Decorating in Red

Small Drama
Decorating with red takes confidence. And while it makes a bold statement, it's also a warm, easy-to-live-with color.

Signs of Life

Graphic punch enlivens this living room, where natural wood furniture warms modern accents, such as the 7-foot-long, vibrant red M on the wall. Clean-lined yet comfortable seating in deep brown and beige gives punchy red, orange, and gold pillows a place to shine. The modern-rustic look starts with the neutral foundation of walls and furniture, then gets its pizzazz from the colorful objects placed around the room.

Cottage Charm

White walls and slipcovers, warm wood, and the natural woven shades and rug provide a neutral envelope for summery cottage style. The sofa¿s timeless black-and-white ticking pattern is set off with red pillows. Punches of red patterns in pillows, cushions, and throws provide most of the color in the room. Cushions on the window seat are covered in indoor-outdoor denim for a touch of cool blue. A large red-painted tray gathers accessories on the coffee table.

Living with Color

Books, artwork, comfy furniture, and earthy red, orange, and brown colors warm this living room. Pine-clad walls create a casual mood that¿s augmented by clean-lined furniture in a mix that¿s modern and industrial yet totally livable. Personality abounds in this playful color scheme. Red cabinetry and paintings dominate the wall, while pops of juicy orange enliven a fuzzy brown chair and ottoman.

Retro Red

Classic white cabinets, a tile backsplash, and a linoleum floor give this kitchen an inviting look that¿s retro rather than kitsch. Eight colors of ceramic tile were placed randomly to create the vibrant backsplash that ups the fun factor. The bright red linoleum flooring provides the warmth needed with banks of white cabinetry. Red, black, yellow, and white stripes on the chair cushions soften the metal chairs and tie them visually to the black and yellow island.

Seeing Red

Although a saturated hue, red has its place in casual, airy decor. In this cottage-inspired family room, red and white ikat-covered chairs flank a small wood table. A red-striped rug brings the color down to the floor, while a red-banded lampshade takes it to eye level. A red throw jazzes up a white slipcovered ottoman piped in red. White trim and ceilings and pale ivory on the walls keeps the warm red in check and reflects ample light through the space.

Join the Club

For a less intense take on red, opt for a shade such as rust or auburn. Pair the muted hue with both a dark neutral and a light neutral to create an elegant look inspired by an autumnal scene. Here, club chairs have a contemporary silhouette that warms the room in traditional red chenille. The chocolate-brown leather table can be pulled apart into four ottomans for extra seating. At the window, lattice-pattern draperies combine the dark brown and red with a dash of orange.

Cabin Style

A color scheme of red, white, black, and gray fashions a charming bedroom reminiscent of a lakeside cabin. A solid-gray quilt, pillow, and bed skirt provide a transition from the black antique bed frame to the white-and-gray stripe coverlet and white linens. Red punctuates the room with pillows, a throw, a rug, and other accents. The striped rug and bedding echo the pattern of the board-and-batten paneled walls and beaded-board ceiling. A small black antique chest fits snugly under the eaves. Woven blinds and a trunk at the foot of the bed add more texture to the simply designed room.

Get Comfortable with Red

If you stick with classic neutral colors, it¿s easy to change your look and welcome new or vintage furnishings. In this easygoing living room, washable white denim is the go-to fabric for slipcovers that are as comfortable and practical as a favorite pair of jeans. This chair gets a punch of warm and cheerful color from red patterned pillows, a throw, and a red leather footstool. The whitewashed brick fireplace contributes to the color scheme with its mellow blend of red and white.

Happy Hues

Bright, happy color makes for an engaging boy¿s bedroom. Bunk beds painted by an auto-body shop in resilient red means the durable paint job will stand up to just about any kind of abuse. Multi-blue striped and plaid bedding counters the warm red with its cool tones and vivid patterns. Red reappears in the monogrammed accent pillows and framed children¿s artwork.

Local Color

In some kitchens, using one color for all the cabinets can be overwhelming. Instead use color as an effective way to highlight a bank of cabinets with a specific purpose. It can unite individual pieces to create a kitchen focal point, such as this china hutch in vivid red. The bold finish reinforces the furniture look established by undercabinet brackets and a recessed toe-kick.

United Colors

White walls put the focus on colorful furnishings in this family-friendly living room. A red-lacquered Chinese chest, framed quilt fragment, red-striped footstool, and bold red throw place crimson hues around the room. A sofa is covered in complementary green and accented with yellow patterned pillows. A red-and-white transferware plate is one of the many small accents that add layers of charm and color to the room.

Appetizing Palette

Red stimulates the appetite, which makes it a perfect choice for the lead color in a dining room palette. In this vibrant dining room, red wicker chairs provide both rich hues and interesting texture. Red, gold, and green patterned drapery panels pop against butterscotch golden walls. Even the chandelier gets in on the act with a red, butterscotch, and green body. Red oak flooring complements the color scheme.

Artful Color

Fiery red paint on two walls sets the tone for an informal kitchen bursting with bold personality. Pops of delicious red repeat on cabinetry, in the patterned window treatments, on accents, and on painted cabinet knobs. White trim and wainscoting dial down the heat of the red, which is further cooled by the unexpected appearance of aqua. Blue glass lamps reflect the aqua tones in the large painting between the windows.

Bold and Beautiful

Silvery gray walls set the stage for a quartet of bright raspberry-red armchairs. The four herringbone wool-covered chairs, gathered together with cozy chats in mind, encircle a charcoal-gray linen ottoman and sizzle in front of a slate fireplace surround. An earth-tone rug introduces a subtle geometric pattern and serves as a natural foil, relaxing the space with its comfortable texture.

Small Drama

Paneled walls painted in tomato red create a dramatic bath that disproves the theory that strong color has no place in small rooms. In fact, the red walls increase the perceived importance of the room and provide an eye-catching background to a unique work of art -- a framed vintage bathing suit. Crisp white trim, cabinetry, mirror frame, and accents sparkle within the red surroundings to keep the deep color bright.

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