toilet mats, or a large towel with a colored border may be laid on it; also, a splasher placed on the wall at the back of the stand is very essential. A screen is a very desirable part of the bedroom appointments. A rug should be placed in front of the bed and dressing-case.

A dining room should have richness, convenience and comfort

A dining room should have richness, convenience and comfort

THE DINING-ROOM

The dining-room should be furnished with a view to convenience, richness, and comfort. Choose deep, rich grounds for the walls—bronze-maroon, black, Pompeiian red, and deep olive—and the designs and traceries in old gold, olive or moss-green, with dado and frieze to correspond. Or, the walls may be wainscoted with oak, walnut, maple, etc. Some are finished in plain panels, with different kinds of wood; others, again, are elaborately carved, with fruit, flowers, and emblems of the chase. The floor is the next point for consideration. It may be of tile or laid in alternate strips of different colored woods, with a border of parquetry. Rugs or carpets may be used on these floors or dispensed with, according to taste. If a carpet is used, the dark, rich shades found in the Persian and Turkish designs should be chosen.

The window drapery should be those deep, rich colors that hold their own despite time and use—the pomegranates, rich crimsons, dark blues, dull Pompeiian reds, and soft olives. These curtains may be hung on poles, and should fall in heavy folds to the floor, then looped back with a wide embroidered dado. Screens of stained glass are now used in the windows. They are both useful and ornamental, for they exclude the strong rays of the sun, and the light filtering through them beautifies the room with its many mellow hues.

Dark wood should be used for the furniture. The chairs should be chosen in square, solid styles, and upholstered in embossed or plain leather, with an abundance of brass or silver headed nails which are used for upholstering leather and add much to the substantial appearance of the articles. The dining-table should be low, square or bevel cornered, heavily carved, and when not in use should be covered with a cloth corresponding in shade to the window drapery. A buffet may stand in one corner for the display of ceramics or decorated china.

The sideboard should be of high, massive style, with shelves and racks for glassware and pieces of china. A few pictures—two or three fruit pieces and one or two plaques of still life—are appropriate. A case of stuffed birds, a few large pots of tropical plants, and a fernery are in keeping with the dining-room appointments. A three-leaf folding Japanese screen should not be forgotten; also, a lamp shade of antique lace, lined with crimson silk, is very desirable.

THE OLD FASHIONED KITCHEN

It is a remark too often made that this or that “is good enough for a servant.” If all knew that unpleasant surroundings made unpleasant servants and ill-prepared meals, we think more pains would be taken to have pleasant and comfortable kitchens.

There should be a pleasant window or two through which fresh air and floods of sunlight may come, a few plants on the window sill, a small stand for a workbasket, an easy-chair that the servant may “drop into” when an opportunity offers, the walls painted or calcimined with some cheerful tint, and a general air of comfort pervading the whole kitchen

Built in shelves add an elegant touch to home libraries

Built in shelves add an elegant touch to home libraries

The walls of the library should be hung with rich, dark colors, the latest style in wall paper being a black ground with old gold and olive-green designs. The carpet comes in Pompeiian red, with moss-green and peacock-blue patterns. Statuary and the best pictures should find a place in the library.

The library table should be massive and the top laid with crimson baize. There should be a few high-backed chairs, upholstered in leather, a reading-chair, soft rugs, foot-rests, a mantel mirror, a few mantel ornaments, and the piece de resistance—the bookcase. In large libraries the bookcases are built in the wall. It is quite in vogue to hang curtains on rods in front of bookcases instead of doors, but we think the old style is the best, inasmuch as the books may be seen and the glass doors exclude the dust. Heavy curtains of raw silk, Turcoman, and canton flannel, with a full valance at the top, are used for the window drapery.

.The sitting or everyday room should be the brightest and most attractive room in the house. Its beauty of decoration should not be so much in the richness and variety of material as in its comfort, simplicity, and the harmony of its tints—the main features being the fitness of each article to the needs of the room. In these days of so many advantages much can be done in adornment by simple means. The wall papers mostly used come in grounds of cream, amber, rose, pale olive, fawn, ceil blue and light gray, with designs and traceries of contrasting hues.

The carpet, if in tapestry, looks more effective if in grounds of pale canary or light gray, with designs in bright-colored woodland flowers and borders to match. The new ingrain carpets, with their pretty designs and bright colors, are very fashionable for rooms that are much used. Whatever may be the prevailing tint of the carpet, the window curtains should follow it up in lighter tones or contrast with it.

The curtains may correspond with the coverings of the chairs, sofa, mantel and table draperies in color and fabric. If the furniture is of wicker, bamboo or rattan, the curtains should be of Japanese or any kind of Oriental goods. Curtains of muslin (either white or tinted), gay-colored chintzes, lace or dotted Swiss muslin, looped back with bright-toned ribbons, look very pretty and are appropriate for the sitting-room at almost any season.

That clumsy structure called the cornice, for putting up curtains on, has happily given place to the more light and graceful curtain pole. One large table, covered with a pretty embroidered cloth, should be placed in some central location for a catch-all. A low divan, with a pair of square, soft pillows, may stand in some quiet nook; a rocker, handsomely upholstered, with a pretty tidy pinned to its back; a large, soft easy-chair; a small sewing-chair placed near a table; and a bamboo chair, trimmed with ribbons, will be tastefully arranged in the room. Window stands and gypsy tables may be draped with some rich fabric, the surrounding valance being caught up in small festoons and fastened with bows or tassels, finished around the edge of the table with cord or quilted ribbon.

If the furniture is old or in sets it can be covered with different patterns in cretonne or chintz, which not only protects the furniture but breaks up the monotony and lends a pleasing variety to the room. A Turkish chair is a grand accessory to the family room. This may be made by buying the frame and having it upholstered in white cotton cloth and covering it with a rich shade of cretonne, finishing it with cord and fringe. A foot-rest frame can be made in the same way and covered with a piece of homemade embroidery, finishing it off with a cord or narrow gimp around the edge. Homemade easels, screens, and pedestals may be made out of black walnut, and when stained and draped look exceedingly pretty. An old second-hand cabinet may be bought at a trifle, and when polished up may be set in a corner on which to display some pieces of bric-a-brac. If the house has no library, the sitting-room is just the place for the bookcase. With house plants in the windows, a room of this character, with floods of sunshine, makes a most attractive and comfortable living-room.

.The furnishing of the parlor should be subject to its architectural finish. The first things to be considered are the walls and floor. The former may be decorated in fresco or papered, according to individual taste and means. The prettiest styles of parlor paper are light tints of gray, olive, pearl, and lavender grounds, and in small scroll patterns, panels, birds, and vines, finished in heavy gold traceries, with dado and frieze to correspond.

The styles of carpet mostly used are Brussels, Wilton, tapestry, and Axminster. A tapestry carpet in light canary ground, with clusters of lotus, or begonia leaves, makes a charming background to almost all the colors generally used in upholstery. In selecting the furniture, the first thought should be given to its true worth. Chairs and couches should be chosen for comfort rather than for style. They should be of solid make, easy, graceful, and of good, serviceable colors and materials.

The most serviceable woods to select in frames are ebony, oak, walnut, cherry, and mahogany. These frames are finished in different styles—plain, carved, inlaid, and gilt—and are upholstered in all shades of satin, plush, rep, silk, and damask. These come at prices within the means of a slender purse. That slippery abomination in the shape of haircloth furniture should be avoided.

The latest design in parlor furniture is in the Turkish style, the upholstery being made to cover the frame. Rich Oriental colors in woolen and silk brocades are mostly used, and the trimmings are cord and tassels or heavy fringe. Formerly the parlor appointments were all in sets or pairs, but this fashion is no longer observed, as the most tastefully arranged parlor has now no two pieces of furniture alike; but two easy-chairs placed opposite each other are never out of place. Here may stand an embroidered ottoman, there a quaint little chair, a divan can take some central position; a cottage piano, covered with some embroidered drapery, may stand at one end of the room, while an ebony or mahogany cabinet, with its panel mirrors and quaint brasses, may be placed at the other end, its racks and shelves affording an elegant display for pretty pieces of bric-a-brac. Marble-topped center-tables are no longer in use. Tables in inlaid woods, or hand-painted, are used for placing books or albums on. A small, airy-looking table, elaborately mounted in gilt, may stand near a window or wall. The mantel mirror, with its beveled edges and small racks arranged on each side, looks very effective when decorated with pretty oddities—ferns, grasses, and pieces of old china. A jardinière filled with living plants and placed near a bay window makes an elegant ornament. Care should be taken in arranging that the room be not over-crowded.

There should be a few good pictures or painted plaques mounted in plush hung on the walls; a portrait may be placed on a common easel and draped with a scarf in old gold or peacock-blue, and tiny lambrequins, painted or embroidered, may hang beneath a bracket supporting a bust or flower-vase. An embroidered scarf with fringed ends may be placed on the back of a chair or sofa in place of the old lace tidy. A sack made of small pieces of bright-colored plush or silk in crazy work may be flung across the table, the ends drooping very low.

The mantelpiece may be covered with a corresponding sash, over which place a small clock as centerpiece and arrange ornaments on each side—statuettes, bannerets, flower-holders, small Japanese fans, pieces of odd china, painted candles in small scenes, may all find a place on the mantel. Window curtains of heavy fabric, hung from brass or plush mounted poles, may be gracefully draped to the sides, while the inner lace ones should be hung straight and be fastened in the center with some ornament or bow of ribbon corresponding in shade to the general tone of the room. The straight shades next to the glass may correspond in tone to the outside walls or window-facings; but this is a mere matter of taste. White or light-tinted shades, finished in etching or narrow lace, are always in vogue. The dado shades are the latest innovation in window decoration. These come in all colors, from the lightest to the darkest shades, with dado in tile, arabesque and fresco patterns, finished in lace, fringe, and brasses. Portières (curtain doors) have superseded folding doors. These should be in shades to contrast with the general blending of the colors in the room.

The fabrics mostly used are India goods, but they may be of any material, from expensive tapestries, satins, and plushes, to ten-cent factory cottons. The curtains, if made from striped tapestry and Turcoman, will give the finishing artistic touches to almost any room, but the last softening polish comes only from the genial presence of trailing and climbing vines.

If the hall is narrow, none but the most essential pieces of furniture should be used

If the hall is narrow, none but the most essential pieces of furniture should be used

The hall being the index to the whole house, due care should therefore be given to its furnishing. Light colors and gilding should be avoided. The wall and ceiling decorations now mostly used are in dark, rich colors, shaded in maroons or deep reds. Plain tinted walls and ceilings in fresco or wainscot are also frequently used.

The latest shades of wall paper come in wood colors, dark olive-greens, stone color, and grays, in tile, arabesque and landscape designs, and with these are used a corresponding dado and frieze. A tile or inlaid floor is the most appropriate, but if circumstances do not admit of one of these, a floor stained a deep wood-brown, base board and moldings to correspond, may be substituted; when India mattings and rugs may be used.

The colors now in vogue for hall carpets are crimson or Pompeiian reds, with small figures of moss-green or peacock-blue. The prevailing shades of the walls and floor should be incorporated in the stair carpet.

If the hall is narrow, none but the most essential pieces of furniture should be used; but if wide enough, there may be a lounge placed against one of the walls, an old-fashioned clock of the cuckoo style set in a quiet corner, two high-backed chairs upholstered in leather, a table, an umbrella-stand placed near the door, a jardinière filled with tropical plants set near the foot of the stairway, and a hall mirror with a deer’s head and antlers placed above it and a wooden or marble slab underneath.

The slab should be covered with a Roman scarf, allowing a fall of twelve inches at each end. The hatrack must also find a place.

Family portraits or a few well-selected pictures are appropriate for these walls. If the door-lights are not stained glass, lace shades in designs of birds, cupids, and garlands of flowers are used; also, etchings in various colors and designs are worked on different fabrics. Crimson silk shades lined with black netting are very desirable, as the light penetrating through them fills the hall with a rich, subdued glow.

The chief features to be observed in home decore and house furnishing are color, form, and proportion. All stiffness of design in furniture should be avoided. Do not attempt to match articles, but rather carry out the same idea as to color and form in the whole. It is not to have decorations in sets or pairs; the arrangements should all be done with odd pieces. Every room in the house should be arranged for occupancy, having nothing too good for use, and the judicious housewife will follow a medium course and adopt no extreme of fashion.

The style and arrangement of the furniture should correspond with the size of the room, with a due regard to the place a piece of furniture or ornament will occupy. The order of arrangement in furnishing is subject to individual taste, but the following suggestions may not be inappropriate:— In decorating a dining-room, deep, rich tones should be used; a drawingroom or parlor should have bright, cheerful shades; in a library use deep, rich colors, which give a sense of worth; a sleeping-room should have light, pleasing tints, which give a feeling of repose.