The keynote of furnishing should be good taste. It is a great mistake to furnish beyond one’s income, even through the convenient medium of the hire purchase system. In the latter case, not only does one never feel that the property is one’s own, but the regular repayments are perpetual drains on limited incomes.
Consistency is another essential; it is folly to furnish elaborately one room at the expense of another. The kitchen and the servant’s bedroom should receive the same care and thought as the drawing-room. Where there are growing children, and it is inconvenient to provide them with a nursery, it is wiser to furnish plainly and with an eye to strength and durability, whilst at the same time, of course, not forgetting the aesthetic amenities: it is quite easy to combine the two. In this case, it is better, if possible, to furnish the best room on more lavish lines, and endeavour to keep it sacred from the invasions of the juveniles.
If necessity decrees that life must be spent in a small flat, and the occupiers are but one or two, there is much to be said for the new convertible furniture. A settee or a bureau is convertible into a bed, ; desk, cabinets, &c, are easily converted into other necessaries of the bedroom, and thus two very efficiently furnished rooms are combined into one.
As stated in the article on Building a House, labour-saving devices should be acquired where-ever possible; carpets should be replaced by polished floors and mats; the latest (and incidentally, cheapest) of kitchen dresser cabinets place everything at the housewife’s hand; gas or electric cooking makes for cleanliness; washable distempered walls ensure sanitation and easy cleaning; and the elimination of all unnecessary ‘bits and pieces’ assists to this end. This does not rule out the exhibition of ornaments and lares et penates possessing sentimental interest—but the house should not be cluttered up with a host of rubbish. ‘A place for everything, and everything in its place’ is a very good motto, if not carried to ridiculous extremes—comfort, must, of course, be considered.
If space permits it is a good plan to keep one room for the purposes of a workshop, where everything which entails an amount of mess can be done without upsetting the rest of the house, and another room or corner of a room should be devoted to the children’s toys. The youngsters should be made responsible for keeping their own room or portion of a room tidy after their playthings are finished with.
Windows should function properly, so that they may be opened and closed when necessary.
Do not mix periods—there is really no necessity for period furniture in a small modern house. You do not dress in seventeenth century costume, or in a mixture of (pseudo) seventeenth and mid-eighteenth—so why introduce such a scheme into your house ? Modern furniture is good, substantial, and designed on scientific lines to give the maximum of comfort with a minimum of cost and weight.
Have as few fixtures as possible; in these days of change, it is wise to concentrate on portability. If for nothing else, it makes for convenience at the annual spring cleaning.
Let as much of your household goods as possible, be fireproof, dust proof and generally hygienic; give as little trouble and as much comfort as lies within your means and power.