The exciting color red

Photos by Shoshanah Siegel/Signal Tribune <br><strong>Red vases and pillows in the living room provide continuity with the red accent wall in the adjoining dining room</strong>
Shoshanah Siegel

If you missed my column entry introducing you to the world of color, I will give you a little update. I wrote about the ease of decorating when you have a definite idea of the mood you want to create, and then using the idea to develop the design and colors of the room.
Certain colors evoke memories and images. Preferences towards certain colors are very personal. Colors can change a room from whimsical to carefree, from exotic to classic. Some colors will excite you, and some will relax you.
Whether you get swept up in the Valentine’s Day craze or consider it just another day, it is hard to ignore the exciting and complex color red. Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, describes the color as “the color of life and the color of evil, the color of danger and the color of excitement.” Some researchers believe that we are drawn to red not because of conditioning, but because red is inherently exciting to the human brain. People actually gamble under red lights more than any other color. Next time you are in Las Vegas, notice how many red lights there are. There are so many other fun facts about the color red, and there are many books written just about the history and the psychology of the color.
Now… to get back to the topic at hand and how the color red can be incorporated into the design and decorating of your home. The color red can be as subtle as a soft pink (a color I will explore in a future article), a vibrant ruby red, or a deep red burgundy. Whatever the shade, it will be noticed.

The kitchen and dining room Red has been featured as the color to rev up one’s appetite. If you are going to use the color red, these are the rooms in which to use it. However, if you would like to tone it down a bit, consider it as an accent wall, or add splashes of red. I remember how amazing a friend’s retro-diner kitchen looked with a red stove and sink, paired with teal. There are a variety of reds that are connected to healthy and delectable fruits, veggies and salsas. Just the name of the colors conjures up images, such as Benjamin Moore’s Current Red 1323 or Pratt and Lambert’s Apple Candy 4-15.
<strong>Even though Chinese feng shui states that a red door invites prosperity to your house, it may not always be feasible to paint the door red. Instead, greet your guests with beautiful red pillows in the entry way.</strong>

Bedroom While we think of red as a sexy color, why not use it in the bedroom? In this day and age, our bedrooms often double as an office or TV room, and large quantities of red might not be the most relaxing. If you do decide to bring in the reds, consider softer tones such as Pratt and Lambert’s Cedar Rose 1-9 or a deep red such as Benjamin Moore’s Mardi Gras 1342. However, adding just a spot of red in your accessories, such as pillows and rugs, can really add freshness to your room.

Children’s rooms We are introduced to red from infancy. It is reported that red is the first color that babies see. Red is a primary color and works well with its counterparts of blue and green. Be careful about painting children’s rooms entirely in red. They might get too stimulated and start bouncing off the walls. Luckily, red is used in children’s toys, bedding, wall coverings, and more.

Hallways, entry ways, and bathrooms You might think that these are small areas and that red might be too much. What makes these areas ideal for adding color is the fact that we don’t really live in these spaces for a prolonged period of time. So go for it. It will be a pleasant surprise. Benjamin Moore’s Moroccan Red 1309 or Red Geranium by Glidden, are warmer reds and are perfect for these spaces.

Dens and libraries Yes, this is a perfect place to bring in the bluer reds such as Benjamin Moore’s Dinner Party AF-300 or Dunn Edwards’ Deep Crimson DEA 152.

Throughout the home For continuity, make sure that you bring just a few items that are red to each of your rooms. Red is a perfect background color for inside of cabinets or niches. It looks great with dark woods. Think Asian. Recently, in a client’s home, we moved a red armoire from her bedroom into the living room to house her TV. In another part of the room we brought in table lamps that had Chinese red ceramic bases. The Asian-themed wallpaper in the adjoining dining room had the same rich red background. The effect was balanced and stunning.

Front door It is true. In Chinese feng shui, which is the art of balance and harmony, red is the recommended color for your front door. Not only does it cheerfully greets your guests, it is said that it invites prosperity to the owners of the house. I am all for that, so now my front door is a reddish orange.

According to Leatrice Eiseman, “people don’t just like red–they love it.” People whose favorite color is red have a zest for life and need to be involved. They are passionate in their pursuits and extroverted. Those who love red are exciting, optimistic, and animated.

Shoshanah Siegel provides color consulting as well as space planning, remodeling, upgrading and staging through her firm Your Color Diva. She can be reached at (562) 427-0440, or .

Culture, In Living Color

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