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Aug 30

Art in Home Furnishing & Decoration [1921]

Posted on August 30, 2021 at 1:54 PM by Bill Sowers


"Good taste is the beauty instinct trained. We are taught to appreciate good music, good literature, and even good food; so, likewise, we must train our eyes to see color harmonies, beautiful lines, subtle proportions and agreeable textures in everything that goes to make our clothes or our homes."

Sounds like the beginning of a 2021 HGTV show on transforming one's old, drab home into a place of beauty and comfort, doesn't it? But the above paragraph is the introduction to an article written 100 years ago by Araminta Holman of the Division of Home Economics at the Kansas State Agricultural College (now Kansas State University). Ms Holman's article appeared in the Kansas State Board of Agriculture's 1921/22 Biennial Report touching on the basics in home decor giving practical advice on colors, textures and placement. 

The article includes some great photos and cool examples of interpreting things like colors in a room:

"Yellow is cheerful, brilliant, unifying;
Red is warm, rich, aggressive;
Blue is cold, formal, distant;
Green is cool and restful;
Orange is hot, striking, but decorative;
Violet is mournful, mystic and darkening;
Light tones express youth, femininity, gaity and informality;
Dark tones express strength, dignity, repose and seriousness."

A great read and only 14 pages!  You can find it in the tastefully designed virtual stacks of the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library here:

Art In Home Furnishing and Decoration (1921)


The Biennial Reports of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture held by the KGI Online Library can be found here:

Kansas State Board of Agriculture  Biennial Reports (1870s to 1970s)