Learn about Life in the 1920s

House and Apartment Draperies

IN PLANNING furnishings for your house or apartment, consider your family and adapt your plans so that your results will be appropriate and comfortable for them. Delicate lace rufflings and tiny pillows are as out of place for rooms inhabited or frequented by men and grown boys as fragile chairs are for stout people. On the other hand, heavy, dominating furnishings are incongruous in rooms occupied by petite persons.

Whether the room where the family gather and entertain their friends is called the parlor, sitting room, library or living room, is of little consequence. The important thing is that this room should be inviting, cheerful and restful, and suited to the people who occupy it. If it fulfills these requirements, it is in every sense appropriate.

The day of over-dressed houses and stiff, unattractive rooms has gone along with bustles and pompadours. No matter if we live in one room— it must be expressive of our cultivated taste, and interesting and agreeable to our senses. Learning to make attractive homes in limited or in luxurious space is an art that requires the best use of our thought and talents. We should never make our houses so ornate that we do not feel comfort- able in them; neither should they be so severe that they hold no delight for us.

Living Rooms

The living room, as we shall here call the important room of the house, should be such that it can be used freely without danger of injury to any of the furniture or furnishings. An ornate room with several people in it is never restful or conducive to companionable visiting.

Informal living rooms may have ruffled, tie-back curtains, or curtains of theatrical gauze, or scrim glass curtains with cretonne or tapestry draperies. In any event they should have simple furnishings and be in no way elaborate.

Drawing Rooms

Drawing or music rooms, or parlors, require the dignity obtained through severe simplicity. Usually colorful, plain fabrics or those of inconspicuous design make the draperies, while glass curtains of a contrastingly lighter tone are used.


Straight hanging draperies without valances or fixtures showing are usually preferred for libraries. The fabric designs are inconspicuous, yet the colors draw sharp contrast to the many colors of the book bindings. Frequently two-tier casement curtains in neutral color are used, designed to give as much light as possible.


A den is usually a retreat for study. It should be intimate, simple, easy to keep in condition, and, most important of all, expressive of the person who is using it. Casement curtains are generally accepted as correct.

Foyers and Entrance Halls

The windows of foyers or entrance halls should be in key with the rooms they adjoin. If there are glass doors, these should have sheer glass curtains held down at top and bottom.


If a bedroom is furnished in the style of a particular period, the draperies should be formally worked out with the greatest care to express correctly the details of that period. If the bedroom serves also for dressing room and lounging room, it should look cozy and restful. This is especially important if there is ever occasion to use the bedroom as a sickroom or for irregular periods of rest. Bedrooms should, above all, have draperies than can be cleaned easily, because dusty, smoky hangings are not conducive to relaxation and sleep.

No woman should completely feminize a bedroom that is shared with her husband; rather, a happy medium should be struck so that the room will express charm with sufficient restraint to be pleasing to both. On the other hand, a girl's room may be as gay as good taste will allow; a boy's room, as severe as his preference dictates. In neither case should the room be extreme or over-balanced. Thinking people work for the appropriate thing that is in harmony with their mental as well as their artistic selves.


Nurseries and children's rooms offer excellent opportunity for designing simple, amusing furnishings. The chief requisites are to have dark window shades to encourage sleeping, and to have all the fabric furnishings of such design and material as to withstand frequent laundering.

Delicate, quiet colors are appropriate. Simple beauty should be the aim, for the develop- ment of good taste in children is perhaps more a matter of association than of learning.


The draperies in bathrooms should be simple above all. Steam causes organdie ruffles to lose their freshness quickly; therefore select fabrics that are practical for the purpose, yet attractive. Unbleached muslin ornamented with a gay color in keeping with the color accented in the bathroom is a favored fabric, as are also dotted Swiss, fine checked gingham, and percale in polka dot or smartly printed design.

Dining Rooms

Dining rooms should be cozy, and simple or formal, depending upon the meals taken in them and especially upon the entertain- ing done. If the main meal is served at noon, the dining room should be cheerful, light, crisp and fresh. If dinner is in the evening with formality of service, then formal draw curtains of dignified fabric are in order.

If breakfast, luncheon and supper are served in the dining room, the draperies should be in keeping with the living room curtains — simple, practical and cheerful looking.

Breakfast Nooks

Breakfast nooks are usually cozy and very informal, and harmonize with the dining room or kitchen or whatever room adjoins.


Kitchen windows should be so dressed that the curtains and draperies can be taken down and washed with the least possible effort. Kitchen curtains should, above all, be clean, fresh to a point of crispness, and simple enough for very frequent laundering. Many women have two sets of curtains for their kitchen so that a fresh pair can be put up immediately when the soiled ones are taken down.


Attic windows, even when the attic is not used, should be dressed to correspond from the outside with the other windows of the house. Inside they are invariably informal. Tie-back draperies, even short ruffled ones, are a favorite type.


Basement windows that show have net glass curtains fastened at top and bottom. If the basement is occupied, informal tie-back draperies of gay color are desirable.

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