Living Room Drapes

High Quality Living Room Drapery of the 1920's


THIS PLATE shows the library-end of a modern living room, with plain furniture against a figured wall-paper background. The wall-paper, with its broad design, is typical of conservative modern patterns, in tones of green, with taupe and white flowers. The woodwork has been painted silver and striped in black. The picture recess is outlined in the same colors. Also, the bookcases on each side have silver linings. The lighting effect is created by a long, broad, glass-enclosed case hanging from the ceiling, with lights hidden behind amber glass, giving a sunlight glow to the room.

The other end of this room has a severe, cast-cement mantel, with an inset, framed, modern picture. The long wall of the room, to the right, has three windows running up close under the ceiling and without trim and low sills. The draperies are of sheer, light yellow silk, without valance or trimming, covering the entire glass surface in light folds.

The center sofa is of burl walnut with an angular frame covered in an unusual velvet woven in a series of orange tones, shaded across the width of the material, ranging from very light yellow to deep red-orange. Round, barrel-shaped cushions are shown at either end of the sofa, covered in the same velvet. Pillows in brilliant green and changeable blue and green velvet contrast with the ground color. The chair to the right is of the same design as the sofa but is covered with brilliant green velvet. The table at the left is in burl walnut and carries a green vase.

The picture over the sofa is of the modern school and is shown to give an idea of the amount of color and design needed to offset the brilliancy of the color in the furniture upholstery. Bright bookbindings on the shelves at either side add their quota of color to the general effect.


This living room is in soft tones of grey and green, accentuated by a touch of brilliant gold. The walls are blue-grey and have octagonal niches in the four corners of the room, painted a soft shade of emerald-green, with black and green marble trim at the base. A frieze of metal swags forms a border around the room at the cove-line, finished in verde antique, again introduced in two long folds forming a valance over the curtains. This effect may also be created in carved wood and finished in a metallic color. Each of the corner niches has a wrought iron console-table, the swag-effect again being employed in black iron across the front. Long, slender iron curves, resting on bases of black Belgian marble, support a black and green marble top. Gold-finished vases stand on these console-tables and form pleasant spots of color against the green background of the niches.

A dominant note of green is created by the velvet upholstery on the chair. The same velvet may again be used to good effect on several upholstered pieces, with the addition of deep purple or French ultramarine blue.

The curtains are of printed linen with a pattern in squares of brilliant colored flowers, set off by grey squares checkered in blue. These curtains are hung under the metal cornice and carry sufficient color to furnish a brilliant contrast to the otherwise drab, grey and green walls.

Rugs for this room are suggested in an alternating block pattern of flowers and plain colors; or, if such a design is not available, a solid green rug may be used, with a wide border of black.

The success of a formal scheme of this kind, with a modified classic background, depends almost exclusively upon the nice proportions of the wall members. Furniture, draperies and floor coverings are of secondary importance, though they must, of course, agree in color and in form with the background.


This decorative scheme shows wall and woodwork in one color, brilliancy of large mirrors and furniture in bright silk upholstery. The painting inserted in the mirrors on the mantel-breast is the basis for the color scheme and is the only picture in the room. The flamingoes, with their flame-colored wings, are reflected in the chair upholstery. The green and yellow of the palm trees is found again in the curtains and the deep browns in the furniture. Mauve woodwork, with the walls in a lighter tone of the same color, form the complementary color for these spots of brilliancy.

The cornices over the windows need not necessarily follow the outline of the windows but may be built up against the flat wall over them as here shown. The curtains are of changeable gauze in blue-green and lemon-yellow and have ruffles of solid blue-green, giving a definite line to the opening. The valance is shirred to the curved top of the cornice-board. The side pieces are draped to form similar curves on either side. Tassels are placed over the ruffles to give a definite spot and to break the monotony of a continuous line. Two ribbons hang down from the top curve of the cornice and cover the line where the side pieces of the valance are joined to the center.

The chairs are covered in flame-red moire silk, with bands of mauve moire ribbon applied in diagonal stripes over it. These diagonal stripes introduce the wall color into the center of the room and are placed at different angles according to the contour of each chair. The table and bookcase are of interest for their simplicity and ingenious arrangement. Rosewood is used for these pieces as well as for the frames of the chairs.

The chimney breast is completely covered in small, rectangular mirrors, which gives brilliancy to the room and adds to its apparent size. Simply designed andirons of wrought iron are the only fireplace equipment used. Accessories are few, but two vases, one in a bright yellow and another in an equally bright red, with several brilliantly hued books, contribute to the general effect.

So daring a color scheme as this will naturally have its strong adherents, as well as its equally emphatic opponents. It is given a place among the variety of decorative schemes in this book, for the benefit of those whose taste is marked for strong complementary colors.


The color scheme here shown is effective for a Colonial living room or second-floor sitting room where an especially restful atmosphere is desired. The walls are papered in a two-tone stripe, in shades of tan, with the woodwork darker and glazed with a small amount of umber.

The curtains are of Normandy toile in checks of orchid and blue, a sunfast material which is lovely in its color combination. The valance is made on wall-board, using the plain orchid fabric to match the curtains, and stretched tight at top and bottom. The valance bottom is shaped and trimmed with a ruffle of green glazed chintz, the top edge finished in blue glazed chintz. The use of these three colors ties together the decorative scheme of the room. The under-curtains are of fine white marquisette, trimmed with a ruffle of green glazed chintz. These curtains are sewed together at the top and an additional pocket is placed on the back for the rod. The tie-backs of green glazed chintz are held in place by old-fashioned curtain pins with a metallic finish.

The sofa is covered in a flat mohair rep, embroidered in crewel work in colors of the room. The framework of the sofa is a dark maple. This maple color is again introduced in the chair shown at the window, a high ladder-back, with seat covered in the plain orchid material of the valance. Blue velvet covers the wing chair at the right and a maple pedestal table is shown in front of the sofa, with an old-fashioned lamp fitted for electricity. All the furniture is extremely simple in design.

There is now available, by the yard, interesting hooked rug carpeting. This, carefully selected as to pattern and color, is suggested to harmonize with the color scheme.


The design shown in this plate is a modified reproduction of a window treatment from the Haverhill, Massachusetts, bed room in the American Wing, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The architectural features are those in use during the late eighteenth century, in the finest American homes - an American adaptation of Georgian design, more particularly of the Adam period. The paneling and cap of the wainscot and the moulded and fluted cornice create an atmosphere of dignity and formality.

The original fabric for curtains in this room is the Washington toile de Jouy in red, but that is not now obtainable, so a 40-inch, Bonaparte printed linen is shown as an alternative suggestion. Any of the fine classical designs in toile de Jouy now on the market would be suitable to carry out this drapery design.

The design shows a low window built up with a drapery cornice under the cornice of the room. The drapery cornice, of considerable weight, should be securely supported by angle irons to the top of the window-casing, if possible, or anchored to the wall by toggle-bolts.

The chair is covered in a blue and green, striped satin. This may be used on other small chairs in the room. A large piece of furniture, such as a wing chair, may be covered in the printed linen, piped in the same blue material as is used on the curtains. This linen gives a range of deep reds and blues which may be had in reps or dull satins suitable for furniture coverings. Upholstery materials may be confined to the colors in the drapery toile and still a variety of schemes may be developed.

If a plain fabric be used for curtains, the drapery cornice should be painted a complementary color or one that is used either in the furniture or on the walls. The decorations on the cornice should then be done in soft tones of the same color accentuated by the deeper shadows of the curtains. If rose linen or sunfast material is used for the curtains, the ground color of the drapery cornice is ivory and there is some blue in the room, it is suggested that the cornice decorations be in soft green, the deeper shadows in blue and black and the panels in the rose of the curtains.


This design suggests an effective curtain design of a strap and plaited heading hung from a velvet-wound pole and is suitable for a Spanish hall or living room. The use of painted or stained glass in the doors adds greatly to the decorative value of the plain draperies and is especially desirable where the window or door is to be the dominant feature of the room.

The walls are a warm sand-color with enough of the curtain color in it so that by comparison the walls do not fade out.

The curtains are made of velvet in a shade between burnt orange and yellow and with straps or bands applied over flat plaits.

The diagram below shows the details of this scheme. The velvet should be lined with sateen or heavy silk in a neutral color. Where the linings are seen in passing through the door they should be the same color as the curtain material. An interlining of canton flannel should be used where a sense of weight and protection against light are desired. A band of ribbon, in the same tone as the curtains, is used across the top. This is, of course, applied to the curtains before plaiting.

The width of the window and the desired number of widths of material will determine the size of the plaits. In the standard 50-inch material four plaits are suggested as sufficient to give the effect shown. The height of the door or window will determine the length of the plaits, with a suggestion of at least twelve inches for the window of average height.

The shaped bands should be about a half-inch wider than the plaits, so that they completely cover the plaits and should be sewed flat along both sides so that they do not project too much. These bands are made of the same curtain material, over a shaped piece of buckram, and are sewn through the curtain. Care should be taken that the top edge of the curtain, both back and front, is secured to these bands. The amount of swag effect obtained is determined by the distance between bands.

The banding for the walnut pole, made of the curtain material, should be cut on the bias and turned under on both sides. To keep this banding in place small tacks on the top will be sufficient, although thin glue applied the whole length of the banding will add to its security.

The carved, wood pole-ends are one of many suggestions for finials. There are a great many turned-wood pole-ends on the market, which are effective. Wrought iron brackets are suggested to support the pole, but many simpler holders can be found, some in wood.

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