The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 12 (March 2, 1936)
In a house, one room becomes the “social” room, the room where the members of the family foregather in the evenings to read, sew, chat, play cards. It is the room towards which friends of the household turn on entering. It is the most used room in the house, and it is usually the room which is never successfully labelled.
It is not a drawing-room, for there is a certain elegance, a restraint, a “cachet” attached to that name which is absent from this friendly centreroom of the home. It is not exactly a lounge. There is a certain hotel aura, a bird-of-passage, time-for-a-spot, newspaper-and-half-a-cigarette atmosphere about the word which is foreign to the intimacy of a home room. “Sitting room” is a drab description of a room where one is free to move, to romp, to laugh, to sing.
I have known a porch, a breakfast-room, a study, even a dining-room, fulfil the purposes of this eminently social room. A house is never a home unless there is one room of this description in it; but how much better a planned room caters for family life than does a room which haphazardly falls into the category. In compromise, failing to find a really suitable name, let us call it the lounge-sitting-room.
Lounge-sitting-rooms vary according to the family which owns them, and are in fact a reflection, to the discerning eye, of family life.
For the home with children I would suggest a room of brightness and comfort, but no elegance. A period room, with dangers of small feet stubbing the dainty legs of neo-Chippendale furniture would worry both children and parents.
Neither would I suggest the other extreme, a dingy utility room, with a dark dado to prevent marks of little hands showing on the walls. (It is easy to train children to respect wall surfaces).
I suggest pastel walls, deep cream, pale yellow, pink or blue—warm or cool according to the aspect of the room. The carpet should be plain or in a subdued all-over design in a much deeper colour than that used for the walls. This carpet will receive hard wear, and should be of good quality and not of too dainty a colouring. With deep cream or yellow walls, I suggest a deep blue carpet and pale gold curtains; with pink, a grey carpet and jade green curtains; with blue, a cool green carpet and curtains.
For the much-used room, loose-covers to tone with furnishings should be provided for chesterfield and chairs.page 58
The children will love their own stools or small chairs upholstered en suite. Cushions may be multi-coloured or all of one tone, according to the type of room, but they should be large and strong. A frilly cushion in such a room merits the fate it will soon meet.
Book-shelves are at home in this room, and a reading lamp or two. The main lighting should be suitable for reading or sewing. This is the room where the piano is placed if music is desired in the evenings. By the piano should be a cupboard or shelves for music. While the children are young, the toy-cupboard may be kept in this room.
As an evening draws towards its close and the family prepare to drift bedwards, a ritual should be gone through. Each person, before retiring, should glance round the room and collect and put away any personal belongings—toys, sewing, drawing materials, scattered newspapers, periodicals or sheet music. A friendly push to chairs out of place, a straightening of volumes on the book-shelf, a fluffing-up of cushions, and the room is ready to greet you on the morrow.