Faulkner characterizes Emily through her setting. The setting is dusty. This could compare to Emily who is still so much of her life until dust covers her over. She has rarely been seen over the past ten years of her life.
The leather couches are cracked and full of dust. This could compare to Emily as she is growing older. She is worn out and covered over by dust herself, and she is much like the tarnished gilt easel which stands all alone in the room:
When the Negro opened the blinds, they could see that that the leather was cracked, and when they sat down a faint dust rose about their thighs...On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily's father.
The square house has a old, dank smell. Emily remains in doors so much until she is growing older, all alone, and has gathered an old, dank smell herself.
The top of the house has been shut off from the rest of the house. Emily has shut herself off from the community. Rarely is she seen.
Rarely are the lights on. Emily lives in a dark world with no love or attention.