Are you bold enough to use red in your home?
When we think of the colour red, we often think of danger or anger – not always attributes we want to introduce to our homes. This primary hue, however, should not be dismissed when decorating or accessorising, especially as there’s a shade to suit everyone, including soft blush, rich cherry and deep oxblood.
From the smallest of nods – perhaps a row of garnet-coloured candles on a mantlepiece – to an entire dining room painted in a shade of merlot wine, here’s our quick guide to the different types of red and how to use them.
Clear, primary reds are probably the hardest to work with but scarlet, chilli and cardinal make excellent highlight colours. Red lampshades, pendants and rugs in a children’s bedroom will add an element of fun, while something as simple as a white wall adorned with red picture frames can really make an impact. Why not try repainting existing picture frames in Dulux’s Volcanic Red paint?
Reds with purple undertones are deeper and more opulent – ideal for dining rooms, especially in period properties. The aptly named Eating Room Red from Farrow & Ball is an excellent choice for those looking for an enveloping sense of warmth, or Preference Red is a good, almost plummy alternative.
If you need to keep your walls neutral, reupholstering dining chairs is a good way to add red richness. Osborne & Little has a fantastic selection of ‘by-the-metre’ fabrics, which err on the side of burgundy. Try its Encore velvet in F7640-03, F7640-04 or F7640-05 – they’re all good colour matches for Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2023, Viva Magenta. For a really low-effort way of introducing red, try Ruggable’s Zareen rug in oxblood red.
Shades of red that have brown or pink characteristics are probably the most usable in the home as they often border on pastels, and complement warm white and cream colour schemes. If you can make more permanent changes to your property, try Little Greene’s Moy wallpaper in red ochre or its Nether Red paint, which is muted and reminiscent of sandstone walls.
Soft textiles are an easy and temporary way of dabbling with pink/brown-based reds. The reversible Kantha bedspread by Matthew Williamson at John Lewis has a red-dominated pattern on one side and a plain red on the other, with easy-on-the-eye shades of redwood and maroon. Another good accessory is this summer fruits cushion from Dunelm – buy them in bulk and pile them on a cream sofa for a splash of colour.
Shades of burnished copper, red ochre and vermillion are uplifting and vibrant, and work well in areas you’d like to lighten. Paint & Paper Library’s Caravan shade of red is right on the border of orange but its zesty punch can be diluted by pairing with pale grey. If you’re looking to add colour with furniture, Tetrad’s Southwood sofa collection is available in a wonderfully warm red shade called terracotta, or try Barker & Stonehouse’s Fable sofa in the astrid brick colourway.
If you’d like a list of available properties where you can get styling – contact our team.
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