In Celebration Of Red

Now that autumn is underway, let's look at a color we associate with this time of the year: red. Apples are ripe for the winter, cranberries will grace our holiday tables, and holly berries peek out from under a first snow.

Inside, red can be dramatic. It can be modern or historical. It can be bright and saturated or smokey and deep. Red can be polarizing too: I have read quotes by some celebrity designers who either love red or loathe it. Either way, you have to admit that red stands out. Especially when walls and ceiling are a cherry red lacquer, like in the dining room below...

If that is too bright for your taste, how about this deep claret sitting room by Jan Showers? People often think that painting their walls a dark color will make the room seem to be closing in on them, but in fact the opposite is true. Light colors advance, dark colors recede. Just like in a theater where black velvet is draped around the stage to mask the dimensions of the off stage area, a darker room does not allow for the eye to perceive the edges.

There is nothing more traditional for a library than a liberal coating of red!

The graphic black and white art work in the photo below looks superb against intense crimson.

Robert Couturier gave the walls in the following dining room of a Parisian townhouse a coat of glossy red lacquer, and paired it with tapestry material and an historical painting to reference the plush interiors of the Renaissance.

Designer Martha Angus painted her son's bathroom in her own Napa home in a red geranium--actually, she confesses she let her son pick the color but she went with it, and coated the base boards and trim work in the same hue to a spectacular effect.

Red is a constant presence in this eclectic bedroom in the Madrid home of antique dealer and interior designer Lorenzo Castillo. The headboard is upholstered in a sumptuous Bordeaux colored velvet by Valentino.

Compare the red lacquer dining room walls in our first image to the red lacquer walls in this dining room below and you will see how context can change everything! Brian McCarthy uses red here to invoke a Federalist style residence such as Monticello.

And what better use of red velvet than for a private screening room in a home in Beverly Hills designed by Kerry Joyce. Red velvet was used extensively in the "movie palaces" of the 1930s to the 50s. Look at the red curtains by the usherette in Edward Hopper's iconic "New York Movie."

Whether you love or loathe red, I wish you happy designing!