Psychologists, artists, and designers have long been fascinated with the color red’s impact on the human psyche.
It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. The color of passion and romance, this stimulating color heightens the senses. It can be traditional or rustic, contemporary or timeless, depending on context and the shade. A dab of red paint can warm up a cool room and add drama when used in a small space, like a hallway or powder room.
From scarlet to crimson to rust, there are as many ways to create a mood with red as you can dream up.
Red makes a room feel more intimate and playing with red patterns in fabrics or accessories perks up the energy. When the light hits this glossy vermillion sitting nook, it glows — making it the spot everyone will want to gather. See how the bold color warms up the cooler hues, like blue and white. Try Red Gumball in high gloss to copy this look.
Red is stimulating, denoting both activity and appetite (that’s why it’s on so many fast food signs). But it’s also the color of love, so it’s a natural color for a bedroom. And in Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of spatial arrangement, a red bedroom is thought to bring luck. To work red into a bedroom, use a shade with an orange undertone, like Burnt Red. Then balance the bolder color with white trim and be sure to let in lots of natural light. The color’s innate ability to create intimacy will make your bedroom feel cozy and inviting.
During the medieval ages, Vermilion was as precious as gold. To create the pigment, early painters mixed one part ground sulfur with two parts mercury, sealed it in a jar and shook it. As the mercury and sulfur united to form the rich, wine-red hue, it was said that you could hear them crashing together, the chemical reaction was so strong. The fumes it released were so poisonous that the process was banned in Venice in the 1200s. To put it another way, red is a color that people would risk their life for. Luckily, we don’t have to do that — instead, we can choose a vermilion tone like Rum Punch and roll it onto the walls, no crashing chemical reaction necessary.
On the color spectrum, rust falls on the brown/orange side of red. This sultry color conjures up images of terra cotta jars or Saltillo tiles in desert dwellings. It’s a go-to for designers who want the beauty of red without the drama. It pairs with gray, beige and rich woods, adding saturation and depth without being off-putting. Try Rum Raisin if you want the softer side of red.
Whether you’re looking for red’s active, bold side or its quieter, cozier one, you’ll find one you love in our Color Gallery. Then see the color in action in Our Work. Whichever hue you choose, a coat of red paint will bring out the romance in your space.