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Title: Selling Home Furnishings - A Training Program
Author: Shaw, Walter F., Rau, Roscoe R.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Federal Security Agency U.S. OFFICE OF EDUCATION]

       *       *       *       *       *

  Vocational Division                             Business Education
  Bulletin No. 216                                Series No. 14

                   *       *       *       *       *

                       SELLING HOME FURNISHINGS

                          A Training Program

         ROSCOE R. RAU, Executive Vice President and Secretary
                 National Retail Furniture Association


      WALTER F. SHAW, Regional Agent, Business Education Service
                       U. S. Office of Education

                   *       *       *       *       *

  FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY            _Paul V. McNutt_, Administrator
  U. S. OFFICE OF EDUCATION       _John W. Studebaker_, Commissioner

                   *       *       *       *       *


                   *       *       *       *       *

   For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D. C.
                            Price 75 cents



  FOREWORD                                                             v


  Specialized selling of home furnishings as a career                  3

  Increasing sales and earnings                                        5

  Fundamentals for good selling                                        8

  The daily check-up--A perpetual inventory                            10


  Sale objectives                                                     17

  Starting the simple sale                                            17

  The all-important interview                                         20

  Three general considerations for closing sales                      23

  Meeting the customer                                                24


  How to demonstrate values                                           29

  Contrast in buying methods of women and men                         35

  Enriching your vocabulary                                           40

  Hidden factors that increase sales                                  42


  Significance of style                                               49

  Period styles from Renaissance to Early Colonial                    50

  American styles                                                     70

  Using style appeal in selling                                       74


  Value and price in relation to home furnishings                     83

  Principal furniture woods                                           85

  Making the most of wood structure and its appeal to the
  eye                                                                 86

  Importance of craftsmanship                                         92


  Selling equipment to meet customer's needs                         107

  Mattresses and springs                                             112

  Pillows                                                            123

  Studio couches and sofa beds                                       126


  Interior decoration as a selling method                            131

  Emotional values of light, color, line, and proportion             133

  Color management in decoration                                     139

  Principles of furniture arrangement                                141


  Drapery and upholstery fibers and fabrics                          153

  Floor coverings                                                    159

  Selling coverings for other floors                                 171

  Use of ensembles in selling                                        172


  Furnishing the living room                                         179

  Distinctive hall furniture                                         186

  Securing hospitable dining room atmosphere                         190

  Ensemble selling                                                   196


  Furnishing the bedroom                                             205

  Furnishing the sunroom                                             214

  Equipping the breakfast room and kitchen                           217

  Final emphasis for alert salespersons                              221


  Lamps and lighting                                                 227

  Pictures and mirrors                                               232

  Wall decorations                                                   235

  Plastics enter the home furnishings field                          237

  "Do's" and "Don't's" for the salesperson                           241


  A. Glossary of terms                                               247

  B. General reading list                                            250

  C. A suggested teaching outline for a group leader                 252

  D. The leading furniture woods                                     255

  E. Common rug terms                                                263

  F. An advertising check list                                       265

  G. Fivefold selling plan for floor coverings                       266

  H. Color and style in modern advertising copy                      267

  I. Check list for planning a store-wide promotion                  269

  J. Ready reference index                                           271


This bulletin has been prepared for use by those who seek
self-improvement as members of a group engaged in the study of home
furnishings and how to sell them agreeably, intelligently, and

More than $2,500,000,000 is expended annually in this country for home
furnishings. Under present conditions the layman cannot become an
expert on the multitude of things he has to buy, and he must purchase
many articles more or less blindly. Since much structural detail is
hidden from view, the integrity of the dealer is more than merely an
advantage--it is a necessity. There are hundreds of interesting and
vital facts concerning home furnishings which consumers may learn from
retail dealers and members of their sales organizations and which, if
they become generally known, will result in greater discrimination and
economy in buying and will be reflected in more charming, suitable, and
comfortable furnishings in the home.

This bulletin presents at once _opportunity_ and _challenge_ to those
who sell home furnishings:

_Opportunity_ to those who see furniture as a symbol of achievement
and distinction. These hear the call to bring beauty out of drab
surroundings, and to shape the visible garments of life, and even life
itself, making it finer, richer, and a thing of greater worth.

_Challenge_ to those who in selling home furnishings must be conscious
of the wide extension of education in the home furnishing art, the
rapid improvement in the general taste and specific knowledge of the
customer, the tendency to shop in the large centers, the increasing
number of small decorators, and the trend to furnished rooms and

For the convenience of users of this bulletin, the subject matter has
been arranged in the form of units, each of which is intended to be
made the basis for a minimum of 2 hours discussion and study. With each
unit is a set of stimulating questions and a brief reading list. A more
detailed reading list will be found in the appendix. This bulletin,
hence, may serve as a short unit course for those who can spare time
for no more than 8 or 10 group meetings. Certain groups may prefer
not to follow the units in the order suggested and to concentrate for
a longer time on such important topics as period furniture, interior
decoration, the furniture woods, or various room arrangements. For
these, selected material may be used for short unit courses in
specialized fields. For instance, the last five units, taken together,
may serve many salesmen of home furnishings as a basic course in the
art of interior decoration.

Attention also is called to the grouping of subject matter to
accommodate those who may wish to use this bulletin for reference
purposes and in sales meetings called by the management. The individual
salesman who uses this material in such a manner will be aided in
building up a body of related and organized knowledge which may have
application any day in his work with his customers.

At times the text makes generous use of the personal pronoun. This has
been done deliberately with the thought that there should be present in
every meeting of a group a feeling of comradeship and personal loyalty
to a common cause. Hence, at times the text employs the pronouns "we,"
"our," "you," and "yours," to replace the more formal terms, "the
salesperson," the "retailer," or "the representative of the store."

Especial acknowledgment is due Rosalie Flank, style authority and a
former director of advertising and public relations for the American
Furniture Mart, for many contributions to, and much valuable criticism
of, the last five units, which deal with problems of interior
decoration. Most of unit XI, which discusses "Accessories and Facts
That Mean 'Plus' Sales," and section D of unit III, "Hidden Factors
That Increase Sales," were prepared by her. To Frier McCollister,
representing the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers,
credit is due for much of the material in unit VI, "Selling Sleep
Equipment." The authors also have consulted freely Clark B. Kelsey's
"Furniture--Its Selection and Use," National Committee on Wood
Utilization, United States Department of Commerce, and "The Road to
Higher Earnings" issued by the National Retail Furniture Association.

The authors gratefully acknowledge contributions and assistance in
editorial reading and criticism from Marie White, agent, Home Economics
Education, U. S. Office of Education, Washington, and William J.
Cheyney, vice president, National Retail Furniture Association, eastern
office, New York, N. Y. Others who assisted in the preparation of
special material for this training program are:

  Helen Arms, stylist, John M. Smyth Furniture Co., Chicago, Ill.

  Smith Cady, director, Home Furnishings Industry Committee, Chicago,

  Charles E. Close, secretary, The Veneer Association, Chicago, Ill.

  Burdett Green, secretary, American Walnut Manufacturers
    Association, Chicago, Ill.

  Chester K. Hayes, executive director, Household Science Institute,
    Chicago, Ill.

  Phillips A. Hayward, Chief, Forest Products Division, Bureau of
    Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Washington, D. C.

  Leo J. Heer, managing editor, National Furniture Review, Chicago,

  J. P. Kramer, advertising department, Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co.,
    New York, N. Y.

  George N. Lamb, secretary, Mahogany Association, Inc., Chicago, Ill.

  Kenneth Lawyer, State supervisor for distributive education,
    Springfield, Ill.

  Robert B. Palmer, advertising manager, Duff & Repp, Kansas City, Mo.

  A. M. Sullivan, director for vocational education, Board of
    Education, Chicago, Ill.

  Jay Van Den Berg, Van Den Berg Bros., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Illustrations, charts, and tabulations have been reproduced with
permission of the American Furniture Mart; The Merchandise Mart;
American Walnut Manufacturers Association, Chicago, Ill.; The Floor
Covering Advertising Club, New York, N. Y.; Grignon, furniture
photographer for the American Furniture Mart; Henri, Hurst, & McDonald,
Inc., advertising, Chicago, Ill.; Home Furnishings News Bureau,
Chicago, Ill.; Institute of Carpet Manufacturers of America, New
York, N. Y.; Delmar Kroehler, president, Kroehler Manufacturing Co.,
Naperville, Ill.; Mahogany Association, Inc., Chicago, Ill.; National
Association of Bedding Manufacturers, Chicago, Ill.; National Committee
on Wood Utilization, U. S. Department of Commerce, Washington; National
Furniture Review, Chicago, Ill.; National Retail Furniture Association,
Chicago, Ill.; The Seng Co., Chicago, Ill.; U. S. Department of
Commerce, Forest Products Division, Washington, D. C.; and The Veneer
Association, Chicago, Ill.

Special acknowledgment is made to the following publishers for
permission to quote from one or more of their publications:

  The American Home, editorial department, New York, N. Y.

  Dodd, Mead & Co., Inc., New York, N. Y.

  Frederick J. Drake & Co., Inc., Chicago, Ill.

  House Beautiful, New York, N. Y.

  J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa.

  The New York School of Interior Decoration, New York, N. Y.

  The Seng Co., Chicago, Ill.

This Bulletin has been prepared at the direction, and under the
supervision of B. Frank Kyker, Chief of the Business Education Service,
U. S. Office of Education, Federal Security Agency.

                                                           J. C. WRIGHT,
                _Assistant U. S. Commissioner for Vocational Education_.

Unit I


  Specialized Selling of Home Furnishings as a Career

  Increasing Sales and Earnings

  Fundamentals for Good Selling

  The Daily Check-up--A Perpetual Inventory


                                                  Photograph by Grignon.

Figure 1.--Contemporary French grouping is expressed in this attractive
chair with natural finished wood frame, tufted back, and rust figured
beige damask upholstery. The combined lamp stand and plant table is a
modern favorite.]

                       SELLING HOME FURNISHINGS



Selling home furnishings at retail is one of the most pleasant and
fascinating of occupations. It is clean work, physically agreeable,
mentally stimulating, and free from deadening routine. Moreover, it
is a growing field with limitless possibilities. True, there always
will be malcontents who proclaim that the people of America are losing
interest in their homes, that restless excitement is their god. Facts
indicate, however, that our people are turning their thoughts and
aspirations, in increasing measure, to the enduring satisfactions of
the home.


All available data on buying habits indicate that selling methods
should be revised to meet the buyer's interest as it shifts from what
furniture is to what furniture will do. This is a logical development.
For many years American women have been influenced by the cleverest
advertising in the world to desire and to buy finished products on the
basis of performance and with little or no concern as to how they are
made. To these women, rugs, chairs, tables, and lamps are parts whose
interest depends chiefly on how they are combined with other parts
to form harmonious wholes. According to a number of comprehensive
surveys, three out of every five women who are interested in furniture
are concerned chiefly with its effect in making their homes more
attractive. If this is true, those who sell home furnishings must have
a sound knowledge not only of their merchandise but also of the art of
arranging and combining that merchandise to insure comfort and beauty
in completely furnished rooms.

This specialized selling of home furnishings as a career, therefore,
means mastery of the art of interior decoration. If interior decoration
be defined as the sum of the processes by which a home is made
beautiful to look at and comfortable to live in, then all who sell home
furnishings must understand style, design, materials, and construction.
Every furniture salesman who consistently maintains a high sales
volume as a result of his own skill will be found to employ the methods
of the interior decorator whether he adopts the professional title or

[Illustration: Figure 2.--A suggestive progress-program for those who
sell home furnishings which may be modified in terms of situations.
Promotion steps are shown on five training levels of increasing
difficulty and responsibility.]

The fighter who carries a punch in one hand only will lose a good many
bouts. The carpenter uses a ripsaw for one operation and a crosscut for
another. The salesman is in precisely the same situation. He always
can make some sales merely by showing furniture and quoting prices.
He always can make more sales by a skillful presentation of style,
design, materials, and construction. But in order to build a personal
following and to sell to the highest possible percentage of his
customers the largest possible amount of merchandise, he must become a
competent adviser in the creative processes of home furnishings.

Figure 2 is a diagram of an educational program which, starting with
preparatory training in the early years of the secondary school,
continues through a period of cooperative part-time training which
combines education in the school and on the job, until full-time
employment assures continued opportunity to study progressively on
three training levels of increasing difficulty and responsibility.
Mastery in ability to sell home furnishings implies adequate
understanding of materials and selling techniques acquired at each of
these training levels.


There are three ways by which one can increase his sales and earnings:

  1. Increase the daily average number of customers waited on.

  2. Increase the average percentage of customers sold.

  3. Increase the average volume of each sale.


In order to increase your daily average of people waited on, you must
_(a)_ arrange to secure customers for the otherwise idle hours of the
day; and _(b)_ develop the ability to speed up the selling process,
which will enable you to sell to more people during the active hours.

_(a)_ To secure customers for the otherwise idle hours of the day,
begin with the "lookers" and your "call trade." The woman who has been
planning what is to her an important purchase frequently will want to
consult her husband or a friend in whose judgment she has confidence.
If you have been successful in creating real interest in your
merchandise, it will not be difficult to make an evening appointment,
obviously as a means of saving the time of the husband or the friend.

When you suggest an early or late appointment you may readily promise
exceptional service. You will be assured of the individual attention of
your group under conditions removed from the confusion of regular store
traffic. If the appointment is during the early morning hours or during
evening hours, it will be easy to group the pieces as they are to be
used and thus show them as they might actually look in the home.

Then, too, you always will have some sales under way or coming up with
old customers, and in many cases you can, by acting in advance, arrange
appointments which will occupy otherwise empty time, thus leaving the
more active periods of the business day open for routine selling. Time
which cannot be spent with customers should be devoted to developmental

_(b)_ Among many ways to speed up the selling process are the following:

  1. Get down to business, and stay there. Much time is wasted both
    before the sale is made and afterward in purely extraneous
    talk, not calculated in any way to advance the sale or build
    confidence. Within the limits imposed by courtesy, confine the
    conversation to the business in hand. And don't yield to the easy
    temptation to talk about yourself.

  2. So far as is possible, eliminate the element of guesswork in
    showing merchandise. Find out enough about your customer's room
    and what is in it, and about her tastes and plans, to enable you
    to avoid confusion and resistance, and to cut down the amount of
    time spent in showing goods there is no chance to sell.

  3. Be sure that your appearance, manner, and language are such as
    to inspire quick confidence. This will make it unnecessary to
    spend too much time in demonstrating the fitness and value of
    your merchandise. Alertness, faultless courtesy, and unfeigned
    interest in the customer's comfort and convenience are vital.

  4. Know your stock, including the small occasional pieces whose
    location is often shifted, so thoroughly that you can go directly
    to any piece you want to show. In a sale involving several
    articles, particularly if they must be shown on different floors,
    plan and route the selling process to eliminate unnecessary
    movement, and if the display is made during regular store hours,
    try to close the sale somewhere above the first floor, with its
    noise, confusion, and beckoning suggestion of the open door.


Much of our study will be directed toward discussing methods for
increasing the percentage of sales made to customers waited on.
Everything is important, and every improvement in equipment will help.
Doubtless what is most needed is more knowledge, which we can acquire;
more patience, which we can force ourselves by a sheer effort of the
will to summon and employ; and more energy, which we can and will
develop in the degree that we recognize and desire its rewards.


Trade Up Consistently.

The first requirement of one who would increase the size of individual
sales is that he shall trade up consistently. Obviously, this does not
mean that the salesmen should disregard prudence and common sense and
try to sell a $100 article to the buyer who can afford to spend only
$50 or $75, nor does it mean use of high-pressure selling methods. It
does mean that he should develop the ability to estimate the buyer's
tastes, means, and real needs, and to present elements of value in his
merchandise other than price.

Ten years ago a woman who made a shopping tour through 12 department
and furniture stores reported that 8 out of 10 salesmen quoted the
price of every article immediately, with strong emphasis upon its
low price. A number of salesmen mentioned the wood and finish of the
article, quoted the price with the usual comments, and stopped--their
entire stock of ideas apparently exhausted by this effort. This same
kind of selling is still too prevalent. Today's emphasis upon service
for specific needs rather than upon low price to build sales volume has
given us an ever-increasing number of salespersons who understand that
it is foolish to start a sale from the bottom, foolish to assume that
no one desires or can afford to buy good things, and not only foolish
but dishonest to discuss furniture of poor quality and low price in
terms which fairly could be applied only to better quality and higher

Suggest Related Merchandise.

A second and extremely important way to increase the size of your
average sale is by the skillful suggestion of related merchandise.

A great many persons buy home furnishings only when they need them as
a physical utility. Quite naturally, they get along with the minimum
number of pieces and buy for the lowest prices consistent with their
ideas of desirable quality.

To be prepared for this type of emergency or "suggestion selling" each
salesman should work out for himself, with the help of other salesmen,
and by wide reading of trade journals, magazines, newspaper articles,
and books in his field, a list of articles in the home-furnishings
field which naturally belong together. These lists of "naturals" should
be memorized for ready recall at any moment.

"Specials," modern accessories, new designs in small occasional pieces,
when advertised to the public, lend themselves to a suggestion-selling
program used in connection with a carefully selected call list. In
suggestion selling, emphasis should be upon the quality of charm or
fitness to be added to a particular room, with the furnishings of which
the salesman already is familiar.

Sell More Than Utility and Price.

Those who buy furniture for satisfactions other than utility naturally
buy--insofar as their means will permit--whatever pieces they believe
to be necessary in order to insure those satisfactions. It is clear
that salesmen in order to sell to this type of customer must be able
to arouse the interest of these utility and price buyers in other

To do this, they must be able to sell something more than furniture.
They must sell on the basis of the enticement of comfort and cushioned
ease, the lure of beauty, the appeal of smartness and style. They must
sell distinction, the acclaim of friends and guests, the pride and
pleasure of the children, and the joy of living in an attractive home.

Does this tend to provoke a skeptical smile from those who have been
selling furniture for years? Well, let those smile whose earnings have
been wholly satisfactory. As for the others, let them remember that
in diminished volume is told the story of those who consistently have
attempted to sell furniture as nothing more than furniture and who have
stolidly ignored the power of imagination and sentiment in quickening
interest and deepening desire.


Sales experts are agreed that it is impossible to formulate a selling
plan that will apply to all salespersons. There are no magic words to
be spoken in the presence of potential buyers that will cause them to
call loudly for an order blank and reach for a fountain pen. There are
certain fundamentals which will help a man to become a better salesman.


Webster defines tact as "a nice discernment of delicate skill in saying
and doing what is expedient or suitable in given circumstances."
Tact is one of the most valuable assets in salesmanship and must be
exercised at all times. Many sales of home furnishings have been lost
in discussions with a prospect who was inclined to be belligerent.
Under no circumstances enter into an argument. You have heard the
well-known axiom, "Win an argument and lose a sale." The fact that you
have sound sales arguments to use in presenting your sales story does
not mean that you must argue with the prospect to prove your point.
Explain tactfully your side of the story and, if your statement is
questioned, try to prove it. But rather than enter into an argument
about it, pass on to another point, and, if necessary, refer later to
the point in question from a different angle.


Some salesmen are so anxious to tell all they know about their product
that unquestionably they develop a habit of interrupting a prospect
every time he speaks. This reflects adversely on the salesman; often
it prevents the prospect from telling of the features particularly
liked or the real objection to the proposition. When your prospective
customer starts to speak, listen, and above all, when answering a
question, don't exaggerate. Many a sad failure in selling has resulted
from an exaggeration of facts to the point where the prospect will not
believe anything the salesman has said.


Sincerity breeds conviction and if you are convinced of the statement
you make, your attitude will go a long way in making your prospective
customer believe your story. Know your product and its advantages; be
sincere and enthusiastic when you are presenting them. Be natural. It
will pay.


All have known salesmen who have talked themselves out of sales. This
is a fault common to many. Some types evidently believe that if they
talk fast enough, do not permit the prospect to bring up objections or
say anything, and put the pen in the prospect's fingers and get him to
sign on the dotted line, a good sale has been made. The day for this
kind of selling is gone. Today's buyer wants information and she wants
a chance to think about that information after she gets it. Make your
statement about your product and let your customer think about it. Be
careful not to bury one important sales feature by showering several
more on top of it before the customer has had time to decide on the
merits of the first. Give your customer an opportunity to ask questions
and express her opinion. Often, if allowed to talk, the prospect will
sell herself.


An objection or reason for not buying may be real or it may be merely
an excuse. In any event, the salesman must be able to answer it
effectively in order to close the sale. If the customer raises an
objection, be sure you understand it. Don't jump at conclusions as to
what the objection is going to be. After you understand it clearly,
repeat it. Sometimes when an objection is repeated the customer
immediately can see for herself that it is not a valid objection.


Salesmen interested in fundamentals will do well to remember four
points of value in selling:

  1. Talk to your customer as though she knows about the product but
    explain everything as though she knew nothing about it.

  2. Treat your customer with unfailing courtesy.

  3. Assume that she is able financially to buy anything on the floor
    even if her general appearance leaves room for some doubt. When
    basic facts are established, suggest justifiable time-payment
    plans as an arrangement she might prefer--but do this tactfully
    since many women are sensitive about money and credit ratings.

  4. Make your sales story complete. Tell it simply, directly,
    earnestly, and honestly.


Elementary fundamentals should be brought up time and again. You may
know you are beyond the stage where you need to be told to keep the
ears clean, the hair combed, the shoes polished, and suits pressed, but
there are some angles on this matter of keeping a perpetual personal
inventory which may be reviewed profitably many times. Consider the
advantages of a daily check-up.

Some women are inclined to trust to first impressions of appearance and
manner. A salesman may find it difficult and sometimes impossible to
win their confidence if there is anything in his appearance, manner,
language, or actions to detract attention or arouse prejudice. If these
important personal matters are neglected, it means reduced income
through the loss of some sales and an unnecessary loss of time in many

One of the best ways to guard against these losses is to work out a
sort of perpetual inventory of your own good and bad points, and to
keep this inventory up to date, making a systematic check-up.

Certain principles as to proper dress for men in home-furnishing stores
of dignity have been established. One metropolitan store insists
that salesmen wear dark suits; black shoes always; white collars
either attached or detached, not necessarily starched; neckties, dark
preferably, and in harmony with the suit. This store never permits
removal of coat or vest even in summer. Many stores, however, permit
vests off in summer and supply uniform coats to all salesmen--dark palm
beach or similar material. Arbitrary rules without reason are worse
than none. The store mentioned above feels that the factors listed
as important simply conform to the laws of good taste in reflecting
the store to its clientele. No store can afford to tolerate slovenly
attire, shoddy language, or indifferent effort.

If, in good faith, interested salesmen will run through the following
list of questions before they go to work each morning for 2 or 3
months, they will find the results in increased sales unexpectedly


Have I had the food, sleep, and exercise necessary to enable me to meet
all customers, even on the longest and busiest day, with energy and

Do I feel and look fit, alert, competent, and prosperous?

Is there anything to attract unpleasant attention to my hair,
fingernails, teeth, tie, or shoes?


Do I meet all customers without reference to age, sex, or dress, as if
I were genuinely glad to see them and sincerely interested in serving
them intelligently and well?

Am I businesslike without being brusque? dignified without being stiff?
unvaryingly polite but never oily or servile?

Do I treat all customers with real courtesy, and none with cheap or
offensive familiarity?

Do I ever permit myself to look or act bored, tired, indifferent, or


Is my voice pleasant?

Do I talk enough, or too much?

Do I talk carefully and well, without grammatical blunders or slang,
and with an adequate command of words, or do I stumble, use poorly
chosen words, and repeat myself until my customers are bored or


Do I slouch, or get into awkward and ungraceful postures, or sit on the
arms of chairs or sofas?

Do I play with a pencil, watch chain, or sales book, or jingle keys or
money in my pocket?

Do I ever show merchandise carelessly, as if it were of no value or

Do I ever get into an argument with a customer when there is the
slightest possibility of giving offense?

Whatever your present earning power may be, wide experience warrants
the belief that you can raise it appreciably by improving your present
rating in these factors which together give outward expression to your
personality as your customers see it.


_1. Do you think a salesman can be sincere and use "high pressure"
methods at the same time?_

_2. Do you feel you are doing a customer a favor or imposing on her in
urging her to come to a decision, particularly when grading-up?_

_3. A customer says: "I like this suite, but the price is a little more
then I'd counted on paying." What is the best way of handling this
customer to close a sale?_

_4. A customer says: "I've just about decided on this one, but I'd like
my husband to see it." What is the right way to handle this situation?
Should an attempt be made to close the sale then and there? What has
been your experience?_

_5. A customer is sold on a modern suite, and has her mother with her.
Her mother is not sold on modern furniture. How would you handle this

_6. A customer wants an Early American bedroom, is apparently satisfied
with the suite, which happens to be birch, and asks: "Is it solid
maple?" How do you answer?_

_7. If the president of the First National Bank and his wife came in at
5:30 to look at a dining-room suite, how would you handle the first 5
minutes of the conversation?_

_8. Select a bedroom suite from the floor selling for $99 and one
selling at $179, and demonstrate the points of superiority in the more
costly set?_


  BOLLING, CUNLIFFE L. _Retail Salesmanship._ Sir Isaac Pitman &
    Sons, Ltd., London, 1930.

  The Spirit of Salesmanship, II, pp. 14-26.
  Aptitude for Salesmanship, III, pp. 26-37.
  Sales Demonstration, X, pp. 152-165.

  KENAGY, H. G. _and_ YOAKUM, C. S. _The Selection and Training of
    Salesmen._ McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., New York, N. Y. 1925.

  The Measures of Successful Selection, XI, pp. 215-249.
  Mental Alertness Tests for Salesmen, XII, pp. 249-277.
  Personality and Aptitude Tests, XIII, pp. 277-300.
  Training Salesmen, XIV, pp. 300-319.

  KELSEY, CLARK. _Furniture: Its Selection and Use._ National
    Committee on Wood Utilization, United States Department of
    Commerce. Superintendent of Documents, United States Government
    Printing Office, Washington, D. C.

  Budget, Buying Plans, Need, Utilities, I, pp. 1-19.

  National Retail Dry Goods Association, 101 West Thirty-first
    Street, New York, N. Y. 1935. Furniture Sales Manual.

  PELZ, V. H. _Selling At Retail._ McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., New
    York, N. Y. 1926.

  Personal Qualifications of the Retail Salesman, VIII, pp. 119-139.
  How to Make Sales-Talk Effective, XI, pp. 185-215.
  Sales by Suggestion, XVIII, pp. 293-313.
  Following Up the Sale, XIX, pp. 313-315.

  REYBURN, SAMUEL W. _Selling Home Furnishings Successfully._
    Prentice-Hall, Inc., New York, N. Y.

  SIMMONS, HARRY. _How To Get The Order._ Harper & Bros., New York,
    N. Y. 1937.

  Sales, Leads, Customers, I, II, III, V, VII, VIII, pp. 1-78.

  STEWART, ROSS _and_ GERALD, JOHN. _Home Decoration._ Garden City
    Publishing Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y. 1938.

  Buying Furniture, XII, pp. 219-230.

  WHITEHEAD, HAROLD. _How To Run a Store._ The Thomas Y. Crowell Co.,
    New York, N. Y. 1921.

  Developing Organized Loyalty, XXI, pp. 253-265.

  ----. _The Business of Selling._ American Book Co., New York, N. Y.

  The Mental Law of Sale, V, pp. 44-51.
  The Salesman's Personality, XVIII, pp. 221-234.
  How To Develop Personality, XIX, pp. 234-242.

Unit II


  Sale Objectives

  Starting the Simple Sale

  The All-Important Interview

  Three General Considerations for Closing Sales

  Meeting the Customer

[Illustration: Figure 3A.--A block front Chippendale secretary. The
pulls are all pierced chased brass. The broken pediment is ornamented
by the unusual addition of a hand-carved leaf carving. The ribband back
chair has the cabriole ball and claw and leaf carving on the knees and
is upholstered in a hand-blocked tapestry.]

[Illustration: Figure 3B.--This copy of a Sheraton corner stand has
tambour sliding front drawers and a copper-lined plant container at the
back. The chair at the side is a Sheraton decorated armchair, in black
with gold decoration. The upholstery is green and ivory striped satin.]

                  Unit II.--TECHNIQUE OF SALESMANSHIP


When you start toward the display floor with a customer who has asked
for a particular article, you have--or should have--five objectives:

  1. To close a sale, if possible, for an article of the best quality
    warranted by the customer's needs and means.

  2. To sell any additional merchandise in which you can arouse an

  3. To make the sale in such a way that the merchandise will stay
    sold, and the customer will become a loyal business friend.

  4. To secure and record any information as to the customer's home
    and tastes that may lead to possible future sales.

  5. To do these things without wasting time so that you may get
    another customer and repeat the process.

In order to attain these objectives you must gain the confidence of the
buyer, and here your success will depend upon what happens in the first
5 minutes. It is during these crucial minutes that the customer forms
the impressions which so often lead her either to bestow her confidence
or withhold it.


The experienced salesman is accustomed to form a quick judgment of
the customer and to base his opening procedure on that judgment. The
technique presented here is designed particularly to help this salesman
make large sales or handle small sales which may be expected to produce
future business.

Let us assume that your customer has not asked for an advertised chair,
and that there is nothing in her appearance or manner to enable you to
make a close guess as to her tastes and means. All you know is that
she is interested in an easy chair. Since she has not told you exactly
what kind of chair she wants, it is safe to assume that she doesn't
know. On the other hand, you may be certain she wants a chair to serve
some particular purpose of her own. The chances are that she has only
a vague idea as to the particular type of chair which will best serve
this purpose; you as yet have no idea whatever. Accordingly, you must
choose one of three methods for starting the sale.


The first is to lead her through your stock in the hope that she will
see a chair that pleases her and buy it. This sometimes will happen,
and there are some customers--though few--who can be sold in no other
way. However, this method wastes so much time, and results in such a
heavy percentage of lost sales, that it should be your last resort. It
is open to three serious objections:

First, it will not help you win the customer's confidence. By
relinquishing all control of the interview, you forfeit her respect for
you as a competent adviser in the processes of home furnishing, and
become merely an order taker. If she happens to like your merchandise,
you are fortunate; but you can do nothing to influence her toward
liking it.

Second, no one can look at a great many different things, however
interesting and beautiful, without becoming confused and losing the
power of discriminating judgment. The woman who is shown furniture by
this undirected method is likely to become tired and certain to become
confused, and may be expected to decide to "think it over," "look
around," or "bring her husband."

Moreover, you cannot show many chairs, even by this method, without
making some comments about them. If you are like many salespersons you
will fall into the habit of describing half the pieces shown either as
the most beautiful, the smartest, the most comfortable, the latest, or
the best bargain. If this happens, any normally intelligent person will
suspect that you are either insincere or incompetent.

Third, if a sale results, it is likely to be at an unnecessarily
low-price level unless the question of credit limit is involved; and
in any event there will be no sale of additional merchandise, no
information of future value, no loyal business friendship.


You may decide to make a persistent and, if necessary, a high-pressure
effort to "sell" her something. This method, like the first, will
work with a limited number of buyers. However, it results in much
wasted time by reason of the high percentage of returns for credit
or exchange, and in ill-feeling and impaired confidence which over
a period of years make it difficult for the salesman to build up a
personal following among the buyers of his community.

As a matter of cold fact, this method of selling home furnishings has
caused the retailers an immense loss in public confidence, as well as
in money. Because of wrong selling methods, multitudes of women now
stay out of certain stores except on those rare occasions when they are
forced by actual needs to enter. Although these women want to buy, they
are afraid of being sold.

More accurately, they are afraid of being sold the wrong thing. Most
of the women who ask to see a chair or rug or other home-furnishings
merchandise really want something much more important to themselves,
although they do not tell us about it. They want beauty, comfort,
distinction, or social prestige. In other words, they want to buy
furniture as a means of making their homes more attractive; but their
past experience, or the experience of their friends, often leads them
to believe that the salesman will not really help them. To overcome
their hesitancy, they must be made to feel at the beginning of the
interview that no one is trying to sell them, or even to let them buy,
but rather that the desire of the salesman is to help them buy.


The third possible course of action is based upon a study of the
customer's needs. The salesman will seek to discover the customer's
purpose in looking at easy chairs and then to show her the particular
pieces in stock which are best adapted to serve that purpose. He will
need information about the size, style, and coloring of the chair
required, and the amount that the buyer is able or willing to pay for
it. Do not, at the outset, ask for this information.

In selling home furnishings avoid questions which will force the buyer
to make definite commitments in advance as to her tastes or the amount
of money she is prepared to spend. In the first place, it is probable
that if she had fixed ideas on these subjects she would have told you
exactly what she wanted at once. If you force her by direct questions
to make a statement, she may feel impelled to abide by it later; you
thereby have placed yourself and your stock under an unnecessary

In the second place you run the risk of annoying her, since few women
welcome a direct question at the beginning of a sales interview as to
how much they are prepared to spend. Finally, such questions may be
so clumsy and amateurish in technique as to under-mine a customer's
confidence in your ability. Your questions at the outset should be
directed toward determining her needs. If such questions are skillfully
put, she will welcome them as evidence that you are trying to help her
buy economically and intelligently.


Upon leaving the elevator take your customer directly to an easy chair
which you know to be good-looking and comfortable, conservative both
in design and coloring, and neither your cheapest nor your most costly
quality. By choosing a conservative rather than an extreme style you
run no risk of impairing her confidence in your taste and judgment,
and by picking a piece in the middle price range you run no risk
of offending her if she is in the market for a costly chair, or of
alarming her if she is a buyer for a cheap chair. Moreover, you are in
the safe position of being able to shift ground in either direction
without loss of prestige. Don't ask her how she likes this chair,
and don't make any flattering comments on it. Merely say, in effect:
"I don't know how close this particular chair comes to what you have
in mind; but at least it is attractive and comfortable. If you care
to sit down in it for a moment, and to tell me a little about your
requirements, or about your room, perhaps I can save you the time and
trouble of looking at a great number of unsuitable pieces. Is the chair
for your living room?" If the answer is "Yes," proceed: "Then it will
of course have to fit in with your other things in that room."

At this point you may wish to draw up a small table and lay the
living-room floor plan[1] on it with the first page so placed that
the customer can easily see it. Then draw up a chair for yourself. It
is important to move with a poise and assurance which will cause the
buyer to know you are following the usual procedure. By the time you
are seated she will likely have read enough of the first page to be
interested and awaiting your next move.


In many simple sales it will be unnecessary to ask many questions, or
to enter the answers on the plan. Since you cannot know this at the
start of the interview, however, it is usually wise to show the plan,
even if you make no actual use of it. The effect of this procedure
catches interest, places the transaction on a more professional basis,
and helps create confidence in yourself and your store as skillful and
competent advisers in the selection of furniture.

[Illustration: Figure 4.--Room arrangement plan

NOTE TO SALESPERSON.--If you do not have a floor plan and have not
seen the room in question, take blank paper and pencil. Block in
window and door openings and location of "other" furniture. Then
proceed as suggested, recommending nothing that will not enhance the
attractiveness of the room for its particular use. Always date your
sketch; place upon it the name of your customer, and file for later

If you decide to use the plan, spread it on the table, and say, in
effect: "This device helps us to serve our patrons who are interested
in buying furniture that will add to the comfort and beauty of their
homes. In your own case, for example, we have scores of chairs that are
good looking and that are good values. Yet, if you were to look at all
of them you would undoubtedly find that some are too large or too small
and that the great majority will not harmonize perfectly in design,
style, or coloring with the other things in your own particular room.
By using this device you can give me a clear picture of your room as
you want it to look. Then I can show you only such pieces as promise to
meet your requirements, and you in turn may select the one chair that
seems most suitable. Do you have a guest chair in mind, or one for the
special use of a member of the family? If for a member of the family,
the sex, size, and individual preference must be taken into account; if
for guests, the general decorative character of the room only.

"The new chair will be seen against the background of the walls and the
floor coverings, and as a part of the group to which it belongs. Hence,
we must be sure it will harmonize with these other elements. Your rug,
for example, is----?" Enter important information which is given on
the floor plan under the heading "Floor covering." Information needed
includes the type of rug (which may give you an idea of the buyer's
price level); coloring; and type of design (which will indicate to
you the characteristic features of the new chair necessary to insure
harmony). Then proceed in the same way with the walls, woodwork,
draperies, and principal upholstery fabrics.

If by this time your customer shows signs of impatience, you may wish
to say in effect that you can show her several chairs that will fill
the requirements admirably. Then go to work.


If, on the other hand, the buyer clearly is interested, ask for the
size of her room and for the description and location of her other
furniture, and block in the information on the floor plan, using
the method shown in the typical floor plan, page 21. Here the best
procedure is to start from the point of intersection of the 2 heavy
lines, or axes, and count in 4 directions, using the scale of ¼-inch
square for each foot. For example, if the room is 16 × 24 feet, count
12 squares from the center in both directions to locate the end walls,
and 8 squares in both directions to locate the side walls. When this
information is recorded you will get an idea as to the correct size and
proper location for the new chair. Be sure to locate windows and doors
accurately and indicate the exposure of the room with reference to the
compass points.

These preliminaries when completed will give a clear picture of the
room, a fair idea of your customer's price range, and a good start
toward her confidence. Thank her and introduce yourself simply by
saying, "I am Mr. Smith. If you are pleased by what I have shown you
today, I shall hope to see you again as other living-room needs arise.
May I fill in your name and address, so that this plan may be filed for
use when you are next in the store?"


You must be guided by your best judgment. If you have reason to think
the customer has confidence in you, show first the particular chair
that you honestly believe is best for her purpose, introducing it with
a brief, pointed, and purely impersonal comment on its beauty, style,
and peculiar fitness for her own purpose. Don't use superlatives. She
may not like this piece well enough to buy it immediately, in which
case you will be seriously handicapped in trying to interest her in
another one. If, on the contrary, you do not feel assured of her
complete confidence, probably it will be wiser to show your second or
third best piece first, holding the best in reserve.

As soon as you detect signs of real interest in a chair, build up a
little group based on the principles of harmony which are stated and
illustrated in unit VII, page 142. In some cases a small table will be
enough; but usually it will be better to use a larger table, a lamp,
and often a small rug and a length or two of drapery fabrics, if you
stock them. The purpose of this procedure is to help the customer see
your chair as an integral part of her own room and to emphasize its
desirability as a means of making that room more attractive. If she
already has the pieces necessary to form a complete group when the
chair is added, select pieces as nearly like her own as possible. If
not, select pieces that harmonize perfectly with the chair. Don't tell
her that she ought to have these pieces. Merely show them without
comment, and defer any attempt to sell anything more than an easy chair
until after the chair has been sold.



Some salesmen make the serious and costly mistake of assuming that
every customer will be exacting and hard to sell, and that a large
percentage of them enter the store with no real intention of buying.
The really able salesman knows that this is not true. Under present
conditions the woman who enters a furniture store or department may
be presumed to have an active interest in furniture. When you have
found her real needs and offered her something that satisfies them,
there in an excellent chance that she will be ready to buy. If so,
take the order at once. Don't make the tactical blunder of showing
additional merchandise, or of completing all the steps necessary to
close a difficult sale. Many salesmen talk themselves out of a sale by
suggesting unnecessary alternatives. In other words, prepare carefully
and intelligently for the order, expect it, and take it at the first


At the start of a sale it is safe to assume that the buyer is thinking
in terms of her own interests. Don't tell her that a given chair is in
the latest or most popular style until you know that she is interested
in the latest rather than the best style for her particular room. Don't
tell her that it is your best-selling number; or that Mrs. Jones just
bought a piece like it; or that you think, or the buyer thinks, or the
head of the house thinks it "wonderful."


As a general, but by no means invariable, rule, don't quote a
price--unless you are asked for it--until you see definite signs of
interest in the piece under consideration; and even then not until you
have prepared for it by a brief but convincing statement as to quality
or desirability. However, when you are asked the price of an article,
give it immediately and without apology or comment.


All first impressions and most sales start at the front door of your
store or department. For any lack of promptness and courtesy at this
point there will be a penalty.

Anyone who enters the store should be met immediately. If it happens
to be a customer, whether man or woman, a long delay for any reason
will be resented, and even a moment's pause to finish a conversation
may be regarded as an affront. It is impossible to overestimate the
importance of this matter, both to yourself and to your house. In
a competitive market few persons will buy from the man who treats
them discourteously, nor will they return to the store where they
have met with discourtesy if another store with better methods is
accessible. Moreover, one offended customer can do more damage through
word-of-mouth advertising than a thousand lines of newspaper space can

The visitor should be greeted with a smile, a bow, and the words "Good
morning" or "Good afternoon." Test both your smile and your bow before
a mirror and improve them if any improvement is possible. A genuine
infectious smile is literally a priceless asset. After this greeting
usually you will be told what is wanted. If not, after a slight pause,
ask: "May I show you something?" or "What may I show you?" _Don't_ ask:
"Can I help you?" "Are you interested in furniture?" "What can I do for
you?" or "Anything, today?"

For the purpose of illustration, suppose the customer is a woman who
asks to see a sofa bed. Don't ask her how much she wants to pay, or
even what sort of sofa bed she wants. If the stock is on another
floor it will be enough to say: "We will take the elevator, please,"
and indicate the direction. Do not precede her. Walk abreast, and,
if the aisle is crowded, drop behind. If she is carrying a parcel of
burdensome size ask her if you may have it.

Although many successful salesmen begin at once to draw out information
as to the customer's requirements, it is better practice to defer such
questions until you are in the presence of your merchandise and beyond
the possibility of noise and confusion. Whether it is wise to try a few
impersonal remarks, or to keep still, from the front door to the sales
floor, will depend upon your judgment of the individual customer.


_1. This unit discussed three methods of starting the sale. How would
you proceed to sell furnishings for the new clubhouse at the community

_2. What would you do to correct a wrong attitude toward use of certain
types of furniture in a living room?_

_3. A woman tells you that she cannot afford costly furnishings. What
steps would you take to show her that good taste is not necessarily

_4. Of what advantage is the study of advertising to the young man who
expects to become a furniture salesman?_

_5. What use should be made of dealers' aids furnished by the
manufacturer of products you are to sell?_

_6. Give five sources of information regarding prospects which a retail
furniture salesman may use._

_7. What should a good furniture salesman know about the history of his

_8. Why is the excessive use of superlatives an indication of ignorance
of the article being sold?_

_9. (a) Of what value is a knowledge of competing goods? (b) How should
such knowledge be used?_


   (Most libraries will have other excellent books discussing retail
          salesmanship and these should be consulted freely.)

  ROLLING, CUNLIFFE L. _Retail Salesmanship._ Sir Isaac Pitman &
    Sons, Ltd., London and Pitman Publishing Co., New York, N. Y.

  Studying the Customers, VII, pp. 89-107.
  Receiving the Customers, VIII, pp. 107-131.
  Sales Persuasion, IX, pp. 131-152.
  Methods of Increasing Sales, XI, pp. 165-186.

  DE SCHWEINITZ, DOROTHEA. _Occupations in Retail Stores._
    International Text Book Co., Scranton, Pa. 1937. (Study sponsored
    by National Vocational Guidance Association and the U. S.
    Employment Service).

  Hiring, Training, Promotion, IV, pp. 41-65.
  Hours, Vacations, Earnings, V, pp. 65-93.

  JACKSON, ALICE _and_ BETTINA. _The Study of Interior Decoration._
    Doubleday Doran & Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y.

  Furnishing the Home, XVI, pp. 351-388.

  PELZ, V. H., _Selling At Retail._ McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., New
    York, N. Y. 1926.

  The Psychology of the Retail Sale, III, pp. 19-31.
  Studying the Merchandise, VI, VII, pp. 81-119.
  Customer Types and Characteristics, X, pp. 159-185.
  How to Meet Objectives, XIV, pp. 235-259.
  Substitution Sale, XV, pp. 259-265.

  RICHERT, G. HENRY. _Retailing Principles and Practices._ Gregg
    Publishing Co., New York, N. Y. 1938.

  The Retail Sales Process, XI, pp. 219-245.
  Customer Service, XIV, pp. 295-311.

  SIMMONS, HARRY. _How to Get the Order._ Harper & Bros., New York,
    N. Y. 1937.

  The Futility of Price Appeal, XI, pp. 97-106.
  Buyer Slants on Selling, XIV, pp. 121-128.

  WHITEHEAD, HAROLD. _The Business of Selling._ American Book Co.,
    New York, N. Y. 1923.

  The Buyer's Motives, VII, pp. 61-74.
  The Customer, XIV, pp. 153-173.


[1] Suitable floor-plan diagrams to aid in making unit sales are
available for any room in the house.

Unit III


  How To Demonstrate Values

  Contrast in Buying Methods of Women and Men

  Enriching Your Vocabulary

  Hidden Factors That Increase Sales


                               Courtesy of Merchandise Mart News Bureau.

Figure 5.--Useful because it can be placed behind a divan or against
a wall is this low eighteenth century cabinet for books, radio,
magazines, or bric-a-brac. Beside the cabinet is an eighteenth century
lounge chair, upholstered in rose and white striped satin.]

                    Unit III.--SALESMANSHIP APPLIED


Old or young, rich or poor, we are much alike. What interests us is
what touches ourselves. When we make our choices we do not always
accept or reject things because of their intrinsic worth but because
they appeal strongly to the group of instincts, emotions, and habits
which just then is motivating the inner life and influencing decisions.

The salesman who is clever enough to present his merchandise in the
ways that appeal most directly and powerfully to these inner controls
enjoys a great advantage over one who lacks this ability.


It goes without saying that this ability presupposes thorough knowledge
of the merchandise. This is fundamental.

A given rug which enters our stock from the receiving room may have 30
points of possible interest to buyers, but not all these points will
appeal to all buyers. Carefulness and system will enable us to pick and
emphasize the strongest points for each buyer _provided we know the
entire 30_. But if we know 20 only, or 15, or 10, no amount of skill
can save us from losing some sales.

Under present conditions it is extremely difficult to acquire full and
accurate knowledge of the merchandise we are called upon to sell, but
we can get this information now if we want it badly enough; we must get
it if we seriously desire to increase our earning power.

All possible information is important, because any part of it may be
necessary, in a given situation, in order to make a sale. We must
get this information wherever we can find it. In the case of a newly
arrived easy chair, for example, it may come from three sources:

  1. _From personal inspection._--A cursory inspection will tell us
    that the chair is a medium-size piece, slenderly and gracefully
    proportioned; with open padded arms; loose cushion seat; a back
    of pronounced rake; cabriole front legs with carved claw feet;
    covered in a small-figure reseda green damask; and priced at
    $85. We should be able to identify its style, and the tag may
    indicate the name of the manufacturer.[2]

    A more careful inspection will tell us that the exposed wood
    is solid mahogany, finely finished; the front legs skillfully
    carved; all legs with a degree of curvature that eliminates
    danger of breaking under strain; frame corner-blocked; seat
    springs set on webbing, or steel frame, with a dustproof bottom
    of cambric; loose cushion of spring construction; and the
    covering a close-woven, wear-resisting fabric with silk warp and
    cotton waft.

  2. _From the buyer or manager._--

      _a._ Name of manufacturer, in order that we may be governed in
        making statements about this chair by our general knowledge
        of his line, as to quality of materials, skill of workmen,
        and inspection standards, and also in order to use the name
        in cases where we believe that it will have prestige value.

      _b._ _Details of concealed construction, including frame_;
        method of springing; build-up of seat, back, and arms;
        stuffers used; strength of fiber and color in the covering.

      _c._ Information as to whether the piece can be duplicated, and
        if so, at what price and in what time; also as to whether it
        can be supplied in other colors, or in other materials, and
        if so, location of samples, method of figuring price, and
        time required for delivery.

      _d._ Historic source of the design, and any interesting
        information as to its fashion value, gained by the buyer at
        the markets.

  3. _From books and magazines._--

      _a._ The historical background of the style to which the chair
        belongs, and the most effective methods of developing its
        style appeal.

      _b._ Types of rooms and color schemes with which it can be used

        Equally comprehensive information is necessary for all other
        items in your stock. Without it the percentage of purchasers
        that we can be sure of reaching with a key appeal will be
        reduced, and our earning power correspondingly limited.


Assuming that we have acquired adequate knowledge of the materials
and construction of our merchandise, how are we going to use it
effectively. We suggest a few general principles as guides to sound

_Both materials and construction normally are factors to be employed
in closing a sale, but not in opening it._--If you went into a store
and asked to see a pair of shoes and the salesman, seizing the first
model at hand, assured you that it was made of tanned box calf, with
waterproof soles, cork filling, and tacked insoles, by a process
involving more than 150 separate operations, all of which made it a
wonderful value at $8.50, would you tell him to wrap up a pair? Hardly.

Neither materials nor construction would interest you until you were
comfortably fitted with a shoe that satisfied your ideas of style and
color, and at a price within your buying limit.

When a customer asks for an advertised article and seems pleased with
its appearance, the demonstration of its value can start at once. In
any other situation it must wait until you find something with which
she is pleased.

There are those who appear to believe that selling is a game in which
the object is to beat down the customer's opposition and make her buy.
In dealing with customers of any type above the most unenlightened,
this idea always has proved a boomerang.

_In talking materials and construction, preserve a sense of relative
values._--When we say about a $35 chair everything that properly could
be said about one priced at $65, our customer either believes or
disbelieves us. If she disbelieves, the sale is lost. If she believes,
our chance to get more than $35 of her money is lost. Even if we leave
out of account the basically important matter of business honesty, it
is unwise to overstate the values of any article. In a well-managed
furniture store every article possesses points of merit sufficient to
sell it on the basis of what can be fairly claimed for it. To claim
more, whether intentionally or through ignorance of the facts, is to
deceive our customers, and--inevitably--to cut down our sales volume.

_Demonstrate the value of all merchandise under serious consideration
whether you believe it to be necessary or not._--Many sales of
advertised articles or merchandise chosen on the basis of its
decorative appeal can be closed without discussion of materials or
construction. As a safety-first measure, these factors should be
mentioned somewhat carefully after the order has been booked. Sometimes
a customer will buy an article in complete good faith, and yet within
the next half hour will start shopping in other stores to see whether
or not she has bought wisely. Even more important is the fact that in
every case the new purchase, when delivered, is subject to inspection
and criticism not only by members of the family but also by neighbors
and friends. Some of this criticism is bound to be adverse, and unless
we have taken the precaution to build up an unshakable confidence in
the excellence and value of our merchandise there may be a telephone
order to come and get it, or at least a loss of goodwill and future

These precautionary build-ups can of course be brief. For example, if
you have sold a bedroom suite on the basis of appearance only, it will
be enough to say in substance: "You have bought this suite because of
its beauty and style, which will continue to delight you always. But
before you leave I want you to realize that these fine qualities rest
on a foundation of sturdy construction. This dresser, for example,
is * * *."

_Contacting the "I'll-buy-later" prospect._--There is always the
chance that the sale can be closed. A woman's statement that she is
not yet ready to buy is in many cases merely a "defense mechanism"--a
psychological device to serve as an excuse to leave if she senses that
high-pressure selling effort is being applied. It is possible that if
we answer, in effect, "Please don't think of yourself as a customer,
but rather as a valued guest of the store. This is not a busy hour for
me, and while you are here I hope you will let me show you some more of
the new things, which are particularly interesting this season," we may
be able to develop the confidence and desire necessary to effect a sale.

If we fail to do this, we can at least see to it that the customer
leaves with a clear impression of the value of the pieces she has been
considering. If this impression is sufficiently clear and deep she may
come back. Otherwise, in all likelihood, she will not.

_The shopper in a hurry._--Many of us habitually make little or no
effort with the customer who enters with the warning "I am in a great
hurry," or "I have just a moment to look around today, and will come
back later when I have more time." This is a mistake. Such statements
may or may not be entirely true. In many cases they are another
form of defense mechanism--a way out, prepared in advance. In other
cases, they are merely a form of exhibitionism--a native desire to
appear important. Such customers, properly handled, often can be held
indefinitely, with the average chance to make a sale.

_Price important in judging value._--Those who sell are rightfully apt
to think of value as the total sum of a number of costs. While this
method of evaluation is not fundamental economically, nevertheless
our opinions often crystallize when we view the cost records. Our
customer, however, is dually interested in what it costs to make and
distribute what we sell her and in what our product means to her
through its uses in her home. The merchant's, and hence the salesman's
obligation, is to satisfy her that the price she pays is in strict
conformity with the actual reasonable costs of making and delivering
the goods. Simultaneously, however, we must teach her how our product
will fit into her home, the satisfaction it will give her, the use it
will stand through the years, in order that she may correctly weigh her
satisfaction against her cost and reach a final conclusion as to her

This does not mean, of course, that the price should be stated first,
but simply that it must be stated at the time it becomes important in
the mind of the buyer. Assuming a skillfully conducted preliminary
talk, this will normally be _after_ an article has been tentatively
accepted on the basis of appearance, and fitness, but _before_ the
beginning of a serious effort to close the sale.

_Avoid resistance, and answer unspoken objections._--Use of the "How
do you like this?" type of question sets up unnecessary hazards
of resistance and should be avoided. The same is true of positive
assertions not susceptible of immediate proof, and also of statements
which tend to suggest inner doubts.

If you say of a certain sheen-type rug, "This rug, in pattern and
coloring reproducing one of the celebrated Isphans of seventeenth
century Persia, is woven of a special brand of imported oriental
wools, by methods which give to its deep, close pile almost unlimited
durability, plus this rich, velvet-like softness and luster," you
add to its value without setting up a possible source of resistance
to unspoken objections. But if you say, "The construction of this
rug makes it the best value on the market," you cannot prove your
statement, which may serve to remind the buyer that other stores are
offering special values, or that her friend is enthusiastic about a rug
bought recently at Blank's.

_Unproved assertions destroy confidence._--Suppose you are trying to
sell a table with mahogany-veneer top and red gum legs. To call it a
mahogany table will lose the sale immediately, if the customer knows
woods. To say that it has a mahogany-veneer top and mahogany finish gum
legs may suggest to the buyer that a veneer is a poor substitute for
solid wood, and that gum cannot be desirable if it must be finished to
look like something else. To ignore the whole matter of materials and
construction and to try to sell the table on its beauty and fitness
alone may cause the customer to wonder just what you are trying to
conceal, which will mean loss of confidence in yourself and your

The wise course is to tell the entire truth about the piece in
a perfectly matter-of-fact way designed to avoid any invidious
comparisons of woods or processes. For example: "This table whose
design and coloring you so much admire is as sturdy as it is good
looking. Following the practice of some old eighteenth century
cabinetmakers, the maker of this piece has combined several woods.
Those used in the top are built into the modern five-ply construction,
which brings out the full beauty of grain of the mahogany upper
ply, ensures freedom from any danger of warping or splitting, and
provides the strength of steel. For the legs he has used the beautiful
straight-grained red gum of the South."

It is a costly folly to try to sell one material or process by
condemning another. We show a table, for example, and speak of "solid
American walnut" as if no other wood or construction were worthy of
consideration; and 5 minutes later, finding that we have misjudged her
price level, we stammer and stumble over an attempt to convince her
that plywood is an acceptable substitute.

These are the dangerous devices of mental laziness. When a customer
asks us if mahogany is better than birch, or Axminster carpets better
than velvets, or solid construction better than veneer, a positive
answer is misleading. We certainly should know that mahogany, like
birch, varies in excellence according to the individual board; that
some Axminsters are better than some velvets, and vice versa; and that
the construction is best which best meets the particular requirements
of design and purpose, in furniture precisely as in shoes or ships.

The fact is that everything used in making home furnishings of worthy
quality has stood the test of time, and therefore is interesting and
desirable in its own right. If we cannot make it seem so to customers,
we have not learned enough about it.

_In selling materials and construction, repetition is needed._--We must
be governed by the results of our preliminary talk in picking out for
emphasis the particular points which promise to be of interest to each
customer. Having made these points, we sometimes need to repeat them,
in varying language and in different parts of our sales talk. Moreover,
we must never forget that many things which are as familiar to us as
the multiplication table are strange to our customers, and therefore
difficult to remember.

We know, for example, that concealed differences in construction
may make one easy chair worth twice as much as another of identical
appearance; that in sliced walnut veneers, figured woods may cost 5 or
10 times as much as plain; but most buyers do not know such things.
Accordingly, if we merely state such facts, but fail to groove a
memory channel by one or more repetitions, there is an excellent chance
that even the customer who wants and can afford good things will look
elsewhere, completely forget what we have told her, and buy a cheaper
article in the honest belief that she is getting something equally
good. _What too often happens is that in building up the value of our
merchandise we fail to fix the facts in the customer's mind._

_Treat merchandise carefully, and show it under the most favorable
conditions._--It is self evident that valuable merchandise must be so
handled as to imply that it is of distinguished excellence.

_Respect in handling inspires respect._--A woman will not buy an
article unless and until she has identified it with herself--conceived
of it as belonging to herself, and in her own home. Suppose that we are
showing her a length of drapery fabric. If we crush it, or handle it as
if it were calico or cheesecloth, or chance to step on it _before_ she
makes this unconscious identification with herself, she will think less
of it; if _after_, she will think less of us. Either reaction will be

In departments using rug racks, often it is necessary to remove a rug
and show it on the floor before the sale can be closed. If we do this
in a way that permits the piece to fall in a wrinkled heap on the floor
we will not damage the rug, but we will hurt the buyer's opinion of it.
A shrewd salesman will ask his customer to walk on the rug; but he will
not walk on it himself.

The same care applies to showing furniture. It is folly to jerk a
drawer violently, or pound a table or dresser top, or thump the seat
of an easy chair, or sit on the arm of a sofa. Such actions reveal
an awkwardness and lack of poise which one does not associate with
good homes and their furnishings. Then, too, your customer, if she
is seriously considering a purchase, thinks of you subconsciously as
pounding her table or sitting on the arm of her sofa.

Similar care should be given to the language with which you
characterize or describe your merchandise. Many an automobile salesman
has lost a live prospect because he insisted on calling a beautiful car
a "job." "This stuff," or even "these goods," may lose the sale of a
fine damask. Wrong inflection in phrases like "It is veneered," "This
is a cretonne," often is fatal.



In this bulletin the buyer of home furnishings is referred to as "she."
This is done partly for simplicity, and partly because most buyers are

As a matter of fact, men do play an extremely important part in
the purchase of home furnishings, and they are likely to be the
determining factor in large sales. This is so much the case that clever
salesmen and decorators frequently try to get the man involved even
in the earlier stages of a large sale, while many highly successful
oriental-rug men make no serious effort on a sale of any importance
until the man is actively interested.

_Accurate percentages impossible._--Such data as we have indicate that,
in the purchase by average-income families of the kinds of merchandise
carried by furniture stores, 5 percent or less of the buying is done
by men alone, 50 percent or more by women alone, and the remaining 40
percent by men and women together.

The percentages, which are of approximate accuracy only, vary widely
with different classifications of merchandise. Women probably buy from
75 to 85 percent of all curtains, draperies, mattresses, and pillows;
men alone buy considerably more than 5 percent of lamps, refrigerators,
and small electric appliances; and men and women together buy from
60 to 70 percent of room-size rugs and the more important items of


These figures indicate that women have some part in considerably more
than 50 percent of all sales in our business. There is reason to
believe that they initiate fully 85 percent of all sales. This means,
among other things--

  1. That we must expect and be set for competition and delayed sales
    in the majority of cases, because three women out of every four
    shop in more than one store before buying furniture.

  2. That we must conduct every interview with a woman shopper in a
    way calculated to influence her to return in case an immediate
    sale cannot be made. This will demand--

      _a._ Prompt and skillful service, with every effort to save
        her time; because women of the intelligent classes in recent
        years have come to attach great value to their shopping time
        and to resent any waste of it as a result of inefficient
        salesmanship or store service.

      _b._ Careful attention to those elements of salesmanship
        discussed under "The daily check-up," unit I, p. 10, because
        women are strongly influenced by first impressions, and in a
        competitive market rarely return to the salesperson who made
        an unpleasant first impression.

      _c._ Belief that "high-pressure" selling is a mark of
        inadequacy both in the salesman and the firm he represents.
        The customer of today is rightfully resentful of it,
        although it is true that some seem to react positively to
        it. Intelligent selling is marked by efficiency in fitting
        merchandise to a customer's desire and need, coupled with an
        understanding of her capacity to purchase without financial
        strain, and readiness to offer the best value commensurate
        with these limitations.

      _d._ Convincing demonstration of the value of merchandise under
        consideration, even in cases where we are morally certain
        that there will be no immediate sale; because in the absence
        of such demonstration there will assuredly be no later sale.
        This is a point at which many consistently fail, with an
        enormous total loss in sales as an inevitable result.

3. That salesmen and merchants alike discard any smug conviction that
"our old customers will always come back to us when new purchases are
under consideration," and must turn to the development of an efficient
follow-up system. The repeat purchases of old customers are not as a
rule sufficient to assure the continued success of any retail business.
Surveys in 1940 show that 60 percent of the home furnishings customers
of the country shift to another store for their "next" purchase. This
does not mean that they never return to the original establishment. It
does show the need for salesmen and merchants to keep in touch with
those whose confidence they have once developed. Properly handled, the
customer likes the friendly follow-up and unquestionably it affects her
shopping habits.


While generalizations on human motives and thought patterns always are
dangerous, a few observations are set down here for consideration.

As buyers of home furnishings, women are in general more conservative
in matters of price than men. Women's traditional role has been that of
the conserver, rather than of the earner. Her attitude in the furniture
store is due partly to this fact, partly to the fact that under present
conditions she feels that a larger measure of personal and social
satisfaction is to be gained by expenditure in fields other than home
furnishings. Her capacity as family purchasing agent compels her to
keep constantly in mind a wide range of immediate and future needs, and
to plan the division of her dollar on that basis.

Women are more interested in details than men; more inclined to
postpone decisions; more indirect in their thinking; more responsive to
appeals based upon instinctive and emotional reactions; less attentive;
and less responsive to complete-explanation sales talk.

Women respond more strongly than men to appeals based upon time saving,
efficiency, durability, quality, and the guaranty of performance, and
far less strongly than men to appeals based upon family affection or
sympathy. Appeals to elegance or modernity make a stronger appeal to
men than to women.

Women respond more quickly to appeals made to their dislikes than to
their likes, but with men the case is reversed. This fact, coupled with
woman's habit of indirect thinking and her reluctance to go on record,
makes questionable the use of the "yes-channel" method of selling which
is often successful in dealing with men. The theory is that by asking
questions to which the logical answer will be "yes" in the earlier
stages of the sale, you groove the way for a final "yes." It is good
theory, but fails with women buyers.

For the same reason the habit of repeating the question "How do you
like this piece?" or "Isn't this beautiful, desirable, etc.?" is
dangerous. Women do not like to be cross-questioned, or forced to
declare themselves. Their inner response to a "don't you like" question
is likely to be destructively negative, no matter what they may choose
to say out loud.

Women respond more directly and strongly to the appeal of color than do
men, and less strongly to the appeal of line and form. They often have
strong prejudices against certain colors, certain types in texture,
pattern, and proportion. These the salesman must uncover skillfully and
avoid in showing merchandise.

The buying psychology of a woman naturally is influenced by her age,
social position, experience, and income. On the upper levels of
intelligence and income women buy much as men do. They are interested
in "reason why" talk; their thinking is direct and their decision
prompt. On the low levels we find women who, however shrewd in buying
foodstuffs or clothing, have had little experience in the purchase of
furniture and floor coverings. Lacking both taste and knowledge, these
women often are childishly credulous. They buy on the basis of easy
terms and what is to them eye-appeal, and have little or no concern
with what would constitute value in the upper levels.


Seeking to eliminate guesswork in designing a 1940 line, the Kroehler
Manufacturing Co. conducted a Nation-wide survey on consumer
furniture-buying habits. In 49 cities 1,817 families of all classes and
age groups were interviewed in their homes. By virtue of scientific
statistical sampling and complete coast-to-coast geographic coverage
the survey should correctly represent the typical viewpoint of no fewer
than 26 million people and more than 6½ million families. Since the
Bureau of the Census shows that 51.2 percent of our families own their
own homes, approximately one-half of these interviewed in the survey
must have been home owners. Because three-fourths of our people live
in one-family dwellings, about three-fourths of those interviewed must
have been thus housed, and one-fourth lived in apartments conforming
likewise to census specifications.

The summary of the survey's results provides a basis for analyzing
buying habits and style preferences. But more important to us here,
the study developed certain inescapable conclusions for all those who
actually sell home furnishings.

_Fewer than one-third had bought their last furniture at the same store
from which their last previous purchase had been made. Two-thirds went

Why this huge turn-over?

Is it because furniture stores and departments, as a whole, fail to do
constructive selling?

Is it the result of dissatisfaction with previous purchases?

_Thirty-three months elapse between major furniture purchases of the
average family._--A lapse of nearly 3 years between large furniture
purchases is astonishing. The Chicago Automobile Trade Association says
the average family buys an automobile every 2 years--not because the
car is worn out, but because of model changes. To increase furniture
purchases dealers must put more emphasis on style changes through
better display, better advertising, and better merchandising.

_Over one-half of all furniture buyers shopped more than one store
or department._--Better selection, better floor display, and better
selling might have converted many shoppers into buyers in the first
store. What happened there?

_Fewer than 10 percent of actual buyers simply bought to replace
out-of-style furniture._--Furniture lined up in ranks along aisles
like wooden soldiers, and advertising which shouts nothing but price,
will not motivate purchases.

_Six out of ten customers wait until they are in the store before they
choose a style._

  Floor displays that confuse will not help.

  Drab window displays will repel.

  Doubting words will not highlight lovely furnishings.


Ability to talk well is an invaluable asset to the salesman of home
furnishings. It will not take the place of a winning personality, or
of energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge; but it will raise any or all of
these factors to a higher power, and make them vastly more productive.
An unpleasant voice, stumbling and hesitant utterance, faulty grammar,
and a narrowly limited vocabulary are serious handicaps.

Even in small and ordinary transactions, and in dealing with customers
whom you might not suppose to be observant, careful choice of words
is highly important. Avoid slang, bad grammar, and careless habits of
expression because these will not help you with any customer, while
with many they will arouse a sort of intellectual contempt likely to
result in sales resistance. How often do we meet with salespersons
whose only descriptive words seem to be: Nice, swell, smart, grand,
slick, gorgeous, elegant, stunning, pretty, and lovely.

It is particularly important to avoid the easy habit of using the same
few words over and over again for description or characterization.
Many of us, without the least realization of what we are doing or
its probable effect will assure the same customer that 10 pieces in
succession are beautiful. That certainly will not increase her desire
to buy; but it may well diminish her confidence in us as intelligent
and discriminating guides to such a purchase. A varied vocabulary is a
wonderful asset in selling.

_Training to use a wider range of words._--It is easy to form the habit
of using a wider range of words since we know the words already, and
nothing is required but practice in employing them. And it is highly
important, because in order to make sales of any importance, we must
first sell ourselves, and _language_ is a close third, at least, to
_appearance_ and _manner_ as a means to customer confidence. With many
buyers it comes first. A few lists of words are set down here in the
hope that they may prove of some value:

  An _article_ may be beautiful, handsome, good looking, lovely; or
    of charming, pleasing, delightful, satisfying, smart, modish,
    stylish, or fashionable appearance; of flawless, superb,
    appealing, moving, striking, notable, gorgeous, picturesque,
    distinguished, colorful, or exquisite beauty.

  Its _design_ may be sturdy, staunch, vigorous, structurally sound
    or adequate, impressive, stately, dignified, chaste, delicate,
    dainty, refined, simple or of a charming simplicity; ornate,
    ornamental, elaborate, highly decorative; with trim, smart,
    or graceful lines, in good, rare, or perfect taste; of great,
    unusual, or rare distinction.

  Its _surface_ may be ornamented, embellished, adorned, decorated,
    garnished, arrayed, or beautified with ornament that is
    intricate, gem-like, jewel-like, or of exquisite, or finely
    wrought detail.

  Its _lines_ may be straight, direct, strong, vigorous, virile,
    incisive, clean, forceful, masculine; curved, soft, luxurious,
    graceful, gracious, suave, sinuous, yielding, flowing, or

  Its _colors_ may be rich, vivid, brilliant, gorgeous, glowing, gay,
    stimulating, inspiring, exhilarating, cheerful, flushed, clear,
    unfaded; soft, sober, mellow, softly blended, quiet, restrained;
    polychromatic, many colored, a rich mosaic of color; its color
    scheme, smart, in today's mode, direct from Fifth Avenue;
    popular, intriguing, refreshing, satisfying, or delightful.

  Its _texture_ may be fine, smooth, satiny or satin-like, velvety
    or velvet-like, lustrous, glossy, caressing; vigorous, open, or

  It may be comfortable, comfort-giving, restful, reposeful,
    soothing, inviting; give an impression of ease, easy comfort,
    cushioned ease; invite rest, repose, or relaxation.

These words will be especially useful in the process of "high-lighting"
or introducing a piece with a brief characterization designed to
enhance its value before the serious work of selling it is undertaken,
as in the phrase, "Here is an armchair of _flawless beauty_," employed
in introducing the Chippendale chair.

Technical terms, provided you explain them almost immediately, are
effective. To speak of the cabriole or the term leg, the Spanish or the
bun foot, the saltire or the silhouette stretcher, or of marquetry,
_vernis martin_ (pronounced, roughly, ver-nee mar-tang) _bombe_ fronts
or _varquenos_ will not harm you with any customers, while with many it
will serve to intrigue interest, deepen appreciation of the importance
of furniture, and add to your own prestige as a man who knows the
details of his business.


Any salesperson in the home furnishings field will find it convenient
to adopt some simple plan of acquiring the expanding vocabulary which
always is an asset:

  1. Purchase a book of synonyms. Take an article you are to
    offer for sale, for instance, an armchair. Try, first, to use
    correctly a dozen different descriptive words which apply to this
    particular armchair. Then take the idea of _design_ or _texture_
    or _surface_ of this armchair and add a list of 10 to 20
    adjectives which might well be used in discussing this chair with
    a customer. You may depend upon it--she will prefer, "Here is an
    armchair of flawless beauty" to "Here's another pretty number."

  2. _Read_ descriptions of latest offerings shown at the furniture
    markets; _study_ closely the choice of words in presenting
    illustrations of special thumb-tuft carpeting, a drop-leaf table,
    wing chairs, any simply styled grouping; _use_ these newly found
    friends exactly, confidently, and constantly in your own selling
    procedures. Practice! Practice!

  3. Give close attention to the diction of others who have achieved
    vocabulary masteries beyond your own. Seek ever to acquire a
    facility in expression which will impose no handicap to you at
    any step in your sales procedure.

  4. Subscribe to one or more trade journals in the home furnishings
    field and cultivate the habit of selecting for study those
    articles which will add something to your steadily growing
    vocabulary, and enhance your appreciation of the power of words.


Since ancient times, the sense of touch and the sensation of feel
have been important factors in the buying and selling of practically
all commodities. To see a piece of smooth satin partially sells a
prospective customer, but to feel its soft texture in her fingers makes
the luxury of the fabric a reality, something to own and cherish which
will enhance her loveliness, and this hidden value, expressed in the
sense of touch, is usually the factor which makes the customer buy
better merchandise than she might have considered and which climaxes
the sale.

In selling home furnishings, the hidden value revealed by touching the
piece under consideration is extremely important. Fine furniture which
has been hand rubbed has a luxurious feeling which is as soft as satin.
Only by rubbing your fingers over a lovely finish can you appreciate,
to the fullest extent, the exquisite fineness of a hand-rubbed finish.
Feeling the smooth pull of a drawer which slides properly on its
guides, tracing the design of inlaid marquetry with the fingertips,
searching for rough spots in drawer interiors with sensitive fingers
and caressing soft-textured upholstery fabrics with the fingers all
vividly bring to the attention of the customer the quality and true
hidden beauty of the piece under consideration, which may not have been
discernible to the naked eye. The sensation of feel should be made to
augment the sense of touch whenever possible, but salespersons should
bear in mind that a woman's hand is extremely sensitive and the sense
of touch should first be brought into action before the sense of feel;
for example, let us suppose a woman is considering a rug, which has
a particularly fine texture. Invite her first to feel the texture of
the rug beneath her fingers; have her compare this feeling with a less
expensive rug so that she may mentally compare the difference; then
ask her to step on the rug. Get her to feel the luxury of it under
her foot; bring to her attention the spring of the wool, the comfort
of stepping into the deep pile and other factors which excite the
sensation of feel. You will find these powerful factors not only in
helping her decide upon a better rug but in assuring her that she is
getting quality for her investment.


                                     Courtesy Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co.

Figure 6.--The feminine touch.]

When selling upholstered pieces, always have the customer sit in the
chair or on the sofa. Ask specifically if it is small enough, or if she
thinks it will be large enough, for her husband or whoever is to use
the chair. Stress the comfort angle; notice if she can sit gracefully
in the piece and whether or not she has difficulty in getting up, once
seated. As she touches the fabric bring out facts about the texture and
the weave. (See fig. 6.) As she experiences the various reactions she
is silently selling herself and only suggestions on your part which
help her to recognize the various sensations of touch and feel are

Bear in mind in all phases of selling home furnishing, whether the
customer is considering a chest of drawers, a chair, rug, lamp, or
cigarette box, getting her to touch it to get the "feel" of the article
and to try it for comfort, luxury, restfulness, or other sensations are
potent hidden factors in better selling.


_1. How will a knowledge of the processes of manufacturing of an
article enable the salesman to explain its wearing qualities, its
price, its sanitary qualities, its fitness for a particular location
within a room, and its appearance?_

_2. What types of information may a home furnishings salesman get from
a public library?_

_3. What sources of merchandise information are available to you and
how familiar are you with them?_

_4. What five kinds of special information are needed by retail

_5. What steps do you take systematically to acquaint yourself with the
correct descriptive words and phrases currently used with newly arrived

_6. There is a vocabulary of suitable words and phrases for use when
showing furniture to all types of customers. The same words are not
equally effective with all customers. What plan or device do you use in
making a wise selection of these descriptive words and phrases?_

_7. Make a list of words which under any ordinary selling situation you
would never use._

_8. Why is the excessive use of superlatives an indication of ignorance
of the article being sold?_

_9. For each of the following make a statement which involves the
opinion of a recognized authority:_

  _Reading lamp._
  _Glowing colors._
  _Floor coverings._
  _Glass curtains._
  _Telephone stand._

_10. In the light of the discussions in this unit, what profitable
work may a retail salesman attend to when not actually waiting on


  ARMOLD, PERRY B. _The Road to a Sale._ The Armold Sales Training
    Institute, Los Angeles, Calif. 1935.

  The Human Element in Business, IV, p. 67.
  Putting "Biz" in Business, V, p. 88.

  DUNCAN, DOROTHY. _You Can Live in an Apartment._ Farrar & Rinehart,
    Inc., New York, N. Y. 1939.

  Furniture--and Stuff, IV, pp. 84-111.

  HAYTER, EDITH FLETCHER. _Retail Selling Simplified._ Harper &
    Bros., New York, N. Y. 1939.

  Habits and Your Job, XV, p. 111.
  Poise in Selling, XVIII, p. 124.
  The Customer and the Merchandise, IV, p. 21.

  IVEY, PAUL W. _Successful Salesmanship._ Prentice-Hall, Inc., New
    York, N. Y. 1939.

  Know Salesmanship, VIII, pp. 19-25.
  A Rug Salesman Who Was Success Minded, Section 3, p. 28.
  Know Your Merchandise, II, Sec. 4, pp. 36-67.
  Build Good Will, XII, Sec. 34, pp. 450-463.

  RICHERT, G. HENRY. _Retailing Principles and Practices._ Gregg
    Publishing Co., New York, N. Y. 1938.

  Customers, X, pp. 199-219.
  Merchandise Study, XII, pp. 245-273.

  VAN BRUSSEL, EMILY. _Behind The Counter._ D. Appleton-Century Co.,
    Inc., New York, N. Y. 1938.

  The Colonel's Lady and Judy O'Grady, II, p. 8.
  What Is This Thing Called Merchandise? III, p. 31.
  Good-by, Caveat Emptor, V, p. 72.

  WALTERS, R. G. _Fundamentals of Salesmanship._ South-Western
    Publishing Co., Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio. 1932.

  The Salesman's English, V, p. 69.
  Know Your Goods, VII, p. 101.
  The Demonstration, XV, p. 231.


[2] This is a matter of store policy. Some stores believe that they
gain more than they lose by suppressing the name of manufacturer.

[3] This summary prepared with permission of Delmar Kroehler, president
of the Kroehler Manufacturing Co., Naperville, Ill., and Henri, Hurst,
and McDonald. Inc., 520 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. (1939).

Unit IV


  Significance of Style

  Period Styles from Renaissance to Early Colonial

  American Styles

  Using Style Appeal in Selling


                           American Furniture Mart Photograph by Grignon

Figure 7.--A directoire piece in lacquer and gold, upholstered in a
rich gold and green brocade fashion, this interesting stool. An ideal
hall piece, the ornate stool lends itself to an interesting setting
when used with the lovely Duncan Phyfe mirror and mirrored glass wall
sconces. The mirror has a dull green panel across the top--the lyre
and laurel branches appearing in a deep green and gold. The arabesque
Axminster rug has a tracery leaf design in sculptone effect. It is a
greyed green tone.]

                  Unit IV.--STYLE AS A SELLING FACTOR


Salespersons frequently find it necessary to deepen a customer's
appreciation of the fitness and beauty of a piece by the presentation
of one or more additional selling features, of which the most important
are construction or technical excellence, attractiveness of materials
or finish, and beauty of design or style.

This should do two things:

  1. Enhance the value of your merchandise.

  2. Enable you to reveal technical or artistic knowledge which will
    increase the customer's respect.

There is no fixed or logical order for the presentation of these
various selling features. Many salesmen begin with construction, but
this often is a mistake. There is reason to believe that more women are
interested in materials than in construction, and more in style than in

_What style means to you._--Style is a powerful buying motive of great
and growing importance in furniture. Most of us attempt to use the
style appeal only in connection with period furniture. Most women, on
the other hand, identify style with fashion. They think of style in
decoration as substantially the same thing as style in dress; that is,
as something smartly harmonious and in the accepted mode.

Unquestionably we must develop the power to capitalize on style as our
customers understand it.

The successful salesman also must be able to exploit style in the
historic or period sense. The history of furniture is a selling tool of
immense value, whether we are trading upon high, medium, or low levels.

The sections which discuss the more important period styles contain a
mass of highly condensed information. All of this information and much
more will be necessary to the man who wants to reach the higher levels
of his profession, but just how much of it you will need to remember
and organize for your present work is a matter to be determined by
yourself. The first thing to do is to read it through carefully two or
three times in order to get the broad outlines of the subject. After
that study more carefully those parts of the section on "Period styles
from Renaissance to early colonial," page 50, and "The American style,"
page 70, that can be related to your own merchandise. Make use of the
suggested reading list at the end of the unit, page 79.

_Glossary and reading list._--Many terms used in the section on "Period
styles from Renaissance to early colonial" are uncommon and not widely
understood in the furniture trade, although they are freely used in
books and magazines which deal with the home furnishing art. These
terms are defined in the glossary included in the appendix, pages 247
to 249.


Furniture is and always has been a utility and an expression of human
ideals. In order to understand period furniture and to talk about it
with convincing enthusiasm we must be able to see beyond it to the
people who created and used it.

For our purpose, we confine this summary to the historic period
beginning about 500 years ago, which covers the development of
furniture as we know and use it today. Speaking broadly, the social
trends during this period were from insecurity to security; from
despotism to political liberty; from austerity to luxury; and from
simplicity and few wants to sophistication and multiplied wants.

Accompanying and expressing these social changes we find corresponding
changes in architecture and decoration. The trends are from homes of
fortress-like construction to homes easily accessible and amply lighted
by low windows; from immense rooms with high ceilings to small rooms
with low ceilings; from massive, heavy forms and thick proportions to
small, light forms and slender proportions; from the austerity and
virility of straight lines to the softness and femininity of curved
lines; from strong dark colors to soft light colors; from vigorous,
open textures to smooth, close textures; and from a few types of
furniture to the extraordinary variety of today.

_Most period furniture was designed for the rich and powerful._--We
must remember that most of the historic styles were expressions of
the life of the court and the aristocracy. Period furniture was made
by great artists, and often was elaborately ornate, sumptuous, and
enormously costly. The metal mounts alone on the cabinets made for the
mistresses of Louis XV, for example, cost far more than the ground,
building, and complete furnishings of an ordinary American home.

The essence of these styles is to be found in their line, proportion,
color, and texture. We can adapt them to machine production and mass
distribution. We sell these reproductions or adaptions for what
they cost in a machine age. But we can add to their desirability by
explaining their aristocratic ancestry. Thousands of customers enjoy
the sentimental satisfaction that comes with the knowledge of style
and period sources and even the anecdote plays its part in giving
merchandise its full measure of value in use.

_Europe before the Renaissance._--When the Roman power was broken in
the fifth century of our era, Western Europe was given over to anarchy
and darkness. In the beginning of the feudal period, the great barons
with their families, retainers, and dogs, lived in bare fortresses or
one-room castles. The floors were of dirt. The lord and his lady had a
great bed, two chairs of state,[4] and a few hutches.[5] The retainers
had stools on which to sit, and ate at a great table made by laying
hewn planks on trestles.

By the time of the Norman conquest of England in 1066 a measure of
civilization had been achieved. A great love of color developed with
the age of chivalry. The period of the Crusades (seven attempts during
the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries to recover Jerusalem
and the Holy Land from the infidels) brought the knights of Western
Europe into contact with the developed arts of Sicily and the far more
luxurious life of their Saracen enemies, and the returning crusaders
brought back great quantities of the rich and colorful fabrics of the

That tremendous out-flowering of the human spirit which we call the
Renaissance (French for rebirth) started in Italy in the fourteenth
century; it grew there in full vigor in the fifteenth, attained to
its maturest powers in the sixteenth, and sank to its decline in the
seventeenth. The whole era was a time of great achievement. The New
World was discovered and explored, learning was revived and extended,
international trade was developed, and masterpieces were created in the
arts, which still stand among the greatest monuments of human genius.

The ideas and decorative practice of the Italian Renaissance quickly
spread to the west, where they overcame or fused with the existing
Gothic, resulted in the Renaissance styles of Spain, France, Flanders,
Holland, and England, and started the long course of development
which has created the immensely rich heritage possessed by lovers of
furniture today. In studying the decoration of this first period, we
must remember that the construction of rooms adapted to the comfort,
privacy, and intimacy of modern life was an eighteenth century
development. Life was lived in the public eye and in rooms of state.
The apartments of the palaces were large, the ceilings high, and the
furniture sparse and designed for its decorative value rather than for
use and comfort.


It is customary to divide this era into three periods; the Early
Renaissance, characterized by a rich simplicity and a dignity almost
austere; the High Renaissance, by a showy but restrained magnificence;
and the Late Renaissance, by a baroque magnificence over-ornate and

During the first period, walls were chiefly in rough plaster, bare
save for tapestries or panels of damask or brocade, or finished with
a smooth coat decorated with colored frescoes; ceilings were largely
in dark woods, cross-beamed, and with the heavy beams and corbels
ornamented in color; and floors were of stone, tile, and marble. There
was some use of oriental rugs, and a free use of rich decorative

During the high or middle period (about 1500-1550) many of the rooms
were rich with pattern and color. Walls were in colored marbles, or
covered with frescoes and gilding, or with gorgeous brocades, Genoese
velvets and tooled and gilded leather; ceilings frescoed and gilded;
floors paved with many-colored patterns in gleaming marble.

Furniture of the period was straight-lined, rectangular, and of dark
woods. Carving, in low relief and in the round, always was employed
with a fine sense of the value of contrast with plain spaces. Gesso
ornament, gilding, and painting were much employed, and the panels of
chests and other pieces often were decorated by the greatest artists.

Chairs of the period were of _(a)_ the rectangular type, with or
without arms, with high or low back, and with or without upholstery;
_(b)_ the curule, a sort of four-legged camp stool with back, sometimes
of metal and with fabric seat; and the ~X~-type, adapted from ancient
Greece and Rome, called in Italy Dante and Savonarola chairs. These
chairs of wood or metal often were made to fold, and later became
popular in England.

Tables included the single-slab refectory type; draw tables of the same
construction used today; pedestal tables with round, square, hexagonal,
and octagonal tops; and a variety of writing tables with a front box
or drawer section which could be lifted for writing. The larger tables
were supported by heavy turned legs with stretchers near the floor, or
by trussed or columned end supports connected by a stretcher, often


  _Painted Commode_
  18th Century Venetian

  _"Dante" Chair_
  Italian Renaissance

  Italian Renaissance

  Spanish Renaissance

  Italian Renaissance

  Spanish Renaissance

  Spanish Renaissance

Figure 8.--Italian and Spanish styles (1400-1759).]

Beds, which were usually set on a dais or low platform and always
richly embellished, included the heavy four-poster with canopy; the
four-poster with low posts and no tester, with or without footboard;
and the paneled type with head and foot board and no posts.

Chests, chiefly bridal chests (Italian: Cassone or cassoni in plural),
were a most conspicuous feature of Italian decoration.

Credenzas, which served either as buffet or console, were wall pieces
about 4 feet high and of varying length. Other forms included the
armadio (French armoire, a large cupboard or cabinet for linens), small
cupboards, chests or drawers, desk, benches, and stools.

Renaissance ornament was enormously rich. The forms, taken chiefly from
classical antiquity, included the acanthus leaf, human and chimerical
figures, cherubs, scrolls, foliage, flowers, swags, rosettes, and
drapery festoons. Velvets were used largely for upholstery, with
brocades, brocatelles, damasks, needlepoint, and leather, and strong
rich colors were used throughout as would be expected of so vigorous an
age. Strong reds, blues, and greens, set off by gold, were the favorite

Although a long period of decadence followed the High Renaissance
much beautiful work was done in eighteenth century Italy. Furniture
was chiefly of walnut, mahogany, and many highly figured woods, with
carving, painting, bone inlay, pietra dura, marble tops and ornamental
metal mounts the favorite methods of embellishment. The painted
furniture, particularly that made in Venice, is of interest to us
today, and is used in suites for bedroom and breakfast room, and as
occasional pieces in other rooms. In using this furniture today it is
unimportant to attempt to reproduce the historic backgrounds.


Spanish interiors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries differed
sharply from contemporary rooms in Italy, France, and England, chiefly
by reason of old Moorish art and custom, which the incoming wave of the
Renaissance was not strong enough to wash away.

Old Spanish decoration is characterized by a severe dignity, relieved
by concentrated masses of strong colors and by a wide variety of
ornamental forms. Furniture of the period was straight-lined and
rectangular and chiefly of walnut, mahogany, chestnut, oak, and pine.
Carving, straight and spiral turning, inlay of ivory, bone, ebony,
colored woods, tortoise shell, silver, and bronze, often with outlines
in black and vermillion, and ornamental iron work were the principal
means of embellishment. Elaborate and beautiful mounts of iron and
brass were common.

Chairs, though not common, included both the curule and rectangular
types, the latter with or without arms and with or without upholstery.
Other varieties included carved and straight spiral turned legs;
Spanish scroll, bell, ball and bun feet; carved, splat, and arcaded
backs; and wood, flat upholstered, and squab-cushioned seats. Beds were
large, and mostly of the arcaded headboard type. Tables were mostly of
large size and rectangular.


French Gothic art early began to give way before the constantly
widening flood of Renaissance art which flowed in from Italy. The
transition was practically complete when Francis I was crowned, and
less than 50 years later, under Henry II and his Italian wife Catherine
de Medici, the richly ornate yet restrained style of the French
Renaissance was fully formed. The style is too palatial for adaptation
to American homes.

The French Styles.

_1. Louis XIV (Louis Quatorze[6]), 1643-1715._

Louis XIV surrounded himself with the airs and trappings of majesty.
Furniture of the period was formal and dignified, and for the most
part, massive. It retained the straight lines characteristic of the
earlier styles, but with less of angular harshness.

Walnut was chiefly used for exposed parts together with oak, chestnut,
ebony, pine, and sycamore. Many exotic woods were used for veneers
and inlay. Caning was common for seats and backs. Every known form of
embellishment was employed, including carving, chiefly in the acanthus
leaf, shell, cartouche, cupid, ram's head, and other classic motives.

Louis XIV Furniture.

Chairs of the most characteristic type were rectangular, with high
broad backs having a top straight or slightly rounded at the corners,
back and seat solidly upholstered; legs term-shaped (term: A four-sided
pillar, usually tapering toward the bottom), carved, and under-braced
by Gothic or saltire cross stretchers; arms as long as seat, and
usually straight and upholstered. Other seating included the _sofa_
or _canapé_,[7] the _chaise longue_, and the _bench_, _tabouret_, and

Upholstery fabrics were exceedingly rich and gorgeous, Gobelin and
Aubusson tapestries, silk velvets, damasks, and brocades being chiefly
used. Furniture was upholstered _en suite_, a common arrangement
including one sofa, two arm chairs, and nine stools or _tabourets_.
Etiquette prescribed the use of _stools_ by most members of the
court, and prudence demanded it of the ladies, who at this time wore
hoop-skirts, so enormous that they couldn't sit in an arm chair. All
furniture was placed against the wall, with the center of the room left

The old-fashioned four-poster bed with drapery belongs here. Most
fashionable was the _lit d'ange_ (bed of the angel), canopied but
without posts, which was of enormous size and always richly carved and

While tables were of many kinds and sizes, the rectangular shape with
term legs was most characteristic. _Screens_, either one-panel or
folding, were used in most rooms, and _mirrors_, _pedestals_, and _tall
clocks_ became common, in addition to such older forms as _armoires_,
_commodes_, _cabinets_, and _desks_.

The colors of the period were fairly dark and strong, with crimson,
green, and gold still favorites; some new and lighter colors became
popular; among them aurora--the yellowish pink hue of the dawn--flame,
flesh, and amaranth.

_2. Louis XV (Louis Quinze)[8] 1715-74._

Great-grandson of the old king, Louis XV was but 5 years old when the
latter died, and for 8 years Philippe of Orleans governed as regent.
Louis XV was too young to continue the constant round of formal
receptions, and state functions. Court life turned from the great
salons to the smaller apartment and the boudoir. Furniture became
smaller and more dainty; the hard and virile straight line gave place
to the soft and feminine curved line; and dark colors to light and
delicate tones. Pale tints of rose, blue, green, and yellow were the
favorite colors.

An extraordinary variety of cabinet woods was used--among them walnut,
mahogany, oak, rosewood, cherry, violet, and tulipwood. Embellishment
included carving; ornamental veneers; marquetry; plaques of porcelain;
painting in ivory, soft yellow, gray, or sea green with fine lines of
white, gold, or color; and lacquer, which became immensely popular.

Louis XV Furniture.

The chairs, all curvilinear, with and without arms, upholstered or
caned, include the _fauteuil_[9] or _large armchair_; the _bergere_, a
_smaller armchair_ with solidly upholstered arms and often with loose
cushions; the _causeuse_ (the word means talkative, chatty), an easy
arm chair; the "_confessional_," large winged chair, often with a high
seat matching a large tabouret and put together to form a _chaise
longue_, and many others.


  French Renaissance

  Louis XIV

  _Writing Desk_
  Louis XV

  Louis XV

  Louis XIV

  Louis XV

Figure 9.--Early French styles (1500-1750).]

Beds were as varied as the chairs. Alcove and _sofa_ or _boudoir beds_
were favorites, the latter having headboard, footboard, and back.
_Four-poster canopy beds_ were common, and were sometimes made of iron,
draped. Another fashionable favorite was the _day bed_, often with a
fabric-covered headboard, and placed with either head or side against
the wall.

Among the multitude of tables were many of elliptical and other
curvilinear shapes; the _crescent_ or _kidney writing table_; the
_powder table_, which we have lately revived after more than 150 years;
and the _ladies' work table_. The _chiffonier_, a small piece with
drawers, came into use about 1750, as did the _corner cabinet_ and the
_wall shelves_, now known as hanging _book racks_.

Present-Day Practice.

Louis XV furniture is used often in the drawing room or dining room of
important American houses, where a suitable background will be ensured
by the architecture.

Most of us, however, have occasion to sell it only for bedroom use.

_3. Louis XVI (Louis Seize[10]) 1774-94._

Louis XVI, grandson of Louis XV, was married at 15 to Marie Antoinette
of Austria. He was popular for some time, but was swept aside by the
French Revolution in 1789 and was killed on the guillotine.

The style which bears his name (sometimes known as the style of Marie
Antoinette) was in reality fully formed before his accession to the
throne. It resulted directly from a wave of enthusiasm for the delicate
type of classic ornament revealed by the excavations at Pompeii and
Herculaneum, which were discovered early in the eighteenth century. The
Adam style in England came from the same source.

The furniture of the period returned to straight lines and rectangular
shapes, with curved lines freely employed but not dominant.

A great variety of cabinet woods was used, fashionable favorites,
including mahogany, walnut, sycamore, and satinwood. Carving,
architectural moldings, marquetry, figured veneers, lacquer, painting,
and porcelain inlays were the usual methods of embellishment. Much
furniture was painted.


  _Bed_--Louis XVI

  Louis XVI


  French Provincial


Figure 10.--Later French styles (1750-1815).]

New Types of Furniture.

Among the new chairs was the _voyeuse_ (vwä-yûz), a lyre-back armless
chair with the top rail upholstered as an elbow rest, and used by
dandies who bestrode it backward in order not to crush the tails of
their coats. Favorite beds included the _sofa_, usually upholstered
with damask or brocade, and supporting at the four corners a light open
frame bearing a small canopy; and the _day bed_ with or without back.

During the period the _tea table_, _breakfast table_, and _extension
dining table_, with four, six, or eight legs, came into common use.

The Directoire[11] (1795-1804) and Empire (1804-15) Styles.

After France had rid itself of royalty and aristocracy through the
Revolution, under the direction of the painter David a new style was
created; it was "made and molded of things past." Inspired by the
classic Roman decoration, it was known at the time as the "antique"
style and today is known as the Directoire. (See fig. 7.)

The Directorate was succeeded in 1799 by the Consulate, with Napoleon
as First Consul, and the Consulate in 1804 by the coronation of
Napoleon as Emperor. Style trends were continuous; for our purpose it
is enough to discuss briefly the style known as the Empire _(l'Empire)_.

It is of interest because of its influence upon American furniture of
the Federal period.

Furniture was for the most part rectangular, massive, and architectural
in design, but curvilinear in Roman and gondola chairs, and in many
beds and sofas. Legs included the straight term form; round, either
plain or carved; rectangular and turned outward at both front and back
as in the chair illustrated (p. 59); flat truss supports and winged
chimerical figures for tables and beds. Feet included the paw, ball,
scroll, often with leaf shoe.

Mahogany was the favorite wood, with some use of rosewood, walnut,
oak, and yew, and with a wide variety of materials for inlay. Carving,
veneer, paint, turning, and gilding on metal or carved wood were usual
methods of embellishment. Tapestry, damask, satin, brocade, velvet, and
worsted damask were used for upholstery, with fringes and gimps common.

The French Provincial Styles.

"French Provincial" refers to furniture made in the French provinces,
by local craftsmen and usually of local woods, in close reproduction of
the styles dominant at the court. The styles which were widely copied,
and which resulted in the most graceful and charming pieces, were those
of Louis XV and Louis XVI. (See fig. 1.)


Because England was ruled by four dynasties--English, Scotch, Dutch,
and German--English furniture reveals the effects of a series of strong
foreign influences.

The Elizabethan Style.

With the accession of Elizabeth (1558) the English Renaissance was
firmly established. Rooms of the period were paneled in oak with
small rectangular panels, plain or carved, and usually carried to the
ceiling; ceilings in ornamental plaster (parge), or in beamed-wood or
open-timber construction; and windows large, with leaded casements
separated by mullion. Most important rooms had oak-plank flooring;
there was considerable use of oriental rugs, then known as "Turkey
carpets." Many rooms still had dirt floors strewn with rushes, which
were changed but twice a year, with such results that the Englishman of
the period called his floor the "marsh," and kept his feet off it when
possible by use of chairs and tables with low, solid stretchers.

Oak was the dominant furniture wood, with some use of elm, beech, yew,
pine, and Scotch fir, which was called "deal," and valued highly.
Carving, mouldings, and paneling were used for ornament, with marquetry
for panels in walnut, ebony, rosewood, pear wood, cherry, yew, and

Furniture was massive, architectural in character, straight-lined, and

The beds, which were used only by the great, were the most important
article of furniture. They were of great size with a high headboard
supporting a very heavy cornice, the other end of which was borne by
posts set at the lower corners and often detached from the bottom of
the bed.

The Jacobean Style (1625-1685).

This style evolved directly from the Elizabethan, with the development
of new forms of furniture and increased use of upholstery. When, at the
Restoration in 1660, Charles II returned from France, he brought back
something of the French taste and the French desire for luxury.


  _Draw-top Table_


  Late Jacobean

  Late Jacobean

  _Gate-leg Table_

Figure 11.--English styles (1560-1690).]

Oak remained the principal furniture wood, with walnut fashionable
after 1660. Furniture design, strongly influenced by Flemish practice,
tended to increasing slenderness and grace. The melon and acorn bulb
legs remained in favor for several decades; were superseded during the
Commonwealth by spiral turning; and in turn gave way to the scroll, or
Flemish legs characteristic of Charles II furniture. Chair backs became
high and narrow, and were of the ladder type or caned, carved, or
upholstered. Chair backs were raked, and later in the period the back
legs of chairs--at first perpendicular to the floor as in Elizabethan
practice, were bent outward to counterbalance the rake of the back.
Stretchers continued to follow frame line, but were gradually made
lighter, set a little higher, and turned. Toward the end of the century
the front stretching was raised, widened, and carved with a cresting
and ~C~-scrolls, as were many of the chair backs.

_Gate-leg tables_ and _day beds_ appeared early in the period--the
latter usually caned, and with a sloping head and without footboard or
back. The _couch_ took the place of the settee, and was made first with
the squab seat, and after the Restoration with the same construction
and ornament as the arm chair. _Sofas_ were made like the high-back
upholstered chairs, with arms solidly upholstered. _Tall clocks_ and
_wall clocks_ appeared, and many _small stands_.

The Style of William and Mary (1689-1702).

James II, last of the Stuart kings of England, was followed by the
Dutchman William of Orange and his wife Mary. These names stand for a
rich but confused style which marks the transition between Old English
practice and the Dutch style, fully developed a few years later in the
reign of Queen Anne. Architectural backgrounds were lighter and richer,
and the walls were often covered with velvets, damasks, and brocades in
large baroque patterns, or with papers in Chinese designs.

Walnut was the fashionable wood, but oak, elm, pine, chestnut,
pearwood, cedar, and painted beech were used, with marquetry of many
woods, plus bone and ivory. Furniture was rectangular in outline, with
a free use of curves. Carving was used for the legs and backs of many
chairs, but flat panels were embellished with veneers, marquetry, and
lacquer. Furniture legs were mostly turned, of trumpet shape and with
bun feet, though the Dutch cabriole legs, with pad feet and a single
shell carved on the knees, were not uncommon.

William and Mary brought from Holland the vogue for Chinese ornament.
Everyone collected porcelain and drank tea; new types of cabinets,
small chairs, and occasional tables appeared in profusion.

The Style of Queen Anne (1702-14).

The style of Queen Anne persisted, with unimportant changes, throughout
the reign of George I. It was less magnificent and impressive than
preceding styles, but lighter, more graceful, and more comfortable.

The walls were often paneled, but in deal rather than oak, either in
the natural color or painted, and panels were frequently embellished
with high-relief carving. For un-paneled walls, cheap printed cotton
fabrics largely replaced the sumptuous materials of the previous
style, while many walls were covered with wallpapers in landscape
or mythological subjects, or in imitation of veined marble or wood
wainscots. Ceilings were painted as in the Stuart period. Windows were
increased in size, and hung with figured velvets, satins, damasks, and

Lacquer continued to be vogue, and was used on _cabinets_, _screens_,
_occasional tables_, and _chairs_. Carving and painting--in black and
gold, red, blue, and green with gilding--were favorite methods of
embellishment. Caning was common. For upholstery needlepoint, figured
and plain velvet, and damask were chiefly employed.

In this style curved lines supplanted straight lines for the first
time in England. Cabriole legs were almost universal; chair backs
were high and narrow, with open framing and a fiddle splat, usually
plain but sometimes simply carved or pierced. Chair-back crests and
the legs of most furniture were ornamented with a carved shell which
reached England from Italy by way of Holland. High curved stretchers,
connecting front and back legs only and tied at the middle by a single
cross stretcher, were in general use but sometimes omitted.

The _love seat_ became an important piece of furniture at this
time, and was usually made with a double chair back, six legs, and
upholstered seat. _Dining tables_ were of the _gate-leg_ type, usually
of elliptical shape. _Tallboys_ became common, and contained from six
to nine drawers.

The Georgian Era.

Georgian England produced the decorative style created by Robert Adam,
and the individual furniture styles of Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and


The development of English furniture between 1715 and 1727 is of little
interest save to the expert. The period was a time of lowered taste.
Mahogany, introduced from the West Indies as a curiosity about 1710,
became within two or three decades the dominant cabinet wood.


There were three Chippendales, all cabinetmakers. The second, Thomas
Chippendale (born 1710; died 1779), came to London with his father in
1727 to open a shop. By 1735 the firm was prospering, and 15 years
later Thomas Chippendale was a great success. As is usual with men of
genius, however, he was undervalued by his contemporaries; and it was
not until a hundred years later that he came to be recognized as the
greatest furniture designer of his race.


  William and Mary


  Late Queen Anne


  _Wing Chair_
  Queen Anne


  William and Mary

Figure 12.--English styles (1690-1760).]

Chippendale served the world of fashion, observed and followed style
trends closely, and successively developed the Dutch, Rococo, Chinese,
and Gothic styles. He lost popular favor when the classic revival, led
by Robert Adam, became the dominating influence about 1762, and much of
his time thereafter was spent in executing work for Adam, who designed
furniture for houses but did not make it. Taking the period from 1727
to 1765, Chippendale's career as a designer took the following course:

  1725 Dutch mode, with early Georgian heaviness. The chairs had
    bandy legs, ball and claw feet, broad seats and fiddle backs,
    carved and sometimes pierced. Gradually the proportions were
    refined, a shorter and squarer back with rounded corners was
    developed, and the splat was replaced by a richly carved member.

  1735 Dutch influence yields and blends with the French styles of
    the Regency and Louis XV, resulting in more slender and graceful
    proportions and a free use of Rococo ornament.

  1745 French influence predominant, with floral and Chinese lattice
    detail gradually introduced and the Chinese influence growing
    stronger. Lightness of effect sought after, and achieved by means
    of pierced work.

  1755 Chinese influence stronger, waning after 1760. Between 1750
    and 1760 he developed the Gothic style, sometimes blending it
    with Chinese motives.

For ornament Chippendale used mahogany and depended upon carving,
of which he was a great master, set off by gilding, japanning, and
lacquer. He made furniture for every purpose, including _mirror_ and
_picture frames_, _girandoles_, _pier tables_ and _brackets_, and
_china shelves_ and _cabinets_ (see fig. 3.) Doubtless his _chairs_ are
his most significant creations. His chair backs fall into three classes:

  1. "Splat" or upright center bar, passing from plaint splat to
    jar shape pierced and carved with scrolls and foliage, and
    culminating in the elaborate ribbon back.

  2. "All-over" patterns, covering in equal fashion the whole of the
    back, and characteristic of his Chinese and Gothic designs.

  3. Ladder-back or horizontal rails.

Chippendale made a free use of colorful textiles for both squab seat
and upholstered pieces, employing tapestries, worsted damask, Spanish
tooled leather, and close-stitch embroidery.


The classic revival, discussed under the French style of Louis XVI,
was initiated in England by the Scotch architect, Robert Adam. He was
appointed architect to the King in 1762; designed many important homes
for private owners; and with his brother James, under the firm name of
The Adelphi (Greek for brothers), carried out an extensive program of
fine residence construction in London. Robert Adam died in 1792.

Adam designed everything that went into his houses, including the _fire
grates_, _girandoles_, _upholstery_, _carpets_, and _furniture_.--He
was not a cabinetmaker, but the furniture made to his designs by other
men--including Chippendale and Hepplewhite--was called Adam furniture.

The Adam style perfectly reveals the classic qualities of fine
proportions and symmetrical balance, combined with a delicacy strongly
influenced by Pompeian decoration. Walls were paneled and painted, with
paneling and cornice enriched by painted compo ornament. Ceilings were
in relief, designed from a center to fit the room with the motives
repeated in the floor coverings.

Adam furniture was in mahogany, satinwood, and painted wood. This
was embellished with low relief carving, narrow moldings, inlays of
exceptional delicacy and beauty, and painted decoration. Forms were
basically rectangular, but softened by a free use of curves. Chair legs
were straight and tapering, square or round, and plain, fluted, reeded,
or carved. Chair backs were square, round, elliptical or shield-shaped,
upholstered or filled with carved wheel, lyre, urn, or other ornament.
_Console tables_ and _cabinets_ were often of semielliptical shape,
and _sideboards_ frequently were formed of two pedestal cabinets,
surmounted by _knife urns_, and connected by a _shelf table_.


George Hepplewhite (or Heppelwhite--both spellings are used) was
a designer and cabinetmaker whose proclaimed purpose was to unite
elegance and utility in furniture. His work was in the neoclassic
style; was very strongly influenced by Louis XV and Louis XVI
decoration, and by the work of Robert Adam; and enjoyed a great
popularity from 1785 to 1795. Hepplewhite died almost at the beginning
of his vogue, and his business was carried on by his widow, Alice,
under the firm name of A. Hepplewhite & Co.

Hepplewhite's furniture was distinguished by lightness, refinement, and
elegance. It was chiefly in mahogany or satinwood, with cheaper woods
employed as a base for painting or japanning. Carving and marquetry
were employed for embellishment, with the ornament drawn from the same
sources as that of Louis XVI and Adam, but with special emphasis upon
wheat ear, garrya husk, and three-feather Prince of Wales' plume.







  _Side Table_--Adam

Figure 13.--English styles (1760-1800).]

Except for his furniture which used the cabriole legs and Rococo
ornament of Louis XV, Hepplewhite employed the straight tapering leg,
square or round, and plain-fluted or reeded, with straight, collard, or
spade feet. Chair backs were most characteristically of shield shape,
filled with carved styling, urns, the feather back, or the interlocking
heart form. These backs were supported by a construction of the back
legs, and were not attached to the seats. Front legs (except in the
case of the cabrioles) were perpendicular to the floor, while back
legs curved outward to balance the rake of the back. Console cabinets
were often semielliptical, and sideboards were rectangular except for
concave curves near the ends.

For covering, Hepplewhite insisted upon silks and satins, and he was
especially fond of narrow stripes. He often designed or selected the
draperies used with his furniture and chose the narrow stripes of plain
lines and serpentine pattern of the French styles, as well as designs
of ribbons, festoons and tassels, shields, circles, and garrya husks.


Thomas Sheraton (born 1751; died 1806) was the last of the great
English furniture designers. He was strongly influenced by Louis XVI
and Adam designs.

Sheraton was not a money maker, although, in addition to cabinetmaking,
he worked as a drawing master, preacher, author, and publisher.
However, he was a great cabinetmaker and a great designer, unsurpassed
and probably unequaled by any man of his race in the making of
_cabinets_, _secretaries_, _sideboards_, _dressers_, and _tables_. (See
fig. _3a_, p. 16.)

He used mahogany for dining-room, library, and bedroom furniture; and
rosewood, satinwood, and painted furniture for the drawing room. Inlay
was his favorite method of embellishment, with turning, some carving,
ornamental veneering, and painting. His ornaments included swags, the
star, cockleshell, fan, and disk.

Notwithstanding its apparent delicacy, Sheraton's furniture was
structurally sound. The legs were very slender, usually round but
sometimes square, tapered, and often reeded. Some of his later pieces
have spiral-turned legs. The feet were inconspicuous, usually spade or
straight and collard. Chair backs were characteristically square, with
a central panel rising slightly above the top rail, and the lower rail
kept the back well up from the seat.

For upholstery Sheraton used plain, striped, and flowered silks, and
gold and silver brocades. He was especially fond of blue as a color,
three of his favorite schemes being in blue and white, blue and black,
and very pale blue and yellow.

The Hepplewhite and Sheraton styles are similar and cannot always be
distinguished without careful study. Sheraton used more underbracing,
and his sideboards have convex instead of concave corners. Beside the
characteristic difference in chair backs, Hepplewhite pulled his seat
covers well over the apron, while Sheraton permitted a part of the seat
frame to show.


The early colonists came from England to Virginia, New England, and
parts of Pennsylvania; from Holland to the Hudson River country and
Delaware; and from Germany to parts of Pennsylvania. The little
furniture brought with them, as well as the ideas upon which they
proceeded to build and furnish their homes in the New World, were
representative of the common houses of the small towns and countryside
of their native lands. (See fig. 45, see page 212.)

The interest in Early American art is now so widespread, and the sales
of Colonial furniture so great, that every salesman should have sound
working knowledge of the subject. Many books are available, a few of
which are mentioned in the reading list. One of the most useful is _A
Handbook of the American Wing_ of the Metropolitan Museum[12]--a book
every furniture store can well afford to own.


The earliest New England houses were solid but simple and primitive.
Walls were of whitewashed rough plaster or of wide molded boards, which
were used vertically to form partitions; ceilings of wood, with exposed
joists resting upon heavy supporting beams; and floors of plank.

Furniture was of Jacobean type, some of it brought from England,
but for the most part made here from oak, pine, maple, and other
native woods. The forms were few and simple and included _cupboards_,
_chests_, _trestle tables_, and _chairs_ of the turned or wainscot
types. Most furniture was left unfinished. Later there came the _chest
of drawers_, and chairs of the Cromwellian and Carolean types, often
with spiral turned legs and scroll feet, and either caned or with seats
and backs upholstered in needlework.

Near the beginning of the eighteenth century the open-construction
rooms began to give way to complete interior finish, with paneled
walls. The American form of the _Windsor chair_ which reached its
highest development at about this time, was mostly of hickory because
of the adaptability of that wood for bows and spindles.


                                  Courtesy Merchandise Mart News Bureau.

Figure 14.--Harmony in periods in rugs and furniture is shown by this
figured Axminster, accurate reproduction of an old floral hooked rug
shown with Early American. The design is red, rust, and green on wood
tones, harmonizing with the green of the ivy in the wallpaper pattern,
and the rust of the draperies.]


By 1750 the production of good furniture was well under way, with
designs based upon Early Georgian models, and 10 years later, in the
period of the strongest Chippendale influence, the fine homes of the
Colonies were filled with very distinguished furniture of American
design, of which the _highboy_ is a perfect example.

The Adam influence appeared here shortly before the Revolution.

Sheraton and Directoire models were adapted and combined by Duncan
Phyfe of New York, who shares with William Savery of Philadelphia the
distinction of creating some of the finest American furniture.


The work of Duncan Phyfe belongs to this period, and it is supposed
that the White House was first furnished by Thomas Jefferson with
furniture of that style. Destroyed by the British in 1814, the White
House was rebuilt and furnished by James Monroe in 1817 with Empire
originals imported from France. This style, as modified in the United
States, with its heavy, classic ornament, and gilt mountings, remained
dominant until it was replaced by the ungraceful and ugly adaptations
of the style of Louis XV which appeared in Victorian England and were
copied here.


"Modern art" is a term used to include aspects of present-day practice
which depart widely from traditional or conventional models. It
regards period styles as survivals of a past, dead and gone. Avoiding
mere prettiness, it seeks dominant simplicity through elimination of
ornament on structural forms, and an adaptation of design to function
as complete as that revealed by today's motor car or skyscraper.
Literally, it is streamlined for comfort and beauty in the modern way.

Broadly speaking there are two modern developments in functional

  1. There is a _classic-modern_ development deeply rooted in
    tradition but adapted to the needs of today.

  2. There is a _functional-modern_ development which, forsaking the
    past, is giving us a fresh, practical angle in furniture design.

Both developments seek comfort, simplicity, and beauty in all ways.

The simplicity features of functional furniture are triumphs in finish
and in structure. Surfaces are flat and smooth without applied
ornament. The completed pieces are sharp and vigorous in outline,
perfection in finish, with long continuous curves replacing the old
sharp angles. In the new metal furniture it is not uncommon to note
that the entire frame of a chair, settee, or table has been made from
a single length of metal tubing. Grace and lightness are natural
attributes of these flowing lines.

This contemporary furniture also achieves a sincerity which marks a new
high. Without ornamental features which characterize the classic-modern
development it is impossible to hide flaws in workmanship. Construction
accordingly is emphasized rather than concealed. There are no "fake
antique" effects about this functional furniture. No one is trying to
make these materials look like something else. Metal is called metal;
maple is maple; and neither, sparkling under a brown graining, pretends
to be walnut. Finishing processes continue to be used but they aim at
developing the individual grain, color, and texture of each species.
The following statement quoted from the April 1940, Bulletin of the
National Retail Dry Goods Association, is a forcible expression of this

  The majority of consumers interpret such expressions as "all
  mahogany" or "genuine Honduras mahogany" or "all maple" or "all
  walnut" literally, i. e., that furniture so described is made
  wholly of mahogany or maple or walnut according to the wood
  named. The National Better Business Bureau recommends that such
  terms be applied only to those articles of furniture in which
  all the exposed parts are made wholly of the wood named. If the
  exposed parts are composed of more than one kind of wood such
  article should be described by the names of the principal woods
  used, viz, "mahogany and gumwood," "walnut and gumwood," not by
  such description as "combination mahogany," and "combination
  walnut." Also it is recommended that furniture employing veneered
  construction be frankly described in advertising as "veneered."

To achieve the finish and structural beauty of functional furniture
the modern craftsman works with various materials. The whole world is
bringing to the markets choice cabinet woods to be used in producing
hitherto undreamed-of effects. Magnolia, amboyna, bubinga, macassar,
satinwood, narra, makore, padouk, and thuya--these are familiar names.
Glass--clear, white, and colored--has won acceptance as a structural
material. Aluminum, stainless steel, and chromium plate are popular.
Cork veneer with its velvety texture and warm coloring is excellent
surface finish for wood furniture. Metal frames with veneer tops often
are shown in designs suitable for use as kitchen, sunroom, porch,
and even living-room furniture. Linoleum tops for tables and desks
afford variety in color. Various synthetic products are converted into
tops which have been proofed against heat and liquid stains, thus
popularizing them for cocktail and coffee tables. Colored lacquers
reminiscent of the orient have been appropriately used. Textile designs
which are largely depended upon to supply the necessary ornament for
rooms, employ the straight lines, acute angles, and whirling curves of
the futurists as well as natural forms drawn with little or no attempt
to representation. The end is not yet predictable, but there is much to
be learned now.


We may use style appeal in selling furniture of any quality except
the poorest to customers of any level of taste except the lowest. The
salesperson should have some appreciation of the importance and dignity
of furniture, and a fair working knowledge of the forms, materials, and
ornament of the several period styles.


We must remember three things:

  1. All furniture is derived, however remotely, from earlier forms
    and therefore can be identified with a style appeal.

  2. American women have become style-conscious in matters of

  3. The home-furnishing art is studied in colleges and secondary
    schools; books dealing with it are widely read; at least 25
    million persons read national magazines which devote space to
    it; hundreds of newspapers publicize it; powerful agencies are
    actively engaged in widening popular knowledge of it.


In order to enhance the desirability of an article through an appeal
to beauty of design or style, we must cause the customer to see in it
something desirable which she has failed to see for herself. To do this
we must be able to notice this "extra something" ourselves, and to
convey a clear and interesting picture of our observations.

Many never see more than a part of the sales possibilities of what we
have to sell. Our merchandise is as common to us as an old shoe. We are
prone to forget that its forms are the result of age-long processes of
development, its ornament the heritage from an immemorial past. Often
we forget its romance, its quickening appeal to the imagination, its
promise as a way to richer and more stimulating life. To us a chair is
a chair, and a rug is just another rug.

You will sometimes find it effective in building up appreciation of a
fine machine-made rug to tell how much time would have been required
for weaving alone had it been made by hand. Count the number of tufts
per square inch; multiply by 144 to get the number per square foot;
then by the number of square feet in the rug, divide the total by
2,500--the average number of knots tied by a Persian weaver in a full
day's work--to arrive at the number of working days. Make a few of
these calculations based on rugs of standard weave and size at your
leisure, and remember the results for use when required.

To equip yourself to emphasize style in furniture, first go through
your stock carefully, and identify the style of all pieces that are
accurately reproduced or closely adapted from historic designs. It may
surprise you to learn how many pieces can be definitely assigned to one
of the historic styles.

The ideal way, of course, would be to have each piece styled and marked
by the manufacturer; this may come in time. Another way would be to
have the style names agreed upon by the entire sales force, after
discussion, and marked on the tags, so that everybody will be telling
the same story. But if no definite plan is used, study the stock by
yourself. After all, the man who wants to travel ahead of the crowd
must expect to do some pioneering, and you will be the one to profit.

Every clever oriental-rug man realizes the sales value of an
identifying name. He knows that women particularly like to know the
name or weave of a rug and any facts connected with its design, because
these things make them feel more assured in buying and give them
something to talk about pridefully to their friends.

In presenting your furniture under its historical names, be careful
not to make claims you cannot establish. They will expose you to the
ridicule of a well-informed buyer, of whom there are many.

Never say that a piece is a reproduction unless really it is. Say
that it is "in the style of" or "inspired by," or "derived or adapted
from," or "a present-day adaptation of," or "a twentieth century
interpretation of" the style to which you have assigned it. Having said
this, proceed at once to give it whatever additional importance or
value you can draw from your knowledge of the history, personalities,
or practice of the period. Do not lecture but try to dramatize your

The highest use of language is pure self-expression. Only your choice
of words and expression can give your customer kinship with what you
feel. An encyclopedia of information is not of itself complete customer
service when you are dealing with style, period, color, harmony, and


Suppose, for example, that you want to sell an ordinary loose-cushion
sofa in blue velvet, with machine-carved cabriole legs, rolled arms,
and straight-lined back with curved ends.

It is easy to say, "Here is a handsome, well-made sofa in blue velvet.
Just the right thing for your room; the price is $95."

But it is almost as easy, and in many cases far more effective, to
say, in substance: "This, as I understand it, is what you may have in
mind. There is nothing striking or extreme about the design. Notice the
graceful curves of the cabriole or f scroll legs, which are completely
adequate to hold up the heavy body; note how those same curves are
echoed in the arms and suggested in the back, so that the whole piece
reveals harmonious lines. This sofa expresses the quality of repose
which makes it so important in the properly furnished modern home."
Or, suppose you have a reproduction of a Chippendale ladder-back
chair. With 9 possible buyers out of 10, it would be foolish to try to
sell such a piece through the bald statement that it is a beautiful
Chippendale chair.

A better approach would be as follows: "Here is an armchair reproduced
from one of Chippendale's masterpieces. If you will set it off by
itself you will see its extraordinary grace and harmony of line. In
this piece we have Chippendale's conception of the ladder back--a
very old form of chair expressed in flowing curves which descend
rhythmically from top rail to floor. As a chair it is perfect--staunch,
thoroughly comfortable, and enduring; it is even more desirable as a
work of art. Anyone may well be proud to own it."

This language is not intended to be "stilted." If delivered casually,
with no thought of reciting a memorized paragraph, or of delivering a
set speech, these ideas will be effective in sustaining interest while,
informally, you direct attention to other features. "High-lighting" or
dramatizing your merchandise is as difficult as it is necessary when
one must guard against failure by enhancing the desirability of the


Your description should not be left to chance or to the inspiration of
the moment. Think them out at home or in your free time in the store,
and plan just how and when you will use them.

These "high lights" may be based upon history, beauty, and sentiment.
To illustrate:

Bedroom Suite Adapted From the Style of Louis XVI.

_History._--"In this suite we have a reflection of the last of the
great decorative styles developed in France under the Bourbon Kings.
Louis the Sixteenth was king of France when our forefathers signed the
Declaration of Independence. There was great gratitude and admiration
for France in those days, which inspired the importation of a good
deal of furniture of this style for the statelier homes of America.
Washington bought some of it for Mount Vernon, and Jefferson for

_Sentiment._--"This suite called Louis XVI, named for an era made
brilliant by the later courts of France, is reminiscent of the days of
Marie Antoinette. Lovers of style and beauty the world over have for
decades, even centuries now, looked back to the days of the last lavish
escapades of the French courts whenever there is a resurge of the human
appetite for the ornate, gilded opulence of color and design that you
see characterized in these pieces."

_Beauty._--"In this suite we find the slender proportions, fine lines,
chaste ornamental forms and delicate grace of the style of Louis Seize.
See how skillfully the strength and dignity of these pieces is insured
by the straight vertical lines of the frames, and their effect of soft
and luxurious ease by the curves of the top rails and mirrors."

Cabinet, Chest, or Dining Suite Adapted From Style of the Italian

_History._--"This piece was certainly made in America, and it may have
been made within the past 2 months--it is new in our stock. Yet in
every line and detail it recalls to us the great age of the Italian
Renaissance, when the New World was being discovered and explored, and
the Old World made over for the development of modern life."

_Sentiment._--"Women, of course, counted greatly during the Italian
Renaissance; but they did not dominate the design of furniture as they
do today. Note the virility of this design--its straight, vigorous
lines, its solidity and strength, its unyielding angles, and its
simple, sparse ornament."

_Beauty._--"There are times and places when delicacy and daintiness
fail to please. For the room that has such a place nothing could be
more appropriate and satisfying than this cabinet, designed in the
virile spirit of the Italian Renaissance. There is a beauty in straight
lines, in strong and noble proportion, in rich dark coloring."

These tabloid statements are of course to be regarded as suggestions,
not as models. Make up your own, couched in your own language, and
based upon your own merchandise and your own customers. But do not
assume that this sort of thing cannot be done in your store and with
your customers, or that it is old-fashioned, and of no value. It must
be done at certain times if we want to sell furniture in volume and on
other bases than utility and price.


In making a style appeal based upon period decoration you will
occasionally encounter customers who belong to either of two classes,
both small, but important enough to merit brief mention--

  1. Those who express contempt for modern machine-made furniture.

  2. Those who have no use for period design and often for the whole
    matter of style.

Nothing will be accomplished by argument. But the one who scorns style
probably does not carry that idea over into his purchase of clothing
for himself or of the automobile he drives. In dealing with this type
of customer it may be worth while to point out that the machine at
least has enabled us to reproduce the truly beautiful pieces of the old
masters with their full beauty preserved and to make them available
to people of ordinary means. Certainly society could not support the
immense number of craftsmen that would be necessary to make good
furniture by hand.

Nor is it a question of paying more for style. When one chooses
well-styled furniture it is true that he pays for materials and labor,
but he gets in addition the distinction that comes from rich historical
associations, and aristocratic lineage.


_1. How would you make a style appeal based upon period decoration to a
customer who professed contempt for modern machine-made furniture?_

_2. What steps would you take in selling a reproduction of the
Chippendale splat-back chair?_

_3. What are the characteristics of the four outstanding furniture
periods known as the French, Early English, Georgian, and American?
(Consider each period from the viewpoint of historic date, lines,
proportions, woods, upholstering fabrics, and modern use)._

_4. Why may Sheraton, Hepplewhite, and Duncan Phyfe furniture be used

_5. What is meant by the following: "Modern arises from the fact that
its designers are neither bound by traditions of the past nor wedded to
the present, but move alertly up and down the centuries--combining the
old and the new--with a refreshing disregard of dynasties and dates?"_

_6. To what extent is streamlining, now an accepted feature of kitchen
equipment, appearing in metal and wood furniture?_

_7. Contemporary furniture finds expression in honest construction.
Construction is emphasized rather than concealed. In what ways would
you say_ sincerity _was the most revolutionary characteristic of
contemporary furniture?_

_8. What has been contributed in domestic comfort by the idea of
interchangeable unit furniture?_

_9. What unusual service features are afforded by the sectional sofa?
Is this trend likely to become "fixed" as a furniture emphasis or is it
merely seasonal?_

_10. Where are the great furniture manufacturing centers in the United
States? Where and when are our big furniture style shows held? By whom?_


  BURROWS, THELMA M. _Successful Home Furnishing._ Manual Arts Press,
    Peoria, Ill. 1938.

  Basic Periods of Influence, I, pp. 15-45.
  Reference Appendix, pp. 123-133.

  FALES, WINNIFRED. _What's New in Home Decoration?_ Dodd, Mead &
    Co., Inc., New York, N. Y. 1936.

  Period Furniture, VIII, pp. 150-174.

  GOLDSTEIN HARRIET _and_ VETTA. _Art In Every Day Life._ The
    Macmillan Co., New York, N. Y. 1925.

  Furniture Arrangement.
  Harmony, p. 21; Proportion, p. 57; Balance, p. 83; Emphasis, p. 141.

  KIMBERLY, W. L. _How To Know Period Styles In Furniture._ Grand
    Rapids Furniture Record Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 1912.

  KOUES, HELEN. _How To Be Your Own Decorator._ Tudor Publishing Co.,
    New York, N. Y. 1939.

  Period Characteristics in Furniture, II, pp. 12-25.
  Furniture Arrangement, IV, pp. 37-49.

  POWELL, LYDIA. _The Attractive Home._ The Macmillan Co., New York,
    N. Y. 1939.

  The Modern Style, pp. 104-113.
  The Country Home, pp. 113-120.

  SEAL, ETHEL DAVIS. _Furnishing The Little House._ Century Co., New
    York, N. Y.

  Foundations in Good Furniture, V, pp. 79-96.
  On Dress Parade Behind The Scenes, XII, pp. 185-200.

  STEWART, ROSS _and_ GERALD, JOHN. _Home Decoration._ Garden City
    Publishing Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y. 1938.

  Elements of Traditional Styles, XIV, pp. 249-305.

  United States Department of Commerce, National Committee on Wood
    Utilization. Furniture: Its Selection and Use. 1931.

  Part III, pp. 75-98. United States Government Printing Office.

  WHITON, SHERRILL. _Elements of Interior Decoration._ J. B.
    Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 1937.

  Period Decoration and Furniture, III, V, VI, VII, pp. 91-233.
  Taste, Style, and Fashion, XXI, pp. 627-647.
  Furniture Arrangement, XXIII, pp. 665-681.

  WRIGHT, AGNES FOSTER. _Interior Decoration for Modern Needs._
    Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York, N. Y. 1917.

  VII, pp. 107-165.


[4] For thousands of years the chair was a symbol of state and dignity,
and not an article for ordinary use. Common people were not permitted
to sit on chairs, and few of the great lords were permitted to sit on
chairs in the presence of the king. The chair did not become common
until the sixteenth century; before that, chests, benches, and stools
were used.

[5] These hutches, or small chests, held the clothing, personal
belongings, and materials for the mass when the baron was en route from
one castle to another, and were carried on the backs of pack mules.
From this rudimentary beginning all modern forms of case goods have

[6] The French "qu" or final "que" as in "baroque," is pronounced like
"k." The accent is always on the final syllable.

[7] The French "e" and "et" are pronounced like "a."

[8] Pronounced Kănz.

[9] Pronounced fo-tuh-ye, the "uh" having almost an "r" sound as in
"burn," the final "e" practically silent.

[10] Pronounced "sehz," practically the English word "says."

[11] Pronounced dē'rĕk-twär.

[12] A Handbook of the American Wing; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
York, N. Y., 1928. Price $1.

Unit V


  Value and Price in Relation to Home Furnishings.

  Principal Furniture Woods.

  Making the Most of Wood Structure and Its Appeal to the Eye.

  Importance of Craftsmanship.


                                        Courtesy the Veneer Association.

Figure 15.--Variety in Veneer Slicing.

1. Flat cut--American walnut, two-piece matched.

2. Crotch--Avodire.

3. Stump-wood--American walnut, four-piece matched.

4. Quarter--African mahogany, mottled and fiddleback.

5. Rotary--Ash (Tamo).

6. Burl--Maidou, two-piece matched.]

                 Unit V.--FURNITURE WOODS--THEIR ORIGIN
                                AND USE


The materials in a piece of furniture, and the way those materials are
put together, affect not only its appearance, but also its durability
and behavior in service. Appearance and durability both help to
determine value. They are factors which usually influence a customer
toward or against a purchase. But the customer, unaided, cannot be
expected to see and appreciate these factors at their true importance.
Therefore a sound knowledge of materials and construction, plus ability
to use that knowledge effectively, is essential to the salesperson who
wants to take the road to higher earnings.

Every sale is a process of weighing one satisfaction against another.
Those who buy from sheer necessity compare price against price, or
price against terms. Those who buy for any other reason weigh price
against value.

Do not forget that price and value are by no means the same thing.
A low price does not automatically constitute, from the customer's
viewpoint, a high value. The _price_ of an article is fixed by the
dealer. The _value_ of that article is fixed by the buyer, since it
depends, not upon what the article costs to make or what is asked for
it, but upon what it is worth to her.

Except for the confirmed bargain hunter, no buyer will buy anything, at
any price, unless she believes that it will add to her satisfactions.
On the other hand, few persons will buy anything, however satisfactory,
unless they believe it to be worth the price. It follows, as a
fundamental rule of salesmanship that _price is almost never the first
consideration in the mind of the buyer, but that it is almost always
the second consideration_. For this reason, few sales can be completed
without a demonstration of value.


Study your own buying habits, and you will see that you seldom make a
purchase on the basis of _price_ alone. Always you consider _value_.
Consciously or otherwise, you compare the satisfaction you hope to gain
against the price you are asked to pay. You like a bargain, but you
recognize that low price, by itself, does not constitute a bargain.


The buying habits of the great majority of your customers are no
different than your own. People generally will not buy a piece of
furniture at any price unless they first believe, of their own
initiative or as the result of your efforts, that it will afford them
satisfaction, for their own use. Having found such a piece, they still
will refuse to buy it until they also become convinced that _its value
measured in terms of their own satisfactions, equals or exceeds the

Thus the average sale consists of two stages:

  First, helping the customer find the merchandise that meets her
    needs and satisfies her tastes, at the price she can afford to
    pay (not, necessarily, the price she desires, expects, or has
    expressed a willingness, to pay).

  Second, convincing her that the article is a good value for the

A prevalent fault among even experienced furniture salespersons is the
failure to deal adequately with the first stage--that of finding out
what the customer wants. With interior decorators and many drapery
salespersons the second stage--demonstration of value--is more often
neglected. Moreover, much business is lost by men who reverse the
logical process, and begin their demonstration of the value of an
article before their customer has tentatively accepted it as adapted to
her own needs and tastes.

On the other hand, innumerable sales are sacrificed through reliance
upon mere assertion of value, or upon discounts or marked-down prices,
with a consequent failure to deliver, at the end, a convincing
demonstration of value. In such a demonstration construction and
materials will occupy the spotlight.


American women are not too much interested, as a rule, in the
construction of the articles they buy. This is not because they regard
sound construction as unimportant, but because they have been taught to
take it more or less for granted. Their chief concern in any product
lies in what it will do for them, and they do not care a great deal
about how that result is insured. An analysis of magazine advertising
will reveal the fact that construction is rarely used as an advertising
appeal; a count of several current issues indicates about 1 case in 20.

There is a much wider interest in materials, including furniture woods
and the floor covering, drapery, and upholstery fabrics; though even
here the primary concern of the great majority of buyers is with the
effect of these materials upon their homes and themselves rather
than with the materials as such. According to an industry survey, 6
women out of 100 have no interest in furniture; 61 are interested in
it primarily as a means of making their homes more attractive; 16 are
chiefly interested in furniture woods; 14 in style or appearance; and 3
in construction.


The widespread disposition of women to take construction and materials
for granted tends to reduce emphasis upon quality, forces prices
toward unnecessarily low levels, and cuts down volume and profits. It
encourages the production of poor merchandise, thereby undermining
public confidence in furniture and furniture dealers.

A sound knowledge both of materials and of construction will help
demonstrate the superior value of more costly merchandise when such
merchandise lies within the customer's buying power. This knowledge,
properly used, will of course enable sales to be speeded up, a larger
number of customers to be waited on, and a larger percentage of sales
to be made. Even when the salesman is emphasizing woods and fabrics,
the materials of which home furnishings are made, he must win the
customer's confidence in the quality of construction, the craftsmanship
with which these materials are put together, if he would effectively
minimize what to him is price resistance.


In all periods of high civilization men have felt a deep interest in
the furniture woods. The sheer beauty of these woods, their association
in sentiment and legend with the noble trees of many lands, their
never-ending, never-repeating variations of figure and shading, the
romantic stories of their journeyings by ship or caravan from the far
ends of the earth--these things always have delighted men and women of

Undoubtedly they who sell furniture know too little about the furniture
woods, talk too little about them, make far too little use of their
powerful appeal to the eye and the emotions. If they can learn to know
them intimately, and to regard them, not as merchandise merely, but
as something fine and nobly beautiful, they cannot fail to inspire
widespread admiration and desire for ownership.


In appendix D, page 255, will be found a brief account of leading
furniture woods. Most of these woods are used today, and many of them
will be found in your stock. Ours is an age which takes great delight
in colorful and beautifully figured woods. An astonishing variety of
new species has come into comparatively recent use as the result of
exploration in Africa, Australia, and the more remote and difficult
areas of Central and South America. Salespersons are strongly urged,
through this and other sources, to become familiar with the leading
furniture woods in order to possess the background necessary to arouse
appreciation of the beauty, distinction, and rarity of the woods used
in furniture manufacture and to convey an adequate sense of the time,
skill, and expense necessary to make these lovely woods available in
strong and enduring form for the modern home.


                                        Courtesy the Veneer Association.

Figure 16.--Veneer slicer: Note the finished slices in the middle
foreground and the tremendous length of the log--the full length of the
slicer (16 feet). Working with amazing speed, this slicer frequently
requires the attendance of three operators at the same time.]


As is well known, trees grow in diameter by the addition of new layers
of wood, one of which forms just under the bark each year during the
life of the tree. If growth is rapid, these layers, which are known as
_annual rings_, will be relatively thick; if slow, they will be thin.
In warm climates the growth of many trees is almost continuous, the
fiber relatively uniform, and the annual rings very slightly marked.
In cold climates growth is rapid in spring and summer, but almost
ceases in winter, and the annual rings are sharply marked. The wood
produced first in each year is frequently different from that produced
later in the year, so that a distinction is drawn between the early
springwood and the later summerwood. In such cases a cross section of
the tree trunk will show a number of concentric annual rings whose
number is equal to the age of the region of trunk cut. In certain kinds
of trees, for instance, species of pines and leaf-shedding oaks, after
the wood has attained a certain age, it darkens in color, so that when
a crosscut of a 100-year-old part of the trunk is taken, the darker
older central wood contrasts as _heartwood_ with the surrounding pale

All hardwoods contain a multitude of long continuous water-conducting
tubes termed _wood vessels_; in cross section they are often visible
to the naked eye as _pores_. In woods like oak and ash these pores are
easily visible in cross section as minute holes, and in longitudinal
section as fine grooves, which are often accentuated by furniture
makers through treatment with a dark filler. In woods like maple and
gum the pores are too small to be seen without a microscope.

Oak, chestnut, ash, and elm are conspicuous members of the ring-porous
group of hardwoods, so called because one or more rows of large pores
are formed at the beginning of each annual ring. Walnut and mahogany
are diffuse-porous because the pores, though plainly visible, are more
nearly uniform in size throughout the annual rings.

In addition to the annual rings and pores, traversing the wood at right
angles to the fibers are thin stringlike structures that run from the
outside of the wood radially inward toward the pith. In some woods
these rays are too minute to play a part in the visible figure of the
wood, while in others, notably the oak, they are conspicuous, and in
quarter-sawed boards produce the effect known as silver grain or flake.
These are the _medullary rays_. For more detailed information about
wood structure, consult any reliable encyclopedia.

These variations in structure, plus variations in coloring, constitute
the physical basis for the innumerable charming effects which expert
wood workers are able to create for the furniture lover. _Some of these
effects can be produced in solid wood; others in veneer only._ They
result from four general methods of cutting:

  Plain sawing, or cutting more or less with the grain at right
    angles to the rays.

  Quarter-sawing, or cutting across the grain, parallel to the rays.

  Transverse sawing, or cutting in a direction neither flat nor
    quarter, but between them.

  Rotary slicing, in which the knife or the veneer lathe follows the
    lines of annual growth, but cuts across them irregularly to yield
    a striking effect of wavy lines and parabolas.

The interest of furniture buyers lies in the beauty, durability,
romantic appeal and prestige value of the various woods, and not in the
technical processes by which their individuality and fine qualities
are brought out. However, a few facts concerning the various types of
figures are here set down for possible emergency use.


[Illustration: Flat Slicing

Quarter Slicing

Half-Round Slicing

Rotary Slicing

Figure 17.--Slicing illustrated.]

"The art of producing and using veneers dates back to the earliest days
of civilization," says the Encyclopedia Britannica.[13]

Although we do not know when and where the art of veneering was
invented, there is no doubt that it had reached a high development in
Egypt 3,500 years ago. It was practiced by the ancient Babylonians and
Assyrians, by the Greeks, and particularly by the Romans, who used it
not only in furniture-making but also in door frames and panels. There
is a record that Cicero, celebrated Roman orator, paid for a veneered
table of citrus wood a sum equivalent to $20,000 in gold.

When the ancient European civilization gave way to the Dark Ages,
the art of veneering was temporarily lost, only to be revived in the
form of inlays during the Renaissance. True veneering did not become
common in Europe until after the middle of the seventeenth century,
when a new type of saw was invented which would divide a plank into
thin sheets. As an early result of the discovery of the New World and
the sea route to India and the East, many rare and exotic woods were
carried to Spain, Holland, France, and England and used as veneers
and inlays in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries--among them
mahogany, satinwood, amboyna, kingwood, rosewood, tulipwood, amaranth,
harewood, and vermillion. The art of veneering reached the point of
technical perfection during the reign of Louis XIV, and ever since
that time it has been practiced by most of the great cabinetmakers
in all countries; except of course, in the case of the carvers, of
whom Chippendale is the outstanding example. Most of the magnificent
furniture of France, that of the Hepplewhite, Sheraton, and Adam styles
in England, and the really distinguished furniture of the late Colonial
and Federal periods in America, made a free use of veneers.

The whole process of making veneers, from the selection of a tree in
some far corner of the globe to the finished plywood, is a long and
exacting one which demands the technical knowledge of scientists,
engineers, and chemists as well as the taste of the artist.


                                         Courtesy The Veneer Association

Figure 18.--Showing the construction of seven-ply plywood. The grain of
each layer is at right angles to that of the adjacent ply.]

Briefly, we can say that the logs must be transported, studied
carefully in order to determine just how to secure the most beautiful
effects from the wood, usually soaked or conditioned to soften the
fiber, and sliced or sawed into sheets of veneer, which are afterward
dried carefully. This is a work for specialists, and is usually done
at established veneer mills. At the furniture factory the sheets must
again be carefully studied, matched, clipped, taped, glued, and built
under a pressure of 200 to 300 pounds into the finished plyboards.

A single tree may yield 500 board feet of lumber or the same number of
surface feet 1 inch thick. Cut into thin face veneers this same tree
would yield 10,000 square feet or 20 times as much in terms of surface


Technically, plywood is the product resulting from three or more
layers of veneers joined with glue, and usually laid with the grain
of adjoining plies at right angles. Almost always an odd number of
plies are used to secure balanced construction. The outside plies are
called faces, or face and back. The center ply is called the core, and
intervening plies, laid at right angles to the others, are called cross
bands. Plywood is a device for combining lightness and great strength
with freedom from the tendency to warp and split.

Modern engineering, chemistry, and machinery have brought the
production of plywood to a point of perfection where it is as strong,
weight for weight, as steel. It is wood engineered for beauty,
strength, and economical application. Its peculiar excellence, as
contrasted with solid wood, results from equalizing the normal
internal stresses of the wood by running alternate layers in different
directions. In standard five-ply construction, widely used for good
furniture, the two outer and the middle ply, or core, have the grain
running in the same direction, while the second and fourth plies, or
cross bands, have the grain running at right angles to that of the
others. Plywood was produced by the Chinese thousands of years ago,
and is found in the furniture of the ancient Egyptians. Yet it has
taken modern ingenuity plus engineering and chemical skill to develop
a product capable of meeting the large scale but exacting requirements
of today--a product now used on land, in the air, and on the seas.
Plywood was not produced by machinery, and in commercial quantities,
until about 50 years ago, when plywood factories were started in
Russia. Ninety percent of all wood furniture manufactured today is of
veneer and plywood construction. It is used in the interest of economy,
strength, flatness, and beauty, not only in cabinet and furniture
making but also in residence and office building, coach-building and
various engineering industries, including aviation. Plywood offers
maximum strength in all directions combined with minimum weight.


Some persons adamantly insist that to be truly good quality, furniture
must be solid, built wholly of one wood. While many experts insist
that this view is untenable, those who insist upon it should, of
course, buy solid pieces. To do so will frequently involve denying
themselves the full beauty of the fine graining which normally can
be had only in veneer. The salesman and the industry should jointly
educate the customer that good veneer is not only with us to stay, but
is used in some of the best furniture made anywhere in the world and
that good American veneer has lasting qualities in addition to its
value in bringing to the average home graining and finish that can
never be obtained in furniture made from solid wood.



                     Courtesy American Walnut Manufacturers Association.

Figure 19.--Location of cuttings in tree body. Not every tree has a
stump that can be cut into beautiful stumpwood. Fine crotches are
much rarer and burls so precious that the choicest burl veneers, when
mounted and matched for use in furniture, are worth more than their own
weight in sterling silver. All other figure types are cut, by varying
methods, from the long trunk.]

The price range of veneer varies directly with the ready availability
of the species, its color and figure, and its working and finishing
qualities. Some veneers cost 20 times as much as others, and certain
of the rarest and most beautifully figured sheets are literally worth
their weight in silver. Well known commonly used species may be either
high priced or inexpensive, depending upon the desirability and current
demands for that figure.

To illustrate, American walnut may vary exceedingly in price. Taking
the cost of the finest burl as 100 percent, crotch walnut might cost
57 percent as much; stump wood and figured long wood, 30 percent; and
plain long wood approximately 5 percent. These percentages represent
only the finest of each of these particular figures.

Therefore, instead of calling a suite "walnut" as if that is all there
is to be said, it would be wise to point out that it is made of a
particularly desirable piece of walnut, both rare and costly because of
its fine figure and color. The same type of reasoning may be used in
speaking of mahogany, maple, oak, and other beautifully figured cabinet


Furniture making is one of the oldest of human industries. For
thousands of years it remained a craft industry. The transition to a
machine industry began about 100 years ago. Since then, and especially
within recent years, the use of machinery has been developed to a point
of extraordinary efficiency. It is this fact alone which makes good
furniture so low in price today. Indeed, were it not for the machine,
most persons would have little furniture, and that of the crudest kind.

[Illustration: Figure 20.--Shows the names of the parts of a chair.]

And yet it would be inaccurate to think of furniture as an impersonal,
machine-made product; craftsmanship is still basically important in
furniture making, and will remain so always. From 50 to 60 different
and highly specialized machines are used in a modern factory making
desks, chairs, and tables, and these machines perform all purely
mechanical operations with amazing speed and more than human accuracy.
Yet at every stage, from the selection of the woods to the final
touches in the finishing room, the taste and accumulated skill of
expert craftsmen are imperative. In the making of upholstered and reed
furniture, machinery plays a subordinate part, and the skill of the
craftsman is and always will be the dominant factor.


Furniture making employs many materials and many processes. In every
one of these materials and processes there are wide differences in
excellence between the worst and the best. All of these differences are
accurately known only to the manufacturer because they are concealed in
the finished product. Many of them are known to the expert salesman.
Few are known to the consumer who buys furniture too infrequently to
become informed on concealed values, and naturally is disposed to base
a judgment of value on the two obvious factors--eye appeal and price.
As a result sales volume, to say nothing of public appreciation of
furniture, is unnecessarily low.


It is obvious that all the operations of preparing wood, routing it
through the factory, synchronizing the many processes, and eliminating
waste can be performed most efficiently and economically in a modern
plant and under the control of scientific knowledge and engineering
skill. Factories so operated, therefore, may build into their product
concealed or special values which are passed to the consumer in the
form of lower price, quality for quality. These concealed values
actually may take several forms; they may be concerned with materials
and processes, or with construction and design. Although their service
value is readily understood, their actual presence in any particular
piece of furniture is not so easily determined by the inexperienced
salesperson or the infrequent purchaser.


When wood reaches the factory from the sawmill in the form of dimension
lumber it contains some imperfections, among them rotted or discolored
heartwood, stained sapwood, season checks, splits, knots, worm and
grub holes, and decayed tissue. The more or less complete rejection
of all defective lumber naturally affects production costs, and the
use of perfect lumber in the unexposed parts of a piece of furniture
constitutes a concealed value.


In wet lumber, wood cells will contain moisture in amounts ranging
from 30 to 100 percent of the weight of the woody fiber itself. If a
considerable percentage of this moisture is permitted to remain in the
pieces which are used for building furniture, a disastrous shrinkage
will result. Kiln drying the wood to secure the ideal moisture content
and to free it from internal stresses requires time, expense, and great
skill. Construction cost can be reduced by slighting the process.
Accordingly, perfectly conditioned wood constitutes a highly important
concealed value in good furniture.


Figure 21.--A shows a dowel. The spiral and longitudinal grooves permit
the escape of air, and prevent air pockets in the glue. B shows the
mortise and tenon, another method by which wood parts may be joined
together with a fair measure of security. In both dowel and mortise
and tenon construction the use of good glue is essential. The glue is
applied to the portion which is inserted in the socket.]


The points of concealed value in chair and table construction include,
among others:

  1. Choice of wood.

  2. Method of shaping legs.

  3. Method of building solid seats and tops (joinery; character of
    glue; and time spent in the clamps).

  4. Character of joints (boring; mortise and tenon; kind, number,
    and position of dowels).

  5. Use of corner blocks, braces, and stretchers.

  6. Character of veneers, inlay, carving, or other ornament.

  7. Technical skill of the machine operators and assemblers.

  8. Care in sanding to ensure fine finishing.

Important points concerning the legs, tops, and end panels of cases
are substantially the same as for chairs and tables. Standard five-ply
for the tops of cases and standard three-ply for the end panels is the
usual but not the universal practice. Other points include:

  9. Construction of corner posts--solid wood to the floor, or with
    the turned legs separately made and doweled to the bottom of the
    posts, which cheapens but weakens construction.

  [Illustration: Figure 21a.--C shows how a chair post is joined to
    the chair rails. Central figure is the chair leg; beneath it is
    a corner block; at either side are the rails with holes bored
    in them, as well as in the leg, to hold the dowels. The holes
    in the corner block are for screws. D shows how the joint looks
    when assembled. The pieces fit snugly and are braced to prevent
    pulling apart, the corner block augmenting the dowel joint.]

  10. Method of framing--solid framework above, between and below the
    drawers, with tongue and groove joints and three-ply veneer panel
    dust bottoms, or some cheaper method; frames "dadoed" (rigidly
    recessed) into the ends, and end panels dadoed into the legs,
    or some cheaper construction; shelves dadoed into end panels
    and also doweled into legs, and back doweled into legs, or some
    cheaper method, as nails or screws.

  11. Drawer construction, including type of plywood; type of
    joint-dovetailed joints front and back, which is the best
    construction; lock joint (cheaper, but not nailed); nailed joint,
    still cheaper; butt joint (also requiring nails, the cheapest and
    poorest joint); drawer bottom dadoed into sides and ends, and
    supported by triangular rubbed-in blocks, or some cheaper method;
    center slides; perfect or less than perfect fitting.


Here the construction is almost completely concealed. The customer sees
only the exposed portion of the frame and the covering and, except in
the case of advertised goods, knows no more about the construction and
concealed values of a piece than is told her by the salesperson.

Years ago much upholstered furniture was imported from a famous
factory in London. It was costly, but vastly comfortable and of great
durability. Yet when a piece was "taken down" it was found to contain
far fewer springs, tied with fewer knots, than was the case with
American goods of the same general price range. This indicates the
folly, in the case of upholstered furniture, of setting up measures
of excellence based upon exactly standardized practice. What applies
to plywood or dowel joints does not necessarily apply to spring


In general, the points of concealed value in upholstered furniture

  1. The frame, which in the best construction is of clear, tough,
    dry hardwood, with properly glued and doweled joints, and
    necessary reinforcing blocks.

  2. The springing, including foundation for the springs; number and
    character of springs; type of twine and number of knots per coil;
    skill of operator and speed at which he is compelled to work;
    presence or absence of spring edge.

  3. Spring covering, including weight of burlap; method of attaching
    it to the frame and to the springs.

  4. Stuffing: Double or single method; use of excelsior, tow, fiber,
    moss, cotton, or curled hair, alone or in combination.

  5. Springing of back and arms.

  6. Loose cushions; spring or down construction.

  7. Skill and care of the workman; inspection standards for
    materials and labor.


In the book _Tropical Nature_, A. R. Wallace, after describing the
great trees of the tropical forest, says: "Next to the trees themselves
the most conspicuous feature of the tropical forests is the profusion
of woody creepers and climbers that everywhere meet the eye * * *.
They twist in great serpentine coils or lie entangled in masses on the

In such a forest grows Calamus, the rattan palm, whose slender stem
often attains the enormous length of 600 feet. From Calamus is obtained
the basic material employed in making reed furniture. It comes from
the tropical forests of the East Indies after it has been passed
through several primitive processes by native workers. In this country
it is prepared in the forms of cane, rattan, and reed for weaving;
maple frames are designed and built; the weaving is done by American

Points of excellence include skillful preparation of the raw materials;
sturdy construction of the frames, including bracing; and skill in
weaving. Unhurried work means better construction but higher cost, and
is thus an element of value.


The appeal of finish is so potent as to require little demonstration.
Most customers are quite willing to accept wood finish, as they accept
dyestuffs or rayon, as one of the mysteries of chemical science. The
results speak for themselves. No one thinks the less of an old Cremona
violin because the secret of its varnish is known.

The story of modern chemistry is in fact more romantic than all the
tales of the Thousand and One Nights, yet people generally speaking
cannot be stirred by it. Tell them how the old craftsmen of Gothic
Europe, hundreds of years ago, stained oak planks a beautiful rich
brown by burying them for weeks or months under manure and you will
interest them deeply. Tell them how American craftsmen, a generation
ago, got the same results with the fumes of ammonia and a leaden vault
and you will barely hold their interest. Tell them how other craftsmen
today squirt a preparation of coal tar and water from one spray gun,
and a preparation of wood pulp or old rags from another to finish fine
furniture, and they will probably cancel the order.

In the late sixteenth century, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, and other
cabinetmakers employed a process of staining, or rather of softly
bleaching fine woods through the action of decomposing salts of
chromium, followed by French polishing with oils and waxes. True
varnish, a solution of resins in hot oils, was discovered in America
in the middle nineteenth century, and achieved an immense popularity.
Modern lacquer, which is totally unlike the Oriental lacquer, is a
twentieth century discovery which combines gun cotton (nitrocellulose)
with butyl alcohol, a byproduct in the manufacture of acetone.


The salesperson should learn that honest construction and careful
finishing of a piece of furniture often count for more than the kind
of wood used. Beautiful wood, however desirable it may be, is never the
chief source of value. No piece of furniture is really completed until
it has been given an appropriate and artistic finish.

What May Be Expected of a Finish.

There are at least three characteristics of a good wood finish.

  1. _Appropriateness._--The finish should be adapted to the needs
    which the piece is meant to serve. The polish of a piece of wood
    should not hide the beauty of the wood but should enhance it.
    Furniture should never make itself obtrusive. If furniture is
    noticeable, its artistic quality is usually to be questioned.

  2. _Serviceability._--The finish must protect the surface against
    the most common difficulties encountered in furniture finishing,
    such as bleeding, blistering, blooming, blushing, checking,
    caking, grain raising, bubbling, pitting, livering, and sweating.

  3. _Beauty._--Good finish should retain the characteristics of the
    wood rather than destroy their identity. Usually the natural wood
    needs to be softened and enriched to produce the most pleasing
    effects in keeping with its different nature and traits.

Beauty of finish depends to a great extent upon knowledge of how a
surface should be prepared and the skill which is used in carrying out
approved practices. The workman who understands the structure of wood,
its mechanical and chemical properties, and has the right tools and
equipment for preparing the surface, is not likely to use poor methods.
He will understand that great care is required to produce a smooth
surface on a piece of wood; that coarser defects of an improperly
finished surface under the microscope reveal undreamed-of roughness
on a carelessly scraped or inadequately sanded piece of wood. Also
he will know that for permanence of finish and lasting qualities of
construction, the wood must be properly seasoned and remain in a proper
shop-dry condition during the entire construction and finishing periods.

Reasons for Staining.

Wood in its natural tones does not usually harmonize with textiles and
wall colors.

The coloring often brings out unsuspected qualities and beauty in the
wood itself, due to--

  1. The reaction of the stain upon cells of the medullary rays;

  2. Its effect upon the mass of wood fibers; and

  3. Its greater absorption by the open pores or broken cell cavities.

Greater durability may be obtained through use of preservative stains.

Classification of Wood Stains.

There are four classes of stains, named according to the solvents used
in making them:

  1. Those soluble in water, sometimes called the acid stains.

  2. Those soluble in spirits.

  3. Those soluble in chemicals.

  4. Those soluble in oils.

Two other classes of so-called stains are known as varnish stains and
wax stains. These stains are not transparent as they obscure the grain
and leave a layer of pigment on the surface.

These four classes of stains may be subdivided into two classes,
acid and alkaline, depending upon their chemical reaction with other
substances. Water-soluble stains, most largely used, are often made
of coal tar dyes, which dissolve in water, and can be used in an acid
bath. They are obtained from color substances having no body, such as
walnut juice, logwood extract, turmeric, the juice of berries, and the
bark of trees.

Stains are applied by brushing, wiping, spraying, and dipping, the
latter on quantity production of cheaper grades. Because hardwoods
absorb stains more slowly than softwoods, the advantages of the first
three methods are apparent. Where this strong contrast between sapwood
and heartwood exists, the salesperson should know the sapwood requires
more stain than the remainder of the wood. A coat of stain may be
applied to the light streaks and after it dries, the entire surface may
be stained.

Aside from color there are "polished" and "dull" finishes. Varnish is
the original finishing medium, serving as a protective agent and as
a means of building up a high finish. For wood finishing the varnish
is transparent, but for other uses is sometimes colored, as in black
varnish or japan, or by the addition of dyestuffs, as in lacquers.

Lacquers permitting a polish finish are replacing gum varnish finishes
to a great extent because lacquer dries in about one-tenth the time
required for varnishes, and because lacquer finishes wear well under
exposure or use. Chemical action ceases in lacquer films after they


Fuming wood means subjecting the wood to the fumes of ammonia of full
strength (specific gravity 880). The process really comes under the
head of chemical staining. It is particularly well adapted to the
treatment of oak for it brings out in varying shades of brown the
rugged quality of this wood. It is penetrating; it does not fade.
After the oak has been fumed, a coat of raw linseed oil will have a
pleasant darkening effect upon the wood. Age only serves to darken and
beautify the result.


Enameling differs from ordinary varnishing in that the material used
is opaque. For this reason it is folly to use it over expensive woods.
Enamel has the brittleness of a piano varnish and the brilliancy that
is given by a hard resinous gum. Maple, birch, pine, and poplar are
well adapted to this treatment, which if it has been applied carefully
and in accordance with approved methods, will yield all the luster and
softness of a high grade varnish. Manufacturers have met the demands
for several surface effects or types of finish by producing enamels
having high gloss, eggshell gloss, and flat or dull effects. The
tinting of enamels is accomplished by mixing the proper amounts of
colors which are ground either in japan, oil, or special enamel-varnish
with the best process zinc-white. More recently other materials, such
as lithopone (barium sulphate) and zinc oxide are used in many of the
cheaper enamels. The decorative possibilities of stencils and transfers
are almost unlimited when used upon common woods and metals finished
with good enamel. This accounts for the rising demand for breakfast
room furniture, sun parlor furniture, porch furniture, and many steel,
plastic, and wooden novelties in bright designs using two or three


The so-called blond woods are of two types--bleached, consisting of
normally brunette woods which have been artificially lightened, and
the unbleached woods, which have a naturally light color. They run the
gamut of shades and colors from white through eggshell, cream, straw,
sand, beige, and yellow to tan and light brown.

Among the bleached woods, blond walnut and blond mahogany are probably
the most used. This is true partially because of their wide acceptance
as desirable cabinet woods, and partially because of a type of beauty
of natural grains which is brought out effectively by the blond

The unbleached blond woods include not only maple, light oak, aspen,
and birch, but also a wide variety of such exotic and unusual woods
as satinwood, myrtle burl, zebrawood, lacewood, holly, harewood, and
avodire, to mention only a few.

The blond treatment employs a transparent rubbed finish which is
effective in bringing out the natural pattern of the grain. English
harewood, one of the most distinctive, owes its beautiful silver grey
to a dye which is used on the light yellow natural color of harewood
(sycamore). Maple attains its warm reddish brown color also by
staining. Some most striking and beautiful effects in today's furniture
are achieved by using blond woods in combination with trimming of dark

The use of blond treatment has resulted in the creation of light, airy
effects which tend to brighten the room in which it is used. While the
present trend is toward its widest acceptance for bedroom and boudoir
use, it is being used for the living room, dining room, and occasional

Consult Reference Books Freely.

Volumes have been written about the furniture woods and wood-finishing.
From the great fund of information available, selection has been made
of material describing the most common process of wood finishing. Those
who desire to make exhaustive or more searching study of this subject
will do well to consult such books as have been listed on page 103 of
the Suggested Reading List.


_1. What factors determine selection and use of any particular wood for
a given purpose?_

_2. If a plain style table having a flat top and four legs were
advertised as "Combination Mahogany" from what would you believe that
table was made?_

_3. What are the essential differences between the Classic-Modern
development and the Functional-Modern development?_

_4. How should you answer a customer who held the view that there was
something shoddy and false about veneer?_

_5. What are the "concealed values" in a large upholstered chair? How
may they best be discussed with your customer?_

_6. Explain the following:_

  _Kiln drying._
  _Moisture content._

_7. What are points of excellence in finishing?_

_8. Are you familiar with the important facts in connection with the
manufacture of your furniture woods?_

  _Location of the factories._
  _Sources of the principal furniture woods._
  _Reasons for use of each wood in certain situations._
  _Workmanship employed._
  _Inspection and testing methods._
  _Standards maintained._

_9. What are the so-called real cabinet woods?_

_10. If your customer determines to use painted furniture for his
living room set does it make any difference whether the manufacturer
has used an inexpensive furniture wood?_


  BALDWIN, WILLIAM H. _The Shopping Book._ The Macmillan Co., New
    York, N. Y. 1929.

  Furniture Woods, pp. 56-58.

  Britannica, Encyclopedia. 14th Edition, vol. 22, pp. 217-221.

  Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia. 1939. vol. 7, pp. 98-107.

  Wood Finishes, vol. 5, pp. 219-222.
  Furniture Manufacture, vol. 9, pp. 948-951.

  KOUES, HELEN. _How to Beautify Your Home._ Good Housekeeping, New
    York, N. Y. 1930.

  Finishes for Natural Wood Furniture, XVI, pp. 218-224.

  MULLER, JOSEPH L. _American Hardwood Plywood._ Forest Products
    Division, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, United States
    Department of Commerce. 1940. Superintendent of Documents, United
    States Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.

  NEUBRECH, W. LEROY. _American Hardwood--Dimension, Wall Paneling
    and Interior Trim._ Forest Products Division, Bureau of Foreign
    and Domestic Commerce, United States Department of Commerce.
    1938. Superintendent of Documents, United States Government
    Printing Office, Washington, D. C.

  ---- _American Hardwood Flooring and Its Uses._ Forest Products
    Division, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, United States
    Department of Commerce. 1938. Superintendent of Documents, United
    States Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.

  ---- _American Hardwoods and Their Uses._ Forest Products Division,
    Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, United States Department
    of Commerce. 1938. Superintendent of Documents, United States
    Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.

  PALMER, LOIS. _Your House._ Boston Cooking School Magazine Co. 1928.

  Outline History of Furniture, pp. 163-204.

    Clothing._ J. B. Lippincott Co., New York, N. Y. 1936.

  Good Design in Furniture, VIII, pp. 174-199.

  United States Department of Commerce, National Committee on Wood
    Utilization. _Furniture: Its Selection and Use._ Superintendent
    of Documents, United States Government Printing Office,
    Washington, D. C. 1931.

  Materials and Construction, part II, pp. 21-73.

  United States Department of Commerce, Forest Products Division,
    Foreign and Domestic Commerce, _American Douglas Fir Plywood and
    Its Uses_. Superintendent of Documents, United States Government
    Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 1937.

Wood Finishing.

    Furniture Finishing, Decoration, and Patching._ Frederick J.
    Drake & Co., Inc., Chicago, Ill. 1931. Book II. Furniture
    Finishing, pp. 121 to 132a.

  JEFFREY, HARRY R. _Wood Finishing._ Manual Arts Press, Peoria,
    Ill., 1924. pp. 9-154.

  NEWELL, ADUAH CLIFTON. _Coloring, Finishing, and Painting Wood._
    Manual Arts Press, Peoria, Ill. 1930.


[13] Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition; vol. 23: Veneer.

[14] American-Hardwood Plywood, p. 2, Forest Products Division, U. S.
Department of Commerce.

Unit VI


  Sell Equipment To Meet Customer's Needs

  Mattresses and Springs


  Studio Couches and Sofa Beds


                                                 Photographs by Grignon.

Figure 22.--A new studio divan (A) which can be used in a variety of
decorative treatments to provide a luxurious lounge by day--comfortable
twin beds at night (B) that open to bed height. Upholstered and
finished on all four sides, this unique studio divan can be used at
any angle in the room. Available in a variety of attractive color
combinations, the number illustrated has a rich brown frame and ends,
and is trimmed in beige moss fringe. The inner-spring mattress is
upholstered in beige and fawn-colored striped tapestry. Important style
notes are the two-height arms and the bolster-type single pillow. Both
the base unit and the mattress are inner-spring filled and provide
extra lounging and sleeping comfort.]

                   Unit VI.--SELLING SLEEP EQUIPMENT


The retail selling of sleeping equipment, in the opinion of many store
executives, calls for more skill and study than almost any other line,
but to the man who really knows his merchandise there is no easier
line to sell and few which offer greater opportunities for increased
earnings and personal satisfaction.

No other line of merchandise needs intelligent selling as much as does
sleeping equipment. The consumer, through magazines and newspapers,
is learning much about style, decoration, and periods in furniture.
When shopping for a living room suite she needs the salesman's help,
certainly, but she usually comes into the store with some idea of what
she should have. Bedding, however, to most women is too often something
to be selected through bargain advertising.

Because the mind of the prospective purchaser has been conditioned
to expect bargains in mattresses, springs, pillows, studio couches,
and sofa beds, it is necessary for you to use your intelligence and
exert sincere effort to sell the sleeping equipment which the customer
should have. The average customer is unfamiliar with standards by which
bedding may be judged; so the responsibility of guiding her to a proper
selection rests with you.

This is all the more important because sleep equipment has an actual
effect upon one's health and rest. How well a person sleeps is a
natural topic for conversation.

You may shirk this responsibility to the physical welfare of the
customer by making quick sales of low-priced merchandise. However, if
you want to build a clientele who will recommend you to their friends
in an ever-widening circle, you will remember that you are selling
sleeping comfort--something that the customer will be able to check
every night of the year.


The first step in the successful sale of proper bedding is to discover
tactfully the preference of the customer and the type of sleeping
equipment that is to be replaced. Find out if a cotton mattress or a
curled hair one or an early inner-spring type has been used. This
is important for two reasons. First, only through knowing what has
been used can you make an honest recommendation of better equipment
and, secondly, through this knowledge you will be able to understand
better what the customer implies when she asks for a "firm" or a "soft"

The customer may have been sleeping on a curled hair or cotton felt
mattress; for example, which she characterizes as "much too hard,"
and she is, therefore, asking for a very soft inner spring. Future
complaints will be avoided in this instance if you will take the time
to point out that after using an unusually firm mattress, the greater
flexibility of an inner-spring mattress may be found uncomfortably
soft. After a customer has used a very firm mattress, she will view as
_soft_ a new one which is actually medium firm.

Customers select their clothes and shoes to fit. They have ideas as
to what they want in sleep equipment. But their descriptions of what
they want and need may not tally with your trade terms. It is your
duty to help them to select exactly the right type of mattress to fit
their needs rather than to point out that what they term hard or soft
is not what the industry feels about these mattresses. You are the
expert. It is your problem to see that your customer finds exactly the
right mattress, spring, or pillow for her individual sleeping needs.
When a customer is selecting sleeping equipment for another person
her attention should be called to the variance of individual taste,
and wherever possible the requirements of the individual who is to
use the equipment should be ascertained. To equip satisfactorily an
entire family with full cognizance of the requirements of individuals
indicates proficiency and expertness in the salesman.


As you show your merchandise, study your customer, learn as much as
possible about her individual needs and preferences and discuss the
importance of proper rest.

Unless your store has a definite and effective method of "trading up"
you will make more sales of better equipment by starting at the top.
There is a wide market for mattresses and springs at $19.75. Too many
customers, however, who can afford and who should have better quality
equipment, are buying at that price level because no salesperson has
tried to sell them better merchandise. If a customer comes in asking to
see the promotion mattress on which an advertisement has been run, she
must be shown that mattress. However, from the head of your department,
from the manufacturer's salesman, and from your own knowledge of the
merchandise you should know in advance what additional value and extra
service she will receive by buying the $29.50 or $39.50 mattress
instead of the $14.95, or the $19.75 one. Because most mattresses look
alike, you must build up her confidence in you and your recommendations
by telling her and showing her facts. Use the cut-out samples
intelligently. Point out in an understandable manner the various
features and explain how they produce the comfort and the durability in
which she is interested.

Discuss features in terms of what she is looking for in a
mattress--springs, for instance, not as coils of 10- or 12-foot wire,
but as the means of providing proper resilience and buoyancy. Her
interest in the upholstery will not be in so many pounds of cotton
linters, staple cotton, or curled hair, but in what these things mean
in terms of comfort and restful sleep. Know the technical construction
of the bedding offered for sale, but discuss this construction only in
language that is easily understood.


Bedding is, of course, a "must" in every new household as well as in
every house and room where people sleep. Without losing sight of the
constant and tremendous market that comes from newly created homes,
a bedding specialist should always keep in mind the vast replacement
possibilities in the countless families where bedding has outlived its
useful span. This is a market which may have to be awakened, one in
which natural complacency tends to dull the keen edge of spontaneous

According to a survey conducted for the National Association of
Bedding Manufacturers, nearly 20 percent of the mattresses owned by
the housewives interviewed were over 16 years in use. By statistical
reasoning this might indicate that 8 million mattresses in the country
have had similar use and it is at least reasonable to presume that
after 16 years' service, most mattresses are no longer providing
complete comfort and rest.

The investigation also showed that 32 percent of the pillows in use by
these families had been slept on for over 25 years. This may indicate
that over 25 million pillows in the United States have been similarly
used beyond the state of true comfort-giving usefulness. Twenty-seven
percent of the bed springs were found to be more than 16 years old.


The first step then in becoming an able salesman of sleeping equipment
is to learn everything that you can about the mattresses, pillows,
springs, studio couches, and sofa beds sold in your store. Because
the consumer usually is not well informed, the salesman should know
everything about the merchandise which he recommends.

Only after he knows his merchandise, its component parts, the quality
of its manufacture, its life expectancy, resiliency, and its other
characteristics in use, can he become a successful salesman capable of
handling quality merchandise, rather than an order taker who is able to
move only "bargain" promotions.

In the following pages you will find much general information about the
various types of sleeping equipment. In a field, however, where each
manufacturer is stressing individual and patented constructions and
units, no one bulletin can provide all the information you need. You
must continuously study the literature provided by the manufacturers
of the goods on your floor. Furthermore, never lose an opportunity to
talk to manufacturers' salesmen. They are specialists and can give you
detailed information which will enable you to explain the qualities of
their merchandise.


You should also know something about the physiology of sleep. Talk to
your store's physician, if there is one, or to your family doctor. The
medical profession has in recent years discovered a great many new
facts about sleep and it will help you to sell quality bedding to know

You should not try to pose as a medical authority, but you certainly
should be able to discuss intelligently the effects of sleep on the
mind and body, the need for proper rest, and the general results of
insomnia. If your store has a book department, read the various volumes
on rest and relaxation. Recent books of this type include _You Can
Sleep Well_, by Edmund Jacobson, M. D., and _Sleep_, by Ray Giles.

As you learn more about sleep equipment, you will discover that the
major improvements in bedding date back only a comparatively few years
and that many of your customers do not appreciate how much scientific
research and manufacturing care go into the production of the springs
and mattresses which are now on your floor.

These and the other interesting facts that you will learn in your
reading and conversation with manufacturers' salesmen will convince you
that in sleeping equipment you are selling one of the most important
items of merchandise the average family ever selects. It is now
possible for you to conduct the bedding sale so that you impress on the
customer (1) the importance of the purchase and (2) that she should buy
the equipment that will give the sleeper the most comfortable rest.


Except in rare instances price will always be a factor in the sale of
bedding. Retail advertising in too many communities is daily educating
housewives to expect quality at low prices. Your best argument is to
prove through your conversation about the importance of sleep and
through an actual demonstration of cut-out samples that the customer
will receive in bedding, as in everything else, exactly what she
pays for. Sell comfort and rest, and show how the equipment you are
recommending will provide both comfort and rest. There is no better way
to anticipate the objection of price.

In the opinion of the best merchandising experts in the country
the average consumer is not looking for cheap bedding as such.
Because of the constant price promotion of all types of sleeping
equipment--mattresses, springs, pillows, studio couches, and sofa
beds--comparative prices, however, are an important factor. You will
make more sales, sell better merchandise, and build a permanent
clientele quicker if you constantly keep in mind that you are selling
sleep and rest, and not merely so many pounds of upholstery and steel
to be bought only because the figure on the price tag has been "slashed
50 percent this week only."

Show that the first cost is relatively unimportant--that when measured
in years of comfortable service even the best equipment costs but a few
cents per night. Impress upon her the tangible benefits of receiving
good sleep from proper equipment over a reasonable number of years'
service. Whenever possible, use tactfully the experience of customers
who are pleased with the quality items selected with your assistance.
In no other merchandise or department will customer satisfaction bring
you so much additional business.

As a result of conflicting comparative price advertising, women
frequently shop in several stores for bedding. Recent studies show that
60 percent of specialty store customers seem to switch from one store
to another each time they purchase. Regardless of your enthusiasm for
quality equipment--regardless of your sincere desire to recommend only
the right equipment--you will still hear that "Blank's have one just
as good and $10 cheaper." Your best defense for this is to know what
Blank's actually are offering. If it is a promotional item with cheap
padding and fancy ticking, show the customer that you, too, have a
mattress of similar quality but that the one you are recommending is
superior and explain why it is a better value.

If, in spite of your best efforts, the customer walks out to shop in
the bedding departments of your competitors, let her go gracefully.
She is going to do it anyway in spite of what you say and if you
impress upon her the strongest arguments for your goods as she leaves,
a surprisingly large percentage will return--particularly if you have
shown her you were recommending the equipment that satisfied her
particular needs.



The bedding salesman is concerned principally with those articles of
bedroom equipment which most directly determine the sleeping comfort of
the user. These are mattresses, bedsprings, and pillows. In addition,
the bedding department generally includes studio couches and sofa beds
into which mattresses and springs have been built.

The mattress may be considered the department's basic item. Not only
are more mattresses sold than any other article, but also a properly
made mattress sale frequently leads to the sale of other pieces.
Consequently, it is of utmost importance for the bedding salesman to be
able to talk authoritatively about mattresses.


The mattress dates back to early Egyptian civilization. The first
mattress consisted of large bags stuffed with reeds, hay, and wool.
"Feather beds" were used by the Vikings in northern Europe in the
eighth century. Their mattresses, stuffed with feathers, were similar
to those favored by our grandparent.

Thus it can be seen that for centuries there was little progress made
in increasing mattress comfort. The development of inner springs and
the felting of upholstery materials are of recent origin. The modern
mattress is a twentieth century innovation.


The inner-spring mattress derives most of its resilience and buoyancy
from a unit of many coiled springs. Covering this unit on top and
bottom are layers of upholstery. In most types there is a thin layer
of protective insulation, often of sisal (a tough, white vegetable
fiber), between the spring unit and the upholstery. This keeps the
padding material from being forced down into and between the springs
and prevents the springs from pushing through the upholstery.

In some models the spring unit is padded only lightly and the
upholstery is encased in a separate pad for greater ease in handling.

The spring unit, naturally, is the heart of the inner-spring mattress,
as it determines the sensitivity with which the mattress conforms to
the sleeper's body. How it stands up under use largely determines
the wearing age of the mattress. These factors are influenced by the
quality, tempering, and size of the steel wire used and the way the
coils are designed.

There are so many different types of inner-spring mattresses now
manufactured that it is impossible to take up each individually.
Mattress and steel companies have devoted a great amount of research
to determining such small but important details as the shape of the
spirals, the proper number of turns of wire that each spring should be
given, how the coils should be fastened together and the temper and
gage of the wire.

[Illustration: Figure 23.--Cut-out mattress sample showing wire-tied
inner-spring unit.]

This experimentation has produced the many different construction
designs. These, of course, are protected by patents. The bedding
salesman should familiarize himself thoroughly with the distinctive
features of the mattresses in his store and be able to show the
customer, through the use of cut-out samples, just what purposes they

In this connection, it should be remembered that it is the independent
action of the individual coils that gives support to the various parts
of the body and allows the muscles and nerves to relax completely.
The salesman's duty, therefore, is to show how his products give this

There are two general types of inner-spring mattresses; those in which
the springs are tied together with metal, and those in which the
individual springs are encased in cloth pockets.


In the metal-tied units the springs are held together by helical (small
spiral) springs or metal clips. As a rule, there are fewer coils in
this type of inner-spring unit, but they are usually larger and of
heavier wire than the cloth-encased variety. The number of springs in
this unit may vary from 180 to 360 or more (one model contains 1,000)
in the full-size models. Essentially, however, comfort is determined by
the quality of the construction and not necessarily by the number of

[Illustration: Figure 24.--Inner-spring mattress showing pocketed coil

The shape of the coil varies, too. Some are like hourglasses, others
like cylinders or barrels. Special merits are claimed for each design
by its manufacturers. The salesman should be able to explain what these


The cloth-pocketed unit consists of many small, light coils, each of
which is encased in muslin or burlap. Full-size units of this type
usually contain more than 800 individual coils, although the number
may vary. In this general classification are mattresses in which the
individual coils are not completely encased but are secured at both
ends by flat horizontal pockets. In some mattresses of the pocket type
the coils are tied together; in others they are not.


Regardless of its unit construction, an inner-spring mattress of good
quality has certain characteristics which can be easily recognized and
described. Chief among these are resilience and buoyancy. A mattress
with the proper resiliency will give readily when pressure is applied
and spring back to its original shape when this pressure is removed.
Resilience may be thought of as "plenty of give." Buoyancy is the
power to support and sustain the sleeper's weight. A mattress which is
buoyant will cradle the body comfortably without letting it sink too
deeply into the mattress.


[Illustration: Figure 25.--Convolute coil designed for inner-spring

The upholstery used to pad the inner-spring unit and give it added
comfort conforms in general to that used in solid-filled mattresses.

The most widely used upholstery material is felted cotton. In the
better grade mattresses the cotton fiber is of good length, permitting
easy felting. In those of lesser quality shorter-fibered cotton is used.

Curled hair makes an excellent but more expensive upholstery material.
It is used alone, or in combination with cotton or lamb's wool. Lamb's
wool alone or in combination with curled hair is used in the most
expensive types. Some manufacturers use lamb's wool on one side for
winter use and curled hair on the other for summer.


The purpose of an inner-spring mattress is to supply maximum resilience
and buoyancy, plus independence and freedom of action which will enable
the mattress to adjust itself immediately to the varying weights of the
different parts of the body. Learn why the coils in the springs will
not turn, will not push through the upholstery, will not collapse and
entangle themselves one with another, and why they will give service
for many years. Having learned these things yourself, study the art of
making that clear to your customer.

Lasting comfort is dependent upon structural design, the quality of
construction, the grade and tempering of the wire, and the strength
of the materials used. The manufacturer has made certain service
guarantees. Learn what these are. Be sure to make them clear.


All-Cotton Mattresses.

Eighty percent of solid mattresses are filled with cotton. These range
from inexpensive models to ones which match inner spring styles in
cost. Cotton mattresses come in three classifications--felted, loose,
and combination felted and loose.

[Illustration: Figure 26.--All-cotton felted mattress.]

The cheapest cotton mattress is that in which short-fibered cotton is
blown into the ticking by air pressure. These "blown" cotton mattresses
are an inexpensive product and generally recognized as such. They will
give adequate service for a time, but eventually the cotton will pack
down unevenly and form lumps. The salesman in fairness to his customer
should refrain from making any claims for these mattresses other than
that they will be comfortable for a limited period of time.

In the best grade of solid cotton mattresses a longer-fibered cotton is
used. These fibers are picked apart and interlaced by a felting process
into thin layers, which are placed one upon the other. This felting,
plus tufting or quilting, keeps the upholstery in place and retards the
tendency toward lumping. A good felted mattress will give service for
many years, but constant use eventually will destroy its resilience and
produce lumps.

Between the blown cotton and the felted cotton mattresses in price
range is found a combination mattress consisting of top and bottom
layers of felted cotton, with a center of loose cotton. As the
description implies, it is better than an all-blown cotton mattress and
inferior to an all-felted one.

Curled Hair Mattresses.

Before the advent of the inner-spring unit, the curled hair mattress
was the aristocrat of the mattress field. It is still favored by many
persons who prefer to sleep on a comparatively firm foundation.

Animal hair, when permanently curled, has considerable resilience, as
each hair is turned into a tiny spring. Four types of hair are used for
mattresses. In order of value, they are: Horse-tail hair, cattle-tail
hair, horse-mane hair, and hog hair.

These types of hair frequently are mixed to produce mattress fillings
of varying degrees of resilience and softness. They vary in price and
quality according to the percentage of each type that is used.

An advantage of the curled hair mattress is that it can be opened
whenever desired and rebuilt, restoring the original resilience. Some
new hair is usually added with each rebuilding. To give satisfactory
service a curled hair mattress should be rebuilt every 5 to 7 years.

Kapok Mattresses.

With the exception of cotton, the only vegetable fiber used in making
mattresses is kapok, which comes from the pod of a tropical tree. Kapok
mattresses are soft, are moisture and vermin proof, and are light and
easy to handle. The fibers, however, have a tendency to pulverize and
form lumps. This tendency may be retarded by sunning the mattress
frequently. Packing the kapok into compartments adds to its durability.
Long life, however, should not be emphasized in selling a kapok

Latex Mattresses.

The latex mattress was introduced to the general public in 1938.
Latex is the milk of the rubber tree. It is whipped into a foam-like
consistency and then vulcanized or heat cured into a mattress mold.
Air is sometimes injected under pressure. The resultant mattress
is honeycombed with large cells which add to its resiliency. In
its original form it was 3 or 4½ inches thick and more expensive
than the better inner-spring models. Because of their comparative
thinness, these latex mattresses usually are sold with special
higher-than-average box springs. This type of mattress should be
referred to as latex, not as rubber.

A later development was the introduction of inner-spring units with
layers of latex used in place of the usual upholstering material.


Most of the features that make a really good mattress are concealed
from the customer's eye and must be explained by the salesperson.
However, the buyer can actually see and judge the mattress cover. The
pattern is important, because superficially it has most to do with
attractive appearance. Mattress covers usually are identified either as
ticking or damask.


Ticking, usually thought of as a strong, twill weave, may have a plain
or sateen finish. The twill is made by weaving diagonal lines from
right to left on the face of the fabric. The pattern may range from a
traditional blue and white to novelties of many widths. Eight-ounce
ticking is considered the standard of quality. It is so named because 2
yards of 32-inch width weigh 1 pound. Ticking also comes in 6-ounce and
4-ounce weights. These lesser weights may be adequate for certain uses
but it is obvious that they will give service only in proportion to
their strength. Tickings which are moisture and bacteria repellent are
now being extensively advertised.


Damask is woven on a jacquard loom in many different patterns.
Mercerized cotton and rayon often are used to add effectiveness to the
patterns. Damask in good grades will give satisfactory service though
its wearing quality is not equal to 8-ounce ticking. That part of the
mattress which covers the sides and joins the top and bottom mattress
covers is known as the border. Borders should be strong and firm enough
to keep the sides in shape and the edge straight. To accomplish this,
borders are embroidered, quilted, and otherwise reinforced for added


Prebuilt border is one in which the cover cloth, a layer of cotton
felt, and a lining are stitched, embroidered, or otherwise sewed
together, with eyelets or ventilators properly placed.

An inner-roll border frequently is used on the better type of mattress.
A reinforcing roll of cotton felt is turned in, close against the
padding of the inner-spring unit, both top and bottom, to give a neat,
well-defined edge.

The outer-roll edge was the original method of finishing a mattress. It
has a roll on the outside of the top and bottom of the mattress. This
is not extra padding, but results from the outside stitching of the
regular upholstery. It strengthens the edge of the mattress without
giving it the smooth edge of the inner-roll. One disadvantage is that
it is likely to catch more dust.

Tufting is the process of running twine or tape through the mattresses
at various points, the outer end being secured with buttons or clips.
These tufts serve to keep the inner materials in place and prevent
shifting. The tufting material should be strong enough to last the
lifetime of the mattress and the buttons should be firmly attached.
Fasteners such as rubber, plastics, metal, and the like are usually
employed instead of the cotton and leather tufts which were formerly

Tuft-less mattresses are those in which the upholstery is held in place
by stitching or quilting the layers or by placing it in compartments or
between muslin.

Ventilators, which range in size from eyelets to holes ¾ inch in
diameter, are necessary to permit the passage of air through the
interior of the mattress. The larger openings are screened. The borders
in good mattresses are built so that the ventilators are left open.


The ancient Greeks are said to have been the first to discover that it
is more comfortable to sleep on a foundation which "gives" with the
sleeper's movements than on solid wood. They ran braided thongs of
stout leather from one side of the bed to the other. These were the
first bedsprings and were the only type known until about 80 years ago.
This type of spring, with rope substituted for leather, was in general
use in America until a few generations ago.

The metal bedspring as known today dates back to about the time of the
War between the States. It was invented by James Liddy, of Watertown,
N. Y., who so enjoyed a nap on a springed buggy seat that he purchased
a supply of buggy springs and put them on his bed. The salesperson
should remember that the bedspring is the foundation of the bed and
shares with the mattress the job of supplying complete sleeping
comfort. To function perfectly, springs and mattress should be matched

There are four general types of bedsprings: Metal-fabric, open-coil,
platform-top or convolute-coil, and box springs.

Metal-Fabric Springs.

The least expensive, and the least serviceable, are the fabric springs.
They consist of a flat layer of crossed or meshed wires which are
fastened to the frame with helical springs. As they are subjected to
continuous downward pressure they will soon develop a sag. These should
be used only with solid-filled mattresses. Another type of fabric
springs consists of steel bands fastened to the ends of the frame by
helical springs and to each other by short helical cross ties or wire
locks. The higher priced models of this type provide a good foundation
for an inner-spring mattress.

[Illustration: Figure 27.--(Upper view) Platform-top coil spring.]

[Illustration: Figure 27a.--(Lower view) Open-coil spring to be used
with solid mattress.]

Open-Coil Springs.

The open-coil springs are built to provide flexibility and are
particularly designed for use with solid-filled mattresses. They
consist of spiral coils, larger and stronger than those used in
inner-spring mattresses, set into a metal frame. Each coil usually
is held to its neighbor by four small helical springs. The coils are
supported at the bottom by metal strips running from one side of the
frame to the other.

Platform-Top and Convolute-Coil Types.

The convolute-coil or platform-top springs are similar to the open-coil
type except that additional features are added to provide a firmer
resting surface for the mattress. In the platform type, the open spaces
in the top of the spring are partly covered by flexible metal bands
running both the length and breadth of the springs. The convolute
coils have several extra turns of wire as each coil approaches the top
of its spiral. When slightly compressed these turns flatten out in
the same plane, providing a broader supporting area. The platform-top
and convolute-coil springs are designed specifically as a foundation
for inner-spring mattresses. If an inner-spring mattress is used with
an ordinary open-coil spring the smaller springs of the mattress are
likely to force their way down into or between the larger spring coils,
with a resultant premature breakdown of the mattress. The platform-top
and convolute-coil types close up the open spaces and eliminate this

Better grade springs, whether of open-or closed-coil type, usually are
of double-deck construction. Between the top and bottom of the frame
there is a center wire with supporting bands running both the length
and breadth of the springs. This support makes possible the use of a
longer coil, which acts as a double spring. The lower half of the coil
is more tightly wound and is stiffer for the support of the sleeper's
weight. The upper half then contributes the resilience. Another mark
of a good spring is the use of two or more steel braces, known as
stabilizers, which prevent sidesway and border sagging.

Box Springs.

Box springs consist of spiral springs attached to a foundation, usually
of wood, and cushioned with a layer of upholstery. The coils are
larger and heavier than the usual open-coil springs. The entire unit
is enclosed in a box-like frame and covered with ticking. Box springs
originally were designed to give much resiliency so that they could be
used with solid-filled mattresses of hair or cotton. Most box springs
today, however, are constructed with the firm tops which are necessary
for use with inner-spring mattresses.

Each coil in the box spring is set into a slat of wood or steel. The
coils are held upright by being tied one to another, to the border,
and to the foundation. The borders usually are of wire or rattan. In
the better types, the springs are hand-tied with a special twine. A
wire-tied-spring unit is used in the cheaper models.

Box springs usually are sold with covers which match certain mattresses
in the same price range. This permits the sale of mattress and box
springs as a single unit.


[Illustration: Figure 28.--Box-spring construction.]

Let us suppose you have sufficiently impressed the customer with the
importance of buying quality sleeping equipment and with your sincerity
in recommending what she should have. You have shown her several
mattresses and springs and, after eliminating those to which she voiced
objections or paid little attention, you are now ready to concentrate
on the one or two models in which she expressed interest.

Point out that the mattress will be used 8 hours every night and that
for her satisfaction she should buy only the one carefully selected to
give the comfort and wear that she desires. She should never consider
bedding without having satisfied herself as to its qualities and its
ability to serve her and her family correctly. She should be encouraged
to make whatever test she likes and should be made aware of the store's
policy permitting her to do so.

If she has become convinced that she should purchase one of your
mattresses; if for instance you have sold her quality and comfort,
you should show her how springs and pillows will complement what she
has already bought. If you fail to do this, much of the sales effort
which you have invested will have been denied its opportunity to serve
you in making a sale of these allied goods. The reason that persuaded
your customer to buy a good mattress should lead her to seek complete
sleeping equipment. It is almost impossible to sell a good mattress
properly without discussing springs because the resiliency of the one
depends considerably upon that of the other. A soft mattress on very
soft springs may unduly emphasize this quality to the customer's
ultimate dissatisfaction. Consequently, in showing various mattresses,
you should explain the kind of bed springs to which each is adapted.

When the mattress has been selected, it is time for you to emphasize
the importance of the springs. The beauty of matched units with box
springs, designed specially to go with the mattress is something you
should stress. But if the customer is not box spring conscious and many
are not, show her the newer models of coil springs and explain their
characteristics, their protection of the mattress against wear, their
construction to avoid sidesway, and similar interesting features.

Often you will hear, "Our old springs will be satisfactory." With such
a customer, to insure that the new mattress will give satisfaction, you
must learn what type of old spring is going to be used. It will usually
be a resilient open-coil spring, probably satisfactory when used with
an all-cotton or all-hair mattress, but unsuitable as a foundation for
an inner spring.

Avoid future complaints of premature mattress breakdown and
uncomfortable sleep by showing how the small coils and the upholstery
of the inner-spring mattress push down into the larger openings of old
coil springs. Demonstrate the increased resiliency of springs designed
for cotton mattresses and why inner-spring models need a fuller base.

Thousands of spring sales have been neglected merely because the
salesman was satisfied with the mattress order. Many customers, too,
have become dissatisfied with their new mattresses solely because the
salesman failed to explain the importance of springs. Take advantage of
this attitude always to complete the sale by selling the right spring.


Of all articles of bedding, pillows should be the easiest to present
in the light of their distinctive features. They contain no coils or
patented mechanism. Yet there is a tremendous difference between a
poor pillow and a good one. Certainly many use pillows too old to have
retained their resiliency and complete comfort. Good pillows are a
part of beautiful and satisfactorily equipped bedding ensembles. Do
not diminish your service by failing to speak of this. Many of your
customers who are actually in the market for them do not realize that
the furniture store sells pillows. Therefore, it is a distinct service
to them and an added sale to you if you ask the privilege of showing
your stock. Unless you know and can explain the value of quality
pillows, many of your customers will surely buy less satisfactory ones.

One reason why pillows generally are used too long can be traced to
the unfortunate belief of many housewives that good feathers are an
heirloom to be handed down from one generation to another. In reality
feathers are delicate and perishable. After years of constant use they
lose resiliency and can no longer properly support the neck muscles.


The best filling for pillows is the down and feathers of waterfowl.
Less satisfactory are land-fowl feathers. The quality of the pillow
depends upon the percentage of each kind of material that is used in
the filling.


Natural down is a soft undercoating that grows on adult waterfowl.
Its fibers are soft and fluffy and emanate from a center point. There
is no quill shaft. Down-filled pillows are a luxury item and are the
softest and lightest available. They are ideal for persons who prefer
an extremely soft pillow.

Goose Feathers.

Goose feathers make the finest feather filling. They are resilient and
have a curved quill which itself is buoyant. The feather fibers are
full and fluffy. Contrary to common belief, there is no difference in
the filling quality of grey and of white goose feathers. The white
feathers, however, are in greater demand and are more expensive. Goose
feathers vary considerably in quality. Domestic and European goose
feathers are generally considered better than those from Eastern
countries. A good grade of goose feather pillow is slightly firmer and
more buoyant than a down pillow.

Duck Feathers.

Duck feathers rate next in quality to goose feathers. They are
more slender and have weaker and less arched quills. They can be
distinguished from goose feathers by their pointed tips and by the
presence of fewer fluffy fibers at the base. A duck feather pillow is
firmer and heavier than a goose feather pillow and is less resilient
and buoyant.

Turkey Feathers.

Turkey feathers are inferior to waterfowl feathers but are somewhat
more buoyant than chicken feathers. The quills are straight and the
feather fibers are not as fluffy as those of the duck and the goose.
The shafts must be artificially curled to give them springiness and
this curl is lost after a few years' service.

Chicken Feathers.

Chicken feathers are the least expensive and make the poorest filling.
Like the turkey feathers, they have straight shafts which must be
artificially curled. Chicken and turkey feathers make pillows which
are heavier and less resilient than waterfowl pillows. They are used
in price merchandise and will not give long service. The salesperson
should talk with manufacturers' salesmen and acquire facts necessary
to explain convincingly the importance of the arch in the stem of
goose and duck feathers as contrasted to the stiff straightness of the
chicken or turkey feather.


Kapok, a vegetable fiber, sometimes is used as filling for pillows.
When new it is soft and fluffy. It is not durable, as the fibers
pulverize into hard lumps with wear. Frequent sunnings and airings will
retard this pulverization.

Characteristics of a Good Pillow.

A good pillow can be judged by its lightness in comparison to its bulk.
Pillows should be well filled in order to retain their resilience and
plump appearance. A down-filled pillow of standard 21- by 27-inch size
will weigh approximately 1½ pounds. The same pillow filled with goose
feathers will weigh about 2½ pounds. If filled with chicken or turkey
feathers this pillow will weigh about a pound more.

To test a pillow for resilience, lay the pillow flat and press down the
center with your hand. The quicker and more completely it springs back
to its original shape the better is the grade of feathers. Buoyancy
also is important. If the pillow is properly buoyant, it will support
weight so that the head is held comfortably without sinking too far
into the pillow.

A good pillow should contain no dust, stiff feathers, or lumps. The
presence of dust can be determined by pounding the pillow. Stiff quills
and matted feathers can be detected by pressing the pillow between
the hands. The selection of a pillow of the proper firmness depends
entirely upon the preference of the user. Always mention the degree of
firmness or softness in addition to the type of feather and quality of
ticking in each pillow that you show.

Pillow sizes ordinarily refer to the dimensions of the finished
product, not the cut size of the ticking. The most common sizes are 20
by 26 and 21 by 27. Increasingly popular is a 20- by 36-inch size.

The pillow case should be of tightly woven cotton which is
feather-proof and down-proof. Eight-ounce blue-striped ticking is
considered a standard of quality. Eight-ounce warp sateens also give
good service. Lightweight, closely woven, linen-finished ticking is
another popular fabric.


The modern trend toward small houses and efficiency apartments has
created a demand for furniture which can be converted from ordinary
daytime uses into beds at night. By far the most popular in this field
are studio couches and sofa beds. (See figs. 22A and 22B, page 106.)


The studio couch for many years has been a standard auxiliary bed. In
its simplest form it consists of two parts, one on top of the other and
each containing upholstered springs. These two parts when placed side
by side make a full-sized bed. Modern studio couches are available in
many period styles and are used to complement the decoration plan for
the living room, library, recreation room, sunroom, bedroom, or even
entrance hall.


The sofa bed is a later development. It equals in beauty and quality of
workmanship the articles of furniture from which it derives its name.
Yet it contains an ingeniously concealed sleeping unit. Good sofa beds
are made in authentic styles and are covered in rich satin, leather,
and tapestry upholstery that make them as attractive as any piece of
single-purpose furniture in the living room. When only occasional
sleeping use will be required, the attractive appearance and seating
comfort of the sofa bed should be stressed.


_1. What is the first step in becoming a better bedding salesman?_

_2. Under what circumstances may cut-out samples be used to the best

_3. What information do you need from the customer in order to
recommend intelligently the right mattress and bedspring?_

_4. What reasons can you give the customer to convince her that she
should buy quality sleeping equipment?_

_5. How do you overcome the customer's objection that competitors'
stores are selling mattresses $10 cheaper?_

_6. Why should you stress the purchase of a new spring with each new

_7. What are the best selling features of (a) box springs and (b)
convolute and platform-top coil springs?_

_8. Why are waterfowl feathers superior to land fowl feathers in

_9. How can you prove to a customer that her pillows should be

_10. What features do you stress in selling sofa beds and studio


  _Furniture Record_, Bedding Articles, January 15, 1940.

  GILES, RAY. _Sleep._ Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, Ind. 1938.

  Bulletin 26, Basic Selling Facts for Bedding, Mattresses,
    Bed Springs, and Pillows--Good Housekeeping, Department of
    Merchandise Education, Fifty-seventh Street at Eighth Avenue, New
    York, N. Y.

  Bulletin entitled--"Consumer Investigation," issued for the
    National Association of Bedding Manufacturers by the Lawrence H.
    Selz Organization, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Ill.

  Bulletin 10, Feathers and Down--Pennsylvania Department of Labor
    and Industry, Harrisburg, Pa.

  JACOBSON, EDMUND, M. D. _You Can Sleep Well._ McGraw-Hill Book Co.,
    Inc., New York, N. Y.

  ---- _You Must Relax._

  MCCOLLISTER, FRIER. Selling Sleep, _National Retail Dry Goods
    Association_, _The Bulletin_, November 1939.

  _National Furniture Review_, 666 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Ill.
    March 1940. Bedding Section.

  PALMER, LOIS. _Your House._ Boston Cooking School Magazine Co.
    1928. The Bedrooms, pp. 78-91.

  SEAL, ETHEL DAVIS. Furnishing the Little House--Century Co., New
    York, N. Y. The Bedrooms, pp. 155-168.

Magazine Articles.

  American Home, November 1939, We're Campaigning for Better Sleep.
  Good Housekeeping, November 1939, Buy the Mattress That Suits You.
  House and Garden, October 1939, When You Select Bedding.
  House and Garden, April 1941, How to Buy Bedding.
  House Beautiful, April 15, 1940, Good Nights.
  McCall's, April 1939, How to Buy a Mattress.
  Parents', October 1939, Bed for the Baby.
  Parents', September 1940, A Sound Bedtime Story.
  Practical Home Economics, April 1941, An Outline of Sleeping Equipment.
  The Bride's Magazine, Spring Issue, 1940, To Sleep.
  The Bride's Magazine, Spring Issue, 1941, Choosing Your Bedding.
  Woman's Home Companion, April 1941, How About Your Guest Room?

Unit VII


  Interior Decoration as a Selling Method

  Emotional Values of Light, Color, Line, and Proportions

  Color Management in Decoration

  Principles of Furniture Arrangement


                                                  Photograph by Grignon.

Figure 29.--This fernery server, part of a new eighteenth century
dining-room suite, gives the new interpretation to functional pieces
in period design. The attractive server with compartment for glasses
and a service shelf for plates, cups, and the like, is equipped with
two metal plant containers. The rug is an all-over textured olive green

                Unit VII.--AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ART OF
                          INTERIOR DECORATION


The art of interior decoration is the skillful use of furnishings in
keeping with the architectural factors of a room to create a harmonious
setting adaptable to the social, economic, and personal use of the

A room may be said to be beautiful if it gracefully, effectively, and
adequately fills the purpose for which it is intended and takes into
consideration the habits of all members of the family using it.

The salesman who creates a room which adequately and harmoniously fills
the purpose for which it is intended--taking into consideration all of
the personal and architectural factors--may be satisfied that he has
done a good job of interior decorating.

_Comfort and beauty._--Comfort can be created through proper exercise
of care and common sense. Everyone knows what comfort means, and is
able to recognize it. But in the case of beauty, no one knows precisely
what it means and many people are unable to recognize it.

The facts are that, although beauty is beyond definition, _it will
appear in the presence of certain conditions_; that these conditions
may be defined and controlled and discussed intelligently and
convincingly with customers. What these conditions are, and how their
presence may be insured by means of the merchandise, will be set forth
in this unit and in the four units which follow. For our present
purpose it is enough to say that one of the conditions of beauty is
harmony, and that any room will have a considerable measure of beauty
if its furnishings are harmonious.

A well-furnished and decorated room will have colors, contours, and
groupings that fit into the architectural background as though all were
conceived and executed simultaneously. The salesperson should guard
against the customer's rather natural feeling that there is inequity
between cost and the characteristics and qualities which give harmony
and beauty to home furnishings. In handling a sale at this point, the
salesman will develop convincingly the idea that home decoration,
although it is the distinguishing mark of all lovely homes, actually
is not dependent on lavish expenditure. Personal comfort, reflection
of individuality, dominant unity, and harmonious groupings result
from careful planning and educated tastes rather than from loosening
the strings of a heavy purse. After all, the basic consideration is
suitability, not decoration.

The salesman who will assemble a harmonious grouping quickly and keep
it within the customer's price range will accomplish two important

  1. Focus attention upon beauty and satisfaction of harmonized
    groups instead of directing worry toward price and minor details.

  2. Increase respect for his judgment and understanding of her

_Suitability means comfort first._--Every well planned sale of home
furnishing materials starts with the assumption that _the buyer is
always thinking in terms of her own interests_. She has little or no
concern with the construction, design, style, prestige value, or price
of any article unless she believes that her own interests will in some
way be affected by it.

Suppose for instance she has read several of many articles which appear
from month to month in magazines covering the home-furnishings field,
and that she has attended lectures on home decoration. She may even
have discussed particular problems intimately with several interior
decorators. She understands that she should never buy just for the
present with the idea of making replacements later. She long since has
given over the idea of wondering what the neighbors will think of her
selections. Before she faces the bewildering walk down aisles flanked
with sofa beds, lighting fixtures, tables, chairs, beds, draperies,
consoles, carpets, rugs, and chaise lounges, she has planned her room
on paper and has visualized the picture in terms of color and often has
decided on a color scheme. Furniture has been given a diagram placement
on paper to conform to wall spaces and windows. Rugs, draperies,
and accessories have been subjected to tests of suitability for the
purposes for which they are to be used.

When the salesman finally faces her in the first vital moments of
this sales effort he quickly will realize that she knows what things
she wants to see, their styles, shapes, sizes, and even their colors.
Without knowledge of at least elementary principles in the art of
interior decoration he is certain to feel a sense of inadequacy, even
of humiliation. Even with the requisite basic information, normally
it will be a sheer waste of time to assure her that any article is
handsome, finely made, fashionable, or even that it is a wonderful
value until he is sure that she considers this piece adapted to her own
situation and needs. Innumerable sales go on the rocks at this point.

Interior decoration as a selling method begins right here with the
revelation of the customer's situation and needs. If she has ideas
which are in the hazy, sketchy, and by no means certain stages, then
the salesman must proceed to secure the information he must have in
advance of any intelligent selling he may hope to do. Usually these
customer situations and needs will depend on two factors, the one
_personal_ and the other _architectural_.

_The personal factor_ involves such considerations as the age, sex,
size, tastes, and habits of the members of the family; the amount and
character of entertaining for which provision must be made; and the
amount of money or credit available for new furnishings.

_The architectural factor_ includes such details as the use, size,
style, and situation of the room; its woodwork, floor, walls, ceiling,
and lighting; its relationships with connecting rooms; and the size,
style, and coloring of the furnishings already in use.

In employing this method, even in the simple sale involving the
purchase of a single piece, the competent salesman will have three
purposes in mind. The first is to insure that this new piece will fit
the people who are to use it; the second, to insure that it will fit
the room in which it is to be used; and the third, to insure that it
will combine with everything else in the same room to form an agreeable
harmony. In other words, he must use his merchandise to secure comfort
through fitness or suitability to purpose and use, and to create beauty
through harmony. Correct room arrangement is essential to both.


Everything used in furnishing a room may be resolved into its elements
of light, color, line, and proportion. Psychologists have shown that
colors influence the mood of an individual, and create emotional values
which may be stated as follows:


To understand and correctly use light and shade, one must have a basic
understanding of values and know how by using these values different
effects may be achieved. Using as a key a scale of nine values (bearing
in mind that the term _value_ means degree of lightness or darkness
without regard to any particular color) ranging from black to white,
one finds that the grey tones toward the white end of the scale are
_light values_ and shade toward white; those toward the black end of
the scale are _dark values_ and shade toward black; in the center is a
medium grey tone.

Using these values in terms of room colors, it has been established
that _light values_ are cheerful and gay because they reflect light.
When used in pastel tones they are feminine and friendly. On the other
hand, _dark values_ are sombre, heavy, and masculine in feeling since
they absorb light and have a darkening effect. The middle tones are a
happy balance and combine essentials of both values. Thus, kitchens,
breakfast rooms, nurseries, playrooms, and boudoirs should be done in
_light values_; libraries, men's rooms, or lounges in _dark values_ and
living rooms and dining rooms in _medium values_, using both dark and


Although there are many technical color terms used by advanced
colorists to distinguish variations in colors, there are just a few
basic facts to remember to help you understand and use color to the
best advantage in interior decoration. _Hue_ is the pure color neither
mixed with white, black, nor a complementary color. A hue may be a
primary color, secondary color, or tertiary color in its true value.
When you mix a hue with white it becomes a _tint_; when mixed with
black it becomes a _shade_; and when greyed with a complement it
becomes a tone. Since walls should be lighter than the floor covering,
walls are usually done in a tint; floor coverings in a shade or tone or
a particular hue, and furnishings either in the pure hues in adjacent
or complementary colors or in tones, tints, or shades of these hues.

_Primary, secondary, and tertiary colors._--Primary colors are the
three basic colors known to man which cannot be produced by combining
any other colors, but which, when combined in proper proportion, can
produce every color known to man. These colors are red, blue, and

Secondary colors are hues obtained by admixture of the primaries and
consist of violet (red and blue); green (yellow and blue); and orange
(red and yellow).

_Tertiary colors._--These are hues obtained by admixture of the
secondary colors with the primary colors and consist of red-violet
or plum; blue-violet or a deep, marine-type blue; blue-green or
aqua-marine; yellow-green or chartreuse; yellow-orange or tangerine,
and red-yellow or a warm red or vermilion color.

_Complementary and adjacent colors._--Complementary colors are the
colors directly opposite each other on a color chart made up of the
primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, and when used in pairs they
intensify each other.

Adjacent colors are the colors which follow each other in a color chart
made up of the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors and they may be
used together with an accent of a complementary color.

_Elementary color chart._--To properly understand these terms and
imprint these color combinations in your mind make this simple color
chart in color using the three primary colors. This chart also may be
worked out in pencil in a few minutes time and referred to when making
color suggestions:


Figure 30.--Color chart. Numbers indicate: 1, primary colors. 2,
secondary colors. 3, tertiary colors.]

Draw a circle 4 inches in diameter. Divide the circle into three equal
parts by lines radiating from the center. Label these three lines, red,
blue, and yellow; they are your primary colors. These lines represent
the admixture of the primary colors and represent violet, green, and
orange. (See chart.) Now fill in the tertiary colors. (See chart.) When
doing these in colors you will see the colors change and blend into
each other as they are applied.

From the above color chart you can make any harmonious room
combination. For any true harmony all three of the primary colors
should be present. It is not necessary, however, to have three colors;
a secondary color (made by blending two primary colors) would use the
third primary as a complement. Look at the chart; you will note that
green (made by mixing blue and yellow) has red as its complement. A
third color in the room might be yellow or blue, yellowish-green, or
blue-green. This is termed a complementary color scheme.

When using an adjacent, or monochromatic color scheme, any series on
the color chart may be followed; for example, green, blue-green, blue,
blue-violet, and violet. The complement or accent to this color scheme
would be the complementary colors, orange, yellow-orange, red-orange,

Before applying these principles to room schemes, there is one more
rule to bear in mind. All colors in which red or yellow predominate are
known as _warm_ colors and colors in which blue and green predominate
are known as _cool colors_. Since warm colors are more intense and
tend to be exciting, they must be offset by cool colors, usually in
the ratio of two to one, since it often takes two cool colors to
balance one warm color. It is also well to remember that deep colors
"advance" and light colors "recede." An oblong room can be made to look
more square by doing the short walls in a deep green, the long walls
in a light green. Primary and secondary colors are more intense than
tertiary colors--colors receding and lightening with the admixture of
additional hues.

_Building a room scheme._--Taking all of the above facts into
consideration, it may be interesting to work out a few simple color
schemes for a living room. Assume that one wishes to do a "blue" room.
The predominating color in the room will, of course, be blue. However,
let us suppose we do not particularly care for a blue rug. Since the
second largest piece in the room is the sofa, we have decided to use a
blue sofa. We have two definite choices for a rug; it may be a greyed
tone of red or wine color, or a greyed tone of yellow (beige or light
brown). If we select the red-tone rug, we must think about our yellow
tone for the complementary chair. Let us suppose we decide upon a tint
of yellow or beige. A third chair now may be a secondary, or tertiary,
of these three colors, and since our room is predominantly blue, we
select a blue-red or violet color. Violet, you will notice, is a
perfect complement to yellow. We might have used a shade of red or wine
color as a complement but it would have given a red tone to the room.

For draperies we have several colors from which to choose but we must
take into consideration the wallpaper. We may use a tint of the floor
covering, or the sofa, or may bring in the third primary color. Let us
suppose we had decided to use a tint of the floor covering or a soft
pink tone. Our draperies now may be blue, blue-violet, or red-violet.
Accents necessarily would then be red or orange. If wine-colored
draperies were used, we would have practically an equal balance between
red and blue, and our accessories would be yellow.

Another popular method of color coordination is to repeat the colors
found in one piece with plain colors or novelty weaves emphasizing the
colors of the figured fabric; for example, a room may have a blue sofa
with a tiny pink figure worked into the tapestry. One of the chairs,
then, could be pink in the same tone as the small figure; the other
chair would then be one of the yellow tones, and could be either beige,
or brown.

Some decorators repeat the floral colors of printed draperies in the
room setting. Some combine the plain colors of the sofa and chair in a
figured third chair which has a neutral background and picks up the
colors of the other two pieces. It is well to mix the patterns in a
room, a stripe combining nicely with a plain color, and a small figured
mixture carrying out the third color and blending the striped and plain

By referring to your chart you will discover many interesting color
combinations. Just remember that adjacent colors take the opposite
complement as accent. Complementary colors may be used with adjacent or
with a third primary color, or with a combination of two primaries on a
neutral background of the third color.


Straight lines create an effect of strength, virility, and seriousness,
and, if exclusively employed, of austerity or hardness; while curved
lines create an effect of flexibility and joyousness, and, if,
exclusively employed, the effect is one of weakness.

Horizontal lines and shapes arouse a sense of calmness and repose;
vertical lines and shapes, of activity and life; diagonal lines and
shapes, of movement. Long straight lines create an effect of dignity.
When two colors are used together a line is created and these lines
have a distinct effect upon the room in which they are used.


Proportion, which is simply the relation of one dimension to another,
applies throughout the house to walls, floors, ceilings, doors,
windows, chairs, bookcases, tables, and other furnishings. Good
proportions are never top-heavy, squatty, or uninteresting. Large
size and thick proportions suggest strength, weight, permanence,
and dignity; small size and slender proportions arouse the idea of
delicacy, lightness, and grace.

It is well for the furniture salesman to understand a few simple facts
which every good interior decorator knows.

Walls and floors, plus ceilings, determine the proportions of a room as
a whole. Suppose a badly proportioned room is too narrow for its length
and height--something common, for instance, to halls and dining rooms.

The apparent width of this too narrow room may be increased by--

  1. Hanging a mirror, or using a picture in which the perspective
    is such that the eye follows a stream or broad expanse into the

  2. Using scenery wallpapers.

In well-proportioned rooms the wall decorations are lighter than the
floor and the ceiling decorations are lighter than those of the walls.


There are many avenues of study available to anyone who seeks the
real enjoyment which comes with planning his own environment. Fashion
ever has been a keynote in the purchase of home furnishings. The
key, however, still remains in the custody of the owner. When she
intends to buy a new gown, coat, or hat, she reads magazines and
newspapers, shops around, studies styles and trends, thinks of uses and
requirements for the gowns or coats under consideration. Probably she
needs to understand that she may use as much conscious discrimination
with furniture as with coats if only she will use the same sources of
inspiration and information. She should try any one or all of these:

  1. Monthly magazines with their superb color features, illustrating
    articles of great diversity.

  2. Books from the public or from a rental library.

  3. Model rooms set up in department and furniture stores, and in
    furniture shows.

  4. Museums containing replica rooms done in the historical periods.

  5. Paintings, as guiding one's thoughts for color schemes.

  6. Newspapers which record style trends in attractive merchandise
    priced to meet the family budget.

If these studies are good for the prospective customer, how much more
valuable they are for the progressive salesman who seeks to understand
customer needs and desires in terms of human satisfactions.


The results of studies of emotional values may be summarized as follows:

  1. Variations in light, color, line, shape, and size affect the
    mind in certain fairly definite ways. When these variations
    are understood and controlled a group or a room may be given
    atmosphere which not only adds to its beauty, but also greatly
    helps in arranging it to meet the needs of the people who use it.

  2. These emotional values of light, color, line, shape, proportion,
    and texture must be employed in such a way that the effect of
    each is increased by the effects of all:

     _Effects of restfulness and tranquillity result when_--

      _a._ The amount and intensity of illumination are reduced.

      _b._ The tone of all colors is lowered.

      _c._ Horizontal lines are predominant.

      _d._ Large size is emphasized.

     _Effects of animation and activity result when_--

      _a._ The amount and brilliance of illumination are increased.

      _b._ The tone of all colors is raised.

      _c._ Vertical lines are predominant.

      _d._ Small size is emphasized.


The moment anyone undertakes to furnish a home, that moment he begins
to use color. Ross Crane, when conducting experiments in which color
schemes for complete rooms were planned and executed step and step,
determined that there are only four steps to take in building a color
scheme.[15] These four steps are:

  1. Decide on a dominant or controlling color.

  2. Decide on the colors to go with it.

  3. Bring these colors into the room in everything.

  4. Accent the scheme by means of small objects (flower bowl and
    flowers, lamps, pictures, smoking trays) in high intensities of
    the leading color. These are the high lights that produce life
    and sparkle.

Another writer puts it this way:

  In deciding on a color scheme for a whole room, fix on some
  foundation color, and then introduce relief and contrast.[16]


With this information well in mind the home furnishings salesman will
do well to leave learned and scientific discussion of color management
to the scientists and concentrate on a few principal facts which will
be dominant throughout the sales procedure.

He may be assured that his customer's decisions to buy furnishings for
a complete room, a few pieces only, or none at all, will be conditioned
by her likes, by the family budget, by the size and use to be made of
the room, and by the necessity to use "left-overs."

He certainly will profit by having a rather definite knowledge of
chromatic scales, complementary colors, adjacent colors, nuances, and
concentric circles as devices which he may use to show how we get the
many varied colors. It is the opinion of leading experts that the
average salesman will find it far easier and more satisfactory to talk
convincingly of color management for any given room or combination of
rooms by using a simple color story which starts with the six basic
colors, and which may be understood easily by the customer. If a simple
color chart is close at hand and ready for use at any time, the sales
talk will deal with facts, not generalities.

He must be able to take an inventory, by personal inspection or through
questions, of the color possibilities in the decoration problem
presented by the customer. Such facts as room exposure, size and type,
wall color, floor covering, furniture already in the room; use to be
made of the room, number, sex, and characteristic traits of those who
will live, eat, work, or sleep in the room; and approximate price
ranges must be known if real help is to be given.

He must know the stock so thoroughly that within the given price range,
the designation of the proper color schemes will be comparatively
easy. He must use his knowledge of color through the furnishings, to
interpret, as needed, two different sets of ideas:

  1. One in which the color scheme is daring, with unusual
    combinations, startling, gay, and sophisticated.

  2. The other, with a color scheme recognized as gentle, restful,
    and never monotonous.

If he has a feeling of intimacy with both and will use his knowledge
consciously to produce definite emotional effects, in a progressive
series, he will see sales come as a reward for his effort.


When next you find a room in the home of a friend, in a model house,
or illustrated in a magazine that awakens a response of pleasure when
you first see it, stay with it long enough to find out why. Study the
handling of color in curtains, rugs, chair upholstery, lamps, and
bits of pottery; ask yourself where the abiding interest of the room
is centered. Seek to uncover the secret of the spell this room casts
over your senses. Unconsciously, you thrill to the thought that you,
yourself, would never tire of such a room. It is the ultimate in color

This glorious adventure must be experienced by you, yourself. To you is
given a power to enrich your appreciation of lovely things, and in turn
to convey similar appreciations to your customers.

The salesman who has learned to exercise this power is far from being
an order taker or even an order solicitor. Literally, he is counselor
and guide--an interpreter of the store services which exist to help the
customer, and the one to show the store management the need for expert
customer guidance in color management.

If once, you, the salesman, have experienced the personal satisfactions
of studying a room which has unmistakable distinction, which literally
glows with the light of a personality reflected against a background of
culture, understanding, and sympathy, you in turn will seek eagerly to
share your adventures in color management with those who come to you
seeking to express their desires and aspirations in terms of usable,
lovely surroundings.

Difficult? The difficulty is in deciding to make the effort.


"Next in importance to the actual selection of furniture and
accessories is a skillful and sensible arrangement of it all in a room.
Every salesman should understand that in the placing of the furniture
you may make a small room appear more spacious; a large barn-like one
seem more cozy; express the idea of formality or informality; quiet
restfulness or agitated confusion, sedateness or gayety, order or

One secret of getting a homelike quality in the arrangement of
furniture is to assemble it in small groups or units which suggest
specific uses, as for instance a reading group, a writing or business
nook, a rest corner, or a music section.


If you are arranging furniture in the living room, decide on a central
interest. Often this is called a built-up composition--table, be
grouped. A fireplace with its cheerful fire-glow may well be a natural
center of interest. (See fig. 31.) A window or group of windows opening
upon a lovely vista may serve equally well. If the family is musical,
the grand piano may be so placed as to become the pivotal point of

_Secondary centers of interest_ naturally are created once the
fireplace, a window, or the grand piano is assigned to the major role.
There may well be more than one of these secondary centers, i. e., a
writing corner, and a reading group.

_Objects of central interest._--Every wall should have an object of
central interest. Often this is called a built-up composition--table,
desk, cabinet, or couch standing against the wall--with, in each case,
a picture, mirror, hanging bookcase, or tapestry above. The focal point
may be a single tall piece of furniture such as a secretary or highboy.
The pictures, mirrors, or tapestry hangings tend to build up a kind of
"skyline" and the furniture is united with these wall decorations to
create the necessary feeling of orderly stability which proper balance
and color harmony can give.


An effect of balance in the arrangement of the furniture is as
essential to the comfort of the occupants of the room as proper
lighting, easy chairs, or unobtrusive orderliness. In fact, it is a
species of order. It gives a feeling of repose.


                     Courtesy American Walnut Manufacturers Association.

Figure 31.--Living room showing harmonious arrangement. View from
living room to hall in a city apartment. Interior woodwork, mantel, and
furniture are of wood in tones which range from the dark chest to the
blond chair.]

A room, or a group, is in balance when it appears to be at rest; that
is when the total imaginary weight, or pull, on the attention, of
everything on one side of a center appears to the mind to equal the
total weight of everything on the other side. An accurate feeling for
balance can be acquired easily by experiment and practice. There are
two kinds of balance: Even or formal, known as _bisymmetric_ balance;
and uneven or "off center" known as _occult_ balance.

_Formal or bisymmetric balance._--The simplest form of balance is
produced by placing two things exactly alike on either side of a
center and at exactly the same distance from it. This is called either
bisymmetric (double symmetrical) or formal balance--usually the latter
because such an arrangement is somewhat stiff and precise in its effect
upon the mind. To test it, exactly in the center of a piece of paper
draw a rectangle 1 inch long and one-half inch wide. Imagine this to
be a console table. Equidistant from this rectangle, in a straight
line, draw two small squares (one on each side of the rectangle) to
represent a pair of chairs. If you successively place a circle over the
rectangle to represent a mirror, you will clearly see the bisymmetric
balance. The effect of formality becomes more marked as you add more
units to the group. While too many formal groupings will make the room
seem stiff and unlivable, at least one formal grouping may be desirable
in every room since formal balance affects the mind with a sense of
stability and repose.

If the motive of formality is to be emphasized, the number and
importance of formal groupings should be emphasized; if informality is
desired, the use of formal balance should be limited.

"_Off center_" or "_Occult balance_."--There is another kind of
balance, usually called "occult" because it is less easy to see or to
create. It is produced by arranging a number of unlike things with
reference to a center on the basis of the mechanical formula that the
"weight" of each will increase directly with its distance from the

As an experiment in occult balance, draw a rectangle 2 inches long and
1 inch wide to represent an imaginary fireplace. One-fourth inch to the
left of the exact center, and at right angles to the "fireplace," draw
a small rectangle 1 inch long and one-fourth inch wide to represent
a love seat. Now, one-fourth inch to the right of the center, and at
right angles to the "fireplace" draw two ½-inch squares to represent
two chairs. Together the chairs will seem to the mind to "weigh" about
the same as the love seat, and the whole group will be substantially
in occult balance. Now erase the "love seat" and exactly in the same
position draw a rectangle three-fourths inch in length to represent
a sofa. You will notice the balance has been destroyed. It may be
improved either by moving the "sofa" closer to the center, which will
make it weigh less; or by moving the chairs farther away from the
center, which will make them weigh more. In order to create a perfect
balance, however, the chairs should be separated and a small rectangle
placed between them to represent a table and lamp.

The salesman, if he is wise, will suggest pieces which, after suitable
arrangement, meet the real needs and tastes of the family whether those
needs be musical groupings, game-corner groupings, or conversational
groupings. It may mean the sacrifice of some rule of decoration to
make or keep a place for a favorite rocker, a grandfather's clock, or
a treasured piece, but careful planning can make such a piece either a
featured asset, or an unobtrusive addition if appropriately arranged in
a proper setting.

_The master rule for furniture grouping._--There is one all-inclusive
rule for grouping furniture: "Bring together in a convenient place,
those objects which will be used together."[18]

So many rooms become mere collections of furniture that along with this
master rule for furniture grouping is placed William Morris' little
rule, "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or
believe to be beautiful."

If a reading chair is placed in a room, make sure adequate lighting
provisions are made, either by the addition of a small table lamp or
a standing lamp. If possible, a table should be provided for smoking
accessories, candy, or a bowl of fruit. If a "quiet" corner is desired,
select one away from general room traffic. If the radio is a feature
of the room, and the occupant likes to lounge in an easy chair while
listening, place a comfortable chair near the radio. Remember that the
chair also may be used for reading, so be certain to provide adequate
light. Conversational groupings require two or more chairs placed close
together with a table for refreshments.


Speaking in general terms, it may be said that things harmonize, or go
well together when they are more or less alike, and that they may be
alike either because they look alike or because they affect the mind in
the same way.

For example, if you cover a Sheraton satinwood bed with a fine silk
taffeta spread in apricot, the two units will be harmonious because
both wood and taffeta are in colors which contain a large admixture of
the same hue, namely yellow. Moreover, they also will be harmonious
because the fine lines and slender proportions of the bed affect the
mind with a sense of delicacy and daintiness, and the fine texture,
silken luster, and pale coloring of the taffeta affect it in precisely
the same way. We can call the first type of harmony _physical_, and
the second type _emotional_. Both are basically important in the art
of interior decoration, and make surprisingly powerful sales levers
in dealing with that 60 percent of potential buyers whose primary
interest in furniture lies in what it will do to make their homes more

_Tests for physical harmony._--There are numerous tests which might
be made by a salesman on the floor such as placing a square white
handkerchief on a mahogany gate-leg table and placing under it a pearl
grey rug to illustrate inharmonious effect resulting from the fact that
the three elements are unlike in hue, tone (degree of light and dark),
defining lines, shape, and texture.

A much simpler method is to compare room harmony with ladies wearing
apparel. Let us suppose a woman put on a brown dress, white belt, and
pearl-grey shoes. Of course, the effect would be most inharmonious. On
the other hand, suppose she substituted a gold belt and brown shoes.
A harmonious effect would be achieved as was done in the instance
previously referred to, in which a dull gold velvet or satin, folded
to the same width as the table, was laid on the table and a deep warm
taupe or mahogany-colored rug substituted for the pearl-grey carpet.

Good rules to follow for harmonious physical harmony are:

  1. All elements of a grouping should be united by a common strain
    of color regardless of whether that common strain is a warm or
    cool color.

  2. All elements of a grouping should resemble each other in a
    textural effect.

  3. Accessories should resemble the piece with which they are used
    in correct proportion to the whole.

_Tests for emotional harmony._--Important points to remember when
making tests for emotional harmony are:

  1. Low illumination with areas of shadow is restful, but high
    illumination is stimulating.

  2. Horizontal lines and long, low shapes arouse a sense of repose,
    but vertical lines and tall narrow shapes have the opposite

  3. Dark colors (like low illumination and horizontal extension)
    affect the mind with a sense of repose, but pale colors (like
    brilliant light and vertical extension) affect it with a sense of
    animation and activity.

  4. Large, heavy objects give a sense of repose, but anything small
    and light produces the opposite effect.

Bearing in mind these facts, turn on the ceiling lights in a room and
notice the stimulating effect. Now turn off the ceiling lights and
light the lamps in the room. Study the effect and you will see that the
lamp-lighted room is more inviting.

In like manner, tests may be made to illustrate each of these points,
such as substituting two high-back chairs in a room for the sofa. You
will notice immediately that the room is less restful.


                           _The scale of harmony_
  Blends harmoniously with-- |  Preferred  | Contrasts pleasingly
                             |  color--    | with--
  Light blue, navy, light    | Blue        | Olive, yellow, orange,
  green, green, heliotrope,  |             | cream, tan, brown, and dark
  purple, lavender, and gray.|             | brown.
                             |             |
  Blue, navy, myrtle, light  | Light blue  | Olive, pink, cream, and tan.
  green, lavender,           |             |
  and gray.                  |             |
                             |             |
  Light blue, blue, navy,    | Lavender    | Olive, yellow, cream, and
  light green, green, pink,  |             | tan.
  purple, gray, and brown.   |             |
                             |             |
  Blue, navy, myrtle green,  | Purple      | Yellow, orange, cream, and
  light green, green, pink,  |             | tan.
  maroon, heliotrope, gray,  |             |
  brown, and dark brown.     |             |
                             |             |
  Blue, pink, red, maroon,   | Heliotrope  | Navy, myrtle green, light
  purple, gray-brown, and    |             | green, green, yellow, orange,
  dark brown.                |             | and cream tan.
                             |             |
  Pink, red, heliotrope,     | Maroon or   | Navy, light green, green,
  purple, brown, and dark    | wine        | olive, yellow, gray, cream,
  brown.                     |             | and tan.
                             |             |
  Orange, pink, maroon,      | Red         | Navy, myrtle green, light
  heliotrope, brown, and     |             | green, green, olive, yellow,
  dark brown.                |             | gray, and cream.
                             |             |
  Red, maroon, heliotrope,   | Pink        | Light blue, light green,
  purple, lavender, and      |             | green, olive, and gray.
  cream.                     |             |
                             |             |
  Olive, yellow, red, cream, | Orange      | Blue, navy, light green,
  tan, brown, and dark brown.|             | green, heliotrope, and purple.
                             |             |
  Light green, green, olive, | Yellow      | Blue, navy, myrtle, green,
  orange, cream, tan, brown, |             | red, maroon, purple,
  and dark brown.            |             | heliotrope, lavender, and gray.
                             |             |
  Yellow, orange, pink, gray,| Cream       | Light blue, blue, navy, myrtle
  tan, brown, and dark brown.|             | green, light green, green,
                             |             | olive, red, heliotrope,
                             |             | purple, and lavender.
                             |             |
  Olive, yellow, cream,      | Tan         | Light blue, blue, navy, myrtle
  brown, and dark brown.     |             | green, light green, green,
                             |             | maroon, heliotrope, purple,
                             |             | and lavender.
                             |             |
  Olive, yellow, orange,     | Brown       | Blue, navy, light green, and
  red, maroon, heliotrope,   |             | green.
  purple, lavender, cream,   |             |
  tan, and dark brown.       |             |
                             |             |
  Navy, green, yellow,       | Myrtle      | Red, heliotrope, cream, and
  purple, and gray.          |             | tan.
                             |             |
  Light blue, blue, navy,    | Light green | Orange, pink, red, maroon,
  myrtle green, green, olive,|             | heliotrope, purple, cream, tan,
  yellow, lavender, and gray.|             | brown, and dark brown.
                             |             |
  Blue, navy, myrtle green,  | Green       | Orange, pink, red, maroon,
  light green, olive, yellow,|             | heliotrope, purple, cream,
  lavender, and gray.        |             | tan, brown, and dark brown.
                             |             |
  Myrtle green, light green, | Olive       | Light blue, blue, pink, red,
  green, yellow, orange, tan,|             | lavender, and cream.
  brown, and dark brown.     |             |
                             |             |
  Light blue, blue, navy,    | Gray        | Yellow, orange, pink, red,
  myrtle green, light green, |             | and maroon.
  green, heliotrope, purple, |             |
  lavender, and cream.       |             |

Figure 32.--Chart of color combinations.[19]]


Consideration of use will guide one to desirable groupings of various
pieces. Consideration of balance will prevent placement of the pieces
of heavy furniture on one side or one end of the room. Groupings of
chairs and their accessories of lamps and stands should be made so as
to foster social amenities.

The following suggestions for room composition have been offered by one
specialist in the field of interior decoration:[20]

  1. Furniture should always be arranged with the purpose of the room
    uppermost in thought.

  2. Each individual piece should be placed so that it is convenient,
    so that its use is obvious, and so that it is not interfered with
    by other pieces nearby.

  3. Pieces should be distributed so that circulation is not
    interfered with. Keep furniture away from door openings or

  4. Furniture should be practically placed in its relation to
    the architectural or mechanical features, so that there is no
    interference with the use of such features. Particular attention
    should be given to the swing of doors, the opening of windows,
    and the operation of electrical or heating devices.

  5. The location of movable pieces of furniture should be carefully
    studied for their compositional relationship to the fixed
    architectural features--doors, windows, built-in furniture,
    alcoves, niches, mantels, paneling, etc.

  6. An agreeable balance of high and low pieces of furniture
    should be introduced. High curtained windows and doors may be
    substituted for high pieces of furniture in a composition.

  7. The quantity of furniture used should not give the effect of
    either under-furnishing or overcrowding.

  8. The distribution of the pieces should be relatively even. In
    a long room, one end should not appear crowded and the other
    end bare, nor should one wall appear more crowded than the one

  9. Opposite walls should have similar groupings, or, if this is
    not possible, they should appear evenly balanced in quantity and

  10. Pictorial wall surfaces (scenic papers, mural decoration,
    tapestries, and large hanging pictures) should not be hidden by
    furniture or other objects to such a point that their visibility
    is marred.

  11. Furniture should be related in scale to the size of the room.
    Large pieces of furniture creating heavy shadows or dark spots
    are inadvisable except in large rooms.

  12. Furniture placed with lines parallel to the walls gives a
    greater effect of unity in a room than when placed in diagonal


_1. A customer asks: "Is it absolutely necessary to have a pair of
these tables? Or can I get a balanced effect without having everything
just like soldiers lined up precisely?" How would you demonstrate an

_2. What phrases or words have you found which seem to make a favorable
impression on a "typical" customer, without overdoing the decorative

_3. How would you employ color to make a small room seem larger?_

_4. Explain the emotional appeal of color. Under what conditions would
you employ violet? Yellow? Gray?_

_5. What color scheme would you suggest for painting or papering the
walls of a room which has a northern exposure?_

_6. "In the living room, family life should center, * * * and guests
find friendly greeting." To the interior decorator as to the furniture
salesman, this means grouping. What groups should a living room have?_

_7. How many of the common color names are important in selling goods
in your store at this time and how may you learn and apply them to your

_8. Discuss the proposition that you are not properly equipped to meet
special color demands when stock merchandise cannot be sold._

_9. Discuss the principles involved in getting the proper color
treatments for connecting rooms._

_10. To what extent should a furniture salesman attempt to understand
the art of interior decoration?_


  BURROWS, THELMA M. _Successful Home Furnishing._ The Manual Arts
    Press, Peoria, Ill. 1938.

  Color Radiation, Color Harmony, and Color Schemes, V, pp. 85-95.
  Balance in Furniture Arrangement, VIII, pp. 103-123.
  Art Objects, VII, pp. 101-103.

  CRANE, ROSS. _Interior Decoration._ The Seng Co., 1430 North Dayton
    Street, Chicago, Ill. 1928.

  FALES, WINNIFRED. _What's New In Home Decorating._ Dodd, Mead &
    Co., New York, N. Y. 1936.

  Color, IV, pp. 71-85.
  Furniture Arrangement, VI, pp. 120-138.

  GILLIES, MARY DAVIS. _Popular Home Decorations._ Wm. H. Wise & Co.,
    New York, N. Y. 1941.

  GOLDSTEIN, HARRIET _and_ VETTA. _Art In Every Day Life._ Macmillan
    Co. 1925.

  How To Know Color, VIII, pp. 184-204.

  JACKSON, ALICE _and_ BETTINA. _The Study of Interior Decoration._
    Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y.

  Color Harmony in Interior Decoration, pp. 56-100.

  KNAUFF, CARL G. B. _Refurnishing The Home._ McGraw-Hill Book Co.,
    New York, N. Y. 1938.

  Color In the Home, pp. 59, 118, 122, 203-223, 300.

  KOUES, HELEN. _How To Be Your Own Decorator._ Tudor Publishing Co.,
    New York, N. Y. 1939.

  How To Use Color, VI, pp. 61-73.
  Lighting, pp. 73-85.

  MCDONALD, STERLING. _Color--How To Use It._ American Colortype Co.,
    Chicago, Ill. 1940.

  MILLER, DUNCAN. _Interior Decorating._ The Studio Publications,
    Inc., 381 Fourth Avenue, New York, N. Y. 1937.

  PALMER, L. _Using Color in Decoration._ Ladies Home Journal, Curtis
    Publishing Co., New York, N. Y. 1930 Reprint.

  PARSONS, FRANK ALVAH. _Interior Decoration._ Doubleday, Doran &
    Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y. 1915.

  POWELL, LYDIA. _The Attractive Home._ The Macmillan Co., New York,
    N. Y. 1939.

  Secrets of Color, pp. 39-51.

  SARGENT, WALTER. _Enjoyment and Use of Color._ Scribners. 1924.

  STEWART, ROSS _and_ GERALD, JOHN. _Home Decoration._ Garden City
    Publishing Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y. 1938.

  Color, IV, pp. 44-77.
  Room Composition, V, pp. 77-96.
  Lighting, IX, pp. 145-154.

  WHITON, SHERRILL. _Elements of Interior Decoration._ The J. B.
    Lippincott Co., New York, N. Y. 1937.

  Color, XXIV, pp. 681-705.

    Clothing._ The J. B. Lippincott Co., New York, N. Y. 1936.

  The Proper Use of Decoration, IV, pp. 77-90.
  Lamps and Lighting, XI, pp. 242-253.


[15] The Ross Crane Book of Home Furnishing and Decoration, p. 39.
Frederick J. Drake & Co., Chicago, Ill. 1933.

[16] Jane White Lonsdale in The American Home, March 1940, p. 22.

[17] The Ross Crane Book of Home Furnishing and Decoration, Frederick
J. Drake & Co., Chicago, Ill., p. 109. 1933.

[18] Winnifred Fales: What's New in Home Decorating, p. 124, Dodd Mead
& Co., New York, N. Y.

[19] Reproduced from "The Seng Handbook," The Seng Co., Chicago, Ill.,
p. 52. 1939.

[20] Sherrill Whiton: _Elements of Interior Decoration_, pp. 665-6. J.
B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, 1937.



  Drapery and Upholstery Fibers and Fabrics

  Floor Coverings

  Selling Coverings for Other Floors

  Use of Ensembles in Selling

                                                  Photograph by Grignon.

Figure 33.--A new note in contemporary floor covering is achieved in
this sculptured, leaf-design, Wilton broadloom. The leaf design is
achieved in the weave. The interesting lamp has a brass mask mounted on




Fibers used in the manufacture of home furnishing materials are both of
animal and of vegetable origin. The former include the true and "wild"
silks; wool, or sheep's hair; mohair, the hair of the Angora goat;
horsehair, chiefly from the tail and mane; and in limited quantities
the hair of the cow, pig, camel, and rabbit. Vegetable fibers include
cotton, rayon, flax hemp, jute, ramie, kapok, palm fibers, moss, coir,
and paper made from wood pulp. Their general characteristics are
discussed here.

Animal Fibers.

_Silk._--True silk is produced by the mulberry silk moth of China. Just
how ancient the art of sericulture and the spinning and weaving of
silk may be we do not know; but there is no doubt that it had reached
a state of considerable development 4,500 years ago. It reached Japan
about 1,600 years ago, and India somewhat later. About the year A.
D. 550 two Persian monks brought eggs of the silk worm from China to
Constantinople in a hollow cane, and the western silk industry was

The "wild" silks are produced by other worms, feeding for the most part
on other leaves than mulberry. Most of the so-called _tussah_ silk
comes from the oak-feeding tussah worm, a native of Mongolia. The fiber
is coarser than that of true silk, and so difficult to dye effectively
that fabrics woven from it are usually left in the natural ecru or pale
brown color.

_Wool._--The many varieties of sheep yield wools which differ markedly
in fineness, length of staple (2 to 16 inches for use in textiles),
strength, resilience, and spinning quality. Accordingly, wools are
sorted and "blended" before spinning, to suit the requirements of the
particular fabric to be woven. Carpetings require the fairly long
staple and fairly coarse fiber found in wools from Scotland, Russia,
Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, China, India, and the East
Indies. The unsurpassable carpet wools of Persia and Asia Minor are
largely consumed locally. Carpet wools naturally differ widely in
desirability and cost, as do the many processes necessary to prepare
wool for the loom. These differences require emphasis from the salesman
in the demonstration of concealed values.

Most carpet wools arrive at the factory in the fleece, matted, dirty,
and greasy. They are blended according to formula; passed first through
a machine which separates the tangled masses and beats out free
dirt; then to the scouring baths, which remove all grease and other
impurities; then, after passing through a series of powerful wringers,
to the dryer; and finally to the picker, from which they emerge ready
for spinning.

_Worsted yarns_, used in making fine Wiltons, body Brussels, Wilton
velvets and some chenilles, result from a succession of processes in
which the fibers are placed parallel, the short ones eliminated, and
the long fibers combed and drawn out into a fine, even "roving," which
is spun into a thread, two such threads then being tightly twisted
together to form a single-ply worsted yarn. These single-ply yarns are
then twisted together to form two-ply, three-ply, or four-ply yarns
according to the specifications for a particular weave.

_Woolen yarns_ are made from short staple wool, and depend for their
strength upon the minute serrations or scales on the surfaces of the
wool fibers, which cause them to adhere, or felt, when held tightly
together. The carding machine used in preparing these wools for
spinning thoroughly intermixes the fibers instead of drawing them into
parallel formations, as for worsteds. The loose roving is then spun
into single strands, which are twisted into two-, three-, or four-ply
yarns as in the case of worsteds.

_Mohair._--The hair of the Angora goat is closely allied to wool,
typically 7 to 8 inches long. It is lustrous, resilient, and enduring,
but harder to spin than wool because the hair scales are not fully
developed. Mohair fabrics have been used in the Orient since time
immemorial, and they were popular in England in the early eighteenth

There are wide differences in mohair upholstery fabrics, based upon the
quality of wool, number of points per square inch, and height of pile.

_Horsehair._--The hair of the horse's mane and tail is used as a single
filament without spinning in the production of upholstery chair cloths,
and for floor coverings. In the form of curled hair it is the most
resilient and costly upholstery stuffer.

Pig's bristles and cow hair are used for the same purpose. The soft
hair of the camel is used in weaving certain oriental rugs, and rabbit
hair in certain felts.

Vegetable Fibers.

_Cotton._--This textile is in universal use and requires no comment.
The silky appearance of some damasks and other cotton fabrics is
caused by mercerizing, a process of treating cotton in either fiber or
fabric form with caustic alkali.

_Rayon._--This term, which in French means ray or beam, has lately
been applied to artificial silks produced by any of four different
industrial processes. Viscose silk, made chiefly from sulfite pulp
cellulose, constitutes the great bulk of the rayon production today.
It is now often combined with natural fibers, particularly wool and
cotton, in drapery and upholstery fabrics which afford the luster of
rayon plus the strength of wool or cotton.

_Flax._--This plant has been cultivated since the stone age, and was
regarded as the most important plant of commerce until near the end of
the eighteenth century, when it was superseded by cotton. Flax fiber
yields linen; also from it is obtained the tow used as a stuffer in

_Hemp._--The fiber of this plant closely approaches flax in strength
but not in luster. It is used to a very limited extent in drapery
textiles and cheap carpets. The waste fibers are also known as tow, and
sometimes used in place of flax tow.

_Jute._--A plant, grown chiefly in India, the lustrous fiber of which
is used to a considerable extent in the manufacture of cretonnes,
damasks, and other decorative textiles.

_Ramie._--This plant, also known as rhea and China grass and cultivated
chiefly in China, yields a fiber of great strength and a luster about
like that of mercerized cotton. It is used in the manufacture of grass
cloth, and also of ramie velvets, which are firm but less lustrous than
linen velvets.

_Kapok._--A tree cultivated in Java for the production of down; called
in commerce kapok or "silk-cotton." Before the commercial development
of rayon it made considerable headway as a textile fiber, but now is
used chiefly as a stuffer for mattresses and pillows. Kapok has great
resiliency and resistance to water.

_Palm fiber._--Shredded leaves of the palmetto, used as a stuffer in

_Moss._--The hairlike filament left after the soft outer tissue of
southern moss has been removed; used as a stuffer.

_Coir._--Fiber prepared from the husk of the cocoanut; used in making
porch rugs and brush mats.

_Paper._--Spun into coarse threads and used in the manufacture of
so-called fiber rugs.



Hand-made tapestries are woven on a loom harnessed with thin warps, by
passing a shuttle containing a colored yarn over and under the warp
thread where the color is required to form the pattern. In every line
of weft or filling, the shuttle must be changed every time a change of
color is required by the cartoon, or colored drawing of the design from
which the weaver works. He sees the face of the tapestry, if at all,
only in a mirror placed in front of the loom. Tapestry weaving requires
a high degree of artistic and technical skill; hand-made tapestries are

Machine-made tapestries are produced on a Jacquard loom, of wool,
cotton, silk, or rayon, or in mixtures of these fibers. They vary
enormously in appearance and durability.

Velvets, Velours.

Although the term velvet and its French equivalent (velours) may be
used interchangeably, the general custom is to call drapery fabrics
velours, and upholstery fabrics velvets. Both are made in a great
variety of plain, stripe, and brocaded effects, and with the pile all
cut, all uncut (looped) or else partially cut. Machine-made velvets
and velours are made from silk, rayon, cotton, linen, ramie and
wool, usually 50 inches wide and in a range of prices and qualities
practically unlimited. In some of the cheaper upholstery velours the
design is embossed, or depressed by a stamping machine, but in others
it is placed in relief by cutting away the pile of the ground.


Plushes are long-pile velvets, formerly of silk or wool but now mostly
of mohair. Properly their pile is less close and firm than that of
velvets, but some of the finest quality mohair plushes have a very
close, erect pile. In ordinary qualities the pile leans sharply, and
in the panne type it is so flat as to have somewhat the same effect as
lustrous satin.

Frisés, Friezes.

These terms are now loosely used. "Frieze" in French means curled or
frizzed, and the word properly refers to a class of plushes in which
the pile has been completely or partially frizzled. It is now applied
to a variety of texture effects in velvet and plush, among them uncut
patterns on a cut-pile ground; cut patterns on an uncut ground; plain
velvets with alternating lines of cut and uncut pile; and uncut velvets.

Satins and Sateens.

Satins and sateens are made in the same way; the former of silk and
the latter of cotton, plain or mercerized. The weave is technically a
twill, but so modified that the diagonal lines are not visible, and the
whole surface is smooth and lustrous.

Damasks, Armorers, Brocades, Brocateles.

It is difficult to define these weaves in a few words, and quite
impossible to describe the extraordinary variety of textile effects
produced by modern manufacturers, both in the basic weaves and in
combination of two or more techniques.


                                                       Photo by Grignon.

Figure 34.--Authenticity is stressed in this handsome sofa upholstered
in a fabric which is an exact reproduction of a print used more than a
century ago. The monotone print is in a soft brown tone. Accompanying
the sofa is a duck-foot cocktail table with removable glass tray,
and lovely gold framed portrait of Jenny Lind. The Axminster rug is
a "texture chintz" in a tile green with small red, beige, and brown

_Damasks_ are pileless figured fabrics in which the pattern is produced
by exposing the warp threads, and the ground by exposing the weft
threads; or the reverse. They may be made with both warp and weft in
the satin weave, in which case the only contrast between pattern and
ground is that caused by the direction of the lines; or with warp satin
figures on a weft ground of taffeta or twill weave; or with weft satin
figures on a ground of contrasting weave. Warp and weft may be of
exactly the same color; or of two tones of one hue; or of two different
hues. More than two colors are possible only through the device of
striping, where warp threads of additional hues are introduced to form
stripes which necessarily run the whole length of the piece. Damasks
are made of silk, rayon, wool, cotton, mohair, linen, or jute, or in
mixtures of two or more of these fibers.

_Armures_ look like twilled weave damasks, except that they have small
raised patterns produced by floating warp threads.

_Brocades_ are embroidery effects produced by floating wefts on the
surface of damask, satin, taffeta, and other weaves. Gold or silver
metal threads are sometimes introduced in the figures.

_Brocateles_ were originally somewhat coarse fabrics of silk and wool
or silk and cotton with designs produced by the brocade weave. The term
is now also applied to a type of heavy satin damask in which the satin
figure is on a lustrous ground of the same or contrasting color.

_Printed fabrics._--Both hand-and machine-made printed fabrics are
produced in an enormous variety; on linen, cotton, silk, rayon, mohair,
wool, and jute grounds; and on plain twill, rep, damask, velvet, and
other grounds.

  1. _Printed linens_ are made on grounds which vary in fineness
  and smoothness according to the scale and decorative character of
  the design. Hand-blocked linens vary in price with the quality of
  materials and craftsmanship, and also with the number of blockings
  required to form the design. In recent years both linen and cotton
  grounds have to some extent been machine-printed with wooden
  rollers instead of copper or brass, and against a padded backing,
  which has resulted in improving both line and coloring, and in
  giving them much the appearance of hand-blocked fabrics.

  2. _Cretonnes_ are made both by hand-and by roller-printing
  processes on unglazed cotton ground of widely varying texture and
  decorative effect, and at prices ranging from a few cents per yard
  for the cheapest roller-printed fabrics up to $15 or more for the
  elaborately hand-blocked effects. Thick and heavy cretonnes are
  made for wall panels and furniture coverings, and a few splendid
  figure panels are available in Gothic, heraldic, and _mille fleur_
  designs which resemble the old painted tapestries of fifteenth
  century France.

  3. _Chintzes_ are printed on a fine cotton holland. Glazed chintzes
  have a varnish-like glow and considerable stiffness; semi-glazed
  are less glossy and more soft and pliable; unglazed closely
  resemble good cretonne, but the texture is finer.

  4. _Warp-prints_ or _shadow prints_ are made by a process similar
  to that employed in drum-painting velvet carpets. Designs produced
  by this technique necessarily lack definition, and have a soft
  and shadowy appearance which cannot be produced by hand or roller
  printing. The most effective warp prints are of plain or mercerized

_Embroideries._--Embroideries are justly considered important today.
The art of the needle worker ranks close to that of the weaver of fine
rugs and tapestries. Two only of its many forms are mentioned here.

  1. _Crewel work_ is customarily worked with colored worsted yarns
  on a plain linen ground, sometimes completely covered, but usually
  left open to form a background for the pattern. The stitches are
  varied in direction and character in order to give interest and
  richness to the texture. Most of the crewel work sold in the stores
  today is made with the bonnaz embroidery machine, which closely
  simulates the decorative effect of needlework.

  2. _Needlepoint_ embroidery is worked on open canvas. The fine or
  "petit point" (little point) is formed by stitches taken diagonally
  from one opening in the canvas to the next. The coarse or "gros
  (big) point" is made by similar stitches twice the length, and with
  thicker yarns.

  Practically everything written about upholstery fabrics stresses
  their decorative value or their appropriateness to other
  furnishings in the room. Little is reported about their physical
  structure or durability. Those desiring to make a comparison of
  fabrics for breaking strength, weight per square yard, fabric
  balance, and resistance to abrasion will do well to secure a copy
  of Circular No. 483, United States Department of Agriculture,
  Washington, D. C. The title is "Proposed Minimum Requirements
  of Three Types of Upholstery Fabrics Based on Analysis of 62
  Materials." Copy may be secured from Superintendent of Documents,
  United States Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., price
  5 cents.


It is well to remember that the foundation of every decorating scheme
rightly should be the floor-covering. One's rugs or carpetings may
contrast with the wall treatment, or they may complement it, but next
to the room itself they are the largest color expanse. A good deal
of thought needs to be given to the floor covering's selection. One
can well afford to invest slightly more in this decorative accessory
and obtain the soft new colors which lend so much charm to furniture

Floor coverings of proper texture and pattern can lend much sparkle and
life to a room or they can ruin one's most carefully selected ensemble
if they are drab and listless.

Floor coverings are divided into two groups: The soft-surface fabrics
are made from a variety of textile fibers including wool which is the
one most widely used; and the hard surface fabrics, including linoleum
and the felt-base prints.

Soft-surface floor coverings are made both by hand and by machinery.
The first class includes all Oriental rugs; European hand-knotted rugs;
floor tapestries; and a few hooked, braided, and woven hand-craft
rugs of limited production. The second class includes a wide range,
of fabrics, nearly all of which are produced by the chenille, Wilton,
Axminster, drum print, roller print, or ingrain processes.


Rugs are woven in quantity in Persia, Turkey, India, and China, with
a smaller production in Turkestan, Greece, the Caucasus, Afghanistan,
and Baluchistan. With few exceptions, the finer rugs come from Persia.
Small rugs, woven primarily for individual or family use, are made
throughout the rug-weaving countries. Small rugs made primarily for
export, and the larger room-size rugs, usually called carpets, are
woven chiefly in a few great production districts of the four countries
first named.

In all oriental rugs the pile is knotted by hand, and in most weaves
the wool is also scoured, carded, spun, and dyed by hand. Aniline dyes
are used in many of the cheaper rugs--particularly in those woven
outside of Persia--and either a superior quality of chemical dyes or
the old vegetable dyes in the better rugs. All rugs except the poorest
and cheapest are fast in color, unless they have been "painted."

Most oriental rugs are carefully made of good wool, and their
durability under reasonable conditions of service is guaranteed by
responsible dealers. The widespread notion that any oriental rug,
however cheap and however abused in service, will wear indefinitely is
of course absurd. Rugs are made of wool, not of concrete. Even in the
Orient they wear out in time, notwithstanding the fact that they are
not touched by heavy shoes. In the matter of durability oriental rugs
have no inherent advantage over domestics. Everything depends upon the
choice of wools and skill in handling.

The term "antique" is applied by collectors to pieces 100 years or more
in age. Few such rugs are now in the hands of dealers.

Prices are based on the age or rarity of the individual specimen rather
than on intrinsic excellence, as is the case with antique furniture or
rare books. Only the expert is competent to recognize an antique rug or
to judge of its quality or value.

Many rug merchants, department stores, and furniture stores advertise
and sell as antiques any unwashed rugs which have been more or less
aged and softened by use in the Orient, and which conform measurably
in technique and character of design to antique standards. It is also
a common practice to sell as antiques purely modern unwashed pieces
reproduced in the old designs, particularly if such pieces have been
aged artificially by some such method as exposure to bazaar traffic for
a few weeks or months. Both practices are discountenanced by dealers
of the highest standing, who apply to rugs of these kinds the term

_"Washing" and "Painting" of orientals._--Oriental rugs are usually
woven in relatively bright, strong colors. In order to soften these
colors to a point where they can be used effectively in the decoration
of modern American homes, most rugs upon arrival in this country
are given a treatment known to the trade as "washing" before they
are offered for sale. (This is the same treatment given to "sheen
type" domestics.) The mild reagents employed soften all the colors
of good rugs without bleaching them or impairing their fastness to
light. Poor wool is sometimes injured, and poor dyes bleached by the
washing process; but the statement frequently encountered in books and
magazines that any washed rug is undesirable is utter nonsense. The
fact is, that, genuine antique rugs aside, most of the fine oriental
rugs in this country are washed rugs, and innumerable fine homes use
them. The high luster imparted to the wool as a part of the washing
process is not permanent, and tends to disappear under the hard service
requirements of small American homes.

Many rugs are retouched with dyestuffs, or "painted," after they have
been washed; that is, parts of the design are treated with dyes applied
with the brush by hand in order to alter certain colors, usually by
deepening their tone. The dyes cannot be boiled into the wool or
"fixed," and will fade under strong light.

_Most oriental rug names do not show quality._--The name borne by an
oriental rug ordinarily indicates the city or district of its origin,
and throws little or no light on the excellence of the individual
specimen. There is a widespread but totally erroneous idea that all
rugs having the same name are alike in quality. The fact is that except
for a few Turkish, Indian, and Chinese weaves, oriental rugs are not
standardized, and that two Kerman rugs, for example, may differ as
widely in quality as two Detroit automobiles. In buying oriental rugs,
as in most other commodities, the consumer gets only that which he pays

Other things being equal, the cost of a rug per square foot increases
directly with fineness of knotting. Other variable factors include
the character of the wool and dyes; artistic and technical skill of
designer and weaver; local conditions in the production district; and
the interplay of supply and demand in the American wholesale market.


Carpet weaving was introduced to Europe by the Moors after their
conquest of Granada, and established in Holland in the sixteenth
century, and at Wilton and Axminster in England, and Paris in France,
in the seventeenth century. Machine-spun yarns are now used in making
these fabrics, but aside from this the processes are essentially
the same as those employed in the Orient. Pile carpets are made in
commercial quantities in Great Britain, Holland, Germany, France,
and Spain and can be produced in any desired size, shape, pattern,
coloring, or height of pile. Qualities vary widely in wool, knotting,
and weavers' skill, and sell in the United States for anywhere from $20
to $200 or more per square yard. The time required for delivery varies
from 3 to 12 months or more, depending upon size, character of design,
and fineness of knotting.

Spanish rugs, like many of those made in China, are often embossed or
chiseled, in order to add interest to the texture and to soften the
relationship of strong juxtaposed colors.


See discussion of tapestries, under "Drapery and Upholstery Fabrics,"
page 155.


As applied to floor coverings the term chenille (from the French
_chenille_, a fuzzy worm, or caterpillar) designates a power-loom
fabric capable of producing rugs in any desired size, shape, design,
or coloring. This makes it the most practical weave for special order
work. This technique, which is completely different from that used in
the production of Wilton or Axminster carpetings, was developed in
Great Britain during the first half of the nineteenth century, and
until a comparatively recent date the great bulk of the chenille rugs
used in this country was imported. Under pressure of war conditions a
large number of looms were set up here in 1915 and 1916, and we are
now the leading manufacturers of practically all grades of chenille

Chenilles without seams can be made here in any width up to 30 feet,
and in any length or shape. There are many qualities, varying in
character and quantity of wool, fineness of tufting, and height of
pile, which may be anywhere from ¼ to 1 inch or more. In hand-tufted
carpets the character of the design makes little difference in
production costs, and the only limitations on the pattern are those
imposed by fineness of knotting. In chenille, on the contrary,
production cost increases rapidly with increasing intricacy of design,
so that the square yard price for any given quality might be half again
as much, or even two or three times as much, for a rug of elaborate
design as for a plain rug of the same size. Special order rugs require
from 1 to 5 months for delivery, according to size and character of


Wiltons are woven of either worsted or woolen yarns on a jacquard
Wilton loom. The essential facts concerning this weave from the
consumer's viewpoint are: _(a)_ the jacquard device makes possible the
production of patterns revealing very intricate and perfectly clean
detail, equal to that found in fine Persian carpets. _(b)_ The pile
is erect, with maximum wear at the point of maximum resistance, thus
ensuring great durability. _(c)_ Beneath the pile there is an elastic
cushion of firm yarns, which adds greatly to the durability of the
fabric. This cushion results from the unique Wilton technique, which
carries from three to six differently colored yarns between each pair
of warp threads throughout the entire length of the carpet, bringing
one only to the surface for each tuft, while the others remain in the

All carpets of this weave are by no means equal in quality, durability,
and value. In fact, Wiltons vary widely in all respects save that of
the type of loom on which they are woven. They differ in the cost,
fineness, manner of blending, and spinning, and in quantity of wool,
which is the physical basis of excellence; in the use of worsted and
woolen yarns; in height of pile; and in the number of points or tufts,
per square inch (ranging from about 60 to 128 points per square inch);
in quality and cost of dyestuffs; in perfection of finish; and in
rigidity of inspection standards.

Customers cannot be stirred to enthusiasm by such statements as that
a given rug is a 2-sheet, 131-2 pick, 256 pitch, 6-frame Wilton. Many
women can, however, be interested in a picture of a harnessed loom at
work, with a brief explanation, or caught by casual mention of the fact
that in the standard 5-frame Wiltons there are 1,280 separate worsted
yarns in the 27-inch width, and 5,120 in a 9-foot seamless rug. Most
women are interested in the sources and treatment of wools, care in
dyeing, weaving, and inspection.


The body Brussels was an immensely popular weave from the invention
of the power loom to the beginning of the present century. Its sale
is now only slight although we may see a come-back of the Brussels in
streamlined texture effects. It is woven of worsted yarns only, on
the same kind of loom as the Wilton, and with substantially the same
structure. They differ in that the pile loops of the Brussels carpet
are not cut. They are woven with three, four, or five frames of worsted
yarns, their cost and value depending upon the number of frames, number
of loops or points per square inch, quality of wool, and certain other
technical variants. They are not produced on broad looms.


Axminster rugs are in great demand in this country because of the
unlimited possibilities of pattern and coloring. An additional
feature is their moderate price which is a result of mass production
techniques. This quality offers the consumer a seamless rug up to 18
feet wide.

The Axminster weave is produced by an ingenious process which beggars
description but is explained and illustrated in the Britannica and
other standard works on carpet manufacture. The technique permits
production of rugs with a great variety of color effects in each
pattern. The tufts, in the Axminster, are mechanically inserted in
the fabric and bound down into the back, essentially in the manner
of oriental rugs, except that the entire process is one of machine
technique instead of the customary oriental hand-knotting. None of the
yarn is buried in the back of the fabric, as it is in the Wilton weave,
other than that which is required for attachment. Yarn preparation for
Axminster weaving is a long process involving weeks of work, while
actual weaving time requires but one-tenth of the entire time of

The commercial qualities of Axminster vary widely in wool, type of
yarn, number of tufts per square inch, and height of pile.


Tapestry Brussels have a looped pile like that of body Brussels and are
woven of worsted yarns; Wilton velvets are also made of worsted yarns,
and have a close upright pile resembling Wilton. Velvets (formerly
called tapestry velvets), have a short upright pile and are made of
woolen yarns. These weaves, which are not yarn-dyed, are made both by
the drum printing and the roller printing methods.

In _drum printing_, the yarn is wound on a huge drum; the color applied
by means of a carriage and color roller in narrow lines; the yarn
removed and steamed to fix the color; the separate yarns wound on
bobbins and then "set" in such a way that when fed into the loom over
the wires that form the pile loops each line of color comes up where
it is required to form the pattern. This technique is economical of
wool, but naturally is incapable of yielding the definite exactness of
pattern produced by the other weaves.

In _roller printing_ the carpet is first woven in white, and then
printed on rollers by a process substantially like that of a perfecting
press printing a newspaper in color.

_Broadloom carpetings._--Any carpet woven on a wide loom. The term is
applied particularly to Wiltons, Axminsters, and plain chenilles.

_"Sheen-type" rugs; also known as American orientals._--Any
machine-made pile rug which has been chemically washed to soften the
colors and give it sheen and luster; made in the Wilton, Axminster and
chenille weaves.


Because of consistent and attractive advertising by manufacturers,
the quality and desirability of linoleum and felt-base floor covering
are now taken for granted by consumers, and these floor coverings,
once regarded purely as a utility product, are sold chiefly on the
basis of their decorative appeal. In order to be well informed on
their construction you must get the facts from the manufacturers whose
products you handle, as both the materials and processes employed have
been somewhat widely changed in recent years.

The old method of making linoleum involved the production of solidified
linseed oil and its reduction by heat and the admixture of resinous
gums to a rubberlike mass known as cement, which was then ground up
with cork dust, wood flour, whiting, and pigment to form the "linoleum
material." In plain and printed linoleums this material was then
calendered on the canvas by heavy heated rollers and seasoned in
the drying rooms from 2 to 60 days in temperatures of from 90° to
170°. Granites, jaspes, and cork carpets were made by almost the same
process. In making inlays the colored linoleum materials were formed
into patterns by one of several hand or machine processes.

In recent years progress has been made toward the partial substitution
of linseed oil by a nitrocellulose base in the preparation of
the cement. In addition, much linoleum now has a surface coat of
nitrocellulose composition, which gives it a glossy surface practically
non-markable and highly resistant to strong soaps and soda.

Felt-base floor covering has a printed pattern on a base of felt
impregnated with a base of bituminous composition.


Most linoleum used in homes is manufactured with a lustrous surface
which can be maintained with little effort.

_Washing._--The basis of all linoleum maintenance is the same--a
thorough cleaning with a mild soap, followed by waxing. Soaps which
contain excessive alkali destroy the linseed oil content of linoleum.
Cleaning compounds of the type ordinarily used for scouring porcelain
sinks and tubs, contain abrasive material and are not suitable for use
on linoleum, because they scratch the surface of the material. These
slight scratches soon fill with dirt and make subsequent cleaning more
difficult; also, they shorten the life of the linoleum. Be sure that
only pure soaps are used and wash with lukewarm water. Use very little
water and remove all traces of the soap. The floor should then be
allowed to dry thoroughly.

_Waxing._--After the floor is cleaned and dried, apply a very thin coat
of liquid or paste wax manufactured for the purpose of maintaining


The striking improvements in weave, in colors and in styling made
within the past few years have brought a new conception of the uses
to which fiber and related rugs may be put appropriately. Originally
thought of primarily as summer rugs, and then principally for porch
use, today these rugs enjoy a greatly increased use.

_Process of manufacture._--The materials employed and the processes of
production in the making of fiber, grass, and other rugs of this type
are so different that they deserve special mention and description.
They are known as flat-weave fabrics to differentiate them from the
pile fabric rugs.

_Fiber rugs._--When a new type of yarn made from wood fibers became
available as a filler to take the place of wire grass, it widely
increased the range of utility and beauty in this type of floor


               Courtesy Floor Covering Advertising Club, New York, N. Y.

Figure 35.--The striking improvements in weave, in colors, and in
styling made within the past few years have brought a new conception of
the uses to which fibers and related rugs may be put.]

Wood fiber is made from fir or white spruce in great paper mills,
where the logs are first reduced to pulp, then made into an extremely
tough and continuous roll of a special type of kraft paper designed
for twisting. These great rolls of kraft are cut into long strips of
varying widths, then tightly twisted into strands of twine or yarn, the
size of the strands depending upon _(a)_ the width of the strips and
_(b)_ the tightness of the twist.

The better grades of fiber yarns are extremely tough and long wearing,
giving the finished rug a tough, long-wearing surface. Also they are
finer than the grass fibers, giving a thinner, less heavy feel, but
increasing the cost because of the additional labor involved and the
increased number of picks. Three basic weaves are used to give variety:

_The basket weave._--In this 2-, 3-, and 4-weft or filler, yarns are
shuttled across the loom between each raising and lowering of the warp.
This produces a weave resembling the broad, flat weave of a market

_The twill weave._--More complicated because it requires additional
loom equipment or "harnesses." While the basket weave requires only two
such "harnesses" (one to go up while the other goes down) in twill,
the addition of more "harnesses," and chains to operate them, produces
interesting variations. In the twill weave, three harnesses are used.
Each warp strand passes over two filler strands and under the next two,
producing a diagonal, ribbed effect, giving a heavier feel to the rug,
and resulting in maximum yardage.

_Jacquard weave._--This type requires a different loom, equipped with
the jacquard mechanism described in connection with the Wilton process,
but constructed to carry the much heavier fiber yarns. In this process
each warp yarn has its own "harness" which is raised and lowered by the
operation of the cards, punched like the rolls of a player piano, to
produce the desired pattern. (See fig. 35.)

Color is introduced into fiber rugs both in the kraft as it is made,
and by stenciling.

The ingenious use of contrasting fibers, such as sisal, cellophane, and
fibers varying in color from dark to light and back again, are often
employed to develop interesting weaves and patterns.

_Wool fiber types._--Still another variation is achieved by combining
wool yarns with fiber. This type is woven with fiber warp tightly
bound together with a cotton warp that appears on the surface. Filler
yarns are of alternating fiber and wool carpet yarns, so woven that
the fabric is reversible. Pattern is achieved by the coloring of the
yarns and by stenciling. The amount of wool varies to secure the result
desired. It gives to the fabric a softer feel underfoot.

Wide ranges of colors, weaves, and patterns are now available in
fiber rugs to meet all decorative needs. For custom, room-size rugs
larger than 9 × 12, many of the most popular patterns are offered in
broadlooms, in widths up to 12 feet.

_Grass rugs._--Only in three localities in the world is produced the
grass from which these useful rugs are constructed. It is the wire-like
grass which grows wild in the marshes which dot the great prairies in
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the vicinity of Winnipeg, Canada. It grows
to a height of 2 feet without a joint, and in the spring is covered
with water which gives it the waterproof characteristic. When dry it is
cut and, after curing, bound into continuous strands.

Grass rugs employ the simplest of all weaves, the "over-and-under,"
the warp yarns being raised and lowered alternately as the weft or
grass yarns are shot across the loom in the shuttle, to bind the fabric

Design usually is applied upon one side of grass rugs by painting by
hand or sprays, through stencils, although introduction of different
colored warp yarns achieve interesting pattern effects. The natural
color of the grass is always a part of the design. Most rugs then are
varnished to brighten colors and preserve the surface. The better
qualities are bound on four sides. Grass rugs are reversible, usually
plain on one side, patterned on the other.

_Sisal rugs._--From Yucatan, Central America, and the West Indies comes
a tough, heavy, long-wearing fiber called sisal. Its largest use is
in the making of twine and rope, but its great durability makes it an
important fiber for floor coverings.

Sisal fiber is derived from the leaf of a plant, much as linen is
made from the stem of the flax plant. Fibers remain after the pulp of
the leaf is pressed out. They are twisted into strands of the desired
thickness, then woven into floor coverings, as are the fiber rugs.
Colors are introduced by dyeing the strands, by stenciling the woven
fabric, or both.

Sisal fiber is often used with other fibers to widen the range of color
and utility.

_Varied uses._--While the different types of grass and fiber rugs
developed out of a demand for cool, colorful floor coverings that
primarily could be used during the summer, their usefulness has been
greatly widened as new methods evolved and new materials became
available. They now comprise an essential part of every well-rounded
showing of floor coverings. Their wide acceptance is an illustration
of the way in which new types of fabrics are developed to meet new
conditions. Insofar as their basic materials differ, the care of
fiber rugs differs from those of other fabrics, as set forth in the
discussion "Proper Care of Floor Coverings," page 169.


Frequent cleaning prevents the dirt from accumulating in the surface
of pile fabrics. Unless it is removed, fine particles of grit become
buried at the base of the pile. Sharp edges of this grit, grinding
against the pile as the rug or carpet is walked upon, tend to sever the
wool fibers. Cleanliness becomes the most important factor in care.

Use of a vacuum cleaner is recommended for cleaning, both of new and
old fabrics. Surface dirt may be removed daily with a carpet sweeper or
soft-bristled broom, the former being preferred. After cleaning, the
nap should be gently brushed so that the pile is all left lying in the
same direction. Vigorous beating or shaking of rugs or carpets tends
to loosen the pile tufts, and is condemned. Small rugs should never by
cleaned by "snapping" them as this causes threads to break.

The bulletin of the Institute of Carpet Manufacturers states:

  Under no consideration should an attempt be made to shampoo a rug
  or carpet while on the floor. There is no shampoo method or device
  which, while the carpet is on the floor, adequately cleans the
  fabric to the base of the pile or effectively removes the soap and
  detergent material. This residual soap and detergent material cause
  rapid resoiling, development of crushed appearance, and may cause
  the development of rancid odor or a gradual color change in the

_Axminster, chenilles, velvets, and Wiltons._--These should not be
swept hard at first and never against the nap. Sheared when finished,
a little light woof or loose wool will come out for a time. Long ends
should be cut even with the surface of the rug and never pulled out.
Unequal crushing of the surface will produce light and dark patches on
any cut-pile rug. Application of a hot iron on a damp cloth will allow
pile to be brushed to normal position.

In a marked degree, carpets do not fade. Manufacturers employ strong,
fast dyes and carpets will not fade except when exposed to the direct
rays of the sun. The simple preventative solution for sunlight fading
is to use window blinds judiciously. But carpets do discolor or change
in hue, because of infiltrated dust which is basically gray in color.
It is not the dirt that may be swept away, but fine dust in the
atmosphere that settles permanently in carpet, adding gray to the tone
of the carpet, whatever its original color may have been. Therefore
it is advisable when purchasing carpet to choose a shade a trifle
stronger than the final floor color desired. In matching wall coloring,
draperies, or upholstery fabrics, at the time of purchase, it is a wise
expedient deliberately to soil a small cutting of the carpet so as to
judge what its appearance will be for most of its life.

When subjected to severe wear, use of rug cushions beneath rug or
carpet is advised. The plain or smooth surface of the cushion should be
placed next to the rug.


Information gained in the discussion of the problems, plans, and
thinking of the customer as to color likes and dislikes, and harmony in
color and design, opens the way for discussion and possible sales of
floor coverings for other rooms.

It may be accepted that every purchaser of a rug or carpet has
definitely in mind plans for other rooms. She has cherished, if
unexpressed, schemes for changes, improvements in all her rooms. The
merchandise she has seen, rest assured, has stimulated interest anew
in her other favorite decorative schemes. It is all very tempting and
alluring. Importantly, also, she is in the buying mood. The occasion
is made to order for following through with presentation of fabrics
for additional rooms, preferably for an immediate, but, if not, for a
future sale as soon as budget or circumstances permit.

Such a purchase may concern:

  1. Rooms which adjoin, the rugs and carpets of which must be
    harmonious in color and design to achieve most pleasing results.
    Such are hall and living room; living room and sunroom; or

  2. Those which essentially are units in themselves, in which great
    expression of individuality in color and design is permissible.
    Such are library, bedrooms, and nursery.

_The adjoining room._--The most common of house plans provide a central
entrance hall, with rooms opening on either side, and stairway rising
from it. This plan gives an air of spaciousness and, obviously, because
two or more rooms are visible at once, calls for most harmonious floor
treatment throughout. Rugs and carpets are extremely important in such
a scheme. Properly chosen, they create a feeling of unity and pleasing
color harmony. Lacking that unity and harmony, the result is far from
pleasing, and may be a decidedly disturbing feature.

_Use of identical fabrics._--Adjoining rooms may be covered with the
same fabric, alike in color and pattern. Wall-to-wall carpeting or
identical rugs of correct size achieve the pleasing result of unity and
harmony secured by alikeness.

_Use of fabrics harmonious but not identical in color._--Variation is
pleasing as well as likeness; covering hall, for instance, in a strong
color, and adjoining rooms in colors which harmonize through likeness
or in the complementary ranges. This is, of course, more complicated,
but an effect not difficult to achieve.

_Combining plain and figured fabrics._--The use of a figured pattern in
one room, and in the adjoining room a plain fabric which picks up and
repeats the dominant color in the ground color or in the figures of the
pattern produces a lively result, pleasing and effective.

Stair carpeting is important in the decorative picture. Stairs properly
carpeted are soft under foot, safer, quiet, more comfortable. They
supply a fine note in the decorative scheme. The stair carpet should
repeat the dominant color of the hall or room from which they ascend.

_For other rooms._--Rooms which may be considered as units in
themselves permit of more individual treatment, an expression of the
likes of the occupant or occupants. This group includes bedrooms which,
statistics show, are the most sparely and poorly carpeted of rooms.
Suggestions that consideration be given to bedroom floor coverings will
appeal to a large percentage of customers.

During the showing of merchandise and discussion of the problems
involved in the selection of the specific floor covering the customer
comes to buy, remarks will often indicate the need for rugs or carpet
for other rooms.


Into selling in recent years has come a most efficient method of
proving just how a specific rug or carpet will look in combination with
other furnishing elements. This is the ensemble or group method, for
the word "ensemble" means an assembling or grouping.

Whether it be the simplest kind of ensemble, displaying only the rug
or carpet, with lengths of drapery and upholstery fabrics, and built
by the salesman before the eyes of the customer; or the most complete
and elaborate form, the model room, the ensemble method has these
outstanding advantages:

  1. _It develops interest._--The mere physical operation of building
    the simpler display before the customer, arouses interest because
    it involves action. Selection of items and addition of each
    element in the group adds to the interest.

  2. _It carries conviction._--Conversation as to combinations of
    colors and designs, and resulting effects are interesting, but an
    ensemble display of actual merchandise in the colors and designs
    actually available, visualizes the accomplished effect for those
    who cannot visualize them mentally. And few can.

  3. _It concentrates attention_ upon the specific rug or carpet,
    narrows down the possibilities of choice and tends to hasten

  4. _It stimulates action_ and tends to close the sale by
    spot-lighting the specific fabrics favorably as the basis for
    achieving the desired beauty of color, design, and harmony which
    is the objective of the customer. It presents the solution to a
    specific problem in terms of actual merchandise. The same factors
    operate in pointing out the pleasing effects achieved in model


                                     American Furniture Mart Photograph.

Figure 36.--Living room grouping of upholstered and occasional pieces.
Among the interesting details are the low relief carving on the apron
of the upholstered chair, the black iron-type drawer pulls, the carving
on the base of the desk, and the neatly turned desk chair. The hooked
multicolor Axminster rug is worked in shades of beige, red, blue, and
green. The brass, double-candle desk lamp is a practical accessory.]

Ensemble selling presupposes a knowledge of the way in which available
materials may be used effectively. Various pleasing schemes should
be worked out with the basic rug and carpet stock colors and designs
as the foundation of the schemes. Lengths of drapery and upholstery
fabrics and wall coverings suitable for use with each basic rug or
carpet color may be selected to provide effective and pleasing results.

Ensemble units may be built over an easel which displays a
standard-sized carpet sample; or may use a sample rug with a chair,
table, or lamp, the drapery and other fabrics being thrown over the
chair. The object is to bring the various elements together effectively
so the customer may see them. The ensemble is to prove that these other
factors will harmonize satisfactorily with the floor covering.

In the selection of elements for ensemble units, whether temporary or
permanent, the advice of the decorating department of the store, if
one exists, will be invaluable. Many manufacturers of rugs and carpets
have established decorating services, the benefit of which is available
to store as well as to consumer. Such services are much publicized,
extremely popular, and influential with the public and widely used by
consumers. Store and sales force alike will be wise to know what such
potent sales influences are advising.

Another source of such data is the editorial pages of magazines, many
of which publish decorative schemes in color. These influence the
thinking and buying of many readers.

Let it be emphasized again that the ensemble, potent as is its
influence should be employed only when the sale is not possible
otherwise. And only after the possibilities of one grouping have
been exhausted should another one be built. The customer must not be
confused by much, but rather enlightened by a little.


_1. Under what conditions would it be good salesmanship to change
arrangement of a suite on the display floor, or to bring in rug,
draperies, table runner, glass, or silver as a means to closing a sale?_

_2. What technical information does a good salesman need to use in
demonstrating concealed values in upholstered furniture?_

_3. How do you demonstrate values in floor coverings?_

_4. What procedure do you follow in seeking to produce the largest
volume of sales from paid-up, inactive accounts?_

_5. What ideas or procedures are said to be most irritating to those
who examine your stock as potential customers?_

_6. The high school graduating class this year is furnishing a faculty
room as a gift to the school. Exactly what would you do to make the
sale for your company?_

_7. What tests would you apply to demonstrate that a given new home
reflects harmony in the home furnishings?_

_8. What are profitable uses for floor plans?_

_9. If a well-dressed woman, not known to you, asked to be shown an
oriental rug, how would you go about it to make a sale?_

_10. Suppose you were showing inlaid linoleum to an elderly woman, that
finally you found a pattern to please her, and that upon learning your
price she stated positively that she could buy the same pattern much
cheaper at Blank's. What would you say or do?_


  Americana, Encyclopedia, Textiles and Textile Manufacture.

  Rugs, vol. 23, pp. 757-761.
  Tapestries, vol. 26, pp. 252-254.
  Many others in volumes 5, 6, 11, 17, 19.

  BALDWIN, WILLIAM H. _The Shopping Book._ The Macmillan Co., New
    York, N. Y. 1929.

  Floor Coverings, II, pp. 35-54.

  Britannica, Encyclopedia.

  Carpet Manufacture, vol. 4, pp. 917-923.
  Linoleum, vol. 14, pp. 165-166.
  Interior Decoration, vol. 14.

  BURROWS, THELMA M. _Successful Home Furnishing._ Manual Arts Press,
    Peoria, Ill. 1938.

  Rugs, II, pp. 45-55.
  Upholstery Fabrics, IV, pp. 65-85.

  DAVIS, M. J. "Principles of Window Curtaining." _Farmers Bulletin
    No. 1516_, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington,
    D. C.

  FALES, WINNIFRED. _What's New in Home Decorating._ Dodd, Mead &
    Co., Inc., New York, N. Y. 1936.

  Textiles and Fabrics, III, pp. 42-71.
  Beauty Under Foot, II, pp. 24-42.
  Every Window Has Its Problem, V, pp. 85-120.

  FARADAY, CORNELIA BATEMAN. The Dean Hicks Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.

  History of Carpets and Rugs and Decorative Floor Coverings of all

  HEMPSTEAD, L. _The Selling Points of Drapery and Upholstery
    Fabrics._ Fairchild Publications Co., New York, N. Y. 1931.

  Institute of Carpet Manufacturers of America, Inc., New York, N. Y.

  Carpet and Rug Industry, Survey, Style, and Color Trends.

  JACKSON, ALICE _and_ BETTINA. _The Study of Interior Decoration._
    Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y.

  KELSEY, CLARK. _Furniture: Its Selection and Use._ National
    Committee on Wood Utilization, United States Department of
    Commerce. Superintendent of Documents, United States Government
    Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 1931.

  Upholstered Furniture, II, 10, pp. 61-75.

  KNAUFF, CARL G. B. _Refreshing the Home._ McGraw-Hill Book Co.,
    Inc., New York, N. Y., 1938.

  Rugs and Carpets, pp. 100-132.
  Fabrics, pp. 242-269.
  Curtains and Draperies, pp. 269-289.
  Linoleum, pp. 53, 73, 80, 126-129.
  Tapestries, pp. 254-255, 302.
  Upholstering, pp. 223-226.
  Lamps, pp. 290-299.
  Glass Curtains, pp. 276, 282.

  KOUES, HELEN. _How to Beautify Your Home._ Good Housekeeping, New
    York, N. Y. 1930.

  How to Make Curtains and Draperies, XII, pp. 147-167.
  New Fashions in Draperies, XI, pp. 131-147.

  National Retail Dry Goods Association, New York, N. Y.

  Manual for Selling Curtains and Draperies, October 1936.

  PRIESTMAN, MABEL TUKE. _Art and Economy in Home Decoration._ John
    Lane (The Bodley Head, Ltd., London).

  When Buying Carpets and Rugs, V, pp. 49-86.

  REYBURN, SAMUEL W. _Selling Draperies and Upholstery Successfully._
    Prentice Hall, Inc., New York, N. Y.

  SEAL, ETHEL DAVIS. _Furnishing the Little House._ Century Co., New
    York, N. Y., 1924.

  Floors of Dignity and Beauty, II, pp. 23-41.

  STEWART, ROSS _and_ GERALD, JOHN. _Home Decoration._ Garden City
    Publishing Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y. 1938.

  Floor Covering, VI, pp. 96-113.
  Fabrics and Their Uses, VII, pp. 113-127.

  WHITON, SHERILL. _Elements of Interior Decoration._ J. B.
    Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa.

  Decorative Textiles and Tapestries, X, pp. 337-393.
  Floor Coverings, XII, pp. 409-441.


[21] Stipulation 2851 of the Federal Trade Commission, Washington,
released June 24, 1940, requires a respondent firm to agree to
cease using the words "Persian," "Chinese," "oriental," "Kashmir,"
"Mandalay," "Baghdad," "Baristan," "Persiatana," "India," or other
distinctively oriental appellation in connection with any rug which
does not contain all the inherent qualities and properties of an
oriental rug; unless, if properly used to describe the design or
pattern only, such words of oriental appellation shall be immediately
accompanied by a word such as "design" or "pattern" printed in equally
conspicuous type, so as to indicate clearly that only the form
delineated on the surface of the rug is a likeness of the type named;
for example, "Persian design," "Chinese pattern."

The respondent corporation also agreed to discontinue use of the word
"guaranteed" unless clear disclosure is made of exactly what is offered
by way of security; as for example, refund of purchase price.

[22] For an illustrated technical account of chenille manufacture, see
Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition; vol. 4: Carpet manufacture.

[23] For an illustrated explanation of the Wilton and other techniques,
see the Encyclopedia Britannica, place cited. The name Wilton comes
from the old English town, an early seat of carpet making.

[24] Ideas reproduced from "Rugs and Carpets of America," pp. 41-42,
The Floor Covering Advertising Club, New York, N. Y.

[25] Rugs and Carpets of America, pp. 57-58, Floor Covering Advertising
Club, New York, N. Y. (1940.)

[26] Reproduced by permission of Floor Covering Advertising Club,
Institute of Carpet Manufacturers: Rugs and Carpets of America, p. 55.

Unit IX


  Furnishing the Living Room

  Distinctive Hall Furniture

  Securing Hospitable Dining Room Atmosphere

  Ensemble Selling


                     Courtesy American Walnut Manufacturers Association.

Figure 37.--Designed by Gilbert Rhode, this many-purpose grouping of
modern pieces can be arranged to fit the individual room and taste.
Use of hairline stripe of natural inlay at regular intervals gives an
unusual fabric like effect to this modern design.]

                 Unit IX.--FURNISHING THE LIVING ROOM,
                         HALL, AND DINING ROOM


The living room is the heart of the home. It is here that members of
the family meet and spend a great part of their time; here that friends
and guests are entertained; here that "memories are made." The woman
is rare who does not recognize the importance of her living room both
as a factor in family life and as an index of her own position, taste,
and skill. Since the family living room is the show window of the home
it is well to convey to the customers' mind that the personality of
herself and her family should be reflected in this room. (See fig. 31,
page 142.)


Comparatively few living rooms are genuinely attractive. It is safe to
say that 9 living rooms out of every 10 could be improved enormously,
and often at little cost. Some are merely shabby or out of date.
Many are colorless, depressing, uncomfortable, commonplace, and
unlovely. Nearly all lack important elements, and are in some respect
underfurnished. In innumerable cases their owners are more or less
clearly aware of these defects, deplore them, and would like to correct

This means that always there are possibilities for new and replacement
sales of living room merchandise. Moreover, it means that any woman who
today asks for any article for living-room use, however unimportant
or inexpensive, may be at the point where she can be influenced to
consider the purchase of additional articles. A systematic effort to
explore and develop these latent possibilities infallibly will result
in larger sales.


Comparatively few houses are designed throughout in an architectural
style so well defined as to demand adherence to the same or closely
related styles in furniture. Even in the case of many houses so
designed we find that the owners prefer to equip their rooms with
furniture of styles more pleasing to their fancy. Often this practice
results in bad decoration, but after all there is little that can be
done about it. Your job is to equip yourself to be a competent adviser
and to give sound advice when it is wanted.

Under ordinary circumstances, do not ask your customer the style of
her living room. If she doesn't know, or if the room has no style, she
may be embarrassed or vaguely displeased by the question. On the other
hand, if she regards the style of the room as in any way important she
will in all likelihood volunteer the information.


The walls of the living room constitute its largest and most
important single element, and form the background against which all
other elements must be seen. The lighter the tone of the walls, and
the smoother their texture, the greater will be the reflection and
diffusion of light throughout the room and the larger its apparent size.

Painted or Plastered Walls.

Calcimine and water paint are effective in simple and unpretentious
living rooms of any size, but should not be used in rooms intended to
be sumptuous, elegant, or formal in effect. They are most pleasant in
colors, belonging to the yellow-to-orange family, such as buff, maize,
putty, or in light pastels.

Walls covered with canvas and painted in oil, without paneling, and
with or without effects of stippled modeling or glazing, can be used in
living rooms of any type, and with furniture of any style.

Paneling, because of the severely balanced distribution of wall spaces
and the effect of dignity produced by long, straight lines, tends to
give a room a quality of formality and dignity which is reflected in
the style and distribution of the furniture and relieved by a free use
of color and ornament in the other elements of the room.

Rough plaster and compo walls, varying in unevenness of texture and
depth of tone according to the scale and style of the room itself
and the furniture to be used in it, are effective with houses of the
cottage, Early English, and Mediterranean types and with Early Spanish,
Italian, and English furniture and the cruder and heavier examples of
French Provincial, Early American, and unstyled furniture.

Patterns in Papered Walls.

Wallpapers are made in an extremely wide range of variation in texture,
coloring, and pattern. Properly chosen, wallpaper is a suitable wall
finish for practically any style of room, and a suitable background for
practically any style of furniture.

Since personal preference has a great deal to do with the selection of
wallpaper, the salesman's job should be merely to assist the customer
on color and appropriateness of design. Studying the papers you
will note that some have formalized motifs, others simple, repeated
patterns. When in doubt, stay to the simpler patterns. However, there
is no set rule on the types of wallpaper to be used, good taste and
personal preference being the main factors.


The floor may be treated with a single, room-size rug, several small
rugs, or linoleum.

A room-size rug usually is preferred where practicable in a small room
because it causes the room to appear a little larger than when small
rugs are used.

Linoleum when used in a living room may carry an inlaid design in
keeping with the room or may be used as the basic floor covering with
small, soft-surface rugs.

Rug Must Dominate Floor Area.

There is no rule to govern the proper width of margins, other than
the general requirement for a dominant element in every composition,
which means that in the case of a single large rug the effect will
be unpleasant if the rug is so small that it seems to the mind less
important than the total uncarpeted space. Ordinarily the side margin
should not exceed one fourth of its length.

Several small rugs used together should be sufficiently alike in
coloring, type of pattern, tone, and texture to ensure the unity of
the floor treatment, but not identical, which would make the effect
monotonous. This requirement would forbid the use together, for
example, of characteristic Persian and Chinese designs, because of too
sharp differences in pattern; or of pile and pileless rugs, because of
too sharp differences in texture; or of light and dark rugs, because of
great differences in tone.

It is never necessary, and rarely desirable, to have all of the rugs
closely alike in color; but there must be pronounced elements of
likeness. In general it is best to have at least one, and preferably
two or three colors appear in varying degrees of importance in each rug.

Small rugs should be placed so as to be closely related to the
fireplace, door, and principal pieces or groups of furniture. They are
distracting and meaningless when scattered with no reference to this

Don't Place Rugs at Angle.

Small rugs should be placed straight in the room; that is, so that
their edges parallel either the side or end walls. To scatter them at
angles destroys the organic unity of the room.

The floor coverings should be darker in tone than the walls, but not
so much darker as to contrast harshly, and so impair the harmony and
restfulness of the room.

In general the scale of the floor covering design should vary directly
with the size of the room. Small rugs appear inartistic with large
scale designs which might seem perfectly appropriate on larger rugs.
The vigor of drawing and coloring in the floor covering also should
increase with the size, or rather the effect of weight and massiveness,
of the furniture.


Venetian blinds have become increasingly important as a treatment for
windows in all parts of the house. Venetian blinds permit the user to
control the light and add a decorative note to a room regardless of its
period. Tapes of the blind should match the floor covering, the walls,
or harmonize with the color scheme of the room. Although the off-white,
cream, and buff blinds are most popular, colored blinds in keeping
with the color scheme of the room also are in good taste. Other window
treatments are roller window shades, glass curtains, and draperies.

_Venetian blinds._--Most blinds are custom made and ordered to the
customer's specific window size. Measurements should be taken within
the molding. Venetian blinds may be used alone, with draperies, or
with glass curtains and draperies. Venetian blinds harmonize with any
period or setting and may be used on hall doors, kitchen, and bathroom
windows as well as all other rooms of the house. Waxing maintains the
slats most of which may be kept clean by washing with a bland soap and
dusting regularly.

_Roller window shades._--Roller window shades offer an inexpensive and
easy means of controlling light and vary widely in quality, appearance,
and price. Roller shades should be fairly close in hue and tone to the
walls. It is necessary that the shades harmonize pleasantly with the
house as seen from the outside.

_Glass curtains_, or the thin transparent curtains which in ordinary
houses hang next to the windows, are necessary to soften the light
by day; to cover what would otherwise be the bleak bare rectangle
presented by an uncurtained window by night; and to provide the
decorative interest of soft texture, flowing line, and soft color.

When desirable, glass curtains can be stiffened at the top and mounted
on small movable rings to permit pushing back in the interest of
morning sunshine or a fine view. They never should be made conspicuous
by reason of striking pattern or sharp contrast with the walls. Pure
white curtains can be used only in living rooms of the most delicate
type, having light walls and woodwork. In most rooms use cream or
light or dark ecru. Glass curtains require ample fullness of material
(from 1½ to 2½ times the width of the window, depending upon fineness
of mesh), and in ordinary houses should be hung either to the sill or
to the bottom of the apron.

_Outer hangings_, or draperies, serve to subdue or control the lighting
of the living room; to ensure a subtle sense of privacy and intimacy to
its occupants; to soften while emphasizing the structural lines of its
openings; and to add the charm of color, texture, and pattern.

The draperies should be plain if used with strikingly figured walls;
figured, if used with plain walls; and either plain or figured if used
with walls covered with a pattern of simple and inconspicuous design
and coloring, according to personal taste or the amount of ornament
in the other surfaces of the room. Figured draperies may be used with
figured rugs when (1) both patterns are in the same style of design, as
Chinese chintz with Chinese rugs; or (2) both patterns make a free use
of the same type of line, as in an Italian damask with a Persian rug;
or (3) one pattern is of marked individuality while the other is small,
simple, or lacking in individuality.

In general the draperies, whether plain or figured, will repeat one of
the colors important in the rug. When used with a plain neutral floor
covering (as warm gray, fawn, or rose-taupe) the draperies may be
unrelated to the rug in color. In this case some of the color of the
draperies should appear on or near the floor, in the form of upholstery
or pottery in order to ensure the repetitions essential to harmony. The
tone of the draperies may be and generally should be somewhat darker
than that of the walls; but never so much so as to overemphasize the
draperies at the cost of the other decorative elements of the room.

The draperies usually will be run to the floor in the more formal and
more sumptuously furnished rooms; and to the apron in the more informal
and simply furnished rooms. The heavy materials, like silk and cotton
reps, damasks, brocades, brocatelles, satins, velvets, thick taffetas,
and richly colored printed linens and hand-blocked cretonnes should
be hung to the floor; the very light and thin materials, like silk or
rayon gauze, silk tissues and small-figured prints, voiles, organdies,
thin casement cloths, whether plain, striped, or broché, should be hung
to the sill or apron; while the medium-weight fabrics, like broché
silks, poplins, chintzes, and the thinner taffetas, cretonnes, and
linens, may be hung either way, according to decorative requirements or
personal preference.

Some architectural defects may be covered up by the clever use of
draperies. Oftentimes windows may be made to look larger by extended
draperies across the wall.


Every living room is made up of groups of furniture. What these groups
are depend on the size of the family, the size of the home, the
number of guests who may be expected under normal conditions, and the
interests of the family. The architecture will determine placement of
furniture to a considerable extent. There are several possible "centers
of interest." A fireplace is one of these. A long wall, with windows,
may be the logical spot for the sofa. In a musical family, the piano or
radio may be a focal point.


                                       Courtesy American Furniture Mart.

Figure 38.--Outgrowth of the platform rocker is this smart spring
base chair designed by Alfons Bach and upholstered in beige and
brown tapestry. The open bookshelves and desks are in a new, rubbed,
fawn-colored finish. The swinging arm bridge lamp has a brass base
and together with the clipper ship pictures and accessories adds a
dignified note. The Axminster rug is in a sand tone.]

Every grouping opens the possibility of selling "add-on" items. The
_conversational_ group--sofa and at least two chairs requires at least
two tables and two lamps. The _reading_ group implies a chair--or two
chairs--at least one lamp, and a piece to hold books and magazines.
Usually this would be a table, but it easily could include a bookcase.
(See figs. 37 and 38.) The _writing_ group takes in desk, chair, and
lamp. A well-arranged "business corner" for the living room (see
fig. 36), or an attractive alcove off this room, or for the "den,"
may become the center of interest of the home. There, for efficient
operation, may be grouped the telephone, writing desk, and typewriter,
with drawers and cupboards for stationery supplies and budget records,
bookshelves for reference books, and a floor lamp. From this one place
all the business of the home can be carried out efficiently: Ordering,
corresponding, telephoning, and check writing.

In combination, whatever the style, the seeming "weight" of each end
and each side of the room must balance the opposing side, and the
corners joining sides and ends must "flow" together naturally. The
reading group and the conversational group may include some of the same
pieces, and the desk chair may be used as an auxiliary conversation

In the arrangement of furniture it must be remembered that:

  1. Furniture should be so arranged as to make the most of the light
    (as in placing desks, reading tables, and chairs), and also to
    satisfy the personal habits and tastes of the members of the

  2. In general, the center of the room should be kept clear, which
    gives an effect of spaciousness, facilitates easy movements and
    regrouping when the room is full of persons, and affords a better
    view of its interesting features.

In the interest of beauty and distinction, it is important to avoid:

  1. Too exclusive employment of large and heavy pieces, which make
    a room stiff, spotty, and uninteresting when used without small
    tables, chairs, and cabinets.

  2. Monotony in the height, color, and texture of the furniture.


Living-room furniture should not be covered throughout in the same
material, or even in the same pattern, coloring, or texture, because
the effect would be tiresome. On the other hand, the degree of
diversity must not be so great as to make the room inharmonious and
confusing. Coverings of large and important pieces should fit closely
into the general color scheme, while those of small chair seats,
benches, or stools may serve as piquant contrasting elements. Coverings
should not contrast so strongly with the floor covering as to cause the
pieces to stand out like spots, and thus to mar the repose and harmony
of the room. In general, plain or self-toned coverings will be used
with highly figured walls or floor coverings in the case of the larger
pieces, while marked emphasis upon pattern is desirable when both walls
and floor covering, or hangings and floor covering are plain.


The hall really sounds the keynote for the whole house, and does much
to make or mar its beauty; it is the place in which strangers and
guests form their first and last impressions of the home and the ideals
and tastes of the household.

In most houses the decorative importance of the hall is undervalued and
the room itself is underfurnished and far less inviting and attractive
than it could and should be. In order to expand sales of hall furniture
by the suggestion and sale of related merchandise, or by influencing
home owners to refurnish, you will require some knowledge of the
individual rooms and their present furnishings, and a fair knowledge of
the principles, processes, and materials involved in hall decoration.

Just how much information you consider essential, and when and how to
ask for it, will of course depend upon your judgment of your customer's
taste, intelligence, and disposition. Taking retail practice as a
whole, it is certain that more time is wasted and more potential sales
lost by failure to secure adequate preliminary information than by
unnecessary or unsuccessful attempts to do so.


The hall should have an atmosphere of warmth and hospitable welcome,
a note of rich but quiet dignity, and a real quality of interest and
charm. Its hospitableness can be insured by emphasis upon warm color
and properly shaded light. Richness of effect is produced by emphasis
upon ornamented as opposed to plain surfaces, particularly in the floor
covering, walls, furniture, and accessories. Dignity results from the
use of long lines in the interior trim, border lines of the rugs, and
length or height in the furniture where practicable, and also of formal
balance in furniture arrangement. Interest and charm are secured by
a free use of color and texture, and a measure of distinction in the
design of furniture and accessories.

Relation of the Hall to Adjoining Rooms.

The hall must announce or suggest some of the decorative elements of
connecting rooms, and accordingly must have many points of resemblance
and harmony in coloring, line, and texture. In choice of the "key"
pieces of furniture, which give distinction and smartness to the hall,
there should be similarity in outline and proportion to the "key"
living room pieces, but identity in period style is wholly unnecessary.
High-backed seventeenth century chairs of the more slenderly
proportioned types could be used in the hall opening into a Sheraton
dining room without marring the sense of harmony in the suite.


                                       Courtesy American Furniture Mart.

Figure 39.--Ideal for the hall is a cedar chest which serves the
duo-purpose of providing valuable storage space as well as being
decorative. This mahogany chest, built to resemble a chest of drawers,
has a cedar lined bottom drawer. The chest proper is the depth of the
first and second sham drawers. The oval mirror, a fitting accessory,
has a gold-leaf frame.]

Wall Treatments for the Hall.

When the walls are of plain or ornamental plaster, calcimined, or
painted in oil, they should match the adjoining room if either is small
or both rooms are small, in order to gain an effect of spaciousness.
Where the hall and the adjoining room both are large, the walls may
differ in hue; but marked difference in tone is unpleasant. For
example, light stone walls in the hall and medium light green in the
living room will be agreeable; dark stone and pale green, disagreeable.

When the walls are papered, the effect will be more interesting if
the hall paper is different from that of adjoining rooms. If the hall
is small, its paper should match that in the adjoining rooms rather
closely in hue and tone, differing in texture or pattern, or in the
fact that one paper is figured and the other plain. Small halls are
high in proportion to their width. A figured paper helps to correct the
proportions, whereas a stripe would raise the apparent height of the

When the walls are plain, sufficient ornament to enrich the room and
relieve it from any effect of thinness must be supplied by floor
coverings, draperies, furniture, and accessories.

Floor Coverings for the Hall.

In a decorative sense, floor coverings are more important in the hall
than in any other room, because the floor area is smaller in proportion
to wall area, and there are fewer interesting pieces of furniture, and
relatively fewer accessories. Here are some practical suggestions:

Linoleum is increasingly used for the hall since it permits the user to
express her originality and good taste in many interesting forms. Plain
or mottled linoleum with an attractive motif or monogram set into the
center is both decorative and practical. A border or trim, in keeping
with the architectural style of the room, also adds to the decoration.
The linoleum may harmonize in color with the floor covering of the room
adjoining or may carry out its own color scheme in keeping with the
theme of the hall.

If the hall adjoins the living room it is well to use the same floor
covering as in the living room since this has a tendency to make both
the hall and the living room appear larger. If small rugs are used in
the hall they may be of contrasting tone to the living room rug or may
blend with the general color scheme.

Stair carpets are desirable for the following reasons:

  They are more comfortable, less noisy and easier to keep in
  condition than bare treads.

  They are safer, especially for children and old people.

  They make the hall far more hospitable and inviting.

  They add a much needed note of color to the room.

  They serve to unite lower and upper floors artistically by a
  sweeping line of color.

Draperies for the Hall.

Except in the case of doors with a metal grille, or recessed doors,
Venetian blinds, or curtains, or both, are desirable on the doors and
sidelight of a hall of ordinary size and architectural character,
because they ensure a sense of privacy, temper the light, add the
interest of color and texture and help to invest the hall with a
quality of intimacy and hospitality.


Hall furniture must fit the room in scale. Avoid pieces so small and
thin as to seem poor, weak, and inadequate, or so large as to crowd
the room and destroy its decorative balance. In general, use furniture
of slender proportions against light smooth walls, and thicker or more
massive furniture against darker and rougher walls.

It is highly important to use distinctive pieces in the hall; partly
because it is from this room that the visitor receives his first
impression of the house, and partly because the room can use but few
pieces, which are seen against such relatively large wall spaces that
they must be of unusual interest in order to redeem the room from
bareness and a commonplace quality.

Hall furniture should reveal as much variety as is consistent with
the necessary harmony. Matched pieces usually are to be avoided.
Even in the case of console table and mirror, a mahogany table, for
example, usually will be more pleasing with a gold or lacquer mirror of
harmonious shape than with a matched piece in mahogany. Differences in
woods, finishes, ornamental detail, and height add interest to the room
through variety.

As minimum equipment, the hall should have a table or cabinet with a
mirror, and something on which to sit. Table and mirror constitute the
dominant element; the mirror adds desirable spaciousness, and the charm
of reflected vistas, and both are necessary for practical as well as
artistic reasons. (See fig. 39.) A seat of some kind is necessary to
ensure a sense of hospitality, and as a courtesy to the stranger who
enters the home, but is not immediately admitted to its inner rooms. A
chair, preferably of the straight high-backed type, a bench, or a low
chest with cushion will meet this requirement.


As the dominant element, table and mirror should not be dwarfed by the
wall behind them. If for any reason a small table is placed against a
wide wall space, a long wall banner or panel should be placed on the
wall behind the mirror in order to build up the group at eye level. It
may be built up at the base by a chair at one or both sides, torcheres,
etc. Never use a mirror wider than the piece that stands below it, or
a narrow mirror with a wide table, unless a wall panel also is used to
supply the necessary width. Modern hand-woven tapestries often are used
for hall walls when their cost is not prohibitive. Other devices for
the purpose include panels made from damask, brocade, brocatelle, plain
or figured velvet, real or imitation crewel, Indian or Persian calico
prints. A panel often is used on the wall behind a low chest.

The hall table need not be of the conventional console type. When wall
space permits, any long narrow table will serve, as will a round or
square English card table, with the half-top either flat or raised
against the wall. In the very small hall a large nest of tables can be
used as a small console.

In many halls a lowboy or chest of drawers is decorative and useful.
Other possible items include the decorative cabinet, small tables,
flower stands, floor or banjo clock, screen, lamps, desk, love seat,
radio, and cane or umbrella rack. Always check the possibilities of the
hall in a house you furnish.

The general methods discussed in relation to piece and group sales
of living room merchandise apply equally to the hall. In addition it
should be noted that it is practically impossible to suggest the proper
choice of hall furnishings in the absence of measured drawings, since
both the number of pieces and their size are more definitely determined
by floor and wall space than is the case in any other room. Every sale
of hall furniture of any importance should be followed by a call at
the house as soon after delivery as possible. If the new furniture
does not fit the room, corrections may be made promptly, before any
ill-will develops. Moreover, in many cases additional merchandise can
be suggested and sold.


The dining room should have an atmosphere of cheerfulness and
hospitality both under natural and artificial lighting; and since it is
occupied but three times a day at most, and for short periods only, its
decorative treatment may have more "snap" than would be agreeable in
the living room.


To produce an atmosphere of cheerfulness and hospitality, emphasize:

  Warm or light pastel colors particularly in the walls.

  Ample light, properly controlled.

  Curved lines, and curvilinear shapes to soften hard austere
    outlines of case pieces and windows.

  Gay, contrasting colors in ornamental details.

  Variety and originality.

Cheerfulness and animation will be increased by increasing the
diversity of the room treatment through contrasts in hue, tone, line,
form, and texture, within the limits permitted by the requirement of
unity and harmony. This consideration demands special care in the
dining room, because the important pieces of furniture usually are
matched, with a resulting loss in diversity which must be made up in
the other elements of the room.

Here we have the chief single reason for the great number of
monotonous, uninteresting dining rooms. To the skillful salesman this
will suggest _(a)_ a sound reason for pushing sales of such accessories
as mirrors and pictures, tier tables for plants and accessories, and
for plant stands; _(b)_ an approach for the sale of broken suites
and unmatched pieces. Many women feel that their dining rooms cannot
possibly be correctly furnished unless they are equipped with a matched
suite. This is not always true. Many distinctive dining rooms have been
furnished with harmonious, unmatched pieces.


The same principles and processes discussed under living room wall
treatments apply to the decoration of the dining room, subject to the
qualification that for the reasons noted above, the dining room walls
often may have more striking patterns and sharper contrasts.

Scenic landscape or other highly decorative papers may be effective
in the dining room, although they would not serve as a living room

What was said concerning the living room will afford the basis for
judging the proper relation of walls to the style of furniture. Highly
figured walls do not require choice of plain dining furniture, or vice

The general principles of harmony govern the proper relation of walls
to floor covering. Polychromatic walls require that two or more of the
colors be repeated (not necessarily accurately matched) on the floor.
The floor covering should be somewhat lower in tone, and characterized
neither by too little vigor or boldness of drawing to harmonize with
the walls, nor too much. Choice among these would depend upon personal
taste and the degree of sunniness and warmth required in the rug in
order to bring the room total up to the level desired by the buyer.


The dining room may be treated with a room-size floor covering matching
or harmonizing with the living room rug or linoleum or with a single
large rug. Some housewives prefer to leave the floor bare, except
for two or three small rugs. With figured linoleum the practice is
unobjectionable, except for the loss of the sense of physical comfort
and hospitality created by pile carpets under foot. With hardwood
floors it is open to the objections that it is inhospitable; that
it is too weak in a decorative sense to support the weight of the
relatively large and heavy furniture; and that it makes the room seem
thin and poor, mars the harmony between walls and floor, and prevents a
convincing and satisfying distribution of color.

As compared with the living room, the dining room is relatively small
and its furniture relatively large, striking, and uniform. This means
that the floor covering must be adapted in scale and emphasis of
pattern and coloring to sustain the load of this heavy furniture, and
thus to prevent an effect of stiffness and spottiness in the room; and
that it must have plenty of pattern and color when the other elements
of the room are deficient in variety.

A single rug should be large enough to permit free movement of the
chairs without letting the back legs touch the bare floor. In general,
the rug should just clear the front legs of furniture placed against
the wall. In small rooms, however, it is desirable to have the rug come
to within 12 or 15 inches of the wall in order to increase the room's
apparent size.


Window shades, Venetian blinds, glass curtains, and draperies are
desirable in the dining room. Their selection is governed by the
general considerations discussed under living room window treatments,
page 182.

When a dining room has but one window or a single group of windows,
there is some danger that the draperies may give the room an effect of
spottiness and lack of balance unless care is taken to repeat the color
of the draperies in some way on two or three of the other walls. With
plain draperies, touches of the same hue should so appear, in pictures,
wall panel, screen, sideboard decorations, or some similar device.
With figured draperies containing several colors, at least one of the
important colors should be thus repeated. (See fig. 29, page 130.)


The dining room should be lighted by direct light, released through
a ceiling fixture. The light from this source can be turned off when
candles are used; but the ceiling will be bare and unpleasing without
this central point of interest, and most families prefer not to dine by
candlelight alone.

The fixture should have sufficient height to keep the glare of light
from the eyes of diners. The effect will be most agreeable if the light
is released through several globes of low wattage, and if each of
the globes is shaded in such a way as to keep the table in an arc of
slightly higher illumination than the rest of the room.

Side lights are effective as auxiliaries, but not as the principal
source of light.


                                                  Photograph by Grignon.

Figure 40.--Many features of this eighteenth century dining room
grouping make it adaptable to contemporary homes. It is scaled to fit a
small-size dining room; it is simple in design and it provides valuable
storage space in its compact design. The pedestal legs on the table
carry through the Duncan Phyfe theme of this suite. The corner cabinet
is decorative and practical and the credenza-type buffet adds the
necessary weight to the grouping.]


Usually the dining room adjoins the living room, and it may be assumed
that the same style will be carried through, although not imperatively
so. Any eighteenth century style--Hepplewhite, Sheraton, or Chippendale
can be used with any eighteenth century style or with Colonial or
Duncan Phyfe furniture, providing wood, textures, and fabrics have
unity, similarity, color likenesses, or pleasing contrasts. (See fig.
40.) "Modern" in walnut living room pieces will look well with walnut
dining room in contemporary design. Maple living room furnishings look
well with Early American or French Provincial dining room furniture.
It is easier to combine single styles than several styles harmoniously.
Frequently, however, the most interesting arrangements are from several
styles put together well.

Try out, on the floor, in idle moments, a Sheraton dining table
with Chippendale or Duncan Phyfe chairs. The scale may be right or
wrong--your judgment should tell you. Naturally, the store finds it
easier to sell "sets," but should you run into difficult customers,
this knowledge of interesting combinations may "save" a sale.


                    Courtesy American Walnut Manufacturers' Association.

Figure 41.--A living-dining room suite. Designed by Gilbert Rhode, New
York, N. Y. Folding dinette table with one drop leaf. Photograph shows
view open, table set for four, table moved away from wall.]

Tell customers that, although they may buy six chairs, it is not only
good taste from a decorative standpoint but also from a practical
point of view to have a host and hostess chair. These are upholstered
chairs with tall backs and are used at the head and the foot of the
table. The host chairs either should match the draperies or harmonize
with the color scheme of the room. Many times host and hostess chairs
upholstered in a print, matching the draperies are cheerful and
decorative. Stripes are popular as upholstered seat covers on dining
room chairs, but plain coverings in damask, leather, or tapestry are
also in good taste. Small figured patterns are also used.


Many of the new homes are being built with living room and dining room
combined into one unit or with a large living room and very small
dining room. For the single-unit rooms, a happy choice is an extension
or a gate-leg table and a low chest of drawers for linen which may be
used either in the living room or in dining room. Small dining room
tables which may be extended to seat six or eight may be arranged in
front of a bay window or along the wall at one side of the room in
keeping with the general room harmony. The dining chairs are placed
near the table, when not in use, and may be used as bridge chairs or
auxiliary seating equipment. (See fig. 41.)


                                                  Photograph by Grignon.

Figure 42.--A contemporary dining room grouping made of birch and
finished in a light wheat tone. Simply carved with a modernized wheat
motif, this grouping relies upon its simplicity for smartness and
distinction. The chairs are upholstered in a rose-colored, leather-like
fabric and trimmed with small bronze nail heads. The legs of the table
and chairs taper gracefully and eliminate the box-like features usually
associated with contemporary design. The credenza-type buffet and china
have pulls of matching wood.]

Dinette furniture, especially made for the dinette, offers a variety
of selection and need not necessarily be in keeping with the living
room scheme. Light woods are popular for dinettes, maple, oak, birch,
and pine being popular for this purpose. When the dinette is replaced
by a larger dining room ensemble the dinette set may be used in the
breakfast room or in the kitchen. Small size china cabinets and buffets
accompany many of the dinette sets.

Junior dining room sets are small scale dining room ensembles and are
usually shown in fine cabinet woods in styles found in large size
dining room ensembles. The junior dining room sets differ from the
dinette sets in that they are usually not as informal as the dinette
and are designed for the small-size dining room rather than for the


Sales of living room merchandise fall into two classes: _Piece sales_,
involving the selection of one or more pieces for use in a room already
partially furnished; and _ensemble sales_, involving the selection of
most or all of the furnishings necessary to equip completely a room, or
even a house.

These two types of sales present different problems and require the
use of different methods. However, they are alike in two important
respects. In all of them the self-interest of the buyer is the
determining factor; and competition in one or more forms is inevitable.


The first and inescapable form of competition is a competition among
conflicting desires in the mind of the average buyer. In order to
buy one thing, she must give up something else. Furniture dealers
and salesmen habitually assume that the woman who enters a furniture
store and asks, for example, for an easy chair, has already decided
to buy one. The fact is that the customer is often merely weighing
the satisfactions likely to come to her through possession of a
chair against those offered by other articles or services also under
consideration. In this case you must lead her to desire a chair more
than she desires anything else before you can sell any chair, however
large your stock or low your prices.

Unhappily, much furniture advertising is calculated to give the reading
public a false impression of the necessary price levels of good
furniture. It may be that you can please your customer with a chair at
the price she has tentatively decided to pay. If not, you must please
her in a more costly piece. Here you run up against new competition;
for however able your demonstration of quality may be, your customer is
certain to weigh that additional item of cost against the additional
articles that she must give up in order to buy the chair. Hence
something more than a convincing demonstration of the intrinsic
worthiness of the piece will be necessary to complete the sale.

Finally, there is a third form of competition--that among different
furniture stores for the same sale. However well the customer may like
your chair at the price asked, it is natural for her to try to find
something just as good at a lower price, or more pleasing at the same
price, since that is her habit in buying other commodities.

She knows that there are other good stores nearby, with scores of
easy chairs to show her, and that they are advertising bargains and
holding out inducements to get her trade. You cannot prove to her in
advance that she will only waste her time by looking further, and any
arguments, pleadings, or high-pressure methods designed to keep her
from doing so are quite likely to have precisely the opposite effect.


At this point a surprisingly large percentage of salesmen weaken.
Knowing that it is impossible to oppose successfully the self-interest
of the buyer, they can think of nothing else to do. In point of fact
there is nothing else to do in a great many cases, _except to make
every possible effort to create an impression sufficiently powerful to
bring the buyer back after her shopping tour is over_. In many other
cases, however, there is a way to meet competition, if you can develop
the ability to use it.

The woman who wants an easy chair, a sofa, a rug, or a desk, also wants
something else which is far more important to her, namely, a more
satisfying room. She doesn't tell you about it, but she really hopes
that the new piece under consideration will add more beauty, comfort,
distinction, or impressiveness to her room.

Get her to thinking of her room as a whole, with the new article a part
of that whole. Lead her to believe that the desirable qualities which
she seeks will appear in it as a result of your help in selection and
arrangement. In other words, appeal to her self-interest by offering
her something highly important which she knows in advance cannot be
found elsewhere.


To overcome the inevitable competition of opposing desires, and to
reduce or eliminate shopping for variety of selection or price, make
your customer see the piece under consideration not as an individual
unit, but as an integral part of her room. As long as she is permitted
to think that she is buying a chair and nothing but a chair, she will
be concerned with a multitude of details, most of which are of no real
importance,[27] and will be strongly disposed to keep on looking until
she has exhausted every possibility of finding something completely
satisfactory in all of these details.

Transfer her interest to her room as a whole, with your chair as a
part of it, and you immediately rob most of these details of their
earlier importance in her mind. Paint a sufficiently attractive mental
picture of her room as it will become with your chair in it, and she
may buy the picture, and the chair as an essential element of it. She
will not care to shop further for a better looking or cheaper chair, in
the fear that even if one could be found the picture would be spoiled.


Possibly you have had the experience of losing important sales to men
working in stores far smaller than your own or to decorators with no
more physical equipment than could be condensed into a small office
or studio. Why should you have lost such sales when you enjoy the
great advantages of ample stocks, lower prices, better terms, and
the prestige of a well-known and financially solid house? Obviously,
because the other man had the skill and the power to _shift your
customer's interest and desire from merchandise, as such to what
merchandise will do_.

In order to make a normal sale by means of this "room-picture" method,
you will require:

  1. Full knowledge of your own merchandise from the technical and
    artistic aspects.

  2. Considerable knowledge of the customer's room and its important

  3. Adequate knowledge of decorative principles, including the
    emotional values of light, color, texture, line, and proportion.

  4. A little knowledge of the decorative accessories--pictures,
    potteries, glass, embroideries, and the many small things
    necessary to save a room from bareness, and to give it color,
    snap, and intimacy.

It is desirable but by no means necessary that you have these
accessories for sale; however, you must know how to talk about them,
because it is impossible to make a living room genuinely attractive and
satisfying without them.


Few furniture men appreciate the extent to which sales volume is
restricted by insistence upon selling parts instead of finished
products. Not only is furniture displayed as a pharmacist displays
drugs in the rows of bottles on his shelves; but also customers are
asked to do their own compounding and to accept full responsibility for
the results.

Many salesmen habitually assure the buyer that her room will be
comfortable and beautiful after they have placed in it a sofa, two
chairs, an end table, one floor lamp, and a radio. Of course it isn't,
and disappointment results. She sees her room as bare, thin, spotty,
unhomelike, and unlovely. She knows something is wrong, but she is
without knowledge to correct it.

Ensemble selling and complete room settings are the home-furnishings
industry's modern answer. Unless she is able to arrange the major
pieces of her furniture in a manner that will show them to the best
advantage, unless she has at least the requisites in the smaller
pieces, lamps, and other accessories, she may never get the full
satisfaction that she should for the money she has spent in the
furniture store. It is the salesperson's duty to fit his customer's
purchases into a complete room or home.


In ensemble selling, don't lecture, talk about yourself, or appear in
any way to be airing your knowledge. Simply talk in an off-hand manner,
as if you were dealing in commonplaces as familiar to your customer as
to yourself. The important matter is to learn promptly enough about
her room to enable you to link some of its characteristics with the
characteristics of your merchandise, so that as you point out the many
desirable features of her room, and the perfect way in which your
furniture harmonizes with and emphasizes these features, she is brought
to the conviction that she should have the room just as you have
pictured it, and therefore must have your furniture, without regard to
what other stores may have to offer.

This method is not too easy when one first begins to employ it, nor
should it be used with every customer. It will interest a surprisingly
large percentage of customers, and it often will result in a sale in
situations where all other methods fail. It is planned selling, which,
based on the enlightened self-interest of the buyer, helps her to buy,
and so smoothes the path before her that she may purchase her needs
room by room.


Many important sales will involve the complete room ensemble or the
complete house ensemble both of which are used to the great advantage
of the store and of the public. Usually such sales are in sight long
enough in advance to permit you to study and measure the rooms. In
important sales of this kind, try to get the head of the house in
for the first showing. You will probably be unable to close the sale
without him, and he will be likely to save your time as well as to
increase the amount of the sale. Do not overlook the fact that it
is important to see the house after the sale is made, preferably
when the goods are being installed. In this way you guard against
possible disappointment, ensure good will, and often find room for more

There are three general methods for dealing with these room sales. The
choice between them will depend upon your judgment as to the probable
reactions of the customer.

Setting Up a Complete Room in Advance.

Measure the room accurately, locating doors and windows; study the
room, and so far as possible the disposition, tastes, and means of the
buyers; select harmonious furnishings for the entire room, usually with
one or more substitutes for the most important pieces; lay out the room
with chalk, or with a chalk line or string tacked to the floor, with
recesses for the windows and openings for the doors in their exact
locations; set up the room with the merchandise selected, keeping
the substitutes at one side for emergency use; arrange to have the
customers call by appointment; and show the whole setting, making your
talk while they examine it.

If you know the people, and feel sure that the total cost of the room
is not far above what they expect to spend, this is a good method.
Otherwise there is some danger that they will dislike one or more
single elements of the room, and without giving you the opportunity to
correct them, reject the whole setting; and also that they may ask for
the total price before a real desire for the setting has been aroused,
find it unexpectedly high, and refuse to pay it.

Building Up Room With Customers.

Proceed as above to the point where the room is laid out; but instead
of actually placing the furniture keep it at one side; explain to the
buyers the lay-out of the room, locating the doors and windows; have
the furnishings brought in and placed by porters one piece at a time,
starting with the floor covering. This will give you the chance to
prepare their minds for each piece, and to sell your picture as they
see it grow before their eyes; to make immediate substitutions in case
one of your selections fails to please; and to reduce the price hazard.

For example, they may ask the price of some important piece such as the
rug or sofa, or you may quote it in the course of your talk. If there
is a quick objection, you will be able to reassure them by a statement
that something of similar appearance but lower price can be substituted
later without marring the total effect.

Laying Out Room to Scale.

Proceed at the outset as in above; but instead of laying out the actual
room, prepare a scale drawing on a regular floor plan, to the scale
of a ¼ inch to 1 foot, or a large drawing to the scale of 1 inch, to
1 foot. Make drawings or symbols of the furniture to be used to the
same scale, cut them out, and fix them to the floor plan by means of
thumb tacks. This will permit shifting them about in case of question
as to the arrangement of the room. Have the furnishings assembled, and
brought in by porters as needed and arranged in small intimate groups,
if space permits. Otherwise carry the drawing board with you as you
take your customers through the stock from one of the proposed pieces
to the next.

This method is necessary in small stores where it is practically
impossible to spare floor space for a display lasting several hours.
It can be made somewhat more effective by drawing in the four-wall
elevations and indicating the space relationships of furniture and

In the ordinary ensemble sale where no advance preparation is possible,
quick thinking and smooth action are essential. Such a sale may start
anywhere, but ordinarily you will start it where your stock is most
complete, or where for any other reason you expect to encounter minimum
resistance. Many stores have a series of model rooms, or several series
furnished completely at different price levels. A visit to these rooms
will give the salesman a fair idea, of what his customers consider
necessary, what they are prepared to pay, and where to start the sale.


_1. What methods do you follow in reducing to a minimum the kinds of
competition a salesman must meet in selling furniture for the living
room? dining room?_

_2. A salesman asks his customer: "Just what kind of studio couch do
you have in mind?" Why is this bad practice?_

_3. Why do you use a floor-plan idea for getting a picture of the
background which has brought a customer to your store?_

_4. Suppose a customer seems determined to purchase a piece of
furniture which you know is not suited for her use. Do you discourage
her at the risk of losing the sale?_

_5. Suggest three or four good ways to interest your customer in rugs
for the living room._

_6. Few customers are able to afford use of the most costly
furnishings. How do you proceed to convince the average woman that
certain essential harmonies actually cost nothing whatever in money?_

_7. Suppose you are consulted by a young couple soon to be married.
They ask you for suggestions for furnishing their five-room apartment.
How do you proceed?_

_8. How does customer age present a problem in selling house

_9. Why is it not good practice to ask your customer the style of her
living room?_

_10. Work out a plan for furnishing an unattractive hall in the home
of a well-to-do couple, and outline steps you would take to call your
ideas to their attention?_


  BURROWS, THELMA M. _Successful Home Furnishing._ Manual Arts Press,
    Peoria, Ill. 1938.

  Chapter VIII, pp. 103-123.

  DRAPER, DOROTHY. _Decorating Is Fun._ Doubleday, Doran & Co. New
    York, N. Y. 1939.

  GOLDSTEIN, HARRIET _and_ VETTA. _Art In Every Day Life._ The
    Macmillan Co., New York, N. Y. 1925.

  Rooms of a Homelike House, XIX, pp. 345-390.

  HAGMAN, I. C. _Walls As Background In the Livable Home._ Circular
    237, University of Kentucky. 1930.

  KOUES, HELEN. _How To Beautify Your Home._ Good Housekeeping, New
    York, N. Y.

  Dining Rooms--Asserting Individuality in Furniture, pp. 73-85.
  Combination Living Room and Dining Room, pp. 85-95.

  PALMER, L. _Your House._ Boston Cooking School Magazine Co. 1928.

  Living Room, Hall, and Dining Room, pp. 22-68.

  POWELL, LYDIA. _The Four Main Rooms._ The Macmillan Co., New York,
    N. Y. 1939. Pp. 3-39.

  PRIESTMAN, MABEL TUKE. _Art and Economy in Home Decoration._ John
    Lane (The Bodley Head, Ltd., London).

  Concerning Halls, pp. 43-49.

  SEAL ETHEL DAVIS. _Furnishing The Little House._ The Century Co.
    New York, N. Y. 1924.

  Furnishing the Hall, VI, pp. 106-120.
  The Living Room as the Heart of the House, VIII, pp. 120-139.
  Dining Rooms May Be Formal or Gay, pp. 139-155.

  WRIGHT AGNES FOSTER. _Interior Decoration for Modern Needs._
    Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York, N. Y.

  Dining Rooms, pp. 159-164.


[27] Every salesman knows how exacting many buyers become when their
minds are fixed upon an individual unit. The chair is just a little too
this or that; the rug has a square inch of blue where there should be a
square inch of red; the cretonne is perfect in design and coloring, but
10 cents a yard more than she had decided to pay; and so on.

Unit X


  Furnishing the Bedroom

  Furnishing the Sunroom

  Equipping the Breakfast Room and Kitchen

  Final Emphasis for Alert Salespersons.


                                       Courtesy American Furniture Mart.

Figure 43.--Tile, long associated with the kitchen for walls and
floors, becomes the decorative theme of this ensemble, making a
striking contrast against the gleaming white walls, and the coral table
top marked off in tile effects offers a new decorative note. The color
is repeated at the back of the cabinet, on the top rail of the chairs,
and on the interior of the unusual utilities which have open shelves
for accessories. Small chrome hardware is used.]

                      KITCHEN, AND BREAKFAST ROOM


Many still think of the bedroom only as a place in which to sleep. In
point of fact often it is used as a secluded sitting room where one may
close the door and rest, shutting out the cares and activity of a busy
day. It should more properly be called a relaxation room, and furnished
with that thought in mind. To meet this trend toward more diversified
bedrooms, the salesperson should organize his stock mentally on the
basis of night stands, desks, boudoir chairs, chaise lounges, lamps,
and bookshelves for use in the family bedroom or guest room, and
equally suitable pieces for the nursery playroom and the individual
bedrooms of young and older children. For years the magazines have
been describing these double-function bedrooms, broadcasting their
convenience and charm, creating in the minds of readers a widening
interest and acceptance, and thus preparing a new field for selling

Moreover, there are multitudes of homemakers who know little or nothing
about this comfortable modern trend in bedroom decoration, and still
consider that the only furniture essential or desirable is a 3-, 4-, or
5-piece suite and a slipper chair or two. Many of our old customers,
who now regard their bedrooms as completely furnished, can be
interested in the purchase of additional new merchandise by persistent
educational and development work.


The bedroom differs from the hall, living room, and dining room in
that it is a personal room, not shared in common by all the members
of the family. Individual tastes and preferences may be given free
rein in its decoration. Hence, the salesperson who is able to help his
customer express a distinctly personal quality in her room enjoys a
great advantage over the salesperson who lacks this ability. In selling
bedroom furnishings, the successful salesperson will require knowledge
of various decorative accessories, including bedspreads, linens,
pictures, ornamental glass toiletries, and pottery.

Many women have clear ideas as to the effect they want their bedrooms
to reveal. One will want a restful room; a second, a gaily colorful
and animated room; and a third, a dainty room. When such buyers
fall into the hands of a skillful salesperson, price (within their
economic limits) becomes a matter wholly of secondary importance, and
competitive shopping is forgotten. Selling from this approach becomes
largely a matter of giving studied expression to the decorative motif
chosen for the room. If it is daintiness--furniture, walls, floor
covering, draperies, and accessories must be selected and arranged to
concur in creating an effect of daintiness. An ability to work out
these decorative motifs and to talk about them interestingly in the
course of a year's work will "save" dozens of orders.


Bedroom walls may be tinted, painted, or papered depending upon the
type of effect desired.

Tinted walls are used in pastel colors with beautiful effect in a wide
range of colors. All that is necessary to know is the customer's color
preference since, today, any color may be worked into an effective

New wallpapers offer an endless variety of color combinations and many
times the entire room scheme may be furnished by the wallpaper.

It is good taste to keep the bedroom in pastels or light tones since
dark tones have a depressing effect upon the occupant. In some
instances, the type of furnishings to be used will determine the type
of wallpaper to be used. French furnishings require the dainty, flowery
type of paper; English furnishings are more subdued--either a plain
paper with a small figure, or with subdued florals. Early American
and Colonial rooms will take a colorful flowered paper or a "quaint"
pattern. It is well to keep in touch with the decorative magazines in
which room settings using correct paper on the walls are shown in color
and which offer many suggestions for other interesting wall treatments.


Ceilings should be either cream, off-white, or light pastel colors
harmonizing with the wallpaper. It is most important that the ceiling
be kept light in tone with the possible exception of an extremely
modern room where a dramatic effect is to be achieved. In a library,
the ceiling may be darkened to bring it "closer to the floor," but in a
bedroom the ceiling should be kept light to make the room appear large
and airy.


A room-size rug is to be preferred when practicable for a small
bedroom, because it causes the room to appear larger than does a
combination of small rugs, yet many bedrooms are being artistically
furnished today with small scatter rugs.

Since the bedroom is closed off from the other rooms, one can be more
daring in the choice of floor covering; it is not necessary to blend
the coloring to the other rooms. New pastel floor coverings in plain
and floral tones offer endless opportunities for bedroom use and color
need be considered only when selecting a pattern now that there is
no longer any set method of dictating the type of pattern especially
adaptable for bedroom use. Today, it is merely a matter of personal
preference and good taste, the only requirement being that one keep in
mind the general color scheme of the room.

In Colonial and Early American bedrooms, small hooked rugs add a note
of color and decoration to the room. In modern bedrooms, scatter rugs
in lovely pastel colors add a new, interesting note.


In the bedroom today Venetian blinds serve to soften and control the
light; draperies are used more or less for decorative purposes. The
draperies may match the spread, pick-up the color tone of the rug, or
repeat the color of the boudoir chair, chaise lounge, or the accent
color used in the accessories. Venetian blinds may be used in a variety
of colors with matching or contrasting tapes. In many instances, sheer
curtains are used as draperies, crisscrossed and tied back in the
manner of the formal drape. Usually light weight materials are used
for bedroom draperies the material varying according to the type of
room. In the more formal room satin and lightweight damask draperies
are used. In the informal room printed draperies, crepes, voiles, or
candlewick are used.

While glass curtains may be used with Venetian blinds, in many
instances they are used instead of the blinds. They are made of net,
voile, marquisette, muslin, organdie, or any sheer material. In color,
they are white, off-white, or pastel. Preferably, they are made with
double fullness of material, and hung either to the sill or the apron.

A popular item now being added to many bedrooms is the small dressing
table with detachable skirt. The dressing tablet may be artistically
placed in front of the window and the skirt made of the same material
as the draperies. In this way the draperies serve as a frame for the
dressing table and create a beautiful picture. In many instances where
a customer is interested in investing in good bedding but cannot afford
to buy the entire bedroom suite at one time, it may be well to suggest
a box spring and mattress on legs with detachable headboard and a small
dressing table with detachable skirt. An inexpensive chest of drawers
completes the ensemble. Later the box spring and mattress can be used
on the regular bed, the dressing table maintained or moved into the
guest room, and the chest of drawers used in another part of the house.


The bedroom offers excellent opportunities for the salesman to interest
the customer in "summerizing" the house. During the summer, heavy
spreads should be removed and light, washable spreads substituted.
Cotton curtains, spreads, summer weight blankets, slip covers for
chairs, scatter rugs to replace large rugs, new dressing table skirts,
and summer pictures and other accessories are all within the realm of
summer sales.

Although all the rooms in the house offer wonderful opportunities for
summer sales, the bedroom best adapts itself to opportunities for this
"plus" selling.


Bedroom furniture usually is shown and sold in suites. As ordinarily
displayed on the floor, closely crowded and with the bed in short
rails, the pieces of a suite appear so much alike that an unimaginative
customer will find them monotonous and uninteresting. This means that
the successful salesman must find words to picture the suite as it
will appear against the varied and colorful backgrounds and accents
necessary to bring out its beauty and individuality.

There is no sound artistic or practical objection to the use of pieces
from different suites in the same room; provided, of course, that
the resemblances in proportion, line, and coloring are sufficiently
marked to ensure harmony. This is the only way in which antiques can
be used, and it is no less effective with modern pieces. This point is
particularly important in the sale of furniture for a child's room or
a small guest room, which will not take a full suite in any case, but
which will offer a valuable opportunity to sell broken lots. Stress the
fact that use of unmatched but harmonious pieces is modern practice,
that such pieces give interest and individuality to the room, and that
ensemble grouping is as desirable in the bedroom as in the living room
or sunroom.


When a customer asks to see a bedroom suite, but gives no further hint
as to her preferences, several questions enter your mind immediately:

  How many pieces can she use?

  What wood, finish, style, and type of design is she likely to

  Has she been looking at furniture elsewhere?

  How much can or will she pay?


                                                  Photograph by Grignon.

Figure 44.--"Right and left" twin chests offer a practical new
decorative treatment for contemporary rooms and may be used singly
or combined into one unit. Included in this grouping are "right and
left" twin beds using the same decorative treatment as the dressers.
A turquoise green tinted transparent lacquer finish is used on this
unusual suite to give an iridescent effect. The large "pouf" hassock
is upholstered in turquoise blue pin-dot satin. The Axminster rug has
large multi-colored cineraria flowers on a soft grey background.]

Do not ask any of these questions at the outset. Normally, the first
actual question is whether the furniture is for use in her own room.
If the answer is "Yes," she is likely to acquaint you at once with
her ideas, if she has any well-defined preferences. In the absence of
such a lead, take her at once to an attractive suite, never at either
extreme of your bedroom patterns.

The ideal starting point is an open-stock pattern, complete both with
beds and with a full assortment of cases. If she is at all interested
in this suite, probably she will tell you at once that she cannot use
all the pieces. This naturally will lead to information as to the size
and character of her room, its woodwork, walls, and floor covering,
whether it is to be used by two people, and if so, whether she prefers
a full-size bed or twin beds.


In any event try to gain a fairly clear idea of the room, particularly
of its size and available wall spaces, before you show a second suite,
as this information will help you to cut down selling time. In the
absence of a voluntary and positive statement, do not ask how many
pieces she wants. Once on record, she may stand pat; otherwise there
always is the chance, even if she plans to use only three pieces, that
she may buy a full suite, using the extra piece, if necessary, in
another room in order to get a pattern that particularly pleases her.

Bedroom suites are so much alike in general appearance, and usually
displayed in ways which so thoroughly rob them of individuality that
it is dangerously easy to show too many. Baffled by the prolonged
attempt to compare a multitude of minor details and to picture a long
succession of suites in her own room, the average customer may be
expected to become confused, lose confidence in her own judgment, and
decide either to "think it over" or to "look further."

Partitions, dividers, and model rooms speed up the sale of bedroom
furniture because they make it possible to preserve a more marked
appearance of individuality among the suites thus separated. They serve
also to confine the buyer's attention to the suite under consideration,
and to reduce the likelihood of confusion and indecision by enabling
the salesman to show only such suites as promise to be acceptable. For
the same reasons the box method of arranging an open bedroom floor
usually is to be preferred to arrangement in rows. The exact method
of boxing must be determined by the location of floor columns and the
number of pieces shown in a suite.


It is important to limit the number of suites shown to the minimum
necessary to effect a sale. Obviously, this is possible only in the
degree that we learn enough about the buyer's tastes and the details
of her room in the earlier stages of a sale to keep away from all
unsuitable merchandise. Most women do not care even to look at
unsuitable merchandise. They want to see the right thing, measured in
terms of fitness for their own purposes and use.

The woman who shops for a dress, hat, or coat in a modern store neither
expects nor desires to see the entire stock or any considerable part
of it. She is comfortably seated in a well-lighted room which contains
little, if any, exposed merchandise. The salesperson, after a quick
mental appraisal, asks a few leading questions, and brings from the
stockroom one, two, or possibly three models, carefully chosen on the
basis of suitability, size, and style. If these are rejected they
are removed, and a second small selection brought out. Unsuitable
merchandise is not seen by the customer, and the possibility of
confusion and indecision thus is reduced to the minimum.


In important bedroom sales which are worked up in advance of the
customer's visit to the store for the purpose of actually making
selections, it is important for the salesman to see the room to be
furnished if possible, or in any event to secure measurements of the
floor and wall spaces. This will eliminate guesswork and enable you
to have the suite you want to sell set up under such conditions, and
with such accessories and related merchandise as will bring out its
individuality. Even in ordinary floor sales sometimes it is desirable
to have a suite taken off the floor and set up in a situation where it
can be seen to the best advantage.


As a means of summarizing certain factors which the salesman constantly
must keep in mind, let us consider in order the steps to be taken in
conducting a normal floor sale of a bedroom suite:

_Meet the customer and take her to the suite with which you have
decided to start the sale._--Throughout the entire interview, whether
it results in an immediate sale or not, the customer must be aware of
a degree of courtesy, alert and intelligent interest, patience, and
attention to her comfort and convenience noticeably greater than she is
accustomed to receive in other stores or from other salesmen. This is
fundamental, and indispensable to successful salesmanship.

_Show the first suite._--This suite is a "trial balloon." You do not
expect to sell it, but rather to use it as a means of gaining necessary
information about the customer's tastes and needs and the room to be
furnished. "High light" the set in a few words, and then keep still and
let her talk if she is willing to do so. Remember that you are not in
position to instruct or even to advise her as to what she ought to buy.
Your first duty is to find out as soon as possible what she wants to
buy, or at least what she does not want to buy. In "high-lighting" this
suite, avoid superlatives, and statements which may set up resistance.
Do not, for example, proclaim that it is the latest, the buyer's
favorite, or that you have a suite just like it in your own home. Make
your introduction as interest-compelling as possible, but base it on
some such noncontroversial subject as wood, style, or beauty of design.
If she says nothing, turn to the case nearest her, comment on its wood
and finish, run your finger lightly along it, and try to get her to
do the same thing. Then say something interesting about the style,
the design, or the manufacture. If there still are no signs of real
interest, shift to the subject of her room, and begin to draw out the
information you require. This should stir her interest. If not, move on
to another suite which you know will look well in her room, and begin
all over again.


                                       Courtesy American Furniture Mart.

Figure 45.--Square upon square offers a new decorative theme in
this Ipswich bedroom group. This suite combines the simplicity of
contemporary design with Early American charm. The 4-row Axminster rug
illustrated is in one of the new hooked designs.]

Remember to point out any "gadgets" which the suite may have--special
shirt drawers, locks, secret compartments, jewelry compartments,
hidden box, stocking drawers, or drawer mirrors. All of these items
offer "plus" selling features and many times are a factor in the
sale of a suite. Be sure you have examined all of the suites on the
floor thoroughly so that you have discovered all possible gadgets and
opportunities for "plus" selling features.

Unless a customer shows such a keen and unusual interest as to warrant
the belief that an immediate sale is possible, do not spend too much
time with the first suite.


                                    Courtesy of American Furniture Mart.

Figure 46.--An Early American bedroom grouping ideally suited to
American homes. Simple in design, it is rich in American tradition, for
it is the type of furniture first used in this country by the original
settlers. Scaled to fit a medium-size room, the furniture is sturdy,
practical, and decorative. Made of maple and finished in a rich,
red-brown tone, a suite such as this is adaptable to rural or urban

_Show the second suite--a contrasting type._--Since all things gain in
individuality and distinction by contrast with their opposites, usually
it is good salesmanship to show a second suite sharply different from
the first in appearance. If you watch some salespersons at work,
you will see that they move slowly and regularly down one aisle and
back the next, taking each suite as it comes, however closely it
may resemble the one before it. At best, this method wastes time,
while with many customers it results in weariness, confusion, and a
well-defined suspicion that the salesperson is only an order-taker.
In general, move toward the sale by longer but fewer jumps, and show
contrasting types in the effort to heighten the buyer's interest, and
to arrive as quickly as possible at an understanding of her likes. We
know, for example, that some women prefer slender, delicately designed
bedroom furniture, while others want bulk. It is quite impossible
to judge their preferences from their appearance. Suites shown by
the method of contrast will uncover this and similar preferences
immediately, and thus speed up the sale.

Assuming that you pick the second and all succeeding suites in the
light of increasing knowledge of the customer's tastes and the size and
decorative character of her room, move forward slowly. Since you are
not guessing blindly, but acting in the light of knowledge and taste,
you must assume that the buyer will be interested in what you are
showing, and take ample time to develop her interest.

Remember that the customer must like the appearance of any suite at
which she is looking and regard it as well suited for her own use
before she will consider buying it. Emphasis upon the beauty and
distinction of wood, finish, and design, and skillful use of the
"room-picture" method of presentation should precede emphasis upon
construction and price. However, construction becomes an important
factor when you reach the second suite just as soon as you see signs
of acceptance for appearance and decorative fitness. If no such signs
appear, move on to the third suite.

_Show just as many additional suites as may be necessary but no more._

_Close the sale, if and when possible._--There is no simple formula for
closing a sale, and no set point in the sales interview at which to
make the attempt. Notwithstanding a vast amount of theorizing on the
subject, the only rule of practical value to the salesperson appears to
be the old rule of experience and common sense: Try to close any sale
the moment you have reason to believe the customer is ready to buy; not
before, and not after.


The sunroom, though of ancient origin,[28] is a comparatively recent
addition to the American home. Its rapid development doubtless is due
to widening popular confidence in the therapeutic value of sunlight.
Today's sunroom is in practice an informal lounging room which takes
the place of the disappearing back parlor, and as such is a highly
useful and important part of the home. Add the fact that it can be,
and usually is, so decorated as to offer the relief of striking and
colorful contrast to more conservatively furnished rooms, and we have
ample reason for the popularity of this room in American houses. Many
housewives whose homes contain small sunrooms do not know how to make
them attractive, and many others apparently have no desire to do so.
Often the room is a mere "catch-all" and final resting place for worn
or outmoded furniture discarded from the other rooms.

Many homemakers who come to our stores for ideas on sunroom decoration
either turn away to the decorators or big-city stores, or are promptly
headed to low-priced merchandise, and leave with little more than two
$6.75 reed or metal chairs, a small table, a fiber rug, a bridge lamp,
a smoking stand, and a few yards of cretonne.

Salesmen must shift from emphasis upon the drab and commonplace to
emphasis upon the distinctive. This will be easy, because persons
who have sunrooms usually can well afford to pay for making them
attractive. In every sale of sunroom merchandise, whether for a new
house or an old, we must have the courage to point out that this room,
potentially so large a factor in the comfort and enjoyment of the
family, so much used by intimate guests, and so conspicuously placed
as to be an open advertisement of the taste of its owners, should
be furnished in a manner consistent with its proper importance. In
order to convert this talk into profitable sales, we must of course
have a stock of interesting ideas and suggestions on modern sunroom


The sunroom should be comfortable, but colorful and stimulating. This
will demand good furniture and well-sprung seating, careful arrangement
for convenience without crowding, colorful textiles, good lighting, and
interesting accessories.

Since the sunroom often is small and of irregular shape, it should be
measured before furnishings are selected.


It is common practice to find sunroom walls covered with bright and
strikingly figured papers. Usually the effect is unpleasant because:

  1. Such papers make the room seem smaller,

  2. With windows on two or three sides of the room, such papers on
    the remaining wall spaces rob the room of balance,

  3. Draperies or furniture coverings, or both, together with the
    necessary colorful accessories, give the room all the animation
    it can stand, and therefore make plain or simple wall treatment

Walls may be painted, papered, paneled in natural wood, or covered with
one of the new cloth or wood-veneer fabrics.


For general considerations governing choice of floor coverings for the
sunroom, see Furnishing the Hall, page 188.

Note as an exception that a plain carpet or large rug often is
preferred to a figured carpet or rug in spite of a tendency to shade
and the fact that it shows dust and ashes more easily because:

  1. It offers a more effective background for gaily figured
    draperies and floor coverings.

  2. The rich and unusual colors often desired for sunroom use are
    easier to find in plain carpetings.


Some method of controlling natural light must be afforded by the window
treatment. Venetian blinds are preferable for this purpose, because
they can be adjusted instantly to the varying height of the sun;
whereas moveable draperies, lined and interlined to make them opaque,
either will exclude the light altogether when closed, or leave a band
of bright light from top to bottom when partially closed.

Glass curtains are not always used on windows which have Venetian
blinds and draperies. When such draperies are omitted, thin unlined
curtains in a neutral or in a positive color are used alone. They
should be made to draw, with sufficient material to provide double
fullness when fully drawn.

Sunroom draperies may be of any material not too heavy to accord with
the scale of the room or too elegant to accord with its decorative
character and other furnishings. Choice among plain, simply figured,
and strikingly figured fabrics will be governed by the size of the room
and the amount of ornament in other surfaces.


_Suggestions will be welcomed._--Although no new principles are
involved in the sale of sunroom merchandise, the subject merits brief
comment. A woman interested in home furnishings for any other room in
her home is likely to have fairly definite ideas of her own, or least
to be familiar with conventional methods of furnishing these rooms.
This makes the salesman's talk one of discovering and interpreting her
ideas, and helping to carry them out by means of his own merchandise.
With the sunroom this is not often the case. It is relatively a new
room, serving one purpose in one home, another in the second, and none
at all in the third. Customers are likely to be open to suggestions,
and to buy better merchandise and with less resistance, in the degree
that these suggestions are clever and a little out of the ordinary.

This means that initiative and imagination are necessary to marked
success in selling sunroom furnishings,[30] and that accordingly we
must be alert both to gain ideas on sunroom treatments from books,
magazines, and markets, and to study our own merchandise from the
viewpoint of its possibilities for sunroom decoration.


The old days when reed and willow were top favorites for sunrooms has
passed. Despite the fact that many beautiful styles in these materials
are on the market, other types of furnishings have moved into the
sunroom to augment and in many instances replace the old favorites.

Early American furniture in soft brown or honey-colored, maple, covered
in chintz or printed linens, or in one of the many new textures
developed for this type, is a happy choice for many sunrooms. Others
are attractive when equipped with light-colored woods upholstered in
lovely pastel fabrics. Chrome-steel furniture offers many opportunities
for the sunroom as do bentwood, glass, enameled furniture, and rattan.

The sunroom offers an opportunity to sell such "plus" items as
studio couches, sofa beds, standing bridge sets, radios, magazine
racks, desks, and lamps. Since many sunrooms may be interpreted as
an extension of the living room, these offer an opportunity to sell
regular living room stock, upholstered chairs, a sofa or love seat, the
necessary tables, lamps, and accessories.


The breakfast room has no fixed position or character. It may be a
nook or small alcove, equipped with built-in table and settles, and
decoratively a part of the kitchen; an important room of fair size and
pronounced individuality; or--as is often the case--a room so small
as to be pretty well crowded by a small table, four chairs and their
occupants, and connected with the dining room by a cased opening or
French doors.

The proper aims of breakfast room decoration are _(a)_ to make it as
comfortable, spacious, and uncrowded as possible; _(b)_ to give it a
sunny, inspiring quality; and _(c)_ to emphasize its individuality
while linking it harmoniously with the more important room, if any,
into which it opens.


Since the breakfast room is a gay informal room it should be cheerful,
light, and colorful. Walls may be tinted, painted, or papered. If
tinted, light pastels should be used. If painted, colored decalcomanias
may be used to add a decorative note. Fruit and flower prints in gay
colors on a light pastel or white background, gay stripes, or colorful
figured wallpaper may be used. Woodwork, if possible, should be white
or the pastel color of the walls. Since most of the furnishings for the
breakfast room are light in color, gay, colorful accents should be used
both in the wall decoration and in the pictures and accessories.


Here--as in the hall and the sunroom--imagination, familiarity with
good current work, and energy will sell more goods in less time than
the stodgy, conventional, lackadaisical methods which so many buyers
meet when they undertake the furnishing of a breakfast room. In this
field it is easier for a good man to trade _up_ than _down_, no matter
what class of customers he works with. In the comment, "This would be a
delightful place in which to start the day," we have the starting point
for all good work in furnishing the breakfast room.


Within the last few years, more money has been spent by the consumer
on the kitchen and laundry than on any other rooms in the house.
Mrs. America today is kitchen conscious and is ready for a thorough
modernization job on her kitchen. Kitchen planning as an important
phase of selling should be carefully studied. Kitchens should be
planned to be efficient and should be laid out carefully, preferably
by an architect, for the installation of sink bases, extra built-in
cabinets, and other features. However, the kitchen also offers
unlimited opportunities for the sale of portable cabinets, kitchen
tables and chairs, cabinet bases, work tables, curtains, linoleum,
pots, pans, and accessories.

The modern kitchen had its beginning in the United States, less than 25
years ago. The rise in the general standard of living in our country,
rather than the increasing scarcity of domestic help, has been greatly
responsible for the development of modern kitchen equipment and the
innumerable mechanized aids now available to the housewife.

As usual, beauty at first lagged behind invention. Indeed the early
cabinets, refrigerators, and ranges differed as sharply in appearance
from the beautifully proportioned and smartly colorful models found
in the shops today as the automobile of 20 years ago differed from the
streamlined aristocrats of today.

In the beginning, convenience and the elimination of drudgery seemed
enough, and drab ugliness was accepted as an inescapable part of
kitchen work. Later, in a sort of blind devotion to cleanliness and
sanitation, kitchens were done like hospitals in hard and shiny
white tile, white walls, white curtains, white range, cabinet and
refrigerator, white utensils and dishes. From this intolerable tyranny
of white we have at last been delivered. The door has been thrown open;
color has entered the kitchen. The American homemaker of today, whether
her room be large or small, asks for a kitchen which not only is a
convenient and pleasant place in which to work but a source of pride
and a delight to the eye.


                                       Courtesy American Furniture Mart.

Figure 47.--Chrome adds sparkle and verve to this attractive kitchen
ensemble made with flared hairpin-curved legs and enamel and
natural-wood top.]

_Color and convenience in the kitchen._--And truly, the best of modern
kitchens are charming places. Seeing them, one wonders how further
improvement can be possible. Vibrantly light, yet without glare; cozily
warm without excessive heat; tranquil with the tranquility of perfect
adaptation of parts to function; unbelievably convenient; and bathed
in the glow of soft harmonious-color, they are immensely more pleasant
and distinguished than the shops and offices where men must spend
their working days. Among all the professions, homemaking has been
outstanding in creating an attractive and satisfying environment.

Of course this does not mean that all kitchens are attractive and
satisfying. That unhappily is still far from true. Yet beyond doubt,
the desire for them is widespread and growing. Yearly, and with
accelerating speed, the processes of modernization are going forward.

_Floor coverings for the kitchen._--First comes the floor. There was a
time when linoleum was regarded purely as a utility, but that time has
passed. The new linoleums are handsome in appearance, pleasant to work
on, and easy to care for; hence they are almost universally employed in
the modern kitchen.

_The walls._--The walls may be done in enamel paint, or papered with
the new washable fabrics, which offer a wide range of choice in pattern
and texture. Never use really dark color on the walls, and remember
that the lighter you make the wall color, the larger the room will
appear. As to hue, yellow tones, from pale cream to maize, will help
to make the room sunny and cheerful; light gray-green will make it
cool and restful; apple, or any yellow-green, will make it restful but
sunny; and such yellow reds as peach, apricot, or pale salmon will make
it warm and cheerful.

_The trim._--In very small kitchens the woodwork often is painted to
match the walls, either exactly, or in a slightly lighter or darker
shade. In rooms which are larger, or where more decorative "snap" is
desired, the woodwork may be done in a contrasting color, as apple
green with cream walls, or a soft green-blue with apricot.

_Kitchen curtains and accessories._--Kitchen curtains may be used as
an opening wedge in kitchen sales. Interest in a pair of curtains has
been known to start a complete remodeling job. On the market today
are innumerable curtains in a variety of colors and designs. Since
much originality and ingenuity is used in making attractive kitchen
curtains, many women are attracted to these inexpensive items, to "pep
up" their kitchens. Often they lead to the sale of a cabinet, table, or
new linoleum. Kitchen furniture should be shown with dummy windows on
which crisp, attractive curtains are hung. Decorative towels add to the
gayety of the kitchen and are helpful in setting up a kitchen display.

Accessories for the kitchen are colorful and decorative and a little
ingenuity and suggestion will get a woman interested in the kitchen.
National magazines and the women's section of newspapers are constantly
giving suggestions for fixing the kitchen. Cookie cutters with colorful
handles nailed to the walls, kitchen implements with colored handles
hung on attractive racks; wooden bowls cut in half and nailed to the
wall, then planted with ivy--all are unusual suggestions appreciated
by women. The endless variety of new things which may be suggested for
the kitchen is a veritable gold mine for the salesman who takes the
opportunity to investigate the possibilities.

Many interesting and delightful things go into the modern kitchen
which were unknown in those of 20 years ago. One sees a colorful pad
for the work chair, a hanging bookshelf for cookbooks and accessories,
an ornamental wall clock, colored prints, and plants. And of course
in many a kitchen there is the breakfast nook, with its decorative
furniture and its colored linen, glass, and china.

Some breakfast nooks are just sufficiently shut-off from the kitchen
by a buttress or low partition to tempt the housewife to make a sharp
difference in their decorative treatment. Usually this is a mistake,
particularly if it results in a large or striking paper on the walls.
It is better to carry the same wall color throughout, and to depend
upon small things to lend the desired individuality to the alcove.
There is no danger of monotony in this practice; while a sharp change
impairs the spaciousness of both rooms, and robs them alike of serenity
and beauty.

Study of the above will enable you to offer definite advice to women
who want to modernize their kitchens. Even though some of the details
may not deal with merchandise you sell, all this knowledge will prove
valuable in winning the customer's confidence.


Since we are working in a free country which now contains more than
40,000 retail furniture outlets, it should be clear that we cannot
make anyone buy anything. Selling continues to be chiefly a matter
of people, not of goods in stock; for example, we find one dealer,
operating with a small stock in a small town, complaining that all the
good business goes to the city; while a second dealer, operating with a
similar stock in a similar trading area, allows almost nothing to get
away from him. The latter makes it his business to know what is going
on in his community; goes out after an order well in advance of the
time the goods will be needed; learns what is required; knows how to
sell it; and where and how to secure it. The main difference is in the
men, not in conditions.


The able salesperson is energetic, stout-hearted, and enthusiastic. He
never permits himself even during periods of slow business to fall into
the dangerous habit of assuming that every customer will be reluctant
and exacting, and every sale difficult. He expects a fair percentage
of quick and easy sales, and is prepared to seize every opportunity to
make them.

Having confidence in himself, his store, and his merchandise, he
works on the assumption that most of the people who enter a furniture
store are definitely interested in an immediate or later purchase of
merchandise to suit their particular needs and tastes. He further
assumes that he will be able to learn those needs and tastes, find
in his stock the right merchandise to satisfy them, and present the
advantages of this merchandise in a clear and convincing way; and that
when they are so presented, the customer will buy. This assumption may
not always be valid; but it never fails to give him confidence and
driving power, and is the necessary basis of consistently successful

The able salesperson never forgets that his customer will not buy until
she is satisfied and convinced, however attractive his merchandise,
low his prices, or logically complete his demonstration. He knows
that she may have prejudices which are not easy to discover, or bits
of information or misinformation which may cause her to question or
distrust what he tells her, and thus to impede or wreck the sale.


One may never be certain which method and selling appeal will cause
any particular individual to buy. Accordingly the salesperson will be
prepared to follow an ordered procedure which will in theory exhaust
all the possibilities. The important factors may be emphasized in the
following order:

  1. Pleasing appearance (design, coloring, materials, finish).

  2. Personal and decorative suitability (size, convenience,
    emotional effect, prestige value).

  3. Sentimental appeal (style, historical, or social associations,
    prestige value).

  4. Quality (materials, construction, finish, established service
    record, manufacturer's reputation, store's reputation or

  5. Price (in relation both to the customer's means and spending
    habits, and to the sum total of values provided by all other


Ordinarily the charted sale will develop in this order:

  1. Elimination of possible alternatives and concentration upon
    merchandise to be sold.

  2. Elimination of resistances through answering spoken or unspoken

  3. Final demonstration of appearance, suitability, and values.

  4. Direct suggestion to buy, when suggestion is necessary.

However, closing a sale is not a separate operation, but rather the
natural and logical culmination of a continuous process, planned from
the beginning to help the customer buy what she wants or needs. Thus
the difficulties of closing a sale often are the result of inept work
in the earlier stages. Good salesmanship is far less a matter of
overcoming these difficulties than of foreseeing them at the beginning
of a sale, and thus making it impossible for them to arise at the end.

For this kind of salesmanship we require:

  1. A knowledge of people and the way their minds habitually work.

  2. A thorough knowledge of home furnishing merchandise in general,
    and our own in particular.

  3. A sound working knowledge of the principles and practice of the
    home-furnishing art; and

  4. Planned procedure in showing our goods and in closing sales.

Give a chemist a bottle of colorless liquid containing three or four
metals in solution, and in an hour or less he will tell you exactly
what those metals are. He doesn't guess, but puts the solution through
an ordered series of reactions which gradually exhaust all the

Making a sale is roughly an analogous process. In dealing with a
long succession of unknown customers we cannot possibly guess just
which procedures will satisfy any one customer's tastes and personal,
decorative, and financial requirements. Human beings never react with
the exactness of chemical combinations, but their reactions may be
relied upon to make planned selling enormously more profitable than use
of any combination of haphazard methods yet devised.


_1. What do you do when your customer says, "I will wait for the spring

_2. In what ways may good window display aid you in selling bedroom

_3. Illustrate, if possible from your experience, the use of the
complete "room picture" method._

_4. What are the advantages of glass curtains?_

_5. Under what conditions would you sell pieces from different suites
for the same bedroom?_

_6. Give a demonstration of harmony in furniture for the sunroom._

_7. What part may effective use of the English language play in helping
you close sales?_

_8. If it were your decision, would you rearrange your display floors
on the basis of harmonious and convenient groupings, or on the basis of
displaying articles selling in greatest quantity?_

_9. Explain satisfactorily how the idea of "groups" may make sleeping
quarters sparkle with the occupant's personality._

_10. Show what is meant by the statement that the floor is really the
"key" to a well-balanced room._


  BALDWIN, WILLIAM H. _The Shopping Book._ The Macmillan Co., New
    York, N. Y. 1929.

  Sun Parlors, III, pp. 67-70.

  FALES, WINNIFRED. _What's New In Home Decoration._ Dodd, Mead &
    Co., New York, N. Y. 1936.

  The Busiest Room In The House, The Kitchen, XII, pp. 250-275.

  KNAUFF, CARL G. B. _Refurbishing The Home._ McGraw-Hill Book Co.,
    Inc., New York, N. Y. 1938.

  Wall Coverings, pp. 83-100.
  Pictures, Hangings, Accessories, pp. 302-317.

  KOUES, HELEN. _How To Beautify Your Home._ Good Housekeeping
    Institute, New York, N. Y. 1930.

  Halls, Sunrooms and Porches, pp. 95-107.
  Colonial and Modern Bedrooms, pp. 107-123.

  PALMER, LOIS. _Your House._ Boston Cooking School Magazine Co. 1928.

  The Kitchen and the Sunroom, pp. 68-78.

  POWELL, LYDIA. _The Attractive Home._ The Macmillan Co., New York,
    N. Y. 1939.

  The Bedroom, pp. 51-67.
  The Kitchen, pp. 72-94.

  STEWART, ROSS _and_ GERALD, JOHN. _Home Decoration._ Garden City
    Publishing Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y. 1938.

  Sunrooms, X, pp. 154-193.

  WHITON, SHERRILL. _Elements of Interior Decoration._ J. B.
    Lippincott Co., Chicago, Philadelphia. 1937.

  Pictures, XIV, pp. 461-493.

  WRIGHT, AGNES FOSTER. _Interior Decoration for Modern Needs._
    Frederick A Stokes Co., New York, N. Y.

  Pp. 135-145 and pp. 213-225.


[28] Ancient Roman houses often had an apartment or enclosure on
the roof which was open to the sun, and accordingly known as the
solarium. This term is applied to the sun-drenched rooms built into
modern hospitals for the use of convalescents, and also is employed by
architects and writers as a substitute for sunroom in the modern house.

[29] Highly valuable suggestions, and illustrations of smartly
furnished sunrooms, can be obtained from books and magazines, and also
from the manufacturers of furniture, floor coverings, drapery, and
upholstery fabrics and window shades.

[30] The same thing applies to the sale of porch furniture--another
undeveloped field. Drab, weather-worn, and utterly undistinguished
furniture is out of place on the modern porch, and should be replaced
by the smartly colorful and genuinely comfortable furnishings now
available in wood, reed, or metal.

Unit XI


  Lamps and Lighting

  Pictures and Mirrors

  Wall Decorations

  Plastics Enter the Home Furnishings Field

  "Do's" and "Don't's" for the Salesperson


                                                       Photo by Grignon.

Figure 48.--Fluorescent lighting is adapted to new lamps of period
and modern design, as illustrated in this grouping designed by C. E.
Waltman. At the left the tubes are used in a vertical position and the
lamp follows period design. The center modern table lamp has a chrome
base and oblong shade. At the right a round shade is used.]



Those engaged in selling home furnishings are well aware of the fact
that accessories of all types are important factors in increasing
sales, and that by suggesting the use of proper accessories, many
"plus" sales are made. Many times, new accessories are so incongruous
with the other older furnishings in the room, they have caused
an entire room to be refurnished and brought up to date. This is
particularly true of lamps.

We are standing today on the threshold of an entirely new era in
lighting. New illuminants are being developed and new methods are
being devised for applying light to meet the needs of modern living.
Only a little over a third of a century has passed since the first
incandescent lamp was invented by Thomas A. Edison, and the electrical
industry has since made tremendous progress. The cost of current
has been cut in half due to engineering accomplishments and the
illuminating engineer has taken advantage of this progress to develop a
more liberal and a more intelligent use of light.

Scientific principles have been applied to all phases of home lighting
and standard specifications worked out by the Illuminating Engineering
Society for all types of lamps. Using a footcandle as a standard
measurement of light intensity, the illuminating engineers have made
these findings:

  1. In normal sunlight there are 10,000 footcandles of light. In the
    shade of a tree there are 1,000 footcandles, and indoors during
    the sunlight hours there are 5 footcandles of light.

  2. The efficiency of a standard candle flame source is calculated
    to be the equivalent of about 0.1 of a lumen per watt (1 lumen
    is the quantity of light given from a single candle on a surface
    1 foot square). Edison's first lamp had 1.4 lumens per watt, and
    present-day 100-watt electric bulbs have 1,520 lumens.

  3. Light is made up of all colors of the rainbow. This was
    discovered in 1666 when Newton passed a beam of sunlight through
    a prism and learned that light had in it all the colors of the
    rainbow, which, when mixed in the proper proportions, produce
    white light. A combination of all these colors produces sunlight,
    and in different proportions, incandescent light.

Lamps for home use, now on the market, may roughly be divided into two
major divisions, decorative lamps and utilitarian lamps. Under these
main divisions are the classifications of the various types of lamps,
such as decorative, table, commode, and floor lamps, scientific desk
lamps and utilitarian lamps for various rooms and purposes.

  1. Decorative lamps are those used primarily for decoration. Table
    and commode lamps fall largely under this classification, for
    living room use, and vanity and boudoir lamps for bedroom use.
    Decorative lamps use a variety of materials for bases such as
    china, glass, metal, pottery, terra cotta, wood, porcelain, and
    marble and employ ornate shades which in many instances greatly
    reduce the illuminating ability of the lamp. Several years ago,
    before the principles of lighting were given the consideration
    they are receiving today, lamps which were purely decorative
    were in much greater demand than they are at present. Today's
    decorating principles demand that lamps should be useful as
    well as decorative, and most lamps on the market conform to
    good standards of lighting. There are, however, lamps designed
    strictly for decoration which employ dark shades using such
    materials as quilted velvet, chenille, wood veneer or other
    opaque fabrics, and which are of unusual shapes that restrict the
    light. These lamps, while serving a definite need in a decorative
    scheme, should not be used for reading purposes or provide the
    only illumination in a room. The purely decorative lamp should be
    treated merely as an accessory and used in the same manner as a
    vase or a non-illuminating object.

  2. Utilitarian lamps are those which adhere for the most part to
    scientific standards of lighting, and are designed for specific
    rooms and purposes.

According to specifications laid down by the Illuminating Engineering
Society,[31] the minimum light requirement for average reading in the
home is 20 footcandles of light. For fine print and sewing the minimum
requirements are 35 to 50 footcandle intensity.

Standards for study and table lighting set up by this society, call
for lamp bases 28 inches in height equipped with a reflector bowl
made of opal diffusing glass, 8 inches in diameter. At a distance of
12 inches from the base of the lamp, a 100-watt bulb must give 30
footcandle intensity to comply with their standards, and at a distance
of 36 inches, 5 footcandle intensity.

Divided into groups, utilitarian lamps fall into these classes:

  _Study lamps._--These are lamps which adhere to all of the I. E.
    S. standards and are used on desks for reading purposes or as a
    table lamp. They are somewhat less decorative than the regular
    living room lamp since they are more severe usually being made
    with a brass base and parchment or simple silk shade.

  _Table lamps._--These are decorative lamps with bases made from the
    same materials as the purely decorative lamps; however, they are
    usually more conservative than the purely decorative lamps, and
    rigidly avoid unusual shaped shades or novelty treatments which
    might cut down the utility of the lamp. I. E. S. standards are
    not rigidly followed on all table lamps, but the specifications
    serve as a master guide. When dark shades are used they are
    usually lined with white to reflect the light. Reflector bowls
    are used to encase the light bulb. These are made of holophane,
    milk, or glazed glass, and provide a diffused indirect light.

  _Commode lamps._--Commode lamps are smaller than table lamps and
    are usually used to flank a sofa or as pairs on either side of
    a chair grouping. I. E. S. standards for this type of lamp call
    for a base 23 inches in height, an 8-inch reflector bowl and an
    intensity of light, 12 inches from the center of the lamp, of 30
    footcandles, when a 100-watt bulb is used.

  _Floor lamps._--Several types of floor lamps are now in use--the
    lamp with diffusing bowl and fabric shade and the reflector lamp.
    Floor lamps show a tendency to shorten and new junior floor
    lamps are about 10 inches shorter than standard models. I. E. S.
    standards on floor lamps call for a base 58 inches in height, a
    reflector bowl 8 inches in diameter and an intensity of light 12
    inches from the base, of 30 footcandles, when a 100-watt bulb is
    used. At 24 inches from the base a 100-watt bulb should give 10
    footcandles of light intensity, according to these standards.
    Floor lamps are usually made of metal or wood and many have
    marble or crystal inserts in the base. Many of the new floor
    lamps have three-way mogul-type lamp arrangements in addition to
    a reflector, which give four intensities of light. The reflector
    bowl may be lighted separately from the bulbs.

  _Reflector lamp._--The reflector lamp is a tall floor lamp with a
    glass or metal bowl. The light is reflected upward toward the
    ceiling. This is in contrast to the lamp with the diffused glass
    reflector bowl and fabric shade which directs the light downward
    toward the floor as well as throwing a portion of light toward
    the ceiling. The reflector lamp may be used instead of a ceiling
    light but is not recommended as a reading lamp.

  _Bridge or lounge-chair lamps._--Most of the old-type bridge lamps
    in which a bulb hung from a projected arm have been replaced by a
    reflector type lamp which employs a diffusing bowl. These bridge
    or swinging-arm lounge-chair lamps are smaller than the floor
    lamps, and can be adjusted to any position over a chair. Many
    have a cover or closed top on the diffusing bowl so the light
    will not shine in the user's eyes.

Although theoretically lamps have no traditional period styling,
since all lamps are a product of modern invention, manufacturers have
styled lamps of all types to blend with period decorations, and have
classified them as to English, French, Colonial, Early American,
modern, nautical, juvenile, and commercial types to meet various
decorative demands. Lamps for use in period rooms should be selected in
the same manner as accessories, the simpler types of lamps for English
settings, the more ornate types for French and Victorian.

Materials long associated with the various periods of furniture design,
and popular during certain centuries have been employed in lamp bases;
bone china, Wedgewood, Sheffield silver, brass, and Chinese porcelain
bases have been used on eighteenth century lamps. Just as one would
select brass or milk glass accessories for an Early American room,
lamps made to resemble old vases, oil lamps used during the period,
and hurricane lamps with an electric light replacing the candle in the
glass chimney, are appropriate for rooms furnished in Early American

For the French room are the more elaborate lamps such as onyx, crystal,
metal figurines, and French china. Modern lamps are made in such
materials as wood, glass, cork, plastics, and metal. Floor lamps, as
well as table lamps, follow period styles, and lamps are designed to
accompany practically every type of setting.

After determining the style of lamp for a particular room, the next
problem is the type of lamp to use. It is well to remember that
enough light should be provided in home decoration so that the ratio
of darkness to light will not exceed 10 to 1. It is also a cardinal
rule of decoration that each grouping should have a light in keeping
with the purpose of the grouping; for example, a lounge chair is used
primarily for lounging and reading. To place a lounge chair in a room
without a lamp as its companion decreases the utility and enjoyment of
the chair.


                                       Courtesy American Furniture Mart.

Figure 49.--Many interesting new pieces make up this grouping. The
chair side table provides accommodation for books, lamps, and smoking
accessories and offers the new approach to eighteenth century utility
pieces. The refreshment cart heralds the return of the once-popular tea
table. A drawer in the back of the table provides space for silverware
and linens. The lounge chair is covered in maroon striped satin damask.
The rug is an all-over textured Axminster.]

If a table is used beside the chair, a lamp in proper proportion to the
table should be used. The lamp may provide a color accent beside the
chair or may be of a material in keeping with the decorative trend.
Since the lounge chair is used for reading, the lamp should be a good
reading lamp and should come up to the scientific standards set up for
good light. If no table is to be used, a bridge or lounge chair lamp
may be added.

Commode lamps should be in proportion to the sofa with which they are
used. Reflector lamps fit into corners, or may be used beside a grand
piano or in front of windows.

If the decorator keeps in mind that the lamp is an accessory, that it
should complement the room and serve a specific purpose by its use, the
correct use of lamps is made quite simple.

When a woman wishes to buy a lamp the salesperson should first inquire
where the lamp is to be used. If it is a table lamp find out if there
are other lamps in the room. Ask if there is a chair next to the table
and if that chair is used for reading or sewing. If the lamp is to be
used purely for decorative purposes it may be of a different type than
that which provides adequate light for a specific purpose. Find out the
general period of the room and the color scheme so the lamp will be in
keeping with the surroundings and provide the proper accent. Impress
the customer with the necessity of a lamp for every grouping, and with
the importance of good lighting.

Oil lamps for farm use have been styled to resemble electric lamps and
have enameled bases, diffused reflectors and attractive shades. All
lamps regardless of the source of light have been materially improved
and there is no need for any person to have poor lighting in the home


Pictures and mirrors are important accessories in present day
decorating and their correct use can change the appearance of the
entire room.

Pictures vary according to size, subjects, and medium used. There is no
set, all-comprehensive rule for the use of pictures, but certain types
of pictures are used with certain types of settings either because the
subject matter confines it to a certain period, or the technique used
is in keeping with a definite century.

Frames many times control the use of a picture, and an old picture may
be placed in a modern frame and used in a contemporary setting. Mats
used on pictures may be varied according to the subject matter and the
frame selected according to the manner in which the picture is used.
Wood frames are popular and in good taste and are shown in natural wood
color, mahogany, walnut, maple, or enameled. Gilt frames are still in
use, but for the most part picture frames are simpler than in the past

Pictures should be selected according to their subject and should be in
keeping with the general trend of the room. Certain subjects are known
to be ageless and are in good taste when used in an eighteenth century
room or in a modern room. This specifically refers to Chinese pictures
or florals and they vary in use only by the type of frame employed.
Portraits may be used with all periods if they are done in oil and
properly framed and preserved.

Many times a picture, if large and particularly lovely, may furnish
the decorative theme of the room, and the colors used in the picture
picked up in the upholstered pieces and the accessories. At other times
pictures will provide a necessary color accent.

Certain subjects, popular during a particular century, lend themselves
to rooms of that century, as for example, hunting scenes are known
to be of English origin and lend themselves to English settings.
Elaborately dressed women of the French court shown in a court scene
are best used with a French setting, and a daintily furnished girl's
room requires dainty subjects on the wall such as flowers, birds, or
feminine subjects.

Pictures may be hung singly, in pairs, or groups according to the
manner in which they are used. A small picture placed over the center
of a sofa is out of balance with the sofa. One large picture or a group
of small pictures may be used depending upon the size of the picture. A
sense of balance should be brought into play when hanging pictures, and
common sense used not to let the picture over-balance the piece with
which it is used, nor to appear dwarfed on a large wall area.

Pictures should be hung so that the center is eye level to the person
standing in the room. They should be hung flat against the wall with
the hooks and cords used to suspend the pictures entirely concealed.
Many novel arrangements are being used effectively in contemporary
decorating, and it is a good habit to watch the home furnishings pages
of the newspapers and national magazines for new methods of arranging

Mirrors are playing an increasingly important part in today's
decorating scheme as they have been found to serve a multiple purpose.

Architecturally, mirrors may be used to give the illusion of increased
space. A wall covered with mirrors will make a room appear twice its
size. Because of this illusion of space, many rooms, furnished in the
modern manner use large, full wall mirrors as part of the decorative

Mirrors fall into two main classes, the Venetian type without frames,
and the framed models. Mirrors may be etched, painted, sand-blasted
or have decorations applied to the exterior, such as pieces of wood,
flower containers, or bits of metal. Many frames are made of wood and
finished in mahogany, maple, walnut, or bleached wood or gilt frames.
Many times genuine gold leaf is used. Single, double, and triple
beveled edges are used, in many instances the beveled edge being the
only decoration on the mirror. Mirrors with beveled edges are shown
with and without frames.

The old belief that mirrors vary in quality according to the thickness
of the glass has been disproved. The United States Department of
Commerce under its commercial standards (C. S. 27-36) has set up three
grades of mirrors for classification by the manufacturers. These

  _A quality._--The best type of mirror, in which the central
    area of the glass is free from major defects but the mirrors
    may contain tiny, well-scattered bubbles (referred to by the
    Government as seeds) and short, faint hairlines on the back or
    face of the mirror. The outer area of the mirror may also contain
    well-scattered bubbles and faint clouds.

  _No. 1 quality_ mirrors are rated as second grade and may contain
    tiny, well-scattered bubbles, short faint hairlines and scattered

  _No. 2 quality_ mirrors are rated as third grade and may contain
    scattered bubbles, some coarse bubbles, light beams, light
    scratches and some cloudiness. The No. 2 mirror may also have a
    "bull's-eye" (distortion) if it is not visible from directly in
    front of the mirror.

Although these are highly technical specifications laid down by the
manufacturer, the consumer may watch for certain imperfections when
purchasing mirrors. A good test which may be made of a mirror as to
its quality is to examine the mirror from the front and the side to
see that the reflection is not distorted. Ceiling and floor lines
should appear perfectly straight, and not waved. The mirror should be
comparatively free from bubbles, and scratches should be very faint.

Mirrors which employ window glass, show distortion when given the side
test, and lines will appear to be waved.

The quality of the mirror depends upon the manufacturer since many
chemicals are used and atmospheric conditions have a pronounced effect
upon the finished product. Mirrors made under proper conditions should
give at least 5 years of service without tarnishing. Improper silvering
will result in tarnishing within a few months.

Color of the mirror is also a determining feature of the quality. Good
mirrors should be a sparkling white color. Poorly silvered mirrors
reflect a yellowish tint.

Tinted mirrors for decorative purposes are shown in blue and peach
tones. These reflect a colored image and are considered in good usage
in certain instances when this color is needed in the room.

Plain silver mirrors are most popular and when used in a room, pick up
and reflect the colors of the room without adding an additional tone.

Many times, when it is necessary to bring color into a certain part of
the room, a mirror is used since all of the colors are concentrated in
the glass and reflected back into the room.

Both period and modern mirrors are on the market with period types
especially adapted to period rooms. The shape of the frame and
decorative accent determine the period of the mirror, and sizes vary
according to the purpose for which they are to be used. The same
principle applies to hanging mirrors as in the case of pictures, and
mirrors should be in related balance to the piece with which they are
used. Unless designed as a left and right mirror, mirrors should be
used singly rather than in pairs although mirrored wall plaques may
be used in pairs or grouped in the same manner as pictures. Mirrored
frames on pictures are being widely used since they combine the use of
a mirror with a picture.

Mirrors may be used in the dining room over a buffet or commode; in the
living room over the mantle, sofa, or wall grouping, in the hall, in
the bedroom, bathroom, and in the kitchen. Kitchen mirrors should be
plain, unframed, and undecorated. Many times an interesting group is
made up of a mirror flanked by a pair of pictures.


In addition to mirrors and pictures, there are many other types of
wall decoration. Sconces, or small shelves nailed to the wall on which
plants or small art objects are placed, are growing in popularity.
Wall brackets for growing plants, knickknack shelves, corner shelves,
clocks, plates mounted on wall holders, murals, and tapestries are all
used in today's decorative scheme.

In an eighteenth century room, an effective grouping can be made of
three wall sconces arranged in pyramid fashion, on which Chinese
celestial figures are placed. Sconces may be used singly, in pairs or
in groups, and may be made of wood, glass, or metal and either finished
in natural color, gilded, or enameled. A grouping of sconces with art
objects over the fireplace, above a sofa, on a narrow wall, or in the
hall is extremely effective. Plants with drooping vines may be placed
on the sconces, or colorful art objects in keeping with the general
scheme of the room.

The popularity of touches of living green in the room has brought wall
brackets for holding potted plants to the fore. These brackets are
usually made of wrought iron and are enameled white or pastel colors.
A ring holder keeps the pot in place and provides accommodations
for one or several such plants. Wood plant brackets are also on the
market and are used in the more formal period rooms. Wall brackets for
plants can be used in any room from the kitchen to the front porch
and may be placed on the window frame, in the archway of a hall, on
the walls flanking a mirror or picture, on a narrow wall, or may hang
from a central doorway. Many times colored pots in contrast to the
wall bracket are shown, and the effect is cheerful and adds color and
growing greens to the home.

Knickknack shelves have become popular with the increased hobby of
collecting art objects by the amateur. Knickknack shelves are shown
in a variety of styles for various rooms, and are available in wood,
enameled metal, chrome, and glass. In the bathroom knickknack shelves
are used to hold bath accessories, powder, toilet water, and attractive
bottles and jars; in the kitchen these shelves may hold salt and
pepper shakers, tiny decorative pitchers and gayly colored kitchen
accessories; in the bedroom, perfume bottles, and knickknacks find
their way to these shelves; and in the dining room and living room,
plants in decorative pots, and art objects add color to the wall and
the room. Corner shelves, which fit into a corner of the wall and
make use of otherwise waste space are used in the same manner as the
knickknack shelves which are shown in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Clocks to hang on the wall are made in styles to harmonize with every
room in the house. Kitchen clocks, in white and pastel enamels to match
the room's color schemes, novelty bedroom clocks, and living room
clocks come in period and modern varieties. Popular for the Colonial
and Early American room is the banjo clock. Many of the new clocks are
operated by electricity.

A popular wall decoration consists of rare plates, placed in wall-plate
holders and arranged in groups on the wall either over a sofa, or
mantle, or on plain walls. Plates may be used in the same manner as
pictures but care should be taken to select plates which have genuine
decorative value and have interest either by their antiquity, coloring,
or subject.

Murals in which photographic subjects are enlarged in a panoramic
manner are used as wall decorations, particularly in rooms furnished in
a contemporary manner. Outdoor scenes, familiar scenes of the city, or
a composite of photographic subjects of interest to the occupants of
the room are applied to the wall either in the manner of wallpaper or
in a frame as a gigantic picture. Murals, properly used, are extremely
decorative but should be used under the guidance of an expert who
understands the correct application of the mural to the wall.

Tapestries are not in as common usage as a decade ago, having been
abandoned in favor of pictures, mirrors, wall brackets, and other
newer accessories. Tapestries many times give a heavy appearance to
a room and have been condemned by many modern housewives as "dirt

Many of the tapestries in use today are framed and these may be used in
the same manner as a picture. A large tapestry hanging may be used on
the wall of a study or den or behind a large wall piece. The subject of
the tapestry should be in keeping with the general room scheme and the
color in harmony with the other furnishings in the room.


For years plastics have been of major importance in the industrial
field. Now the chemist's test tubes are revealing new and outstanding
uses for plastics in architecture, lighting, decorator's accessories,
furniture novelties, and miscellaneous items. The records show that
160,000,000 pounds of plastics are produced in a single year in the
United States alone, and that new plastics are being developed at the
rate of one a year.

This evolution of plastics has made possible large-scale production
of articles within a price range that makes them available to large
numbers of homes. A recent issue of the British Yearbook devotes 55
pages to the mere listing of products made of plastic and 30 pages to
substances from which plastics are derived. The fifth annual modern
plastics competition brought more than 1,000 entries. Top award in the
furniture classification went to a display of occasional tables with
revolving tops, made without using screws, bolts, and other attachments
ordinarily used in furniture construction. At the January and June
(1941) Furniture Mart shows in Chicago, Ill., plastics definitely
entered the competitive fields for interior decoration, surfacing,
hardware, and paneling. There were "all-plastic rooms" featuring
dinette sets, bedroom suites, dressing tables, vanity chairs, bar
stools, consoles, bedside tables, and sophisticated modern stow-away
chests. Chrome and wood were combined into a high chair with a back
formed of pink and blue opaque woven plastic. There were bedroom
groupings in soft, light grays matched by the woodwork of the room.
Plain panel backs of beds were in cedar to match the carpet. Wall paper
was plaided in ivory and two-tone gray. There were bedrooms in French
Provincial style; others in simple Colonial, or Georgian. Dining room
groupings were shown in sparkling furniture that was not glass but
was warp-resisting and impervious to mars, nicks, chipping, and such
abuse as would require refinishing in the case of wood or metal pieces.
The talent of ingenious designers and decorators had been used to
aid in producing home accessories in plastics. There were on display
table lamps, curtain rods, picture frames, salad bowls and utensils,
vases, wastepaper baskets, bird cages, carved ornamental centerpieces,
mirror frames, and coat trees. Plastics were shown in fluorescent
lighting effects possessing the advantages of day-like light, less
heat, less power consumption, and greater illumination per unit of
power consumption. There seemed to be no major product in the home
furnishings field, including lighting and accessories, for which this
"plastics age" had not prepared an entry.


                                                  Photograph by Grignon.

Figure 50.--Exhibit 249, June (1941) American Furniture Mart, Chicago,
Ill., showing reproduction of wood grain so applied as to take the form
of a veneer as an integral part of the surface processed. The chair
shows zebrawood graining.]

As talking points for plastics in the home furnishings field, consider
the following claims:

  1. The plastic used for furniture is neither a finish nor a
    protection for a finish. It is a hard-surfacing substance said to
    be "many times as strong as wood."

  2. Tests show that it is not affected by hot dishes up to 200° F.
    Liquids of all types and unusual temperatures harm plastics not
    in the least. These include perfumes, ordinary acids, alcohol,
    nail polish, and fruit stains.

  3. Plastic surfacing will not discolor or fade, even though exposed
    for a long period to the sun's rays.

  4. Plastic pieces need neither polish nor wax. They are washed with
    ordinary soap and water.

Salespersons should understand a few basic technical facts in order to
discuss plastic pieces or sets or "all-plastic" rooms with interested

The term "plastics" is a commercial, rather than a scientific,
designation; the line is drawn not so much by what the substance is,
as by what it will do. The materials called "plastics" have in common
not only the ability to be formed while soft into a desired shape
possessing rigidity, but also the chemical characteristics of having
been polymerized; that is, they are constituted of large molecules
which are aggregates of similar molecules.

Plastics are classified into two types depending on their physical

  1. _Thermoplastic._

  2. _Thermosetting._

Thermoplastic materials soften upon being heated and become solid
again when cooled. This change of state can be repeated over and over.
Thermosetting plastics on the other hand are compounds which definitely
alter their chemical constitution in the course of molding under heat
or pressure or both.

Plastics also may be classified according to their chemical source.
The 18 or so known basic types fall into 4 general fields: Cellulose
plastics, protein plastics, natural resin plastics, and synthetic resin


Cellulose nitrate, the classic in this type, begins life as cotton
linters--the short fibers next to the seed in a cotton boll. Purified,
the cellulose is treated with mixed nitric and sulfuric acids to
produce pyroxylin. Camphor, alcohol, and color are added as desired.
The mixture becomes a dough-like substance which is rolled, baked,
seasoned, and polished. When heated, it may be shaped to any form
desired; and it can be cut, sawed, filed, blown, rolled, planed,
hammered, drilled, and turned on lathes. It may be obtained in
practically every shade and hue, in transparent, translucent, opaque,
and in mottled and pearl effects.


Protein plastics date back to 1890 when Dr. Adolph Spitteler of
Hamburg, Germany, set out to make a white "blackboard" for classroom
use. He mixed sour milk with formaldehyde and got a casein plastic, a
shiny substance from which many a modern button and buckle is made.
It is possible to use soya beans, lignin from wood, coffee beans, and
peanuts in making protein-type plastics.


An example of a natural resin is _lac_ secreted by a little red insect
that sucks the sap of trees and converts it into a protective covering
for itself. _Lac_, upon being refined and dissolved in a suitable
solvent, forms a shellac. Dr. Leo Baekeland in 1907 was investigating
this natural process when he combined formaldehyde and phenol with
the aid of a catalyst and heat. The result was a synthetic resin, the
basis of the first molded phenolic plastic--the familiar substance of
telephone receivers and many other objects. The commercial development
of urea-formaldehyde plastics was made possible by availability not
only of formaldehyde but also of synthetic urea.

Comparatively new in the field of structural materials, but significant
for those who sell home furnishings, are laminated plastics, plywood,
and veneers. Laminated plastics are made by treating sheets of paper or
woven cloth with synthetic heat-reactive resins and subjecting built-up
layers of the treated materials to heat and pressure. Such plastics
also may be bonded to thin wood sheets and to metals. The resulting
materials are useful for furniture and for interior decoration.

This type of material was used in decorating the Library of Congress
Annex. It was extensively used on the British superliner, Queen Mary.
From vinyl resins, one of the new families, comes the center of the
sandwich in safety glass. The plastic interlayer is not broken by a
blow but stretches, at the same time holding broken pieces of glass
together and preventing flying splinters.

At the present time the varied diversity of plastics is a major asset.
In the home furnishings field, whoever wants a new, strong, graceful,
functional material for a new product has a wide range of materials in
all color combinations from which to make a choice. For the first time,
the claim may be advanced that certain limitations in furniture design
have been released and that innumerable variations without changing
the shape or structure of the product are possible. By the use of
fascinating surfaces, textures, and colors, it is possible to create
designs which, while simple, possess charm, intrinsic beauty, and
distinction. The introduction of such a product to the home furnishings
field brings a new competitive element.


Every salesperson has his own technique for closing a sale, but there
are certain methods which seem to impress favorably the potential
customer and others which react unfavorably.

Among the objectionable selling methods is that of making personal
comparisons; for example, to tell a customer that you have a chair,
a lamp, or a rug exactly like the one she is buying usually does not
impress her. The average customer likes to feel her taste is superior
to the salesperson's and that she can afford something beyond the price
range of the person serving her. Many sales are lost by the salesperson
making a personal reference to himself in this manner.

Don't take a superior attitude when waiting on a customer, who seems
less informed on the subject than yourself. Suggest, rather than tell
her what to use, and appear to be serving her in a graceful manner,
letting her know you enjoy waiting on her. Mate her feel perfectly at
ease in your presence, yet treat her with the respect that she as a
customer deserves.

Many people rather like being referred to by their name as it gives
them a personal feeling with the store. When you know the name of the
person you are serving, refer to her name from time to time but don't
repeat it too often. When she leaves, thank her, by using her name and
once or twice during the conversation mention it. Be sure you pronounce
the name correctly, however, and that you refer to her by her correct
title, noting whether or not she is married or single.

People are usually interested to know that the merchandise they choose
compliments their personality and their persons. This is true of
clothes and is an important element of style. It is true of homes and
rooms where the harmony of color and design can be used to the best
advantage when properly adjusted to the personality of the due or the
family that uses it. Obviously this lies in the realm of newer advances
in proper home styling and decoration. Nevertheless, many salesmen in
average stores can enhance their effectiveness and their service by
helping their customers to avoid choices that do not seem to harmonize
with their obvious personal characteristics. To truthfully assure a
customer that her choice does properly reflect herself is likewise
obviously good salesmanship.

People have become accustomed to prideful ownership of automobiles
similar to those bought by their neighbors. The backbone of the
home-furnishings industry is, however, the individuality of the
American home and it has never succumbed to stereotyped style or
decoration. Almost every customer either consciously or unconsciously
recognizes this and will be interested in furniture that sets her home
apart from others and represents her individual taste and planning.
The first time a customer may ask questions of a salesman; the second
and third time, just return to look. Never make any customer feel that
you are annoyed by her delayed purchase or that you recognize that she
is still looking. Make yourself available, should she want additional
information, but allow her time to consider the merchandise at her
leisure, if she is so disposed.


_1. What is the most satisfactory arrangement of lighting units for a
living room? A dining room?_

_2. What is cove lighting?_

_3. "The texture of objects determines the amount of colored light they
will absorb." Explain._

_4. Explain the terms: Candlepower, footcandles, lumens, parabolic
reflector, and indirect lighting._

_5. Under what conditions would you advocate the use of tapestry wall

_6. Are you familiar with the light specifications worked out by the
Illuminating Engineering Society, 61 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y.?_

_7. How would you build an effective window display to increase sales
for your lighting fixtures department?_

_8. Discuss the correct use of rhythm in display._

_9. Do you advise use of price cards in connection with your
accessories display?_

_10. What opportunities exist to display accessories combined in use?_

_11. In what way is display a silent salesman?_


  BURRIS-MEYER, ELIZABETH. _Decorating Livable Homes._ Prentice-Hall,
    Inc., New York, N. Y. (1937.)

  Accessories, VIII, pp. 206-232.
  Light, IX, pp. 232-248.

  CRANE, ROSS. _Home Furnishing and Decoration._ Frederick J. Drake &
    Co., Inc., Chicago, Ill. (1933.)

  Pictures, XII, pp. 183-191.
  Lighting, XX, pp. 247-253.
  Lamps, XXI, pp. 253-261.

  EBERLEIN, MCCLURE, HOLLOWAY. _The Practical Book of Interior
    Decoration._ J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa. (1919.)

  Artificial Lighting, IX, p. 324.
  Pictures and Their Framing, XI, p. 350.
  Decorative Accessories, XII, p. 364.

  FALES, WINIFRED. _What's New in Home Decorating._ Dodd, Mead & Co.,
    Inc., New York, N. Y. (1936.)

  Science of Lighting, X, pp. 207-229.

  JACKSON, ALICE _and_ BETTINA. _The Study of Interior Decoration._
    Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y. (1928.)

  Accessories, XIV, pp. 317-340.

  KNAUFF, G. B. _Refurbishing The Home._ McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc.,
    New York, N. Y. (1938.)

  Lighting Problems, XIV, pp. 289-302.
  Pictures, Hangings, Accessories, XV, pp. 302-317.


[31] The Illuminating Engineering Society is made up of illuminating
engineers and those engaged in the lighting field who have worked out
set standards for illumination from tested specifications.

     |                         A FINAL WORD                         |
     |                                                              |
     |                                                              |
     | We bring the final unit of this course to an end with a      |
     | cordial wish for your prosperity and success.                |
     |                                                              |
     | We have tried to open more widely the door of opportunity.   |
     |                                                              |
     | No man can fix a limit to your progress but yourself.        |
     |                                                              |
     | The sale of home furnishings at retail can be one of the     |
     | most interesting of occupations with professional standing   |
     | and a good professional income as its rewards.               |
     |                                                              |
     | We hope and believe that you will win and enjoy these        |
     | rewards, and with them another and greater. This is the      |
     | happiness of creative effort.                                |


  A. Glossary of Terms

  B. General Reading List

  C. A Suggested Teaching Outline for a Group Leader

  D. The Leading Furniture Woods

  E. Common Rug Terms

  F. An Advertising Check List

  G. Fivefold Selling Plan for Floor Coverings

  H. Color and Style in Modern Advertising Copy

  I. Check List for Planning a Store-Wide Promotion

  J. Ready Reference Index


  _Acanthus leaf._--A classical ornamental form, derived from the
    acanthus plant.

  _Arabesque._--Intricate interlacing ornament, in the Arabian manner.

  _Arcade._--A series of arches, supported by columns (fig. 10, page

  _Aubusson._--A fine quality of hand-made tapestry; originally made
    at Aubusson, France, used for carpets or upholstery.

  _Baluster._--In architecture, a turned or square upright support
    for the rail of a balustrade; in furniture, a splat with the
    outlines of a baluster. (See fig. 22, page 106.)

  _Band or banding._--A narrow inlay which contrasts in color or
    grain with the surface which it is used to embellish.

  _Banister._--Same as "baluster."

  _Baroque._--The style which followed that of the Renaissance;
    characterized by rectangular outline much softened by use of
    curves, and exemplified by Louis XIV furniture, and in modified
    form by that of the late Jacobean and William and Mary styles.

  _Bead or beading._--A small molding, usually of semicircular shape.

  _Beauvais tapestry._--A fine hand-woven tapestry made in Beauvais,
    France, since 1662, and used for wall panels and furniture

  _Bombé._--Puffed, rounded, or bulged.

  _Brass._--An alloy of copper and zinc.

  _Broken pediment._--See "pediment."

  _Bronze._--An alloy of copper and zinc.

  _Bun foot._--See "foot."

  ~C~-_scroll._--In the form of the letter ~C~.

  _Cartouche._--An ornamental form based originally upon the open
    scroll; an oblong, elliptical, or shield-shaped flat panel, used
    in the decoration of furniture.

  _Caryatid._--A draped female figure, used as a support in place of
    a column or pilaster.

  _Chamfer._--The surface formed by cutting away the angle formed by
    two sides of a board.

  _Classic._--As here used, conforming to the style of ancient Greek
    and Roman art.

  _Collar._--A narrow strap or band, used near the top and (or)
    bottom of the leg.

  _Court cupboard._--A short cupboard; originally a small cupboard
    set on a side table, but later built as one piece.

  _Cyma curve._--A double or ~S~ curve, as in the cabriole leg.

  _Dado._--The lower part of a wall, when marked off by panel or

  _Deal._--Scotch fir.

  _Fiddleback._--Having splats shaped something like a violin.

  _Finial._--A terminating or crowning detail.

  _Flemish scroll foot._--See "foot."

  _Fluting._--Decoration by means of flutes or channels, as in a
    chair leg or dresser post.


      _Ball._--Globular, and attached to leg by slender ankle.

      _Ball and claw._--Derived from the Chinese and representing a
        dragon's claw holding the great pearl.

      _Bell._--Bell-shaped, and joined to leg by slender ankle.

      _Bracket._--Used for cabinets, but not for chairs.

      _Bun._--In the form of a flattened ball. See "trumpet-turned
        leg," under "leg."

      _Dutch._--Another name for "pad foot."

      _Flemish scroll._--See illustration, page 62.

      _French._--See illustration, page 57.

      _Hoof._--See "cabriole leg with hoof foot," under "leg."

      _Leaf scroll._--See illustration, page 16.

      _Pad._--See illustration, pages 59, 65.

      _Paw._--See illustration, pages 59, 65.

      _Peg top._--Turned to a point, like a top, and attached to the
        leg without a sharply defined ankle.

      _Spade._--See illustration, page 68.

      _Spanish._--See illustration, page 53.

      _Serpent._--Used on tripod tables.

  _Fresco._--In the fine arts, a method of painting on freshly laid
    plaster before it dries.

  _Fret._--Interlaced ornamental work, carved on flat surfaces or
    pierced for galleries, chair backs, or aprons.

  _Gallery._--An ornamental railing of wood or metal along the edge
    of a table, desk, or sideboard.

  _Gesso_ (pronounced jes-o).--a plaster-like material spread on a
    surface or moulded into ornamental forms as a base for painting
    or gilding.

  _Gilding._--An overlay or covering of gold leaf, or of gold powder
    with size.

  _Girandole._--A very elaborate type of candle holder, used on the
    walls of late seventeenth and eighteenth century French salons,
    and usually made in pairs.

  _Highboy._--A tall chest of drawers, mounted on legs.

  _Japanning._--Art of varnishing with japan; see "lacquer."

  _Knee._--The projecting upper curve of a cabriole leg; see "leg."

  _Lacquer._--In period decoration, a varnish, of which the best was
    produced in Japan by tapping the varnish tree and drying the sap
    in the air. Pigments were often added for color. In Japanese
    lacquer work at least 15 coats, separately polished, were applied.


      _Cabriole._--Made in many styles. Illustration on pages 16, 65
        show an example with hoof foot and carved knee.

      ~S~-_scroll._--See illustration, page 62.

      _Trumpet-turned._--Here shown with inverted cup and bun foot.
        Many variations of this general form include octagonal legs
        and pear bulb legs.

      _Term._--Many variations of this form, which is here shown in
        an ornate leg of the style of Louis XIV.

  _Lowboy._--A chest of drawers, usually not more than 4 feet high
    and standing on four legs.

  _Marquetry._--Inlaid work, usually in colored woods, but
    occasionally with the addition of ivory, bone, mother-of-pearl,
    etc. Sometimes differentiated as _intarsia_, in which the
    materials are placed in channels gouged out of the surface of the
    base, and _marquetry_, in which the pattern is formed as a veneer
    and glued to the surface of the base.

  _Mullion._--A slender bar or pier, forming a division between
    windows, screens, etc.

  _Neoclassic_ (New classic).--Designating the revival of classic
    taste in art, and here applied to the second revival after the
    discovery of Pompeian art early in the eighteenth century.

  _Ormolu._--An alloy of copper and zinc; used in France for the
    production of furniture mounts, which were usually first cast,
    then chiseled with jewel-like precision, and gilded.

  _Parquetry._--An inlay of geometric or other patterns for floors,
    often in colored woods.

  _Patina._--In furniture, the surface appearance assumed by wood,
    marble, or other materials as the result of long exposure.

  _Pediment._--In classic architecture, the flat triangular space
    between the roof lines on the end of a building; now often
    curved, and applied to over-doors, cabinet tops, etc. In the
    broken pediment the top line is cut away.

  _Pewter._--An alloy of tin with some other metal usually copper,
    lead, or antimony.

  _Reeding._--Embellishment produced by narrow convex moldings; the
    reverse of fluting.

  _Rococo._--The general decorative style which developed from and
    followed the Baroque; characterized by exclusive employment of
    curved line, avoidance of complete symmetry, and exuberant and
    fanciful ornament in which shell and scroll forms were freely

  ~S~-_scroll._--A scroll roughly in the form of the letter ~S~,
    often used for the legs of chairs or cabinets; see "leg."

  _Serpentine._--Sinuous or winding; in furniture, bow-shaped, with
    the ends straight or bent back like a Cupid's bow.

  _Splat._--A broad, flat upright member in middle of chairback.

  _Splay or splayed._--Spread outward obliquely.

  _Strap-work._--A decorative design consisting of a narrow fillet or
    band with crossed, folded, or interlaced ornament.

  _Silhouette._--As applied to stretchers or skirts, an ornamental
    outline or profile.

  _Squab._--A thickly stuffed loose cushion, especially one used for
    the seat of a sofa, couch, chair, or stool.

  _Swag._--A decoration in wood or metal, resembling festoons or

  _Truss._--In furniture, a rigid frame, of solid, open, column or
    arcade construction, used in pairs to support the ends of a piece
    of furniture, and usually connected by some form of stretcher.

  _Tester._--A canopy over a bed, supported by the bedposts.

  _Trestle._--A braced frame, forming whole support of a table top.


In order to avoid confusion, this list is restricted to a few books
which are adequate for our present purpose, and usually are to be found
in every public library. Books dealing with materials, construction,
and special aspects of home-furnishing practice, and with salesmanship
and merchandising principles are listed for suggested reading at the
end of each unit.


The new Encyclopedia Britannica (14th edition) contains an astounding
wealth of well written and beautifully illustrated material very useful
to the salesman.



  CRANE, ROSS. _Interior Decoration. A Study Course for Furniture
    Men._ The Seng Co., 1430 No. Dayton Street, Chicago, Ill., 1928.

  EBERLEIN, HAROLD. _Practical Book of Interior Decoration._ J. B.
    Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 1937.

  KELSEY, CLARK. _Furniture: Its Selection and Use._ National
    Committee on Wood Utilization, United States Department of
    Commerce. Superintendent of Documents, United States Government
    Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 1931.

  MUSELWHITE, KATHERINE. _Principles and Practice of Interior
    Decoration._ Suttonhouse, Ltd., Publishers, Los Angeles, Calif.

  PALMER, LOIS. _Your House._ Boston Cooking School Magazine Co. 1928.

  POST, EMILY PRICE. _Personality of a House._ Funk & Wagnalls Co.,
    New York, N. Y. 1933.

  POWELL, LYDIA. _The Attractive Home._ Macmillan Co., New York, N.
    Y. 1939.

  REYBURN, SAMUEL W. _Selling Home Furnishings Successfully._
    Prentice-Hall, Inc., New York, N. Y.

  WHITON, SHERRILL. _Elements of Interior Decoration._ J. B.
    Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 1937.


  BURRIS-MEYER, ELIZABETH. _Decorating Livable Homes._ Prentice-Hall,
    Inc., New York, N. Y. 1937.

  BURROWS, THELMA. _Successful House Furnishing._ Manual Arts Press,
    Peoria, Ill. 1938.

  KNAUFF, CARL G. B. _Refurbishing The Home._ McGraw-Hill Book Co.,
    Inc. New York, N. Y. 1938.

  KOUES, HELEN. _How To Be Your Own Decorator._ Tudor Publishing Co.,
    Inc., New York, N. Y. 1939.

  MAAS, CARL. _Common Sense In Home Decoration._ Greenberg Publishing
    Co., New York, N. Y. 1938.

  MERIVALE, MARGARET. _Furnishing The Small Home._ Studio
    Publications, London, n. d.

  MILLER, GLADYS. _Decoratively Speaking._ Doubleday, Doran & Co.,
    New York, N. Y. 1939.

  STOREY, WALTER. _Period Influences in Interior Decoration._ Harper
    & Bros., New York, N. Y. 1937.


  ARONSON, JOSEPH. _Book of Furniture and Decoration._ Crown
    Publishers, New York, N. Y. 1937.

  ARONSON, JOSEPH. _Encyclopedia of Furniture._ Crown Publishers, New
    York, N. Y. 1939.

  HOLLOWAY, EDWARD. _Practical Book of American Furniture and
    Decoration._ J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 1937.

  KIMERLY, W. L. _How To Know Period Styles in Furniture._ Grand
    Rapids Furniture Record Co. 1912.

  ORMSBEE, THOMAS. _Early American Furniture Makers._ Tudor
    Publishing Co., New York, N. Y. 1930.

  Metropolitan Museum of Art, _Handbook of the American Wing_. R. T.
    H. Halsey-Charles O. Cornelius. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
    York, N. Y. 1928.


  DRAPER, DOROTHY TUCKERMAN. _Decorating Is Fun._ Doubleday, Doran &
    Co., Inc., New York, N. Y. 1939.

  FRANKL, PAUL. _Space For Living._ Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., New
    York, N. Y. 1938.

  PATMORE, DEREK. _Color Schemes for the Modern Home._ Studio
    Publications, London. 1936.

  ----. _Decoration for the Small Home._ G. P. Putnam's Sons, New
    York, N. Y. 1938.

  _Yearbook of Decorative Art._ Studio Publications. 1938.


Unit IV contains much more material than can be discussed at one
meeting. The group leader must be selective and decide which points are
to be developed at the group meeting. Two programs are suggested.


1. _Opening remarks by the group leader_ (5 minutes):

  _a._ No matter what kind of furniture we stock and sell, we first
    must have a working knowledge of the historic styles.

  _b._ This unit contains condensed information on period decoration.
    You will not need to learn all these details thoroughly--at least
    not at once. Take the unit home and read it carefully.

  _c._ After this reading, think over your own stock and decide just
    what parts of the description of period furniture will be most
    useful to pick out and study in detail.

2. _"High-lighting" a furniture sales talk_ (35 minutes):

  _a._ A series of talks made by various salesmen and limited to 5
    minutes each. Have five or six articles, furniture and rugs,
    grouped in front of the class and assign one piece to each man
    after he gets on his feet. Stress the style appeal of the piece
    under discussion.

  _b._ Permit a minute or two for criticism after each talk and
    criticize them solely as to their probable effect in influencing
    a buyer.

3. _A Colonial bedroom_ (15 minutes):

  Demonstration by Mr. Williams will cover all the elements of a good
    selling talk--fitness, room arrangement, color appeal, beauty of
    design, style (with emphasis upon sentimental appeal and present
    vogue) and price. The demonstration should be criticized on the
    basis of its smoothness and cumulative effect, or "build-up."


4. _Is our merchandise properly styled for our own trade?_ (25 minutes):

  Designed to put the buyer on the defensive, and to develop through
    frank discussion any need for changes in the character of the
    merchandise from the point of view of design and price only.
    You are trying to build up a business-getting machine, with no
    friction, dissatisfaction, or mental alibis. The idea that a
    salesman can sell anything to anybody will have to be discarded.

5. _Promotion plans for this season's business_ (15 minutes):

  By some owner or by the chairman; a brief, candid statement of
    plans for buying display, advertising, and all forms of promotion
    and sales effort. Good to insure enthusiastic teamwork and to
    build up loyalty.

6. _Personal experiences_ (10 minutes):

  The chairman will draw upon the selling experiences of individual
    members of the group.


1. _Opening remarks by the group leader_ (5 minutes):

  _a._ We can make the best start, with least likelihood of
    resistance, by helping the customer to find articles that suit
    her needs, tastes, and means, and add to the comfort, harmony,
    and beauty of her home.

  _b._ Style in furniture doesn't stop with the historic styles,
    but it does start there, and if we are going to make profitable
    use of style as a selling factor we must first know how our own
    merchandise is styled.

2. _Styling our own stock_ (50 minutes):

  _a._ Early European styles. Mr. Stark (15 minutes).

  _b._ Eighteenth century European styles. Mr. Pearson (20 minutes).

  _c._ American styles. Mr. Hahn (15 minutes).

  Go in a body directly to the nearest piece to be shown, and move on
    the minute that this piece has been adequately discussed. See to
    it that the men give a brief, orderly statement on three points:
    (1) The style with which they identify the piece; (2) reasons for
    the classification; and (3) types of non-period pieces, rugs,
    etc., in your own stock that could be used harmoniously with
    it. Time should be allowed for criticism and comment, even if
    very few pieces can be examined. If the group fails to arrive at
    general agreement on any piece, request the men who are arguing
    most keenly about it to consult other authorities and report at
    the next meeting.


3. _Selling furniture on style basis_ (30 minutes):

  Demonstration by Messrs. Black and Herrick. In this demonstration,
    let the men have 15 minutes free from interruption, with the time
    limit announced in advance; stop them promptly when their time
    has expired; and call for comment and criticism. These sales
    rehearsals are of the utmost value if properly conducted. They
    should never be permitted to lag or become involved in windy

4. _How can we make use of unit III in closing any sales now pending?
Open discussion_ (20 minutes):

  A sale of importance often has to be as carefully prepared and
    staged as a stage play. If the style appeal can be used to
    advantage in sales hanging fire or in sight, use the brains of
    the entire organization to find out how to do it.

As an alternative procedure to that suggested in 4 above, the following
may be preferred by some group leaders:

  Appoint three style leaders, or divide the entire force into three
    style committees, to deal respectively with _(a)_ the early
    European styles, from the Renaissance to William and Mary; _(b)_
    the eighteenth century European styles; and _(c)_ the American
    styles. These leaders or committees should be instructed to go
    through the stock, assign as many pieces as possible to the
    various historic periods, and be prepared to give the reasons for
    these assignments to the whole group. In a large stock, limit the
    assignment to living room furniture only.

5. _Assignment of practice work_ (5 minutes):

  Typed forms prepared about as follows should be distributed at this

  Historic style_____________ Name of salesman________________________

  Approximate dates of beginning and end______________________________

  Reigning monarch____________________________________________________

  Principal characteristics of the style______________________________

  Details of construction, ornament, and decorative practice__________

  Other styles more or less closely related to this one_______________

  Pieces in our own stock which can be assigned to this style. Give number,
  article, and finish_________________________________________________

  Criticism and comment by Mr. (Name of second salesman to be filled
  in later)___________________________________________________________

  Fill in one of these sheets with a different style for each salesman.
    Choose only the styles important for your own business. Hand these
    forms out with the request that they be filled in after careful study.


  _Acacia._--Africa, Australia, and generally throughout the warmer
    regions of the globe. The 550 species of acacia include several
    valuable timber woods, among them the Australian blackwood and
    acacia koa (see Koa) of the Sandwich Islands. Acacia was used as
    a furniture wood in the Byzantine and Romanesque styles more than
    1,200 years ago.

  _Amaranth._--Chiefly from British Guiana, South America. Also
    known as purpleheart tree and violet wood. It is of fair size;
    wood heavy, hard, and of a deep purple color not fast to light;
    used in marquetry embellishment of Louis XV furniture, and still
    popular in fine furniture.

  _Amboyna._--East Indies, Malay Archipelago. (Also spelled
    Amboina, from the island of that name, Dutch East Indies.) This
    beautifully figured and mottled wood has much the color of
    satinwood. Amboyna burl, so-called, comes from the padouk tree.
    (See Padouk.) It is a rich golden yellow, shot with brilliant
    red, and is one of the most costly woods in the world.

  _Apple._--The fruit wood, used in Elizabethan England and since, as
    an inlay.

  _Ash._--Europe, Asia, and North America. A large, widely
    distributed group related to the olive family. There are 20
    species in North America, ranging from desert shrubs to the
    magnificent white ash of the lower Ohio valley. The wood is
    markedly ring-porous, and when skillfully finished is very
    handsome, either plain or quarter-sawed. Varieties commonly used
    for veneer are figured trees of American white ash, English,
    Australian, and Japanese ash, the latter known as "tamo." Color
    ranges from grayish white to nut brown in tamo; a small fiddle or
    peanut figure is characteristic.

  _Aspen._--Chiefly from Maryland and the Appalachian Mountains.
    (Also known as silver poplar.) Large trees, yielding some figured
    logs having a characteristic small block mottle figure. The wood
    is of light-straw color with some light-brown streaks, and takes
    a beautiful finish.

  _Avodire._--West coast of Africa, near the equator. A creamy
    colored wood, yielding a handsome figure in crotch or
    quarter-sliced veneers.

  _Ayous._--West coast of Africa. Cream-colored wood of a slight
    greenish tinge; resembles prima vera in appearance, and because
    of its low cost is sometimes used as a substitute for blond woods.

  _Basswood._--North America. (Also known as linden and whitewood.)
    This tree, which belongs to the lime family, has a wood of
    cream-white color, almost free from visible markings due to
    pores, annual rings, or rays. In furniture manufacture it is used
    for plywood cores and kitchen table tops to be left unfinished.

  _Beech._--Europe, Asia Minor, and eastern North America. Of
    the same genus as the oak and the chestnut, this tree yields
    furniture wood of light reddish-brown color. It has about the
    same weight and hardness as sugar maple.

  _Birch._--North America, Europe, Asia Minor, and northern Siberia.
    A hardy, beautiful tree, yielding a hard and handsome wood,
    whether in plain or quarter-sawed surfaces, or in the form of
    veneers. The wood is of close texture; often has a wavy grain,
    producing what is known as curly birch, noted for wavy figure of
    changing high lights and shadows.

  _Bosse._--Africa, French Ivory Coast. This large tree, closely
    resembling the cedar, has a wood light red or pink in color,
    which takes an excellent finish. It is used in America only as a

  _Boxwood._--Europe, North America, and the West Indies. An
    extremely heavy, tough, close-grained wood, white or pale
    yellow in color, used in making musical instruments and also in
    furniture inlay.

  _Bubinga._--West coast of Africa. Closely related to the rosewood,
    and its equal in weight, hardness, and capacity to take a high
    polish. The wood is slightly darker than mahogany. The veneer is
    usually striped, but sometimes figured, with a gorgeous black
    mottle. (See Kewazingo.)

  _Butternut._--North Central United States. (Also known as white
    walnut.) This relatively small tree has a short trunk which makes
    it difficult to get veneer logs of good length and free from

  _Cedar._--Asia, Africa, and North America. The cedar of Lebanon has
    been a favorite with poets and painters for thousands of years.
    Other famous members of this family are the deodar or "god tree"
    of the Himalayas, and the thuya. Among the American varieties are
    the incense or white cedar, the Port Oxford or Oregon cedar, and
    the red or American cedar. Cedar was used as a furniture wood in
    ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia almost 4,000 years ago.

  _Cherry._--Europe and North America. This fruit wood is now rare
    and little used in furniture making but it is highly valued by
    cabinet makers by reason of its handsome fine-grained texture,
    its freedom from warping, and its capacity to take a high polish.

  _Chestnut._--Europe and North America. The wood is closely allied
    to that of the oak, which it resembles in general appearance,
    though it is softer and the medullary rays are finer and less
    pronounced. Ideal for lumber cores of hardwood plywood. Decay
    resistant; easily glued and easy to work. The blight in no way
    subtracts from the quality of the wood, but it has decreased the
    amount now available.

  _Cypress._--Europe, Asia, and North America. The common cypress
    is straight, tapering, and stately, but dark and forbidding in
    appearance. The wood is hard, close-grained, of a rich reddish
    hue and durable. A veneer of cypress stumps, with a highly
    intricate grain, is used in furniture making under the name of
    _faux satine_, or false satin.

  _Deal._--Scotland. The Scotch fir, used to some extent in
    Elizabethan England and later as a furniture wood.

  _Ebony._--India, East Indies, and Ceylon. Accurately, the black,
    heavy heartwood of a genus of tropical trees. According to legend
    the wood was used by the ancient kings of India not only for
    scepters and images, but also as drinking cups. Macassar ebony,
    so named from Macassar, seaport of the island of Celebes, Dutch
    East Indies, is notable for its close grain, intense hardness and
    rich hazel brown color, striped or mottled with black. It is much
    used in this country, where it is often known as "marblewood."

  _Elm._--Europe, Asia, and North America. A noble and beautiful
    tree, widely distributed in the north temperate zone. In this
    country white elm is chiefly important for furniture, with some
    use of rock elm and slippery elm. The wood is hard, ranging in
    color from reddish brown at the heart to white sap wood, and
    has a fine wavelike grain when plain sawed. The richly figured
    leather-brown burl veneers made from trunk burls of elms from the
    Carpathian mountains, in central Europe, are among the costliest
    of cabinet woods.

  _Goncalo alves._--Brazil. A hard and beautiful wood, closely
    related to rosewood. It has a rosy straw color, streaked with
    dark brown and black; is both sawed and sliced on the quarter,
    and is used for the same purposes as Macassar ebony.

  _Greywood or Silver Greywood._--See Harewood.

  _Gum._--United States. The term gum tree is applied to several
    unrelated gum-bearing trees in the United States, of which the
    wood of the red gum is chiefly used for furniture. It has a
    close grain, uniform texture, white sapwood, and reddish brown
    heartwood, the latter sometimes containing dark streaks, and
    known in the trade as figured gum. Tupelo gum and black gum have
    almost the same texture as red gum, but are white or warm gray in
    color. Gumwood was formerly called satin walnut in this country
    and still bears that name in England. Red gum is one of the most
    widely used hardwoods for plywood and ranks second among native
    hardwoods in production of face veneers and first in production
    of utility or commercial veneers. The sap wood is commonly called
    "sap gum."

  _Harewood_ (artificial).--England and the Continent. Harewood,
    a West Indies wood now practically extinct, was much used by
    eighteenth century cabinet makers. Artificial harewood, also
    known as silver grey-wood, is made from carefully chosen English
    curly maple, known there as sycamore. The logs are first cut into
    planks and air-dried for three months; then cut into veneer and
    dyed with iron salts in huge tanks under pressure, which produces
    a beautiful silver grey wood with a slightly metallic sheen. It
    is one of the most costly veneers.

  _Holly._--England. English white holly has been used since the
    time of Elizabeth for inlays. The thin veneers, having an
    exceptionally close texture, can be dyed to various colors. It is
    similar in appearance and use to boxwood, but less expensive.

  _Iroko._--Africa. Though not of the teak family, this wood is
    called African teak. It is hard, firm, of the color of a ripe
    cucumber, and in veneers has a waxy figure.

  _Kewazingo._--Africa. A veneer made in France from a species of
    bubinga, and cut in a peculiar way to a wavy figure. It is used
    as a decorative as well as a base wood in tables and case goods.

  _Khaya._--Africa. (African mahogany.) See Mahogany.

  _Koa._--Hawaiian Islands. Belonging to the acacia family, the koa
    is the most valuable Hawaiian tree. Its beautiful wood is of
    golden color, sometimes streaked with black or brown. Most logs
    have some figure and many have a pronounced ripple grain in

  _Kingwood._--British Guiana, South America. A heavy wood, related
    to the rosewood, and sometimes called violet wood because of its
    color. It is chiefly used in the form of veneers sawed from small
    logs, about the size of fence posts.

  _Koko._--Andaman Islands, East Indies. The East India walnut; has
    a hard, smooth texture similar to koa; not much figure, but a
    narrow prominent stripe when quartered; nut brown color.

  _Lacewood._--Australia. (Also known as silky or Australian oak
    or selano.) This wood of a light, rosy color has pronounced
    medullary rays, and when quartered yields a beautiful effect of
    grain strikingly similar to that of coarse lace.

  _Lauaan._--Philippine Islands. (Pronounced la-wan', with both a's
    as in "arm".) A tall tree native to the Philippines, the wood of
    which bears a marked resemblance to mahogany. Formerly marketed
    as "Philippine mahogany," and now as red lauaan.

  _Laurelwood._--Andaman Islands, East Indies. Related to koko, and
    one of the finest timbers of the East. Laurelwood is a highly
    figured wood, gray with black stripes, and with a wavy grain.

  _Lime._--Europe. (Also known as linden, the North American variety
    is basswood.) A soft, white wood, extraordinarily well adapted
    for carving in high relief or in the round.

  _Macassar._--See Ebony. (Often, and properly, spelled Makassar.)
    Makassar oil, originally produced from the sandalwood of
    Makassar, was so much used as a hair dressing in Victorian
    England that it gave rise to the use of antimacassars or
    "tidies," as a protection to upholstered chair backs.

  _Magnolia._--Southeast United States. Also species are found in
    Japan, China, the Himalayas. The wood is fine-grained, fairly
    hard, white at the sap and of a pale yellowish or greenish tinge
    at the heart.

  _Mahogany._--A fine cabinet wood, is noted for variety and beauty
    of figure or pattern of the grain of the wood. Widely used for
    veneers and lumber of extreme dimensions and freedom from defect.
    Used for traditional furniture styles such as Chippendale,
    Hepplewhite, Sheraton, and Duncan Phyfe, and desirable for modern
    styles either in traditional or the lighter finishes.[32]

  Three general types of mahogany are recognized: West Indian,
  conceded to be the hardest and strongest. Most of this type now
  comes from Cuba, but less than 5 percent of the American imports of
  mahogany are from the West Indies. The mainland Tropical American,
  which grows from southern Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela and
  appears again on the Upper Amazon and its tributaries in western
  Brazil and eastern Peru. Somewhat milder textured than the West
  Indian. A third type comes from the West Coast of Africa. This
  mahogany is not quite as firm textured as the American mahogany,
  but the trees are large and many are highly figured. Accordingly,
  the most of the mahogany veneers used in this country are _African_.

  Mahogany wood is strong and tough, uniform in structure and close
  or moderately open grained, depending upon the locality where it is
  grown. Mahogany possesses a combination of physical and woodworking
  characteristics that have brought it into high renown as a cabinet
  wood. It is receptive to the finest of finishes. Freshly cut
  mahogany ranges from a light pink to yellow, but on exposure to
  light and air, quickly turns to a reddish brown or sherry color.

  Mahogany has an interlocking grain which, on the quarter, usually
  reveals a straight stripe or ribbon figure. To a more limited
  degree some trees show broken stripe, rope, ripple, mottle,
  fiddleback, and blister figures and various combinations of these
  figures. Outstanding are the crotch and swirl figures obtained from
  sections of the trunk immediately beneath a fork or crotch in the
  tree. Mahogany does not produce clearly defined annual growth rings
  common to trees of the temperate zone. Consequently, the shell or
  leaf pattern in flat cut mahogany is due to the interlocking grain
  rather than to annual growth rings.

  _Maidou._--Burma and Indo-China. This tree is closely related to
    the amboyna, but has a coarser figure and a darker brown color.
    Maidou burls are hard, sound, and valuable.

  _Makore._--Africa, West Coast. (Also known as African cherry.) A
    large tree, yielding a furniture wood similar in texture and
    coloring to our cherry, but frequently revealing a strong black

  _Madrone._--California and Oregon. (Also called Madrona.) Chiefly
    used in in the form of burl veneer, which has a tough hard
    surface, intricately veined figure, and rose-pink color.

  _Maple._--North temperate zone. There are about 150 species in the
    maple family, of which 13 are native to North America. The sugar
    maple (also known as hard maple and rock maple) is a magnificent
    tree which sometimes attains a height of 120 feet. The wood is
    heavy, hard and of fine grain, as is that of the black maple.
    In veneers the maples yield many beautiful effects, including
    curly maple, bird's-eye maple, and the remarkable maple burls
    from Oregon trees. With the "natural" finish it is principally
    used for bedroom, porch, and kitchen furniture. Occasionally it
    is used in combination with other woods for exposed parts which
    are stained or painted and for interior parts where strength or
    rigidity are essential.

  _Marblewood_ or _Marble-heart_.--See Ebony.

  _Movingue._--Africa, west coast. A straw-colored wood resembling
    Java teak, but more yellow in color. In veneers it produces
    mottled wood and fine feather crotches.

  _Myrtle._--Northern California and Oregon. A greenish-yellow wood,
    which when used in veneers has the peculiarity of showing the
    characteristic figuration of plain, butt, and burl woods in a
    single small area. Chiefly used in burls.

  _Narra._--Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. Red narra varies
    in color from deep red shadings to attractive rose tint. Yellow
    narra ranges through the brilliant browns to golden yellow.
    When cut on the quarter the appearance is not unlike quartered
    unfigured satinwood.

  _New Guinea Wood._--A recent popular importation. Brown to light
    gray with definite black lines. Large trees produce wide, long
    veneers. A highly figured wood with straight narrow stripe.
    Resembles oriental wood, but slightly lighter. Usually cut on the

  _Oak._--North temperate zone. Of the hundreds of species of oak,
    84 are found in the United States. Some of the splendid forest
    oaks reach a height of 150 feet. In the trade, oak lumber is
    classified as _white oak_ (cut chiefly from the white, chestnut,
    post, burr, over-cup, and swamp chestnut oaks), and _red oak_
    (cut chiefly from the red, Shumard red, scarlet, black, and
    yellow oaks).

  English brown oak is taken from certain English white oak trees,
  the wood of which has become brown from an infection of microscopic
  fungus which feeds on the tannin in the wood, leaving a brown
  residue which gives the wood the appearance of fine tortoise shell.
  Many of these trees were sturdy specimens hundreds of years before
  the Norman conquest in the year 1066.

  Pollard oak is the term applied by English cabinet makers to oak
  burls. The veneers are choice and costly. Its uses are legion, but
  in fine furniture it has great strength, durability and attractive

  _Oriental wood._--Queensland, Australia. (Also known as Queensland
    or Australian "walnut.") These huge trees resemble the Australian
    silky oak and the American blue beech. The wood, which is
    comparatively new on the American market, resembles walnut
    in appearance, and the veneers, quarter cut, yield stripe,
    fiddleback, and mottled effects.

  _Padouk._--Burma and the Andaman Islands. (Also known as Vermilion
    wood.) A beautiful wood of reddish golden color with prominent
    ribbon stripe. (See Yomawood.)

  _Pearwood._--Europe and North America. The fruit wood, much used by
    seventeenth century furniture makers.

  _Peroba._--Brazil. The largest family of fine Brazilian woods.
    Peroba Rosa has a pink color, somewhat resembling that of
    tulipwood, while Peroba Blanca resembles satinwood. The veneers
    have a fine grain and take a remarkable polish.

  _Poplar._--United States. The cabinet wood known as yellow poplar,
    whitewood, and poplar in this country, and as canary whitewood in
    England, comes from a tall North American tree known as the tulip
    tree. The wood is of fine grain, uniform texture, and of a color
    ranging from the yellowish white in the sap to yellowish green,
    purplish brown, or iridescent blue in the heart. It closely
    resembles magnolia, but is somewhat softer. Must not be confused
    with the rarer Brazilian tulipwood.

  _Prima Vera._--Central America. While not a mahogany, prima vera
    is generally known as white mahogany. The wood is of cream color
    with a greenish cast, and resembles stripe mahogany in texture.

  _Purpleheart._--See Amaranth.

  _Redwood._--Northern California. (Also known as Sequoia.) Chiefly
    used in furniture in the form of veneers cut from the huge trunk
    burls, which yield sheets 5 × 6 feet without defects. The wood
    has a strikingly veined figure and a light brick-red color.

  _Rosewood._--Brazil, eastern India, and Madagascar. Brazilian
    rosewood, also known as Rio rosewood, was formerly extensively
    used in making piano cases and musical instruments, and is still
    sometimes known as piano-wood. Color varies from brownish yellow
    to deep red, with black growth lines. The veneer is generally
    cut rotary, but also sliced on the quarter or across the heart.
    East Indian rosewood, sometimes known in veneer form as malabor
    or Bombay rosewood, is one of the finest cabinet woods. It varies
    in color from clear yellow through the reds to purple, with dark
    stripes. Madagascar rosewood, also known as _faux rose_, is a
    heavy hardwood ranging from pale pink to dull red in color, and
    revealing a fine pin-stripe in veneer.

  _Sapele._--West African coast. Most Sapele logs are cut on the
    quarter and produce a straight stripe that in width is about
    halfway between the stripe of mahogany and stripe of satinwood.

  _Satinwood._--Puerto Rico, and Island of Ceylon. This finest of
    cabinet woods was obtained by the eighteenth century masters
    from the West Indies, but little is now to be had outside
    Ceylon. Whether straight-grained or figured, satinwood has an
    incomparable beauty and fire.

  _Snakewood._--Brazil. This term is applied to several woods, of
    which the most striking is the handsomely mottled wood of the
    South American leopard tree. It is used only in veneer.

  _Sycamore._--United States. This name is applied to the native
    American plane tree, although the term still is applied to
    the ancient Egyptian and Asia Minor mulberry. Sycamore wood,
    generally known in Europe as maple, is reddish-brown in color and
    when quartered is handsomely figured. It has interlocked grain
    and is therefore difficult to split.

  _Tamo._--Japan. (Native name for the Japanese ash.) Veneers cut
    from figured logs reveal an extraordinary wavy-like figure, and
    are beautiful and costly.

  _Tanguile._--Philippine Islands. A Philippine hardwood similar to
    red lauaan (see Lauaan) and like the latter at one time marketed
    as "Philippine mahogany."

  _Teakwood._--Region of the Gulf of Bengal. A hardwood of extreme
    durability, with white sapwood and a beautiful golden-yellow
    heartwood which on seasoning becomes dark brown, mottled with
    still browner streaks. The teak tree is native to India, Burma,
    and Thailand, and the wood is known to have been used in India
    for more than 2,000 years. It is one of the most enduring woods,
    and instances are recorded of teak beams which lasted more than
    1,000 years.

  _Thuya._--Algeria, Africa. (Formerly and properly spelled "thuja.")
    This is the botanical name for the arbor vitae, or tree of life,
    of the cedar family. In Europe the thuya burl is considered
    to share with amboyna the distinction of being the finest
    of all woods. The veneer is of reddish brown color, with a
    characteristic figure remotely suggestive of the feather crotch,
    and speckled with small round "eyes." It is used in Europe
    chiefly for fine cigarette and jewel cases.

  _Tigerwood._--Africa, west coast. (Also known as African or Benin
    walnut.) An inexpensive but handsome veneer wood, ranging from
    golden-yellow to dull brown in color, with a wide and pronounced
    ribbon stripe. The crotches are large and good.

  _Tulipwood._--Brazil. An extremely hard wood of pinkish-red color,
    much used since the seventeenth century for marquetry.

  _Vermilion wood._--See Padouk.

  _Violet wood._--See Amaranth and Kingwood.

  _Walnut._--North temperate zone of America and Europe. American
    walnut is produced commercially from Wisconsin and Southern
    Ontario to Kansas, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. It is widely
    used for lumber and veneers.[33]

  Its use as a cabinetwood for furniture began in the late fifteenth
  century and has continued from that time until the present. The
  wood's natural color, within its outer band of creamy sapwood,
  ranges through a gamut of soft grayish browns whose deepest note is
  pale chocolate sometimes lightly tinged with violet.

  Dean S. J. Record, Yale University says: "Walnut is one of the
  finest cabinet woods in the world. It has stood the test of time.
  Trace its use back through the centuries, and it will be found a
  medium of expression for what successive periods have considered
  most beautiful and worthy in furniture design. As one lover of
  the wood phrases it, 'from the massiveness of the Flemish, the
  elegance of the Italian and French, and the balanced beauty of
  the eighteenth century English walnut, by its inherent qualities,
  has been the one cabinet wood that fulfilled all demands.'" This
  record resulted from walnut's unusual combination of physical and
  mechanical properties.

  It is widely used not only for the most costly furniture, but
  for the medium priced as well, because of another important
  feature--its great variety of figure types. These vary from the
  severely plain straight-quartered walnut, commonly seen on modern
  furniture and architectural woodwork, through sliced wood, rotary,
  many types of stumpwood, to the swirls, burls, and highly figured

  In addition to the American species, imported varieties such
  as French, English, Italian, and Circassian, are still used
  occasionally. However, more than 99 percent of all America's needs
  are supplied by our own American walnut, which ranks somewhat
  higher in strength properties than the European variety.

  _Yomawood._--Burma and the Andaman Islands. (Also known as Burmese
    Padouk.) This is one of the most beautiful woods, varying in
    color from deep crimson through cherry red, pink and red-brown to
    brown. The figure is commonly of the straight ribbon type, but
    some veneers show a cross figure, a little like that of figured

  _Zebrawood._--Africa, west coast. (Also known as Zebrana.) This
    highly decorative wood has been used since the early eighteenth
    century. The trees are large, and the veneer logs are imported
    in squares 4 to 5 feet square and 20 feet or more in length. The
    wood is light in color, and when cut on the quarter the veneers
    reveal dark stripes of extraordinary straightness, which makes
    the wood a favorite for matched diamond veneers. The name is
    derived from the resemblance of this wood to the skin of the

Appendix E.--COMMON RUG TERMS[34]

  _Burling._--An inspection treatment after weaving, to straighten
    up sunken tufts, to clip off long tufts, and otherwise add to
    finished appearance of fabric.

  _Chenille._--A soft tufted or fluffy cord of cotton, wool, silk,
    or worsted, made by weaving four warp threads about soft filling
    threads, afterward cut.

  _Filling._--Threads thrown across the warp to fill up space between

  _Ground color._--The prevailing color against which other colors
    create the motif or design.

  _Jaspe._--Broad irregular stripes of two shades, usually a lighter
    and darker shade of the same color, used either as an effect in
    plain goods or as a ground frame (sometimes in top colors as
    well) of figured goods. It is produced by dipping a skein of yarn
    twice in the dye, first the entire skein in the lighter shade and
    then a portion of it in the darker shade. Various types of fine
    or broad jaspes are obtained by the twist given the yarn. From
    the French word meaning marbled. Linoleum: A two-toned pattern
    resembling marble.

  _Jute._--Fiber from inner bark of jute plant, used as base for
    cheaper rugs.

  _Pick._--The weft thread shuttled through the fabric crosswise of
    the loom between the warp threads. The weft serves to tie in
    the yarn that forms the surface tufts or loops. The number of
    picks per inch is indicative of the closeness of the weave; for
    example, a high class Wilton has about 13½ picks per inch. In the
    Axminster weaves, the word "row" means the same as "pick." (See

  _Pile._--Projecting fibers or tufts on surface of rug; the _nap_.

  _Pile weaving._--In which there are two warps one with the weft
    forming the base and the other, formed into loops over wires,
    making the pile. In Brussels, the wire is pulled out leaving the
    loop intact. In Wiltons, there is a knife at the end of each wire
    which cuts the yarn as the wire is drawn out, making each loop a
    tuft. The pile is closer on Wiltons than on Brussels, as 13 wires
    are used to the inch, 8 being customary on Brussels.

  _Pitch._--Indicative of closeness of weave, considered in
    connection with "pick" or "rows." Pitch means the number of warp
    threads per inch measured crosswise of the loom. The warp threads
    run lengthwise of the fabric and interlock to bind in the weft,
    thus fastening the surface yarn. The closer together the warp
    threads the finer the weave; for example, good Wilton rugs are
    256 pitch, meaning that there are 256 warp threads to each 27
    inches of width of carpet, or 1,024 in a 9 by 12 rug.

  _Quarter._--Unit of loom width, 9 inches, or ¼ of a yard. The
    standard carpet width is ¾, or 3 times 9 equals 27 inches.
    Yard-wide carpet is known as ⁴/₄; 9 feet wide as ¹²/₄; 15 feet
    wide as ²⁰/₄, etc.

  _Shot._--The number of weft threads (see "pick") considered in
    reference to the tufts or loops of surface yarn. Two-shot means
    that there is one weft thread between each row of pile tufts.
    Three-shot means three weft threads to each row of tufts, one
    on the back and one on each side. Three-shot, requiring more
    material and more loom motion, adds to the cost, but increases

  _Staple._--The general fibers of wool or cotton, considered as an
    index of quality; for example, a single fiber judged by itself as
    to length, thickness, and resiliency denotes the quality of the

  _Stuffers._--Coarse yarn (usually jute) running lengthwise of the
    fabric that is caught by the weft and warp and bound into the
    fabric to form a thick, stiff, protective backing.

  _Top colors._--Colors forming the design, as distinguished from the
    ground color.

  _Tuft._--A bunch of flexible fibers like hairs, united at the base.
    Fine Wiltons contain 18,000 tufts to the square foot.

  _Warp._--Threads running the long way of rug, between which the
    weft, or woof (cross threads) are woven.

  _Weft._--Threads running the short way of the rug.

  _Wires._--Metal rods inserted between warp at same time weft is
    inserted, crosswise of loom. When withdrawn, resulting loops
    compose the pile. Number of wires is also used as index of

  _Woof._--Same as weft.

  _Worsted._--Selected wool yarn made from long fibers, combed
    parallel and twisted hard. Three pounds of raw wool provide one
    of worsted.


This advertising check list was worked out by the Chicago Tribune for
appraising the effectiveness of retail advertising. Copy which gets 70
points or better has proved to be satisfactory. Sample checking of your
advertisements against this table occasionally is suggested.


  1. Does the headline contain news value?                            15

  2. Is there a promise to the reader's self-interest?                15

  3. Is there an appeal for direct action?                            10

  4. Is the advertisement of proper size for the importance of the
  offer and for its most favorable presentation?                      10

  5. Is the advertiser's signature clearly displayed?                  5

  6. Is the merchandise or service mentioned in the headline?          3

  7. Does the headline include the name of the firm?                   2

  8. Does the illustration show the merchandise or service in use?     5

  9. Does the illustration invite the reader to project himself into it
  pleasantly, profitably, or favorably?                                3

  10. Does the lay-out locate elements logically and eye-invitingly?   5

  11. Is the lay-out exciting or attention compelling?                 3

  12. Does the copy tell what is new, different, or better about the
  merchandise or service, especially from the style angle?             3

  13. Does the copy inspire enthusiasm for the merchandise or
  service?                                                             3

  14. Does the copy have a definite ring of truth and sincerity?       5

  15. Does the copy tell the merchandise or service is priced to save
  money?                                                               2

  16. Does the copy tell that the product is guaranteed, lasting, and
  gives good service?                                                  3

  17. Does the copy develop and appeal to price?                       2

  18. Does the copy or illustration imply the merchandise increases sex
  appeal?                                                              3

  19. Does the copy tell why the merchandise is so priced?             1

  20. Does the copy tell of the seasonal appeal of the merchandise?    1

  21. Does the copy describe the merchandise or service with reasonable
  completeness?                                                        2

  22. Does the copy indicate a personal loss for not buying or using
  the product?                                                         1

  23. Are all negative thoughts connected with the product eliminated
  from the copy?                                                       2

  24. Does the copy indicate enthusiasm of users, such as
  testimonials?                                                        2

  25. Does the copy bring out superiorities of the merchandise or service
  over competitive products?                                           1

  26. Is the urge to action repeated three times--in the heading,
  in first paragraph, and in closing?                                  5

  27. Is the price displayed so it will command sufficient attention?  3

  28. Is there a free deal, free offer, free trial, or something free
  included?                                                            3

  29. Have all details to facilitate action been included? (Phone
  number, order blank, store hours, mention of air conditioning,
  parking, etc.)                                                       2


One furniture store has enjoyed a record of sales increases every month
but one for the last 2 years in the floor coverings department. This is
attributed to a fivefold merchandising approach based upon "style" and

During the entire year, other than at special "sales periods" this
company promotes oriental reproductions, finer broadloom (tone on
tone) carpeting, washed carpet, inlaid linoleum (yard goods), always
accenting "Style" and the necessity of fine floor coverings in relation
to fine home furnishings.

During the so-called "sale periods" of the year, the store features
"Room-wide floor coverings," "Bound broadloom remnant rugs," low-priced
9 by 12 Axminsters, and, in February and August, oriental reproductions
at reduced prices. The store theme is, "Value in every advertisement."
Customers are always sold the advertised merchandise, and full stocks
make it unnecessary to say--"Madam, we are sold out." These two things
build customer confidence in the store's publicity and in the store

Here are the fundamentals of the "Fivefold Plan":

  1. _Advertising._--Based on 5 percent of the departmental volume,
    the floor covering department is represented in the newspaper 52
    weeks of the year. _Constant promotion insures results._

  2. _Window display._--A window is assigned to the department every
    week wherein may be found the advertised merchandise, or new and
    highly styled floor covering innovations. _A Window Every Week._

  3. _Inner-store displays._--The theme is "Fine floor coverings are
    a necessity in the home of today." Every one of the model rooms
    features as an integral part of the furnishings a fine rug. The
    same holds true in the "Smaller home groupings." These rugs are
    not placed on the floor and forgotten. The furniture salesmen
    call attention to them daily. The carpet salesmen from time to
    time make use of these groupings as selling aids.

  4. _Trained salespersons._--New merchandise is sold _first_ to
    the salespersons. They are taught also that "truth" is the most
    powerful selling argument.

  5. _Service._--The customer is not sold to be forgotten. This
    company keeps in constant touch with the customer after the sale
    is made, both to foster business and to keep her satisfied.


For months we have been interested in checking home-furnishings
advertising copy in daily papers. This easily may become more than an
absorbing pastime.

As this is written, there is before us copy of a double-page spread
by a well-known company which sells home furnishings. The copy fairly
shouts color, tapestries, and period styles. Even brief study of
the copy will show how many and varied are the offerings to meet
ever-increasing competitive demands for something new.

This one piece of copy--typical of many appearing in the daily
papers--should convince any home-furnishings salesman that he must be
a constant student if he is to appear at his best as an interpreter of
color and style to his customers.

Look at this parade of 19 different colors, both plain and pebbly
twist, in carpets in 9-, 12-, and 15-foot widths.

  _Plain colors_

  Reseda green.
  Beaver taupe.
  Royal blue.
  Cherry red.
  Normandie rose.
  Horizon blue.
  French peach.
  Maple tan.
  Henna wine.
  French grey.

  _Pebbly textured colors_

  Maple tan.
  Royal blue.
  Tango rust.
  Jade green.
  French peach.
  Platinum beige.
  Burnt copper.

Oriental rugs in exquisite blending of colors and native originality
in design are offered in India, Teheran, Garevan, Kirman, Bidjar, and
Ardebil weaves. (See footnote 5, p. 160, unit VIII.)

For the _dining room_ there are _Sheraton-Hepplewhite groups_ of
"genuine mahogany construction rubbed and then waxed to its deep rich
red color." Choice is offered of pedestal dining table, or one of
the leg type; also "choice of the famous Hepplewhite shield back or
Sheraton model chairs." Other offerings include an _Adam_ group in
"genuine Honduras mahogany with beautifully figured swirl mahogany
veneers, delicately carved"; an _English Chippendale_ group; an _Early
American_ group of solid rock maple construction. Separate pieces for
the apartment dining room from which one may create his own ensemble
include offerings of a--

  _Sheraton extension console_--genuine Honduras mahogany
    construction inlaid with satinwood.

  _Duncan Phyfe side chair_ of lyre back design.

  _Colonial corner cabinet_--genuine Honduras mahogany.

  _Sheraton drop-leaf table_ of the pedestal type.

For the _living room_ are offered "upholstered pieces--sofas, wing
chairs, easy chairs, open armchairs, 'tailored' in effective coverings;
but which may be purchased in muslin and tailored in fabrics of your
own selection." Look at these noteworthy dependable furniture friends:

  _Chippendale wing chair_ with handsomely carved cabriole legs; ball
    and claw feet. Tapestry tailoring.

  _Fireside wing chair._--Colonial Chippendale design; ball and claw
    feet of solid mahogany. Tailored in tapestry.

  _English easy chair._--Exposed frame solid mahogany covered in a
    combination of tapestry and velvet.

  _English club chair._--Seat cushions filled with genuine down.
    Tailored in damask.

  _English Chippendale sofa._--Tailored in damask.

  _Eighteenth century easy chair._--Tailored in frieze.

  _Barrel-back chair_ of English design.--Tailored in brocatelle.

      The occasional pieces include: Secretary Desk in three
        designs--American Hepplewhite, Colonial Sheraton, and Early

_Cocktail table._--Hepplewhite design--hand-tooled leather top.

_Cocktail table._--Chippendale period--swirl figured veneer top.

_Tier table_ after the colonial period--each of the tops is square in
shape making an ideal lamp table for the chair side.

_Knee-hole desk._--Eighteenth century English.

_Kidney desk._--Finished in the old colonial red tone.

_Nest of tables._--Sheraton in design--master table has hand-tooled
leather top.

_Book shelf._--Early colonial in design, genuine Honduras mahogany.

For the bedroom are many new interpretations of old periods in
interesting color finishes and a variety of woods, including an
offering of--

  _American Hepplewhite_ finished in the new silver green known as

  _American Sheraton._--Honduras mahogany inlaid with satinwood.

  _English Sheraton._--Inlays of marquetry.

  _Chippendale group_ following the Chinese influence.

  _Modern figured oak._--Blond color--trimmed with silver
    hardware--hanging mirrors of crystal type.

  _Chinese Chippendale group._--Genuine Amazon mahogany with crotch
    mahogany panels.

  _Early American._--Solid maple finished in the traditional tone.

  _French Provincial._--Solid maple, finished in lovely pine color,
    each piece effectively proportioned--twin beds of the footless
    type with upholstered headboards, covered in chintz.


 =(Courtesy the National Retail Furniture Association, Chicago, Ill.)=

1. Opening date; closing date.

  (NOTE.--The most successful store-wide promotions run 10 days. Two
  weeks should be the limit. Make your plan at least a month ahead.
  Be all set at least a week in advance.)

2. Name.

  (This should include at least a hint of the reason why you are
  holding this sale.)

3. Merchandise to be featured.

  (See that a good percentage of this is new merchandise, items that
  you have never run before. Store-wide events based entirely on old
  merchandise are never as successful as they should be.)

4. Total advertising expenditure for event:

  _a._ Newspapers.

  _b._ Direct-mail.

  _c._ Radio.

  _d._ Window and store displays.

5. Advertising expenditure by days.

  (Start your sale off with a bang and end it with a grand finale.
  The middle will take care of itself.)

6. "Presale" or old-customer courtesy days:

  _a._ The dates.

  _b._ Form of announcing them to customers (letter, folder, phone
    calls, etc.).

  _c._ Special terms, premiums or other inducements to old customers
    who purchase on these dates.

  (NOTE.--Sale or no sale, most of your business comes from old
    customers. See that they get special attention in any store-wide

7. Window displays:

  _a._ Merchandise to be featured.

  _b._ Window streamers.

  _c._ Price and description signs.

8. Interior and other displays:

  _a._ Aisle banners, post hangers, elevator signs, cashier and
    credit department signs.

  _b._ General floor arrangement and special merchandise displays.

  _c._ Buttons or other special identification insignia for salesmen.

  _d._ Truck banners.

9. Price tags.

  For any store-wide event, your merchandise should carry special
  price tags--not the ones you ordinarily use.

10. Quotas:

  _a._ By departments.

  _b._ By salesmen.

11. Meetings:

  _a._ Special meeting for all employees.

  _b._ Meeting for sales employees only.

  _c._ Meeting for credit employees only.

12. Special employee remuneration:

  _a._ Store-wide sales contest, selling and non-selling help.

  _b._ Contest for salesmen only.

  _c._ Special "spiffs" on particular pieces of merchandise which you
    wish to push.

  (NOTE.--It is not recommended that every store-wide promotion
    embrace every one of these points, although this is possible. You
    should, however, consider all these possibilities in planning
    your store-wide sale.)


  Accessories, 136, 145, 191, 198, 215, 227, 232

  Adam furniture and decoration, 58, 66, 67, 72

  Adjoining rooms, relationships among, 171

  Advertising, 3, 7, 196, 265, 266, 267

  All-over carpeting, 171, 181

  Aluminum, 73

  American styles, 70, 165

  Analogous color harmonies, 131, 134

  Animal fibers, 153

    Furniture, 60, 73, 161
    Rugs, 160, 161

  Apartment living room, 267

  Architectural factors in selling furniture, 131, 133

  Argument, folly of, 78

  Armures, 157, 168

  Axminster carpetings, 71, 157, 160, 164, 231

  Balance in room arrangement, 142, 147

  Basket weave, 167, 168

    Nature of, 131
    Relation to price, 132

  Bedding, 107, 108, 205

    Children's bedrooms, 208
    Decorative processes, 61, 206, 237
    Draperies, 207
    Floor coverings, 172, 207
    Relaxation room, 205
    Sales of merchandise for, 76, 205, 208, 210
    Wall treatments, 206

  Bedsprings, 119, 208

  Blond woods, 100

  Body Brussels carpetings, 154, 164

  Book rack, use of hanging, 58, 221

  Brackets, 66

  Breakfast nook, 217, 221

  Breakfast room, 100, 217, 218

  Broadloom carpetings, 165, 168, 266

  Brocades and brocatelles, 54, 60, 156, 157

  Buffets, 54, 196, 235

  Bureaus, 51, 94

  Burls, 91, 255

  Buying habits, 3, 24, 35, 36, 38, 42, 83, 84, 196, 210

  Cabinets, 50, 56, 63, 69, 189, 190, 193, 196

  Cabriole leg, 41, 69

  Calcimine colors, 180, 187

  Call trade, 5, 8

  Carolean style, 70

  Carpetings, 153, 155, 160, 162, 170, 174

  Case goods, 51, 94, 210

  Cedar chest, 187

  Cellulose plastics, 239

  Center of interest, 141, 184

  Chairs, 51, 55, 64, 92, 94, 192, 194, 231, 237

  Chaise lounge, 55, 58, 205

  Charles I, II furniture, 61

  Check-up, the daily, 10

  Chenille carpetings, 154, 160, 162, 263

  Chests, 51, 52, 54, 189, 190, 208, 209, 239

  Chiffonier, 58

  China shelves, 66, 196

  Chinese, influence in decoration, 63, 66, 232, 235

  Chintzes, 64, 157, 158

  Chippendale furniture, 16, 64, 65, 66, 72, 76, 267, 268

  Chromatic circle, 139

  Chromium, 73, 97, 219, 236

  Clocks, 56, 63, 190, 235, 236

  Cocktail tables, 157

  Coils, 112, 113, 114, 115

  Coir, 153, 155

  Colonial furniture, 70, 72, 193, 237, 267

    Chart of color combinations, 135, 146
    Definitions, 134, 136, 227
    Emotional effects of, 133, 134, 136, 145, 218
    Management, 135, 136, 139, 140, 235
    Means for larger sales, 267
    Names and families, 134, 135
    Sales talk based on, 133, 136

  Color schemes:
    General, 133, 136, 139, 171
    Bedroom, 171, 206
    Breakfast room, 100, 218
    Connecting rooms, 195
    Dining room, 190, 191
    Hall, 171, 186
    Kitchen, 219
    Living room, 171, 180, 185, 231
    Sunroom, 100, 171

  Commodes, 36, 235

    Factor in selling, 36, 197
    Forms of, 196

  Complementary colors, 134, 135, 136, 176

    Destroyed by unproved assertions, 33
    Winning the buyer's, 34, 40, 197, 222

  Console tables, 54, 67, 143, 189, 237

    Hidden values, 30, 93, 96
    Methods in floor coverings, 162-166
    Methods in furniture, 95, 214
    Order of in sales presentation, 31, 84, 214
    Women's attitude toward, 49, 84, 197, 240

  Consumer education:
    Wide spread, c, 5, 10, 37, 74, 107
    Problems increasing, 5, 197
    Service to, 5, 93, 123, 198, 218, 234

    As an element of beauty, 139
    As a method in showing furniture, 210, 211, 213

  Cotton fibers, 116, 153, 154

  Couch, studio, 63

  Craftsmanship, 78, 92

  Credenzas, 54

  Cretonnes, 155, 158, 215

  Crewel embroidery, 159, 190, 247

  Crotch figure, 82, 91

  Cupboards, 247

    Attention to, 20, 22, 84, 108, 199, 209
    Buying habits, 35, 84, 209, 222
    Influencing the, 6, 40, 108, 123, 198
    Meeting the, 24, 199, 241
    Psychology of, 23, 42, 85, 198, 200, 209, 241
    Types of exceptional, 32, 78

  Daily check-up, 10, 36, 241

  Damasks, 54, 60, 118, 154, 157

  David style, 60

  Dining room:
    Combined with living room, 193, 195
    Decoration of, 190, 237
    Dinettes, 194, 195, 237
    Floor coverings, 191, 267
    Junior dining rooms, 193, 194, 196
    Lighting, 190, 192, 227
    Relation to connecting rooms, 193
    Window treatments, 192

  Directoire furniture, 48, 60

  Dominant element:
    Method of, 137, 189
    Necessity for, 189

    Choice of, 69, 136, 207
    Fabrics, 136, 155, 207
    Function of, 138, 207, 215
    Length of, 183
    Patterns, 136, 183, 192
    Women's interest in, 216

  Drum printing of carpetings, 158, 160, 165

  Dutch cabinet, 63

  Early American, 71, 193, 213, 230, 236

  Easy chair, sales procedure, 17

  Elizabethan style, 61, 62

  Embroideries, 66, 159, 198

  Emotional harmony, test for, 143, 144, 145

  Emotional values:
    Color, 135, 138
    Light, 133, 138
    Line, 137, 138
    Proportion, 137, 138

  Empire style, 59, 60, 72

  Enameling, 100

  English styles, 61, 268

    Advantages, 172, 199, 208
    Building units for use in, 172, 194, 211
    Sales techniques, 172, 174, 196, 199, 200, 211

  Fabrics, 42, 153, 172, 220, 228

  Feathers, 124

  Federal period, 60

  Felt-base carpetings, 160

  Fibers, textile, 153, 154, 156, 166, 192

  Figures in woods, 34, 85, 96, 225

  Finish as an element of value, 49, 97, 98, 209

  Finishing methods, 73, 97, 98

  Fireplace group, 184, 235

  Flake figure, 87

  Flax, 153, 155

  Floor coverings:
    Choice of--See discussion of various rooms, 181, 207, 216
    Care of, 166, 169
    Color management in, 159, 207
    Common terms, 263
    Construction in, 33, 159
    Plain vs. figured, 172, 207, 216
    Sales talk based on, 171, 216, 266
    Used to unite adjoining rooms, 171

  Floor plans, nature and use, 20, 21, 200

  Fluorescent lighting, 226, 228, 238

  Follow-up Methods, 190, 200

    Various types of, 69, 248
    Defined-glossary, 248

  Formal balance, 143

  Francis I, 55

  French Provincial, 59, 60, 194, 237, 268

  French Renaissance, 55, 230

  Friezes, frisés, 156, 268

    Arrangement, 141, 144, 183, 194
    Coverings, 144, 155
    Effects, women interested in, 85, 132
    Hidden values, 33, 42, 93, 94, 96
    Selection and use, 195
    Upholstery, 96

  Furniture woods:
    Appeal of, 85, 88
    Finishes, 97, 98, 99, 255
    Hardwood and softwood, 87
    List of principal, 255
    Structure and eye appeal, 86

  Gate-leg table, 62, 63, 64, 195

  Georgian styles, 64, 72, 237

  Girandoles, 66, 67, 248

    Furniture material, 73
    Curtains, 182, 207, 216

  Glossary, 247

  Grass rugs, 166, 168

  Grouping, importance of, 132, 141, 144, 147, 184, 185, 231, 237

  Growth-ring figures, 86

  Guest room, 208

    Color scheme for, 186
    Decorative principles for, 186, 188
    Draperies, 188
    Floor coverings, 188
    Minimum equipment, 189, 190

    Nature of, 131, 144, 146, 208
    Tests for, 145

  Hepplewhite furniture, 67, 68, 267

  "High-lighting" merchandise, 41, 76, 77, 211, 252

  "High-pressure" methods, 18, 37, 197

  Hooked rugs, 160, 173

  Horsehair, 153

  Hues, definition of term, 134, 220

  Imagination in sales, 8, 198, 217, 218

  Inlay, historic use of, 42, 54, 69, 94, 247

  Intensity in color, 183

  Interior Decoration:
    Definition of, 3, 131, 133
    Basic principles, 138, 141, 198, 241

  Inventory your home, 133, 211

  Italian Renaissance, 52, 77

  Jacquard weave, 118, 156, 163, 167

  Jacobean style, 61, 62

  Jute, 153, 155, 263

  Kapok, 117, 125, 153, 155

  Key piece method of selling, 33

    Accessories for, 218, 220, 235
    Breakfast nook, 217, 221
    Color in the, 219, 220
    Curtains for the, 220
    Decoration of, 220, 236
    Floors, 220
    Walls, 220

  Knee-hole desk, 58, 268

  Knickknack shelves, 236

  Kroehler survey, 39

  Lacquer, 56, 63, 64, 97, 99, 248

  Ladder-back chair, 66

  Lamps, 173, 199, 215, 227, 230, 235

  Latex, 117

  Leather, 54

  Legs, table and chair--styles of, 248

  Library, 171

    Emotional effect of, 133, 232
    Relation to color, 133, 207

    Fluorescent, 227
    Methods for rooms, 144, 230, 231

  Line and form, emotional values, 137, 139, 208

  Linens, 155

    Materials and construction, 73, 160, 165
    Used in various rooms, 181, 188, 220

  Living room:
    Color schemes for, 171, 180, 185, 231
    Decorative principles, 179, 188
    Groupings, 141, 267
    Individual pieces, 193, 267
    Related merchandise for, 179
    Room picture method, 197
    Setting up complete room, 197, 199, 200
    Wall treatments, 180

  Louis XIV furniture and decoration, 55, 57, 88

  Louis XV furniture and decoration, 56, 57, 60

  Louis XVI furniture and decoration, 58, 60, 69, 76

  Love seat, 69, 143

  Luminosity in color, 227

  Machine-made furniture, 77, 78, 92

  Mahogany, 58, 60, 64, 67, 73, 100, 232, 258

  Maple, 92, 100, 193, 213, 232, 259

  Marquetry, 42, 56, 58, 249

  Materials as element of value, 31, 49, 84, 110

  Mattresses, 106, 108, 112, 116, 208

  Men as buyers, 38, 119

  Mirrors, decorative use of, 56, 66, 137, 187, 189, 191, 232, 233

  Mohair, 153, 154, 156

  Moisture content in woods, 94

  Moss, 153, 155

  Motifs in decoration, 141, 181, 206, 235

  Murals, 236

  Names, importance in selling, 23, 25

  Needlepoint, 54, 64, 159

  Neutral colors, 136, 137

  Night tables, 205

  Nursery, 171

  Oak, 56, 61, 99, 259

    How to anticipate, 212
    How to answer, 9, 199

  Occult balance, 142

  Odd pieces, selling, 194, 208

  Order taking vs. selling, 18, 140, 206

  Oriental rugs, 61, 75, 160, 266

  Ornament, 67, 73

  Outfit sales, technique for, 199, 200

  Palm fiber, 97, 153, 155

  Paneling, proper employment of, 71, 180, 237

  Pedestals, 56

  Period furniture and decoration, 49, 235

  Personality, elements of, 6, 12, 241

  Phyfe, Duncan, 72, 193, 267

  Physical harmony, tests for, 141, 145

  Pictures in decoration, 137, 138, 191, 232, 233

  Pillows, 106, 109, 112, 123, 124, 125

  Planned selling, methods of, 190, 199, 201, 208, 210, 223

  Plastics enter field of competition, 100, 237, 238

  Plushes, 156

    Construction, 89, 90
    Characteristics, 96, 240
    Value, 90

  Porch furnishings, 100, 217

  Powder table, 58

    Element of value, 8, 78, 83, 206, 222
    Changing attitude toward, 78, 111, 131, 196
    Judging customer's level, 132, 206
    Meeting competition of, 111, 197
    When to quote, 24, 200

  Primary colors, 134, 135

  Printed linens, 158

  Progress program chart, 4

  Proportion, emotional value of, 137

  Protein plastics, 239

  Pure colors, effect of, 134

  Quality, often a concealed value in furniture in relation to price, 93

  Queen Anne style, 63, 65

  Questions as an aid in selling, 19, 22, 38

  Ramie, 153, 155

  Rattan, 97

  Rayon, 118, 153, 155

  Reed furniture:
    Materials and construction, 93, 96
    In the sunroom, 215

  Related merchandise:
    Importance of selling, 7
    Sale of, 7, 190

  Renaissance, the, 51

    Artistic method of, 34
    Basic importance in selling, 34

  Resistance--due to unproved assertions, 9, 210

  Retail-store services, 174, 266, 269

  Rococo ornament, 66, 69, 249

  Roller shades, 182

  Room arrangement, 21, 133, 147, 207

  Room picture method, 136, 198, 200, 211, 214

    Arrangement of small, 181, 188, 192, 207
    Choice of, 181, 188, 192
    Common terms, 263
    Hand-tufted weaves, 160
    Proper margins for, 181
    Sales procedure for, 43, 74, 164, 171, 172

    Closing the, 17, 23, 212, 214, 222
    Starting the, 17, 18, 132, 211

    As business builder, 3, 85, 107, 122, 140, 222
    As interpreter of appreciations, 78, 85, 138, 140
    Daily check-up, 10, 12, 16
    Equipment of, 10, 85, 140
    Objectives of, 5, 17, 222
    Techniques used by, 6, 8, 83, 172, 206

  Sales volume:
    Sources of increasing, 5, 7, 84, 107, 111, 198
    Ways to larger, 5, 208, 210, 211, 222

  Sateen, satin, 118, 126, 156, 209

  Savery, William, 72

  Scatter rugs, 181, 207

  Screens, 56

  Secretaries, 141, 268

    According to plan, 20, 173, 210, 211
    Fundamentals in, 8, 10, 29, 37, 221
    Hidden factors in, 42, 85, 205, 212, 241

  Shade as a color term, 133, 134

    See window shades, 170, 182, 192
    Lamp, 229

  "Shading" in pile carpets, 216

  Shadow prints, 158

  "Sheen"-type rugs, 33

  Shelves, wall, 235, 236

  Sheraton furniture and decoration, 16, 68, 69, 267

  Sideboards, 67, 69

  Silk, 153

  Sisal rugs, 168, 169

  Small rugs, 181

  Sofa bed, 60, 107, 126, 143, 232

  Solarium, 214

  Solid furniture, 73, 87, 90

  Spaciousness, securing effect of, 137, 141

  Spanish furniture and decoration, 54

  Springs, 107, 112, 115

  Stains, 98, 99

  Stair carpets, 172, 188

  Steel as furniture material, 73, 100

  Store services, 174, 266, 269

  Stretchers, 53, 63, 64, 92

  Studio couch, 106, 126

    Appeal of color in, 267
    Appeals based on period decoration, 74, 76, 78
    As a selling factor, 8, 49, 75, 180, 212
    See period furniture discussion, 49

    Decorative principles, 100, 171, 214, 215
    Furniture suitable for, 214
    Typical treatments for, 215, 216

  Superlatives, avoid use of, 9, 24, 211

  Synthetics, 73, 240

    Bedside, 237
    Breakfast, 60
    Construction of, 52, 94
    Dining room, 60
    Gate-leg, 62
    Importance of small, 50, 56, 58
    Kitchen, 2, 219
    Occasional, 7, 52, 189, 237
    Tea, 60, 231

  Tabouret, 55, 56

  Tact, 8, 241

  Taffetas, 144, 157

  Tallboys, 64

  Tapestries, 56, 106, 136, 141, 155, 156, 189, 236

  Tapestry Brussels carpetings, 165

  Textile fibers, 216

  Thermoplastic, 239

  Thermosetting, 239

  Ticking, 118

  Tint, as a color term, 134

  Tone, color, 134, 139, 161

  Touch, sense of, 42, 43, 44

  Training levels, 4, 5

  Truth in selling, 9, 33, 34, 75, 77, 108, 199, 266

  Tuft, 119, 164, 170, 263, 264

  Twill weave, 118, 156, 167, 168

  Unit, shifting from to entire room, 198, 199

  Unity as element of beauty, 181

  Unmatched furniture, sale of, 189, 191, 193, 208

  Upholstered fabrics:
    Choice of, 118, 154, 159, 185, 194
    See discussion of various rooms, 159, 209
    Historic practices, 56, 154

  Upholstered furniture:
    Construction of, 93
    Hidden values, 93, 96

    As a buying motive, 8, 50, 133, 147
    Values, 8, 133, 144

    Defined as color term, 133
    How to demonstrate, 29, 84, 94
    Real nature of, 83
    Studies of emotional, 133, 134
    When to demonstrate, 31, 109

  Vargueno, 41, 53

  Vegetable fibers, 154

  Velvet carpetings, 165

  Velvets; velours, 60, 76, 156

    Beauty and historic use, 55, 87, 88, 91, 228
    Preparation of, 86, 88, 89
    Sales talk based on, 73, 91
    When to sell merits of, 90, 91

  Venetian blinds, 182, 207, 216

  Vernis Martin, 41

  Vocabulary building:
    Aids to, 41, 76
    Importance of, 35, 40, 75, 77
    List of descriptive terms, 41
    Suggestions for, 41

  Voyeuse, 60

  Wall decorations, 147, 189, 191, 235, 236

  Wall panels, 190, 215

  Wallpapers, 136, 139, 147, 188, 191, 206, 215, 237

  Wall treatments:
    Color in, 170, 220
    Connecting rooms, 186
    Description of methods, 41, 147, 215
    Painted, 180, 187, 206, 218, 220
    Papered, 64, 137, 180, 206, 218
    Proper relationships among, 147, 180, 188, 191, 215

  Walnut, 55, 58, 63, 73, 91, 100, 232, 261

  Warm colors, 135, 218

  Warp prints, 155, 157, 158, 263

  "Washed" rugs, 161, 266

  Wavy figures in woods, 256

  Weft, 156, 157, 263, 264

  White used in decoration, 204, 206, 219, 228

  William and Mary furniture and decoration, 63, 65

  Wilton carpetings, 154, 160, 163, 165, 263

  Window display, 40, 266

  Window shades, character and use, 170, 182, 192

  Window treatments, 40, 141, 182, 192

  Wood: see furniture woods, 85, 93

  Woodwork in the decorative process, 98, 99

  Wool fibers, 153, 168

  Woolen and worsted yarns, 153, 154

  Women as buyers, 35, 37, 84, 196, 199, 211, 216

  "Word painting," importance in selling, 35, 208, 212


[32] Statement prepared by the Mahogany Association, Chicago, Ill.

[33] Statement prepared by American Walnut Manufacturers Association,
Chicago, Ill.

[34] The Seng Handbook, The Seng Co., Chicago, Ill. (1939), pp. 54-55.

[35] Reproduced by permission of Robert B. Palmer, advertising manager,
Duff & Repp, Kansas City, Mo., and the National Furniture Review.



  Silently corrected simple spelling, grammar, and typographical

  Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.

  Enclosed italics markup in _underscores_.

  Enclosed bold sans-serif markup in ~tildes~.

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