5 Ways to Decorate With Red

The color red mixes well with almost any color scheme, but how do you decorate with red without going overboard? Here are five quick and easy ways to add red to your home.

Red Vintage Sigh on a White Wall

White Wall, Red Art

Most of us don't wear red from head-to-toe on a daily basis, so why do this to your walls? Consider how you wear red and translate your wardrobe to your room. Room design by Gregory Augustine.

Red is the color of passion, but if you're too passionate about the color you may be seeing red (literally) in your home. "Red can go everywhere from cheery and happy to angry and aggressive," says designer Don Raney of Civility Design (www.civilitydesign.com) in Chicago. "That's what you've got to keep in mind when using red in a room. When is too much too much and when is it not enough."

Raney and his design partner, Jaymes Richardson, frequently use red as an accent color in their interior designs, in everything from lighting and candles to pillows and walls. "When you have accents of red it draws attention to other things you might not even notice in the room," Richardson says. "The whole idea is to entice, intrigue (and) invite without clubbing you over the head and dragging you in."

If you have a favorite red shirt or often accessorize with a red bracelet, try adding a single piece of red artwork to your space. When it comes to red, less is often more. Room design by Gregory Augustine.

Front Door Painted Red

Red Front Door

Painting your front door a high-gloss red can add eye-catching curb appeal and personality to the entrance of a home.

When considering which shade of red to use, look to your decorating style and your house's architecture. "Red is a color that needs to be well-thought-out, as well as the shade itself," says Jaymes Richardson of Civility Design.

Choose Your Style to Find the Right Red

Contemporary design incorporates neutral elements with pops of bold color, often red.
On the door: Bold, bright red
Inside: Bright red shades in a pillow, rug or throw

Modern design calls for all kinds of reds: from primary hues to classic shades with burgundy or brown undertones.
On the door: Any red you love that makes a statement.
Inside: Consider injecting red through a painting or piece of art.

Traditional design stays away from primary reds and instead involves burgundy or black tones.
On the door: A deep, rich red
Inside: Decorate with Oriental rugs injected with darker reds.

Transitional design relies on a neutral palette, a perfect canvas for pops of red.
On the door: Match this red to hues you use inside the home, or skip the red door entirely to keep a more neutral theme.
Inside: Choose a softer and more indirect approach like a red lamp or piece of art.

Country reds are chalkier and softer: Think barn or scarlet reds. Choose reds with pinkish and purplish hues, like the color of a ripening apple.
On the door: Barn red
Inside: Accessorize with country reds in knickknacks and fabrics.

Red Sofas in a Neutral Room

Neutral Room, Red Sofas

It only takes a small amount of saturated color to bring energy to an otherwise neutral palette.

In this airy living room, designer Shelly Riehl David added matching red love seats and chair upholstery to the color scheme. If you choose to go this bold, make sure your space can handle it. High ceilings, a muted wall color and lots of natural light help tone down the bold hue.

Poppy Red Light Fixtures and Bar Stools

Green and White Kitchen with Poppy Red Accents

Because red is such a hot color, painting your entire kitchen red is a surefire way to turn up the heat. But that's where restraint comes in.

This kitchen was originally painted the chandelier's poppy color, but to keep the "kitchen lighter and brighter," says Civility Design's Don Raney, the team repainted with crisp green and white. Now the red poppy antlers stand out against a clean background and the color doesn't overwhelm the room. Red antlers not your style? Try scarlet-hued hanging pendants or lampshades.

Area Rug and Accessories With Red

Living Space With Red Accents

Using red in areas of a room, rather than the whole room, helps to define spaces without overwhelming.

An area rug, especially Oriental, is a great way to bring in the color regardless of your decor. Designer Gia Venturi uses a room-size rug to bring rich, regal color to this monochromatic living space and picks up the color throughout with a few well-placed accessories.

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