Xxxiii

THE BEDROOM.

THE first thing to be attended to in a bedroom is the possession of good air, for we are singularly liable to lie oblivious and submit to the slow murder that poisons the blood in most sleeping-rooms. If we are building our own house, we shall secure this by having the rooms of the sleeping floors loftier than those below, and by hanging our windows there so that they will let down from the top. The next consideration is to obtain sunshine, for it is best to have the sun in every sleeping-room during some portion of the day; and care in orienting the house to this end, rather than heedlessly facing it just as its neighbors face, can always secure this sun. Old wisdom has already found out the advantage:

" Dove non entra il sole, Entra U dottore."

After these two essentials of the comfort of the bedchamber have been dismissed, proper attention to the floor is as important on the score of health; and we a Medieval washiug-should see that it is either of hard wood polished, or of common spruce ornamentally painted round the edges, so that the carpets need to be little more than rugs, and yet shall keep the place comfortable to the feet. The best parts of the Brussels that has had its day downstairs, with a plain border of felt or baize, make very good and useful chamber carpets to those who wish to avoid expense.

The next thing to be remembered in the bedroom is the wall. There has been a great deal said about the necessity of having a pattern of paper or stencil there which shall not be likely to torment the eye of a fevered patient, as every sleeping-room is liable to be also at some time a sickroom. But we feel assured that there is no pattern to be devised by the ingenuity of man which the eye of a sick person cannot torture into any fantastic shape that suits his heated brain; and so we think we had better secure beauty for our healthy moments, and leave it to work its

own especial charm npon onr sick ones. " Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients," says Florence Nightingale, " are actual means of recovery."

Oxford Washing-stand.

The aspect of the bedroom in regard to the points of the compass may perhaps determine us a little in our choice of colors there, other things being equal. If it is a south room, in which the sunshine falls freely, we do not wish to add to that illumination, but prefer, while deriving all the benefit of its presence, somewhat to tone down its dazzle. The violets and deep blues and reds all absorb heat, while white does not. Thus we will not put a deep violet or a red shade on our southern chamber, but will reserve them to warm the chill sides of the north rooms, and U6e on our southern walls those tints that are white just off color, with the cool gray-greens and sea-blues, never nsiug anywhere the bright apple-greens, into which the poison of copper and arsenic enters so freely as to be able to disperse itself into the system of the sleeper. The virulence of this poison was shown us experimentally the other day, when a friend of ours had found a rat dead at the foot of a bordering of rich green velvet paper which he had been nibbling. Other papers of the undecided tints, the figure, so far as it may be called a figure, being composed of varying shades of the same color, giving an atmospheric softness under the one general bloom-color, are excellent for bedrooms, and in general any light paper there is better than any dark one. If the rooms are low, and are already provided with a wooden moulding or cornice under the ceiling, a

paper border may be dispensed with ; but if there is no cornice, some sort of a border is necessary to complete the wall; but it is to be used only at top and bottom, and not down the sides at the corners of the room. If the room is high-studded enough to permit it, the lower portion of the paper may be a close diaper or arabesque set between narrow and precise edges, and above that a border, some foot and a half in depth, of freer design—branches of leaves, wheat-ears, and corn-flowers blowing in the wind, and other natural representations; sometimes even of natural life, as the flashing of hawks' wings and herons', and the half-guessed leaping of hounds through the brakes, the effect being novel and not unpleasant, and, in case of sickness, amusing rather than fatiguing the patient's eye, with some likelihood of finally inducing sleep as the eye wanders along the track of the pattern. Under this treatment the pictures of the room will be hung upon the diapered portion suspended from nails in its narrow upper edging, and there will be the brackets for such busts and statuettes as adorn the place.

The wood-work of the room is best painted in two or three tints of the same color as the paper, possibly a little jr'

more decided, unless it is a harmonizing hard wood, which, however, /

is unlikely to be the case. :V JJ3m \

For furniture, the Hf^^^

article of first impor- ^ - & -^^^¿^¡¿¿¿^ tance in a bedroom is ^ iw^jfJE^L naturally the bed. It has been the habit, since the days when the bedroom was almost a room curtained off from the great hall, to have the bed a large ffjMjfl^

and prominent object. l| -

We have seen what a JftfcMBSBL Yj/

came in the days of the

Renaissance, and we do not know why it should now be stripped of all its stateliness. There is always a little fluctuating fashion about all articles in the cabinet-makers' shops. Yesterday they sold you the bedstead with

the high head-board as the style, to-day they sell it with the low one, and to-morrow the pendulum of change will swing back again. But here again fashion has no more right to intrude than it has to intrude upon the foundations of the house. Out of regard to its ancestry, to the safety of the pillows, and to the security of the sleeper from draughts, the head-board of the bed should always be high; and the bed being the chief thing for which the bedroom exists, it should be made evident that it is the chief thing. It is throwing away words to say that a bed is just as comfortable whatever its shape. A bed is not as comfortable if the pillows are forever slipping off backward, or are obliged to lean against the wall, liable to receive stains from the paper, and to become the highway of spiders and other wall vermin, or if there is nothing to cut off the air that passes from window to door or chimney, in spite of the best of carpenters. Nor, again, is it so comfortable as it might be if the foot-board rises so high as to shut

Modern Gothic Dressing-Uble. °ff vleW °f ^ P°rtion °f **

room; and nothing is so maddening to patients as the smuggling of secrets among the nurses behind the shelter of the high foot-board. Long use has determined the best balance of parts for the bedstead, and fashion should have no more to do with it than to mould those existing parts into the shape of the separate styles. A broad, long, low bed, with plenty of light coverings and soft and hard pillows, is the best to be had—undue height giving a sense of insecurity. There should be, in complete equipment, a pretty down duvet tossed on the white quilt, and a little case for the night-dress, of ornamental work matching the color of the other fittings, if color is used. If one desires a slight hanging of curtains suspended from an arrow in the cornice and falling behind the head-board and at either side of the head, still more surely to exclude draughts, it is both admissible and ornamental. On the floor beside the bed a large white lamb's-wool mat is a very pleasant thing both to the feet and vision. The wood-work of the bed is at the buyer's choice, but simplicity is best in its ornamentation, using rather

a few noble outlines than any great amount of rich detail—the rich detail, moreover, lending itself with such wonderful ease to nightmares and delirium that it sometimes seems as if the spirit of evil were in the designer. Nothing, for instance, could be closer to the most fearful delirium than the writhings and contortions of the gods and dragons and demons in the miraculous carving of some of the Japanese bedsteads. Brass bedsteads are now in much use, made of brass rods in a simple open filigree, and they are strong and clean and handsome; the shape, of course, in all varieties. It is these varieties of shape for which one is called to pay more than for the material of the construction.

The curtains of the windows of the bedroom must be of some washable ma- ^

muslins—and if of the white or dotted muslin, with a ribbon inserted in the broad hem; under these, white linen shades.

The next requisite of the bedroom is a long glass, preferably a swinging cheval-glass, for the bedroom is usually the dressing-room, and even when it is not, a mirror is a necessity. Sometimes the mirror in the dressing-case is quite sufficient. It should always hang between the windows, that light may be thrown on the object to be reflected. In England, particularly in London lodging-houses, it is a frequent custom to stand the small chest of drawers with the glass on it—it is never called a bureau there, by-the-way—directly against a window, probably with an idea of securing the light around its sides and over the top, although the result is not fortunate, and the outside appearance Modern Qothlc M cheet ofDrawere. is very unfortunate.

A lounge is a necessary appurtenance of the bedchamber, in order to spare the bed in the daytime; and there must be easy-chairs and footstools, toilet-table and wash-stand and service, unless there is a dress-ing-room for these; and a loftier chest of drawers with its innumerable compartments and its bronzed handles—brass, if the bedstead be of brass

—is of great value. The brasses of an open fireplace will always increase the lightness and brightness of the room; and an open fireplace there should be in every bedroom where it is practicable, for purposes of ventilation, for taking the chill off the air in excessively cold weather, and for use in sickness — a rug, of course, lying before it. Muslin curtains, suspended from a pretty ornament close beneath the ceiling, falling and parting over the toilet-table, are a pleasant finish to that article, and have been in use for hundreds of years; they save the glass from dust and specks, and are drawn before it, according to ancient usage, on occasion of a death in the family. The wash-stand, if it has a marble top,

Modera Gothic Wardrobe.

should be fitted with 6oft covers to prevent breakage and noise; the wooden top is better in some respects, but it soon looks very bad from the 6oap-and-water stains. There should be a washable square of carpet of some thick white material, bound with the same color as the carpet or the general tint or contrast of the room, under the foot or tin bath; and the china of the wash-stand and the toilet-table should be of one pattern. A protection to the wall from splashing is generally made with ornamental muslins and ribbons; but others prefer to paper about the wash-stand with the thick tile papers which can be spattered without injury, and are almost indestructible. If there is no dressing-room, a screen is a very de sirable part of the bedroom furniture, of sufficient height and number of valves to completely enclose the person behind it. This screen may be made up at home, with the help of a carpenter, in a simple frame like that of a common clothes-horse, although with exceedingly slender sticks and long and narrow leaves, and with stout cotton or silk stretched over it; on this base all sorts of pictures and bits of color are to be carefully arranged with gum-arabic, the interstices painted in with bright flowers and butterflies and birds' wings, the whole afterward sized over and varnished in a suitable tone.

In addition to all this, if there should be no closet, there must be a wardrobe, but it is best in a recess; and if there is any room left, a little rack for books, with a simple writing - desk beneath it, will be found a great convenience. As for the pictures in the bedroom, they will usually be those that have some especial value to us independently of their beauty.

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