Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
William Morris’s dictum will do—not as an absolute rule, more as an ideal to move towards. And while I’m quoting Morris, here’s another one:
Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement; a sanded floor and whitewashed walls and the green trees, and flowery meads, and living waters outside; or a grimy palace amid the same with a regiment of housemaids always working to smear the dirt together so that it may be unnoticed; which, think you, is the most refined, the most fit for a gentleman of those two dwellings?
We can be thankful that we are not troubled by housemaids—two small girls can manage all the dirt-smearing that needs to be done around here.
I am pleased that an old material—one that signifies usefulness and beauty—is still available. I’m referring to horsehair cloth, still offered by manufacturers in Germany and China. Is this the year of horsehair-covered dining chairs? I doubt it, but some of the bentwood chairs might get new cane bottoms.