Red is the single most dynamic color and one associated with energy, passion and action. Red attracts attention and invigorates a space. However, it is a dominating color so it is important to understand how it may affect your mood and behavior before you start designing with it.
What is the Psychology of Red?
Red has strong masculine energy and often is linked to strength and power. Its dominance can help excite and motivate. Physiologically red increases the human heart rate and makes us breathe faster. This can be beneficial in spaces meant to provoke emotion such as excitement and passion. However, overuse of the color red can have the opposite effect.
When used incorrectly, red can be overpowering creating negative emotions. Too much red can cause irritation, provoke aggression and instill fear therefore it is important to use red in moderation.
What are the Best Ways to Use Red in Your Home?
For red painted rooms, select deeper shades of red with blue or purple undertones to help balance the energy of the color.
Limit brighter shades of red to accessories like throw pillows and artwork or a singular accent piece of furniture.
Use a red accent chair or piece of painted furniture for a statement in an otherwise neutral room.
Red is easily incorporated into a room when mixed in a pattern with other colors. Oriental rugs are an excellent example.
What Colors Go with Red?
Red is a primary color with many varying shades. It is vibrant and can add a punch of color and energy to a room. However, to ensure you use red correctly, follow the color combination, which we refer to in our color pairing suggestions.
Red + Pink
Red and pink mix well together since they are analogous colors. However, they are both vibrant colors so it is best to vary their shades and tones so they do not overwhelm a space. Soft blush pinks look beautiful paired with deeper shades of red. For traditional rooms use a red patterned rug and mix in softer pink accents. Don't forget to balance with plenty of neutrals.
Red + White
Red and white are a commonly found paired in fabric patterns such as checks. Incorporate red and white patterns into a room through the use of throw pillows or curtains. To make red the star of the show in a mainly white room use it sparingly in one statement piece such as a sofa, rug or piece of art.
Red + Yellow
Red and yellow are a bold color combination that works well in small doses. Use patterned pillows, rugs or artwork to introduce red and yellow into the same room. The 60-30-10 rules are a good starting point when designing with red and yellow. Make sure 60% of the room is neutral colors, 30% red and just a touch of yellow at 10%.
Red + Teal
Red and teal have a very coastal feel. Together they brighten a room and remind you of being at the seaside. However, it is important to balance them, so they do not overwhelm a room. Start with a neutral foundation for the walls and large pieces of furniture. Mix in red and teal through the use of pillows, art and lighting.
Red + Purple
Red and purple are a bold but fun color combination. Red and purple are often found in more traditional settings because they are commonly found paired in oriental rugs. However, give these colors a new twist by adding an oriental rug to a more modern space. Use neutral colored furniture on top of the rug and pull bits of red and purple from the rug into accent pieces like pillows.
Red + Blue
As primary colors red and blue naturally pair well together. Use lighter shades blue as the foundation color for a room adding in brighter red accents such as art and throw pillows. For more of a statement, start with a neutral colored room like soft gray and use blue and red on the main pieces of furniture. A blue velvet sofa is classic and timeless. Pair it with red accent furniture such as an armchair.
Red + Green
Green and red are complimentary colors, which make them a natural pairing. Since they can both be rich and vibrant it is important to vary their shades and tones in a room. For a twist on this color combination, balance them with strong neutrals. Try the 60-30-10 rules. Start with 60% neutral colors, add in 30% red in the draperies or a statement piece of furniture and finish with green accents at 10%.
Red + Gold
Red and gold are a timeless combination. However, with gold's warmer undertones you want to avoid using bright cooler shades of red such as cherry in traditional interiors. Instead opt for darker reds with warmer undertones such as burgundy. For chic, feminine spaces, no such rules apply. Pair a bright red sofa with gold colored wall art and mix in a complimentary color in small accent pieces to create depth and interest in a space.
Red + Black
Red and black are both strong colors demanding attention in a room. To keep them from competing with each other and making a room feel too heavy, use them together as accent colors. Keep the foundation of the room neutral and add in select accents such as one piece of black furniture, a red rug or red and black patterned throw pillows.
Red + Gray
Red and gray are most often found paired in modern interiors. However, red can overwhelm a space if not correctly balanced with other colors within a room. Start with the 60-30-10 rule, 60% shades of gray, add in red at 30% and balance the room with 10% accents in another neutral color such as black.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE COLOR RED:
Red is the color at the end of the visible spectrum of light.
Red means 'beautiful' in Russian
Red is used for the Matador's cape in bull fighting because it is believed red makes the bulls angry. However, this is a myth because bulls are color blind.