Image credit: Rothko
Red spells danger, right?
Fire. Blood. Passion. Energy. Primal life forces. Woo! Better be careful!
Well, yes, actually madam, you should be careful.
Red is the colour that draws our attention most strongly (red light is scattered the least by air molecules, but you knew that, didn’t you?) and so will dominate anywhere it’s used. So we need to be think about where we want to have a massive impact.
The old screen goddesses knew this.
In 1930s Hollywood there was an injunction against red gowns at parties. Everyone’s attention would be drawn to the woman in the scarlet dress and the naughtiest stars would flout the rule to outshine their rivals. Even a touch of red can have the biggest effect, as Marilyn Monroe knew very well.
Image credit: Marilyn Monroe
(Or Madonna, or Adele, or Rhianna, or Beyonce…or any attention-grabbing, kick-ass woman.)
You get the point.
Red is powerful and so if you don’t want to overpower a room with it, you have to be a little bit subtle (notice most of the red-lipstick-wearing women keep away from vibrant colours in their outfits…).
Firstly consider the shade and hue of your red.
Do you want to scream Liverpool FC, or hint at the subtle pinky-red of a velvety rose?
What effect are you going for?
If it’s darkly dramatic take a look at Farrow and Ball’s burgundy Eating Room Red (other paint manufacturers are available!).
If sunny warmth is more your thing the softly terracotta Book Room Red might be more agreeable.
Image credit: Book Room Red
My own inspiration for our ‘Spitfires’ white & red wallpaper came from a Chanel nail varnish colour – Dragon Rouge. It’s a ‘true’ red – neither orangey-red nor blue-red. Just perfection.
Image Credit: Dragon Red
And of course you may only need a hint of red to bring a scheme to life.
Anything from a sofa to a stack of books depending on how much impact you want.
Where completely red walls can feel a bit stifling, or just a touch too much like a Chinese restaurant for your taste, a touch of red in a pattern can make a dark corner intriguing.
And if you want to try it out with absolutely no commitment, how about a bowl of cherries?
Image credit: Bite By Michelle