Designer Decorating With Red

Known to stimulate appetite and conversation, red is most often used in dining rooms. But red can work well in just about any room design. From classic to cutting-edge, here's how four top designers re-imagine the paint color.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionIn this pre-war apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side, designer Alan Tanksley painted the entrance hall and main corridor in two shades of terra cotta.

All About

"These deep, rich colors were a perfect backdrop for the clients' collection of paintings," designer Alan Tanksley says. The colors complement — rather than contrast — the artwork, lending to a space that's "comforting and relaxing, two highly valued qualities for city dwellers."

Tanksley painted the trim and ceiling a light cream color, and stripped and refinished the original mahogany doors. "The light color helped break up the heaviness that could have resulted in having only variations of the deep red terra cottas," he explains. "Also, the tall mahogany doors, some with glass panels, provided a good deal of balance and levity to the rooms."

Tanksley, who also uses red in modern interiors, encourages homeowners to take the plunge with red paint colors. Whenever any of his clients chooses to go red, he says, they are always thrilled with the results.

Photograph by Martin Crook