The color red mixes well with almost any color scheme, but how do you decorate with red without going overboard? Here are five quick and easy ways to add red to your home based on the kind of style you’re considering, followed by some thoughts on what to try to avoid.

Most of us don’t wear red from head-to-toe on a daily basis, so why do this to your walls? Consider how you wear red and translate your wardrobe to your room. While red is the color of passion if you’re too passionate about the color you may be seeing red (literally) in your home. Red can go everywhere from cheery and happy to angry and aggressive. You don’t want to overdo it and, conversely, you don’t want to be wimpy with it either.

Red art, red sofa in living room

Red works very well as an accent color in everything from lighting and candles to pillows and walls. Accents of red can be used to draw your eye to other areas of the room that might ordinarily be overlooked. Entice, intrigue and invite with red – it’s an excellent vehicle for that.

red side tables jazz up turquoise interior

Consider adding a single piece of red artwork to your space. When it comes to red, less is often more. Red also goes a long way to adding drama and eye-catching appeal (like a high-gloss red front door.

Inviting red front door

When considering the shade of red to use as a focal point, look to your decorating style and your house’s architecture. Red should be well-thought-out, as well as the shade itself.

Choose Your Style to Find the Right Reds to Decorate with

Contemporary Design incorporates neutral elements with pops of bold color, often red.
On the door: Bold, bright red
Inside: Bright red shades in a pillow, rug, or throw

Modern Design calls for all kinds of reds: from primary hues to classic shades with burgundy or brown undertones.
On the door: Any red you love that makes a statement.
Inside: Consider injecting red through a painting or piece of art.

Traditional Design stays away from primary reds and instead involves burgundy or black tones.
On the door: A deep, rich red
Inside: Decorate with Oriental rugs injected with darker reds.

Deep shades of red in traditional living area

Transitional Design relies on a neutral palette, a perfect canvas for pops of red.
On the door: Match this red to hues you use inside the home, or skip the red door entirely to keep a more neutral (transitional) theme.
Inside: Choose a softer and more indirect approach like a red lamp or piece of art.

Country Reds are chalkier and softer: Think barn or scarlet reds. Choose reds with pinkish and purplish hues, like the color of a ripening apple.
On the door: Barn red
Inside: Accessorize with country reds in knickknacks and fabrics.

Here are a few beautiful examples of red used selectively so as to not overpower a room:

Subtle use of red in patterns and prints

Red chairs that make a room sing!

Use red to tie everything together – luxuriously.

Some Style “Don’ts” to Decorate with Red

Remember, red is a tricky color to decorate with. Along with many attractive and eye-catching effects when decorating with red, there are definitely ways you can go wrong with this pop of color. Here are a few “don’ts” for you to consider, and remember, nothing is sacred, so go where your (red) heart moves you! (the pictures aren’t examples of what’s “bad”, but they may move your red needle in one direction or the other, too much or too little)

Don’t Stick with One Shade

Red art, chair and in a rug, in a modern setting.
A common misconception is that you must stick with one particular shade of a color when choosing a color scheme for your room. You want to avoid this even with muted colors like grays, blues, and whites, but you especially want to steer clear of this when you are incorporating red into your home’s interior. Using only the same shade of red or any color in one space that you are designing will become overstimulating (and overused) quite quickly. When looking to decorate with red consider a variety of shades, from softer choices to more flamboyant options. Using several shades will give your room a sense of depth and variety, which won’t make your space visually overwhelming.

Don’t Overdo or Over-Emphasize

For some, this may be too much red.
As I’ve indicated, designing and decorating with the color red is a constant balancing act between using too little and using too much. You can start by asking yourself one of two questions: Do I have enough red? Or do I have too much? If you find yourself asking the latter, you’ll want to take a step back and identify where you are over-emphasizing the red. If you feel that sense of being overwhelmed and your walls are not yet red, a way to pull things back is painting the room’s walls in earth tones or dark browns. The earthy shades will help ground any red in the room and also provide a viable contrast.

Don’t Retreat into Minimalism

Beautiful red cabinet, with red accents and in the art, adding dramatic boldness to the space.
Adding pops of color to an interior styled in a very minimalistic sense usually will add some good visual contrast. However, when you decide to decorate with red decor or red paint, you are probably not thinking “minimal” in your approach in general. Red room designs will be very visually dramatic. Golds, mirrored items, and bold window treatments will complement the drama found in the shades of red you’ve decided on throughout a room. Red shines in styles that are typically over-the-top, glamorous, and chic. For more drama, use over-the-top red-accented decor to play up a room’s bold display, and you’ll likely create a daring space in your home.

Don’t Be Too Timid

A red Oriental rug with other touches of red in accents can nicely "set" a room.
Just like sticking with one shade, using one piece of red-accented decor won’t add much more than a slight pop of color to an area. You can be as bold as the color red itself. Red stimulates attraction and appetites, so why not integrate red into your kitchen and dining rooms? When decorating your home’s interior with any red decor or paint you need to be open to taking a risk and be confident in your choices. If you aren’t ready to commit to painting, several red (remember, different shades) decorative accessories may have the same effect. Red room designs often come across as warm, inviting, and dramatic. So don’t be afraid and know that the thing to master when using red is to find the middle ground between beauty and function.

Once you’ve made the decision to decorate with red and incorporate multiple shades, try to be bold, dramatic, and confident in styling your interior. Take your time, find your own middle ground, and if you feel you’re over-emphasizing the color, dial it back, but still accessorize more than what minimalistic styles call for. When decorating with red, remember to design a space you’ll love living in!

I’d love to know your thoughts on decorating with red, especially some of the styles shown here! Is your home currently decorated with red in one form or another? Do you feel it needs some help? I can show you how to pull it all together, or we can start from scratch, of course. Just message me here, right below this blog post or at the “contact” link, or you can email me at: And, of course, you can call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.