Interior Paints & Finishes

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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Romantic Dinner

The decorators of this red dining room played up a feeling of classic romance with wall sconces that offer warm and inviting low light. The crisp white tablecloth, red roses, crystal glasses, and china look elegant but not too stuffy, thanks to the black-and-white Breakfast at Tiffany’s art print, which infuses an element of playful passion. 

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Modern Kitchen

Color psychologists say that red can stimulate appetite, so maybe that’s why it’s such a popular color in many kitchens and diners. This modern kitchen looks flawless with red and brushed-metal cabinetry and kitchen chairs. The glass table disappears into the room, letting the red design take center stage.

Related:  Bob Vila’s Guide to Kitchen Cabinets

Beautiful Boudoir

There’s something to be said for pairing pink with red. It takes confidence to match colors that are so close on the color wheel, but the choice certainly pays off. This multihued bedroom uses complementary textures and patterns to create a whimsical vibe. The circular motif on the headboard and bed skirt serves as companion to the ottoman’s half-circle flaps, linking the room together.

Related:  Improve Feng Shui in the Home

Retro in Red

Here is one truly vintage-looking kitchen. The various shades of red are slightly different, but the polka dots on the tablecloth, lampshade, apron, and dishes add congruity to the space. This room proves that red isn’t just for romance—it’s incredibly playful as well.

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Richly Red


Gold and maroon create a warm and luxurious atmosphere in this living room, where the wonderful red background allows the golden features to shine. An intricately carved fireplace, illumined ceiling, and Persian-inspired painting make this red room seem palatial.

Related:  Hot Spots: 10 Rooms to Warm Up with a Fireplace

Bright Nursery

You’ve probably heard that black, white, and red mobiles stimulate infants, but this room takes the idea to the next level. Some color psychologists warn that too much red might be confusing for newborns, because it’s the first primary color they can see. Adding a little white, gray, or green to the color scheme will still allow red to make a beautiful impact.

Related:  Nursery Safety Tips

Ruby Red Staircase

This homeowner dressed up a standard-looking staircase with a pop of color. By drawing the eyes to this architectural feature, the red walls make it seem bold and grand. White is a stunning contrast to red; the combination always looks crisp, clean, and deliberate.

Related:  Make an Entrance: 10 Inspirational Foyer Ideas

Bathroom Safari

Red can make a wild addition to a bathroom, as this Scalamandré wallpaper so distinctively demonstrates. If you’d rather not fully commit to red walls, however, try starting small with red towels. (Fans of Wes Anderson movies will note that this red zebra print wallpaper makes an appearance in The Royal Tenenbaums.)

Related:  12 “Off the Wall” Ways to Repurpose Wallpaper

Red Linens


This bright and airy bedroom gets a boost of color with red bedclothes and accent furniture. Color psychologists say that red is an energizing hue, so who knows—maybe a red bedspread is all it will take to make waking up early in the morning easier! If not, you’ll still have a delightfully decorated space.

Sentimental Side Table

This cheery red space is designed to Valentine-card perfection, right down to the typographical elements that pop whimsically against the eye-catching wallpaper.

Unusual Accents

When is a bicycle more than a bicycle? When it’s the focal point of your headboard, of course. This unexpected element makes an undeniably bold statement, but even without the wall-mounted bike, this room’s red walls and colorful checked curtain have a strong modern flair.

Round of Applause

The circle headboard, round side table, and polka dot art print work together in a lively interplay of shapes and colors in this dynamic bedroom. The bold red wall serves as a canvas for the sinuous shapes, while the pillows personalize the space.

Related:  9 “Dreamy” Headboards You Can Make

Island Paradise

This kitchen looks almost like a diner with its bar-style seating and bright cabinets. Black paint and stainless steel are classic complements for a red kitchen, and the chalkboard panel on the fridge is great for grocery lists or special reminders for the family.

Related:  10 Reasons to Go Crazy for Chalkboard Paint

Shabby Chic

Mismatched pieces in varying shades give this room the prototypical cottage-chic look. A folding chair and tray allow this space to be rearranged with ease while the white-painted floors highlight the bright red pieces.

Related:  How To: Paint a Wood Floor

Red and White

A red wall accentuates the impact of this white, geometric headboard. Red walls can make a room feel dark, so pairing red with white is a great way to keep things feeling light. Wary of an all-red room? Try painting just one accent wall in an otherwise neutral room.

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French Style

With its ornate fixtures and delicate French Louis XIV-inspired chairs, this dining room may seem like an unconventional setting for bright red walls. The high-gloss backdrop offers a sleek contrast to the softness of the drapes and upholstered chairs. 

Related:  Bob Vila’s Guide to Historic House Styles

Upholstered Walls

For those who find paint a little pedestrian, there’s always the option of a padded accent wall. Here, this red cloth-covered feature is set into the wall to create a cozy nook. Because they’re inset, the red panels don’t overpower the room—and they also define a new, intimate space.

Highlight the Ceiling


From the ground up, this room is rocking the red. The contemporary lines of the couch provide a counterpoint to the red panel that snakes across the ceiling, concealing lighting while adding colorful interest. Even the framed art on the wall has a not-so-subtle message in red.

Related:  10 Ways to Unleash the Potential of Your Blank Walls

Blue Tiles, Red Cupboards


Red can often put a couple of volts of modernity into a room, but in the case of this kitchen, the color takes on a nostalgic tone. The Delft tiles on the counters and backsplash give off an old-world charm that, together with the vintage serving pieces, makes the bright red cabinets seem more rustic than modern.

Related:  5 Creative Alternatives to Kitchen Cabinets

Multiple Patterns

While red is often the boldest feature in a room, here it anchors an active space that’s awash in fine details. Patterned furniture and curtains add depth to the room while the intricate Arabic piece in the corner adds exotic richness against the backdrop of the red wall.

Related:  48 Pretty Living Room Ideas

Bold Breakfast Nook


There’s nothing shy about this brave use of color. Red and purple might not be at the top of every decorator’s idea pile, but the combo certainly makes a huge visual impact in this breakfast nook. Purple and gold accents on the wall and ceiling pull the room together while the red brightens the space.

Canopy Bed

Subtlety is for neutral tones—red’s for making bold proclamations. This illuminated canopy bed with matching pillows certainly sends a passionate Valentine’s Day message.

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Clawfoot Bathtub

This red bathroom marries the best of modern convenience and vintage charm, beginning with a bright red clawfoot bathtub that feels both dated and updated. Continuing the juxtaposition of old and new, the toile wallpaper harks back to an earlier era, but the stainless steel fixtures are decidedly here and now.

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Red Accents

Neutral walls and white trim keep this room bright and open while a red Dutch door and hutch exude needed warmth in this country-style home. A patterned wingback chair strikes a good compromise between commonsense neutrals and bold, lively red accents.

Related:  15 Old House Features We Were Wrong to Abandon


This color-coordinated room is almost completely red, with walls, curtains, upholstery, and lampshades working in concert to make the space a unified whole. Only a few standout pieces, such as the table and artwork, break ranks with the red, to stunning effect.

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Offset Neutrals

Red paint is usually the star of any room, but here it helps give definition to neutrals like the rattan chair and deeply stained wood furniture. A mix of textures, shapes, and colors makes this space feel inviting.

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Classic Kitchen


The red cabinets are the headliner in this kitchen, but even the pendant lights and roller blinds get into the act. Again, white is a great foil for red, as seen in the tiled backsplash and country-kitchen-chic enamel dishes displayed above the cupboards.

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Perfect Paneling

This New York home bursts with color. Crown molding, walls, and paneling are all painted in a cherry-red hue. The singular color helps features like the octagonal light fixture stand out.

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Red and Green

A red wall makes a fun backdrop for knickknacks and plants. Because red and green are opposites on the color wheel, the colors pair well together, which makes red a great canvas for greenery. With the creeping vine running across the shelves, this wall almost becomes an indoor trellis.

Related:  10 Air-Purifying House Plants

Narrow Passage

While many designers opt for lighter paint colors in a small space to make the room feel larger, this slender room is an exception to the rule. The black outline along the ceiling and white crown molding draw the eye upward, adding the illusion of height to the space.

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Black and Red


Few color combinations possess the drama of red and black. While the dark hues bring suspense to the room, the airiness of the crystal chandelier and flowery centerpiece add a romantic element.

Related:  Eye-Popping Chandeliers Made from the Everyday

Private Quarters

This four-poster bed is saturated with romance. Sconces set into the headboard bring low lighting within easy reach and serve as interesting design elements. The scalloped canopy turns the bed into an intimate room, not just a piece of furniture.

Related:  Sweet Dreams: 16 Bed Frames You Can Make Yourself

Mixed-Use Space

This bright wall is shared by both the living and dining space in this multifunctional room. The living area is defined by a dark rug and artwork, while the dining space is distinguished by black floating shelves that stand out boldly against the red wall. Small white file boxes lining the shelves are a crisp contrast to the wall color and help clear out clutter.

Related:  How To: Install Floating Shelves

The Red Room

The Red Room in the White House got its name in the 1840s after it was decorated in red draperies and floor coverings, a decorating theme that has stuck over time. Today the room features red walls and silk upholstery with gold accents. In different administrations, the parlor has been used variously as a music room, press room, or setting for small dinner parties.