|A 1983 ‘Polite Room’ in warm tones from House Beautiful Magazine – “Warm colors compliment guests; sunny shades make people happy. Peaches, pinks and reds are the nicest colors for flattering guests. A yellow room always picks up the spirits...”|
All across the country, ex-“me generation” mothers are sending their toddlers to manners classes. Harvard Business School students are attending seminars on gracious entertaining. Updated etiquette books are selling like crazy. And, in the White House, propriety is politic. Welcome the polite society.
Sociologists say it’s a reaction to the “take me as I am” 196o’s and the “me-ism” of the 1970s. But, whatever the cause, the aim is definitely to please. The same gracious mood is guiding a new trend in home decorating. Friendly rooms which extend polite welcomes are replacing the self-centered environs of the high-tech age.
“Warm colors, a relaxed mix of furnishings, intimate scale and lots of cushy, comfortable upholstery are the hallmarks of the new decorating etiquette,” says one interior design consultant. “These polite rooms are the essence of all-American graciousness. And, unlike the so-called civilized rooms of yesteryear, these ‘polite rooms’ put people at ease, engage their interest and emanate warmth.”
Although decorating dogmas went out with engraved calling cards, today’s new courteous decors do share a standard code of behavior. Here are just some of the dictates:
- An intimate scale creates a relaxed atmosphere.
- An 8-by-10-foot area is a good size for conversation groupings.
- In a larger room, designing a small library of music nook to create a cozy ambiance is recommended.
- Warm colors compliment guests; sunny shades make people happy. Peaches, pinks and reds are the nicest colors for flattering guests. A yellow room always picks up the spirits.
- Interesting accessories break the ice. Aside from making a room truly personal, handmade accessories, collections, flowers, books and art give people something to talk about. They are the niceties of decorating... the ‘white gloves and pearls.’
- A mix of styles and patterns sets a friendly tone. There’s nothing stiff about these polite rooms.
- On the contrary, a warm blend of old and new and an artful combination of patterns and prints helps keep rooms from being too rigid, too formal, too cold. – The Sun, 1983
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia