It appears, according to the modern theory of color, that the color sense is purely physical, just as the senses of taste, smell or hearing are, and that it may be even more easily cultivated. The childish fancy is for strong colors, and for massing brilliant colorings. This is true of the savage and semi-barbarous nations also, and, however incongruous their arrangements of colors may seem to the educated eye, die groupings will bo found harmonious. The color instinct of the child and savage is natural and fresh and correct. It is only when the instinct is trammeled and perverted by the erroneous teachings of fashion, that discords occur, or when, as sometimes happens, there is imperfect devolopment of the color sense. In some persons, indeed, this sense would see m to be wholly lacking, and the most serious obstacle to household furnishing is found where this occurs. This is the explanation of the fact that so many homes display horribly intiarmonious groupings of colors.
But it may be said for some housekeepers that these have not been able to choose their home decorations, owing to certain limitations of fortune. They have only been able to pick up a piece now and then, and the result is seen in an accumulation of colors and combination of colors which would require heaven-born genius to harmonize together, and then these pieces have become
Each piece is sacred to some circumstance in the buyer’s life, perhaps. Sentiment attaches to this or that color because of association. That red reminds her of some friend’s glowing fire, around which dear ones have gathered in times past. That exquisite blue, of August skies at the old home, canopying field and wood. That yellow, of golden sunsets enjoyed when all life’s horizon was a halo of auriferous splendor. Affected thus by color associations, it is no wonder the housewife retains her motley collection of things, separately beautiful, but as a whole not so. Now, can harmony be effected without a wholesale slaughter of these household gods? Yes, but one or two things will be necessary; either a knowledge of the science of color, which few persons possess, or a cultivated taste, which also is a rare thing. The presence of all the colors of the prism, and many of their hues, shades, tones or tints, does not necessarily imply incongruity of color.
It is simply the relative amounts and their disposition which we have to do with. We must effect a perfect balancing of the colors, and this by a rearranging of things. An obtrusive color may be toned down, or its power lessened by plac- ing near it some other strong but more harmonious color. It is really only a matter of adjustment, a balancing of color, that confronts the housewife. But how infinitely better to exorcise care while choosing selections which must come piece by piece through years of buying, than to pile up a confused jumble of incongruous furnishings. If not sure of her own ability, let her ask advice, and she may, with safety, confine her choosing to a single color for each room, and of which she can have the number of shades her fancy may incline to.
A Combination of two colors
or more is also advised, though this will involve more skill or care than one color. But the two oolors must not both be strong, nor shall any bright color and gold be placed together. With sage green or olive green a nice effect is possible by the use of tawny pink, maroon, cream white and dull yellows. Peacock green combines well with old pink or rich cardinal red. Brilliant deep red with pale old blue and deep yellow gives a happy effect. The list of effective color schemes is a long one. You simply need to possess it. Then it would seem that one would simply need to have this list and—go ahead I But not so. Taste is essential also. Your list might enable you to make a display, but that is quite another thing. Taste doesn’t put everything in one room, until it looks like a shop and tires the eye with a confusion of oolors and a jumble of objects. Taste will give us barren spaces to rest the eyes on; subduing shadows will exist in rooms much used, imparting a sense of restfulness. There had better be too little decoration than too much.
The housewife would not want to be constantly attired in her best—jewelry and all—nor would her husband and family wish her so. And there is just such impression of unrelieved display in many domestic interiors. Edmund Russell, the artist and lecturer, gives us some wholesome advice anent this subject. He says: “Don’t be too showy and complex; don’t make your napkin rings too emphatic and obtrusive. The lady who wears her initials in diamonds on a brooch is vulgar. Don’t put your initials or your name on everything you possess, so that people who pick up a fork, or look at a pillowsham will read, ‘John Smith, my property.’ ” Taste, rather than skill, is most needed in the furnishing of one’s home, and good taste is not rare, even if the cultivated article is.