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Using Red (The Color of Love) in Home Décor

Updated on January 3, 2015
chezchazz profile image

Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring an 1880 Victorian.

Detail from "The Red Room" by Henri Matisse
Detail from "The Red Room" by Henri Matisse

Scarlett Fever: Interior Decorating For Lovers of the Color Red

Red has long been a popular color in home decorating, from Pompeiian frescoes to luxurious Victorian parlors to cutting-edge design, red is classic and contemporary, traditional and trendy, timeless and new.

Red is fabulous for the dining room (albeit used with less exhuberance than in Matisse’s painting of The Red Room) and is making a huge come-back for living rooms.

Bold accents of red in your home décor make a very assertive statement of style. Red is attention getting and is the color people notice first. Yet, if you asked a group of people to think about the color red, it is likely that each one will think of a red that is very different ranging from hot orangey reds to Chanel’s trademark lipstick red, bright berries and elegant burgundies.

Red front doors are not popular house features just because they are so easy to see. Red doors are warm and welcoming, inviting the visitor to enter. Red draws attention and a keen use of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element inside the home as well.

Due to so many requests, we've added a link for those who would like to purchase a print of the Matisse painting shown above. Scroll down as it is near the bottom of this page.

The Red Personality...

Is it you?

If red is your favorite color, you are said to be energetic, extroverted, physically active, and like to be outdoors. Those who favor red have powerful personalities and crave attention. They are seductive and attractive and have a lot of friends.

Emotional and volatile, lovers of red can be quick to anger but equally quick to cool off. They are strong-willed and confident, but sometimes a bit too confident, coming across as egotistical and arrogant "know-it-alls" who may be just over-compensating for their fear of appearing stupid.

If you love red, you are more concerned about the welfare of others than yourself and relish the role of protector. You may get easily distracted and find it difficult to finish projects you have started, but when you focus on something you can be very determined to reach your goal.

What do you think of those who favor the color red?

Do you think they strong-willed and confident, OR overly confident, coming across as egotistical and arrogant

See results
Indian Bride in Red
Indian Bride in Red | Source

Who loves red?

Infants, Eastern Brides . . .

Among North American adults, 14% favor red over other colors. However, red is the preferred color of virtually all infants across cultures, although over time, in the U.S. at least, blue replaces red at the top of the list.

Perhaps that is because of strong cultural influences related to the difficult-to-dislodge notion that "blue is for boys" and "pink is for girls." The color blue, associated with the still-dominant male culture is preferred because it is associated with the more privileged group. The fact that this is not a universal phenomenon rules out the influence of blue skies and natural environmental influences.

Red is the most vibrant, emotionally intense color and has more meanings associated with it than any other color. Red can be dramatic and warm, aggressive and threatening, festive and exciting, passionate and sexy.

Red encompasses many opposites and, depending on context, can symbolize both life (it is the color of life, the color of blood) and death (in South Africa red is the color of mourning). It can signify privilege ("red carpet treatment") and embarrassment, danger and coziness, fortune and debt (In U.S. stock markets, red is used to denote a drop in stock prices. In East Asian stock markets, red is denotes a rise in stock prices.). Around the globe, red is said to ward off evil and bring good luck. In Chinese, Islamic, and Hindu cultures brides wear red as a symbol of joy, life, and creativity.

Who Else Loves The Color Red?


Sports Teams, Restaurants, and . . .You?

Although red is generally considered a high-arousal color, the brilliance, darkness and lightness of a color can alter its psychological message. From soft, sensitive pale pink to alluring deep scarlet, shades of red can be explosive or tranquilizing.

Scientists have found that the color red stimulates the senses and can raise or lower heart and breathing rates and blood pressure according to the color's intensity. Red fosters feelings of courage and is used a lot in sports arenas and gyms. (On the other hand, because it is tranquilizing, sports teams have been known to paint locker rooms used by opposing teams in soft soothing shades of pink so their opponents will be less energetic.)

Red is said to stimulate the appetite and speed up our perception of time, making it the ideal choice for restaurants who want you to order more and leave quickly, allowing for a faster turnover and therefore a greater volume of customers.

Not only is red the color of good luck, it inspires confidence and eases anxiety. People will actually gamble more and make riskier bets when seated under a red light as opposed to other colors. It is not a coincidence that Las Vegas and Atlantic City favor red neon. And if you drive a red car, watch out! You are most likely to pulled over for traffic violations, especially speeding.


Classic Reds - For Contemporary and Historic Decorating Styles

Delicious reds in cranberry, persimmon, cerise, strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and more can add a bold or subtle touch to your home décor.

These are some of classic red decorating fabrics. Luscious red velvets are timeless: They are historic fabrics that are suitably stunning when used in contemporary décor. Red damasks work with any traditional style and the larger scale patterns are fabulous with today's cutting edge interior design.

Velvets, tapestries, and damasks are what usually come to mind first when thinking about historic fabrics for Victorian décor. And we love patterned chenilles with red as the main or accent color to bring out the best in the patinated oak that is a hallmark of Arts & Crafts home decorating style from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Add some red spice to your home decorating

Take it from Chazz - Even a pinch adds pizzazz!

Try mixing maroon and rust tones to spice up an old chair or add an exotic touch to draperies.


For an instant up-date to your home décor, try a tomato red rug (a slightly orange, more subtle bright red) with light woods, celery green and cream or try yellow pillows on a red sofa next to a black lacquered or ebonized end table.

Interior decorating should be fun and using red is a sure-fire way to keep it that way!

Deep Rich Red Jewels

Burgundy, Merlot, Ruby, Garnet. Elegant. Sophisticated. Luxurious. Royal. These shades of red work with a variety of traditional interior decorating styles.

They evoke the riches of the renaissance, the ambience of the middle ages, and, with black (of course) can epitomize the gothic revival of the Victorian era as well as today's steampunk style in fashion and home décor.

Indulge in these museum quality reproduction historic fabrics. (Go ahead. You can't afford not to at these low end below wholesale prices for the highest end decorator fabrics!)


Red Color Schemes: The Classic Combinations

Classics including red and white, sometimes with blue, black, and/or gray added always look fresh, smart and inviting. Red and white toiles are staples of home décor in country, traditional, Asian, and French styles.

Red Can Spice Up Your Kitchen or Warm Up a Bedroom

Red interior décor can make a room seem more vibrant and exciting or more intimate and cozy.

Brighter reds are not often used in large areas of bedrooms but when used for draperies, bed linens, and accessories, red adds an element of romance and passionate luxury to the boudoir.

Add yellow and blue for a taste of Provence, olive and mustard for a Tuscan feel, black for a sophisticated urban touch, blue and white for a nautical look or go classic with blue and gold or artsy with purple accents.

Whatever your style, red can be as versatile as a neutral and as bold and brash or soft and understated as you would like.


Some Popular Red Wallpapers - In a variety of shades and styles

Historic, traditional, classic, modern. Whatever your preferred style of home decorating, you can't go wrong with one of these as the inspiration for your interior decorating color scheme.


Popular Red Home Décor Accents - For Any Room

Even a touch of red can add vitality to home décor. Whether totally redecorating or updating and refreshing the look of a room and whatever your budget, you can do it by adding a few items in red.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to choose 3 groupings or 3 or 5 items and spread the color throughout the room. Because red is such a powerful color it draws the eye, so it is also a great way to accent your focal point.

For example, you might have a red throw pillow on the left corner of a sofa, a red lamp on an accent table to the right of the sofa, and a grouping of 5 different height red pillar candles or a bold red vase or low flower arrangement on your mantle or coffee table.

Well Red Accessories to Inspire You

Left: Burgundy accessories including Basic Elements Accent Pillow, Triple Gourd Vase, and Eco Infinite Greek Key Blanket. Right: Red Roses Frame, Red Poppy Glass Bowl, and Honeycomb Tuscan Red Pillow (available in set of two). All from
Left: Burgundy accessories including Basic Elements Accent Pillow, Triple Gourd Vase, and Eco Infinite Greek Key Blanket. Right: Red Roses Frame, Red Poppy Glass Bowl, and Honeycomb Tuscan Red Pillow (available in set of two). All from | Source

Some other Color-full topics you might like

Choosing and Using Color in Your Home
Choosing and using paint colors can be frustrating and confusing for many reasons. The human eye can distinguish between millions of colors yet, whether desp...


How to Solve 11 Common Decorating Problems with Color and Pattern
This page dicusses 11 common interior decorating problems and teaches you the tricks interior designers use to correct them with pattern and color. Creating...

Is Blue Your Favorite Color? How to Use it in Your Home's Décor
No wonder blue is the most perennially popular home décor color! If blue is your favorite color, you are in the majority. Blue is the most universally prefer...

Using Yellow and Gold in Home Décor
Ahh! The color of spring! Daffodils, Forsythia, Tulips, Crocuses. No wonder that, astrologically, yellow is the color of the sign of Taurus, a sign of spring...

The Green Room: Using Greens in Home Décor
About 15% of us claim green as our favorite color. From soft celeries to deep forest and hunter greens, taking a cue from nature has never been easier or...

Decorating for Chocolate Lovers
Cinnamon, Mushroom, Mocha, Java, Chocolate, Nutmeg. With such delicious names, is it any wonder Browns are so popular! If you find brown an appealing ...

Added By Popular Request - Henri Matisse's Red Room


© 2009 Chazz

Whether you love red or not...let us know! - Praise, rant, vent or just say hello.

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    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      6 years ago from Kansas

      Another great decorating lens. I'm not bold enough to have red in my home, but I have noticed the red kitchen appliances. Maybe I could start there until I gain my confidence.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      7 years ago from New York City

      Love it. In Feng Shui, red is the color of prosperity.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I really like the accents I have right now. I seem to have a touch of red in most of the house. I also like how red and pink shimmer next to each other, it's a particular shade of each.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am a redhead...smiles. A burgundy red has long been a favorite color of mine for home décor.

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      7 years ago

      There is very little red in my house, for some reason, but lots in my garden. Lovely!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! I don't have red in my house, but my door and shutters are a deep wine red, and I love my red car. I really enjoy your lenses. Blessed!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      knowledgeable information provide......I like your lens

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Quite some time ago I read that men have difficulty differenciating between the many shades of red clothing. Now every time I wear red I think of this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks for posting this lens;

      i was chossing red color for decorating, but was not sure,by reading your lens, i confirmed red color.

      Handicrafts products in mumbai

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Love red, but not as much as yellow.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love shade of reds, crimson being one of my favourites. Red is the brightest colour after yellow and great for home décor, it goes well with white.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      8 years ago

      There is no doubt about it, I have the red personality. Hummingbirds zero in on red flowers, red Ferraris get stopped by the cops, red tablecloths are used in Asia for celebrations, when you are mad, you see red and red is the color of passion. Send red roses to a blue lady...

      I love this lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Love your classic red selections. They are red hot!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Love the wallpapers and your chatty info. I am now red-dy to decorate :-)


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