Connecting Rooms Using Harmonious Color
Connecting rooms must always be united by harmonious coloring, and by definite bonds of common color. The degree of likeness in color will depend in part upon personal taste, in part upon the similarity or dissimilarity in purpose and motive among the rooms, and chiefly upon their size. Where either or both-or, in the case of more than two-all of the connecting rooms are small, very little difference in coloring is permissible in floor or walls, because like- ness gives an effect of unity and spaciousness, while unlikeness makes for abruptness and tends to diminish the apparent size of the rooms. Where the rooms are of good size, and there is reason to emphasize rather than to minimize the individuality of each, it is usually enough to repeat the dominant hue of the most important room in some form, either obvious or subtle, in each of the connecting rooms. Thus a suite of very small apartments-say a living room, hall and dining room-could be done throughout with warm gray walls and a dull reseda all-over carpet. This would yield the maximum effect of unity and spaciousness, while the variety essential to beauty could be added in hangings, furniture coverings, pictures, flowers, and similar small accents. With rooms a little larger varying tones of the dominant hue could be used on the walls, with considerable variation in pattern. With large rooms different rugs, walls and hangings could be used throughout; provided only that the rooms were tied together by a clearly apparent bond of common color. Plain rugs of markedly different hues are un- pleasing in adjoining rooms, however large, unless each is relatively neutral, and even then the effect is more convincing if the rugs have simple border de- signs in interchanged colors. Abruptness must be permitted to appear in a color scheme only as a deliberate device for adding interest, and it is permissible only when so limited in area or in intensity that it cannot disturb the whole treatment. Violently contrasting colors, as we have seen, are intolerable except when used in very small areas. When bright, aggressively colored linens or chintzes are used they must be limited in quantity and displayed against neutral backgrounds.
The layman is disposed to think of color harmony as almost wholly a matter of hue. It is in fact largely a matter of tone. Skill as a colorist in interior decoration is as unfailingly revealed by the ability to use grayish tones skillfully on the larger areas as it is by the ability to create the accents of brighter and purer color that give vitality and color charm. Too exclusive use of grayish tones will inevitably rob a room of every- thing but quietness, but a free use of relatively neutral color is absolutely essential to beauty and comfort. Gray is a peacemaker among colors, and a potent source of spaciousness and repose. The charm of great houses is largely due to their effect of broad spaces; and while we cannot have broad spaces in small houses, we can at least make the most of what space we do have by the wise use of atmospheric coloring.