Red has always been a colour I felt I couldn’t live with. Way too aggressive and shouty shouty, even for me. I associate it with flashy sports cars, fast food chains and brassy blondes. Sorry Madge. If you go along with the maxim of decorating your home in the colours you find in your wardrobe, you’ll find no red there. But ….I’ve come around to its charms, maybe encouraged by my young son Arthur. When we moved into our house Arthur was five and already having lots of opinions about colour and design. I think its so important to encourage children to have an active say and form an opinion about their environment, so I invited him to choose the colour for his new room. I gave him the Little Greene paint chart as I’m very comfortable with their palette of colours so he had an edited choice. He chose Atomic red. Which has all the brashness of a Ferarri and a MACS Russian red lipstick. You might say, I asked for it!
But I’ve grown to love it and six years later it is still going strong and Arthur shows no sign of tiring of it. A real testament that when you go with your gut instinct and choose a colour that really resonates with you, you can’t fail to love it for the long term. Crimson red is a high impact colour. Its deep pigment led Little Greenes, David Mottershead to admit to me that it’s the most expensive colour they make and they sell it at a loss, but luckily not many people buy it in high volume, unlike my Arthur!
Red walls in the home of artist Angela Chrusciaki Blehm. provides a warm cocoon around cooler shades of white and blue. Photo by Jessica Antola
But it’s the intensity of bright red that makes it really vibrates possibly makes it most alluring. It’s eye catching, arresting and screams out for your attention. The internationally renowned interior designer Nicky Haslam famously touts red as a must-have accent to any interior scheme. In an interview in You magazine he comments
“An 18th-century maxim in decoration was ‘une touche de rose’- a touch of dark pink. It is said to make all other colours sing, but these days one can just as easily use red. Pillar-box red, not dreary claret. Try a crimson cushion or a lacquer tray. You’ll practically hear all the other colours singing”
I love this strategy. If red on all four walls in just too an intense experience, you could consider adding some drama into your scheme with an accent. A cushion, a vase or a red framed mirror could punch through and give your room a lift. As red demands so much attention use red to highlight the best parts in the room. Red striped curtains could frame a beautiful view, or a red mirror above the mantel piece pulls the view to the architecture. Just like a splash of crimson red lipstick, it can give your mood a boost too. I take it all back Madonna.
1. Manhattan Abstract Cushion Pink/Red, £17 (cover only), Furn | 2. Red Stripped Ceramic Stool, £135, Trouva | 3. Larger wobster table lamp with 45cm straight empire shade in scarlet tapers, £246, Pooky | 4. Lacquered screw table, £399, Folie Chambre | 5. Moustache stool, £323. Smallable | 6. Medium Pompidou vase, £224, Luisa Via Roma | 7. A Tall Red Candle Holder, £13.95, Annable James | 8.Bobina Bobble Mirror in Chinese Red, £895. Oka.