Red is a bold and vivid color that can be used in various ways to symbolize different meanings. The colors used alongside red will greatly impact how the mood of red is perceived; for example, when red is paired with green, it will look festive, while red paired with pink will look flirtatious or romantic.
Here, we explore the different meanings of red and how you can use this to your advantage in home decor.
The Meaning of Red
Passion and desire
Red is commonly associated with passion and desire. It’s a confident color that reads as sexy, for example, lacy red underwear, a silky red robe, and bright red lipstick. You can translate this meaning of red to work for you in the bedroom to create an environment that feels sultry and passionate. Red satin cushions and red-painted walls will emphasize an atmosphere of lust and desire.
Romance and love
Red is the color of romance and love, which becomes very evident around Valentine’s Day when the stores are suddenly flooded with red balloons, red gifts, and red greetings cards. Using red with pink or white helps to highlight a more playful or sweet romance, while when used with gold or black, red stands out as a more passionate or sexual color.
Violence and aggression
Red is closely linked to anger and violence, with common phrases like ‘seeing red’ meaning that you feel full of rage. Some studies indicate that the color red is linked to anger because some angry facial expressions take on a more red color.
The link between aggression and the color red translates across all cultures, which tells us that red is a color we intuitively associate with negative emotions.
Warning signs and stop signs heavily feature red because this is the color of danger. The indicator to stop at traffic lights is red, and warning labels on dangerous equipment or products are generally also red. Road signs that warn us of speed limits are also red, so it is clear that red is a color closely tied to the meaning of danger.
Blood and horror
Blood is red, and as a result of this and the associations with rage and violence, red is a color commonly seen in horror movies. Posters that advertise horror movies will commonly feature red fonts or red imagery since when used in a specific way, this instills fear in us. Red used with black and gray, is commonly linked to horror.
The Effects of Red in Home Decor
Red can be used to achieve various effects in the home, so you can customize the way you use red to achieve your desired objectives. The shade of red you use is going to be important, as well as the accent colors you use with red.
Warm and inviting
Red is a warm color, which can help to make a room feel more inviting and cozy. If you have a large room that feels somewhat impersonal, painting the walls in red will make the space feel more cozy and comforting.
Small rooms can also be painted red to achieve the same effect, though this may make them feel even more compact. Use red with beige or other warm neutral tones to create a room that begs you to relax and enjoy the fiery red vibes.
Festive and jubilant
Red can be used with gold and green to create a festive and celebratory atmosphere. This color palette is closely tied to Christmas and Thanksgiving, so rather than use it as a color scheme for an entire room year-round, add touches of these colors to your dining room during the festive season to make it feel jubilant.
As a bold and vibrant color, red stimulates our senses and encourages creativity. For this to be effective, use a red similar to primary red, or one with hints of orange. Dark red shades or those that lean towards purple or pink will not be stimulating to the same level. You can use this effect of red in a home office to help improve productivity or in a children’s playroom to create a fun and stimulating atmosphere.
Red is a sensual color that can be used to achieve a romantic vibe in a bedroom. Opt for smooth and silky textures, such as satin red drapes at the window or silk sheets on the bed, to highlight the sensuality of the space.
The shade of red could be a dark maroon for a deep and lusty vibe, or opt for a more orange or pink-tinted red if you want the mood to feel lighthearted and flirtatious. Gold pairs well with red for a sensual atmosphere.
How to Use Red in Home Decor
When a room is painted entirely in bright red it can feel very overwhelming, however a dark shade of red such as burgundy will instead create a warming and comforting atmosphere. If you choose your red shade carefully, painting all of the walls red can be very effective. Muted or dark shades of red pair well with cool accent colors such as olive green, navy blue, and eggplant purple.
If you love the color red but fear it might be too intense as a wall color, consider adding red additions to your color scheme in the way of soft furnishings.
A few red cushion covers or a red blanket draped over the bed can completely transform the style of a room on a budget, and if you get bored of red in the future you won’t have to entirely redecorate, you can just buy new soft furnishings.
If you want a red wall but don’t want to commit to painting the whole room, opt for a red feature wall. The best wall to use as a feature wall is usually the wall behind the fireplace or TV in the living room or the wall behind the headboard in a bedroom.
Any red shade could be used as a feature wall if you use muted or neutral tones for the remaining walls. Red wallpaper is another option for creating a feature wall, and this also allows you to play with texture and pattern for a more interesting result.
Kitchen cabinet doors in a bold shade of red with a glossy finish will look sleek and dramatic. Pair this with pure white walls and white marble countertops to really make the red pop. For a warm and fiery style that isn’t quite as intense, paint your existing kitchen cabinet doors in a dark shade of red such as maroon, and use natural wooden surfaces for an overall rustic or earthy feel.
Since red is a bold color, you only need a small amount to make a big impact. In a neutral kitchen, use red coffee and sugar pots, and a red toaster to create a fun and quirky style. In a living room, a few red candles and a red vase can tie a color scheme together or bring about a festive feel.