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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 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
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