34 Rooms in Ravishing Red

Red symbolizes strength, power, and courage, but at this time of year we associate it most with love and desire. Around Valentine's Day, it seems like red is everywhere, but in some homes, red is a permanent—and vibrant—fixture year-round. Aside from beauty, what are the benefits of decorating with this strong color? Some enthusiasts cite the concept of color psychology, which examines how certain colors can affect our moods and behavior. For example, as red is considered a very energizing color, it might be good to use in a rec room or a high-traffic area like the kitchen. Color psychologists warn, however, that simply being in a red room can actually raise blood pressure, which makes red a bad choice for some folks. And note that red increases appetite—witness its extensive use in fast-food advertising—so dieters might want to go easy on it in the dining room. Psychology aside, there are lots of reasons to decorate with red, as this rich, vivid group of rooms prove. While some take the plunge and swathe a space in the color, others use it primarily as an accent in an otherwise neutral room—but they all celebrate the power of this warm, attention-getting hue.

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