How to Decorate with Red

What does the color red mean to you? It’s often associated with strong emotion – love, passion, anger – and many people feel quite strongly one way or the other about using it in their homes. It’s certainly an attention-grabber. Whether you use it sparingly for a bolt of energy in a space or all over for a bold, courageous statement, your eye will be drawn to it. There’s a scientific reason for this. Red, a basic color, is on the shortest wavelength and our eyes register it before any other. This is why stop signs and brake lights are red – we notice it quickly and we can thus take action quickly.

Using it in your interiors may seem a scary prospect. It’s not a color that will quickly be dismissed but there are plenty of ways to use red in your home to create an energetic space that you’ll love. With the fall colors in full swing and this shade being all over the catwalks for AW17, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring this season’s favorite color into the limelight.  What’s better a color to pour our attention over than one that can’t help be noticed?

Eyes to the Floor

Red rug in kitchen
Hannah and Don Billberg via My Scandinavian Home

In a neutral or monochrome room, choose a stand-out red rug for the floor for the greatest impact. Here, a kitchen is brought to life with a vintage style rug in warm shades of red. We love how Hannah and Don’s home use a classic Scandinavian style base of black and white which is then punctuated with bold color. The red is picked up, not just in the rug, but in the children’s rocking horse, the accessories on the shelves and even the fire extinguisher in the hallway!

Red Skies at Night

Red ceiling and locker in childrens room
Interiors by Sarah Langtry

It may be a brave choice to use red on a ceiling but we love how Sarah did exactly this in her son’s bedroom seen above. Using a warmer shade of white for the walls, the red ceiling creates a wonderful vibrant canopy above. Primary colors are used as accents throughout but the room is fun, exciting and perfect for young, inquisitive minds. Children love bright primary colors and respond well to them so why not include a dash of red in your children’s room?

Power Dressing

black living room with bright pops of colour
Pati Robins via Audenza

We love Pati Robins’ home on Instagram and especially the way she uses color in such a rebellious fashion. If you love your decor dark and moody, then using bold bright colors will keep things fun and interesting. Follow Pati’s example by pulling in some bright candy red accessories for a high impact design that’s sure to turn heads.

Pop Star

Red stool in dining room
Dimples and Tangles

Someone else who is not afraid to use color is Jennifer from Dimples and Tangles whose eclectic home is a wonderful mix of her favorite shades – deep blues, kelly greens and a dash of bold red. In the dining room, the highback nailhead trimmed chairs and buffalo check bench draw the eye but it’s that gorgeous pop of red in the elephant stool and artwork that gets our attention. In small doses, red can make a big impact so even when used sparingly, it will add interest and drama to any space.

Bohemian Rapsody

Lonny Mag Bohemian textiles in red
Lonny Magazine

If you love the boho look, you’ll love our next example. Here, layered bohemian style comfort is at every turn with a roaring fire and warm red textiles creating a cosy spot you just want to relax into. Red is the perfect color for fall as it will visually warm up a room. Combined here with a soft neutral sofa, the look is easy to live with. If you are cautious about using red, soft furnishings are a great place to start as you’d simply swap the rug and cushions for a whole new look – but when it looks this good, why would you want to?

Art Attack

katie lydon interiors Desire to Inspire
Katie Lydon via Desire to Inspire

We already know that red looks perfect with its primary color counterparts – blue and yellow. However, if you are looking for a softer interpretation, look no further than Katie Lydon’s home as seen above. The red of the sofa and the blue of the cushions are softer and quieter, creating a warm and welcoming look for the living room. Missing that bold spark we love from red? Don’t be afraid to vary the saturation in the room and bring in that boldness by way of artwork. One bold red piece is all that’s required to give the space a bit of energy.

Gentleman’s Club

Farrow and Ball Lounge in Incarnadine
Farrow & Ball Incarnadine

And finally, if you are looking to paint a room awash in this bold hue, consider a color that moves more towards dark berry than candy red. We love Farrow & Ball’s Incarnadine which takes the richness of red and turns it into a classic shade. Warmer, richer shades will be perfect for more traditional homes when combined with vintage furniture and highback chairs – perfect for curling up in with a glass of wine – red, too, of course.

Is this a color you will be using this Autumn? And if so, how?


Image Credits: Lonny, My Scandinavian Home, Sarah Langtry, Audenza, Dimples and Tangles, Desire to Inspire, Farrow & Ball

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