Designers' Secret Tool: A Touch of Red

Someone once said that every room needs a touch of red.  I didn't believe them because red is one of my least favorite colors.  But I am beginning to change my mind.  For rooms with a neutral color scheme or rooms with two main colors, red definitely can add zing. However, for rooms that have 3 or 4 colors in them, adding red might take them into circus territory unless you are a masterful decorator.  Let's look at some rooms designed by some of the greats to see how they use red, shall we?

This fantastic room by designer, Mark Sykes, for a client's Park Avenue apartment, masterfully combines pattern, color and illustrates the pop of red concept.  Although not an obvious color to bring into this scheme, try to imagine this room without the red.  It just wouldn't be as striking, would it?

Mark Sykes

Mark Sykes

In this space, by using red on the simple frames of a series of pencil drawings, the designer creates a very dynamic and memorable entry.

Red can also make a cool, rather severe architectural space feel warm and inviting just by using it on a chair or a rug.

Anna Malhomme

Anna Malhomme

Alessandra Branca is an expert at using touches of reds in her rooms.  I love the red shade on the sconce along with a single red pillow.  A small amount of red can take a perfectly lovely crisp blue and white room from good to great.

Alessandra Branca

Alessandra Branca

Red enlivens neutral rooms as well.  The red lampshades along with the stripe on the benches create an old world elegance that is not stodgy but rather feels slightly daring.

Alessandra Branca

Alessandra Branca

The late Albert Hadley also loved to use some red in many of his best rooms. This room is a great example of his sophisticated use of color.  The dark walls, bare patterned floor set the scene for drama and the red sprinkled about on chairs, lampshades and trim bring a punctuation of excitement.

Albert Hadley

Albert Hadley

Red draws your eye and provides a focal point in a very large room with many things to look and actually helps the room to feel less busy. 

Bunny Williams

Bunny Williams

I'd like to try adding some red to my white, sand and turquoise living room.  Here are some red elements that I am considering:

Would your rooms benefit from a touch of red, too?  Try it and let me know what you think.  Try starting with a vase of red tulips or roses. If you like it, slowly add a few more permanent touches of red.  

 

Happy Monday!