THE colour red has spirit. It’s vibrant and strong; representing both anger and love. No other colour evokes as many emotions as red does. Physiologically speaking, red increases blood pressure, heart beat and energy in most people. It’s known to increase appetite and is often used in restaurants for this reason. This colour’s relationship to comfort foods like apple pie, cranberries, watermelon, tomatoes and strawberries make it an inviting colour for the dining room or kitchen. Because of its energy, red can also work well in high traffic areas like hallways, staircases and exercise rooms.
Too much red, on the other hand, can make people feel impatient and irritable. Red can be unsettling in some situations and should be used with this in mind when decorating your home.
Red is an excellent colour to use if you are looking to create an atmosphere that is stimulating and invigorating. Depending upon the hue, when used in the home it can add strength and warmth. Red grabs your eye. That’s why fire engines, traffic lights and some products (Coca-Cola,) use red to get your attention.
Making a statement
Red definitely makes a statement in the home. Using it strategically in appropriate doses will create drama without being overwhelming. The right shade of red is also important. Warmer terra-cotta reds, like the Dulux Australia colours in our feature photograph can be used in larger areas without being overpowering. These colours are inviting, earthy and comforting.
For the daring decorators, bright red, like fire engine or candy apple, should be used in smaller doses on accent walls, artwork and accessories. These are the shades of red that can be over stimulating for some people so don’t use these vivid shades in a child’s bedroom or nursery.
A medium red, like tomato red, can be stunning in a master bedroom. Again, use your judgment as to the amount of space to paint. You may just want to leave this colour for an accent wall behind the bed and incorporate similar colours in bedding and accessories. Using red at the head of the bed keeps you from feeling agitated because you don’t see this wall when you’re trying to sleep. Having this colour on a facing wall may create a restless environment. When using splashes of warm red, pair it with a warm taupe or cream for optimum impact.
Rich, warm reds can be stunning in area rugs, upholstery and window coverings. Red and white toile is a great fabric choice for an accent chair, lamp shade or accent cushions if you want to create a little drama. To generate a summer atmosphere in a porch, sunroom or cottage use red and white stripes, polka dots or small checks in accent mats, pull shades and ceramics to add a splash of fun.
What colours to use with red
The warmer red shades can be accented successfully with soft white or cream, muted black, olive green, taupe and even purple. Brighter reds look great with chrome accents, (think of a red sports car) crisp black and white (as in a checkered floor in a 1950s diner) with a lacquer finish.
The softer side of the red spectrum is romantic, calming pink. The colour pink is feminine, delicate and soothing. This is a great colour for a nursery, bathroom, child’s room and bedroom. Pair it with chocolate brown to create a balanced his and hers décor. Pink rooms can be flattering to the complexion, that’s why it’s often used in women’s boutiques and bridal salons dressing rooms.
This primary colour offers a wide spectrum of hues so you have lots of options. If the thought of painting anything red scares you, look at lots of decorating photos to see what shade speaks to you. Then use it in small doses until you’re sure it’s right for you and the room in question. When painting with red you may need three or more coats to get the true finished colour. Speak to your paint supplier for assistance in determining how much paint you’ll need for your specific project.
Red definitely has personality. Consider injecting some into your personal space.