Planning the decoration of a room, then, means the working out, first, of suitable and pleasing color schemes and texture for the room background; second, the selection and arrangement of such furniture as will harmonize with the background and be consistent with the purpose of the room. —Elizabeth Burris-Meyer, Decorating Liveable Homes
Mrs. Burris-Meyer informs us that planning the arrangement of a room begins with the background. She points out that when we reduce a room to its simplest form, it is really a space with four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. Then we add furniture to it to define the purpose of the room.
She laments the fact that the average person selects buff, light green or peach for wall colors, white for the ceiling, and a dark hue for the floor covering. Mrs. Burris-Meyer claims that these are the standard selections because, being the average person, we don’t have any experience with color “as applied to such large areas as the average wall or ceiling space.” Because of our lack of experience, we simply choose something familiar.
Here’s the deal: The background actually acts as the backdrop so that everything in the room–including people–may appear to the best advantage. Just because it is in the background does not mean that it is invisible. Think about how the backdrop on a stage set helps set the mood for a play’s scene. What “scene” or purpose will be played out in that particular room? Choose your colors and textures accordingly.
If you’ve ever been in an airport restroom, I think you will understand how the background can really make a difference. Between the florescent lighting and the drab colors of the walls, even the most gorgeous woman in the world looks like something the cat has been dragging around for days before finally deciding to drag it inside to lay at your feet.
I think what Mrs. Burris-Meyer is trying convey to us is that we need to be mindful of the impact our background has on the foreground and to proceed accordingly. How many of us consider the color of our walls, ceiling, and floors first when we decorate? No, instead, you see people bringing sofa pillows in to the store to find a coordinating color paint or wallpaper.
Mrs. Burris-Meyer encourages us to be brave and to break out of the neutrals.
Does that mean I have to give up my affinity for pure white zen-like walls (which I currently do not have)? 🙂
What about you? Do you like your background? What are your color schemes?