Red and green are contrasting and complementary colors because they are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. Contrasting and complementary colors are able to make each other appear more vivid and vibrant, and they can also be used to create a bold impact because the juxtaposition of contrasting colors can be startling to the eyes.
Keep reading to learn to properly use red and green in home decor and colors that pair well with them.
Red and Green in Home Decor
As stated above, red and green oppose each other as seen on the color wheel. In home decor, contrasts work better when they are muted or toned down because intense contrasts can be hard for the eyes to process, and this creates a feeling of unease or overstimulation.
This does not mean that red and green shouldn’t be used together, but simply that you should be mindful of the shades of green and red that you pair alongside each other. So think carefully to use colors that go with red to match green.
For example, bright lime green and bold blood-red would make for an extremely overwhelming contrast, while a dark burgundy red with a dark forest green will make for a more subtle contrast that is visually appealing.
If you do want to use a vivid shade of red or green, pair it with a muted shade of the contrasting color to achieve a pared-down vibe. For example, you could use bright red with dark green or bright green with dark red.
Red and Green Meaning
The atmosphere you create with red and green in interior design will largely be dependent on the shades of red and green you use, but in general, red and green have associations that convey certain meanings.
Green is a refreshing color that is heavily associated with nature, and any color of green you use is going to be reminiscent of the outdoors, whether that be sage green, moss green, olive green, or even chartreuse.
Green is a wise color choice if you want to create a room that feels fresh, clean, uplifting, and invigorating. It has a cool temperature, which means it comes off as quite modern, though hunter green is a color that has associations with the Victorian era.
Meanwhile, red is a color that brings to mind feelings of love and passion, and sometimes this passion can veer into violence and hatred. Red is the color of blood, and as a result, it is associated with horror movies and Halloween.
Red is a warming color that can bring about a sense of coziness in a room, though you can get blue-toned reds that have a cooler feel.
The associations of red and green do not easily go hand in hand, and this is another reason why they contrast so deeply. Green is light and refreshing, while red is rich and intense, and this can actually be used to your advantage in home decor because they can balance each other out.
If a red room feels too warm and oppressive, you can add green accents to balance out the intensity and breathe fresh air into the space.
Colors to Use with Red and Green
Burgundy, forest green, and gold
This is a color scheme that has strong festive vibes since these are colors you see in nature in fall when the foliage on deciduous trees transforms through shades of deep red, rust, and golden yellow. This color scheme is also one that is employed to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities, so it creates a warm and cozy atmosphere.
To use these colors in home decor, paint living room walls in burgundy and choose forest green velvet sofas, then accent this with gold accessories such as a gold-framed mirror and gold light fittings.
Vintage red, sage green, and cream
Vintage red is a faded shade of red that creates a classic heritage look when used alongside sage green and cream in interior design.
Paint walls in sage green and then upcycle and old dining table with cream furniture paint before accessorizing with vintage red seat cushions and vintage red placemats. These colors make for a classic country cottage look that combines traditional and contemporary styles.
Ruby red, emerald green, and amethyst
The jewel tones in this color scheme make for a palette that feels luxurious and indulgent. Create a space using these colors with sumptuous fabrics such as velvet, suede, and silk for a result that is a joy to all of the senses.
Amethyst is a shining shade of purple that sits halfway between ruby red and emerald green and therefore creates a sense of balance.
In a sensual bedroom, paint the walls in emerald green and opt for soft furnishings in all of the jewel tones, such as amethyst bed sheets and ruby red cushions.
Rose-red, mint green, and lavender
Rose-red is a shade of red that leans slightly towards pink, and as such, it has a more flirtatious, gently feminine feel to it. It will contrast against mint green, but the contrast will be subdued thanks to the pink undertones in the red and the pale hue of mint green.
Adding lavender to the mix in this color palette makes it feel fresh, and it also helps to balance out the contrast between red and green. Lavender is a blue-toned shade of purple, and it is synonymous with spring and florals. The color scheme is ideal for creating a botanical style in a fresh bedroom or living room.
Choose a wallpaper featuring a lavender and mint green floral print, and use rose red curtains and cushions alongside a mint green sofa.
Rust red, olive green, and tan
Rust red is a dark, almost burnt orange shade of red that feels rich and earthy. This works perfectly with olive green, which is a muted, yellow-brown shade of green with strong links to nature.
These colors are ideal for a natural-themed home decor look, and the addition of tan further serves to define the color palette as one that is based on colors found in nature. These earthy shades will make for a space that feels comfortable, soothing, and warm. Paint walls in olive green and choose tan and rust-red soft furnishings.