How to Furnish an American House

by Helen Klein Ross

How to furnish old American houses (Pellegrini & Cudahy, 1949)

Our first problem is how to hide
as much as possible. We want nothing
distressed. Snakes on walls create
a restless feeling. Red is rarely suitable
in large doses. After dark, a panelled room
seems to close in upon us, but it is not
an oppressive sort of enfolding. Housekeeping
can be somewhat simplified by small rugs.
Do not make the mistake of painting
old hinges black. Oil portraits are effective
but little damage is done by simple pastorals.
Rooms should be friendly without abandoning
reserve. Insincerity often manifests
in over-ornamentation. The most elusive
quality is what we call charm. It cannot
be planned for deliberately.