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Architecture and the Furnishing of a Room

Candlesticks, lamps, and fixtures for gas and electricity must accord with the lines of your architecture and furniture. The mantelpiece is the connecting link between the architecture and the furnishing of a room. It is the architect's contribution to the furnishing, and for this reasons the keynote for the decorator.

In the same way lighting fixtures are links between the construction and decoration of a room, and can contribute to, or seriously divert from, the decorator's design.
It is important that fixtures be so placed as to appear a part of the decoration and not merely to illuminate conveniently a corner of the room, a writing desk, table or piano.
In planning your house after arranging for proper wall space for your various articles of furniture, keep in mind always that lights will be needed and must be at the same time conveniently placed and distinctly decorative.

One is astonished to see how often the careless placing of electric fixtures upsets the actual balance of a room. Therefore keep in mind when deciding upon the lighting of a room the following points: first, fixtures must follow in line style of architecture and furniture; second, the position of fixtures on walls must carry out the architect's scheme of proportion, line and balance; third, the material used in fixtures brass, gilded wood, glass or wrought iron must contribute to the decorator's scheme of line and color; fourth, as a contribution to color scheme the fixtures must be in harmony with the color of the side walls, so as not to cut them up, and the shade should be a light note of color, not one of the dark notes when illuminated.

This brings us to the question of shades. The selecting of shapes and colors for shading the lights in your rooms is of the greatest importance, for the shades are one of the harmonics for striking important color notes, and their value must be equal by day and by night; that is, equally great, even if different. Some shades, beautiful and decorative by daylight, when illuminated, lose their color and become meaningless blots in a room.

We have in mind a large silk lamp shade of faded sage green, mauve, faun and a dull blue, the same combination appearing in the fringe combination not only beautiful, but harmonizing perfectly with the old Gothic tapestry on the nearby wall. Nothing could be more decorative in this particular room during the day than the shade described; but were it not for the shell pink lining, gleaming through the silk of the shade when lighted; it would have no decorative value at all at night.

In ordering or making shades, be sure that you select colors and materials, which produce a diffused light. A soft thin pink silk as a lining for a silk or cretonne shade is always successful, and if a delicate pink, never clashes with the colors on the outside. A white silk lining is cold and unbecoming. A dark shade unlined, or a light colored shade unlined, even if pink, unless the silk is shirred very full, will not give a diffused, yellow light.

It is because Italian parchment-paper produces the desired glow of light that it has become so popular for making shades, and, coming as it does in deep soft cream, it gives a lovely background for decorations, which in line and color can carry out the style of your room.
Figured Italian papers are equally popular for shades, but their characteristic is to decorate the room by daylight only, and to impart no quality to the light, which they shade. Unless in pale colors, they stop the light, absolutely, throwing it down, if on a lamp, and back against the wall, if on side brackets. Therefore decorators now cut out the lovely designs on these figured papers and use them as appliqu├ęs on a deep cream parchment background.

When you decide upon the shape of your shades do not forget that successful results depend upon absolutely correct proportions. Almost any shape, if well proportioned as to height and width, can be made beautiful, and the variety and effect desired, may be secured by varying the colors, the design of decoration, if any, or the texture or the length of fringe.

The "umbrella" shades with long chiffon curtains reaching to the table, not unlike a woman's hat with loose-hanging veil, make a charming and practical lamp shade for a boudoir or a woman's summer sitting-room, especially if furnished in lacquer or wicker. It is a light to rest or talk by, neither for reading nor writing.

The greatest care is required in selecting shades for sidewall lights, because they quickly catch the eye upon entering a room and materially contribute to its appearance or detract from it.