Seeing red: Tips for using the Valentine's Day color in your home every day

Seeing red: Tips for using the Valentine's Day color in your home every day

February 8th, 2014 by Susan Pierce in Life Entertainment

Linda and Eddie Neal toned down red bedroom walls with white carpet, mantel and ceiling, as well as soft-gold furniture. Floral print bedding and window treatments pull the room's colors together.

Photo by Photo: Haskell Interiors

Deep red lacquered walls enhance the masculine feel of the Neal's study.

Deep red lacquered walls enhance the masculine feel...

Photo by Photo: Haskell Interiors

A detail of the centerpiece in Cathy Robbs Turner's dining room.

A detail of the centerpiece in Cathy Robbs...

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

Cathy Robbs Turner created dramatic contrast by trimming her double trey ceiling in a creamy white to contrast the red walls of the dining room.

Cathy Robbs Turner created dramatic contrast by trimming her...

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.


1. Use paint: Just painting one wall of a room red adds incredible drama. Or take one central piece of furniture, such as a chest or chair, and paint it red. It takes very little to get that burst of color, a little red goes a long way. Another benefit of painting is that there is no color commitment. If you don't like the finished result, just paint over it.

2. Focus on one or two rooms: Red in a dining room at night is both dramatic and appetizing. In a study, browns and camels, along with traditional rugs and even tartan plaids, give elegance and traditionalism when combined with red. Once you have established a red room through the use of paint, place accents of red in nearby areas either by adding accessories or one piece of furniture such as a red chair.

3. How to choose a shade of red you can live with: Choose the color that looks best on you. If you prefer wearing a particular shade of red clothing, that's usually the color that looks best on you, and that's the color that will make you happiest in the room.

Source: Haskell Matheny, owner Haskell's Interiors.


You'll find as many hues of red in the color spectrum as there are decor styles - from shabby-chic faded rose to masculine, blue-based shades such as burgundy. HGTV designers recommend combining the latter with mahogany and other traditional woods in dining rooms. Here are other HGTV suggestions:

* On the door: Bright red, a statement-making shade.

* Traditional design: Stay away from primary reds and choose burgundy or deeper hues.

* Country decor: Barn red or scarlet red.

* Contemporary decor: A neutral color palette with bold red as accents.

* Modern design: A variety of reds from primary hues to classic shades with burgundy or brown undertones.

It represents Cupid and the devil. Love and anger. Chinese brides wear it for good luck. Taylor Swift wrote about it, and then it inspired her world wide tour.

Red - the color of energy, passion and love. No wonder it's synonymous with romance and Valentine's Day. But many homeowners surround themselves with the vibrant shade every day, not just Feb. 14.

"I love the color red. It's about empowerment. It's bold, it's determined," says Haskell Matheny, owner of Haskell's Interiors in Cleveland, Tenn. "But red is a lot like a hot pepper - a little bit goes a long way. It adds fire and excitement, but I tend to use it judiciously."

Red is an attention-getting color (stop signs, traffic lights) as well as a staple of the jewel-tone spectrum (rubies, garnets).

Matheny says red can add drama and style to any home, but the key is knowing where and how to use it effectively throughout the home.

"Red is a great color in a kitchen because it has been scientifically proven that red is an appetite stimulant," says Matheny. "If you think about all the fast-food chains, red is a dominant color in those logos or store decor."

Cathy Robbs Turner twice chose red for her dining room.

"I used red before in another house and wasn't going to do it in this one. But I just love red. It's powerful, it's bright, it's energy. Red against white is gorgeous," she says,

She trimmed her dining room's double trey ceiling in creamy white, creating a dramatic contrast to the room's red walls in her East Brainerd home. A red-and-cream Persian rug pulls the look together.

Due to its stimulating energy, red is not conducive to sleep, so it's rarely used in a bedroom. But Linda and Eddie Neal of Cleveland painted their bedroom walls red, then toned them down with a light contrast color.

"I like the vibrance and warmth of red," says Linda Neal. "We added yellow to it and softened it a lot. So when I look at the room, I almost think of the red as an accent to the yellow."

The Neals also chose shiny red lacquer for the walls of their study. "I like the way we used red in both a feminine and masculine way," she says.

Contact Susan Pierce at or 423-757-6284.