In interior design circles, it’s often acknowledged that where the catwalk leads, the cushions will follow. We often see interior trends start within the fashion industry – from 70s retro and bohemian looks to Millennial Pink and Generation Z yellow. And so last year, when Fashion Week around the globe showed models in every imaginable shade of red unapologetically marching down its catwalks, there was little wonder that this too may be the next big trend to expect in our homes.
Of course, like everything, trends are cyclical. They come and go and come back again and while we may still cringe when we think of the dining room walls we all painted glowing cherry red back in the 90s, they are always just a little different the second (or third or fourth) time around.
What Red Colours Are Trending?
Red, while still an attention-grabber and not entirely for the faint of heart, is trending in many different forms, some versions are more popular than others at this point in time. On the softer side of its spectrum are the rose shades and dusty blush pink. Easy to live with, brushing off the gender connotations of years past and living quite happily amongst every other shade from deep indigo blue and tropical greens, to the palest shades of nude and peach. But we’re seeing a slow movement towards a stronger shade now. It may not be the cherry or pillar-box red we remember but a slighter warmer, browner and much easier to live with version.
In fact, in 2018, International paint brand Benjamin Moore declared Caliente – a warm charismatic red – it’s 2018 Colour of the Year. Ellen O’Niell, Benjamin Moore’s director of strategic design intelligence told Architectural Digest about making that choice: “[We] arrived at Caliente… It wasn’t shocking. It has almost a brown undertone, which makes it soothing. I kept thinking of red gallery walls in a stately mansion that really showcased beautiful oil paintings or ephemera. Those stately reds; intimate reds. That’s how we arrived at that specific colour.”
How to Use Red in Your Home
While a bold primary red can be playful and fun, the psychology and science of colour need to be addressed. Red has the shortest wavelength in the colour spectrum – this means our eye sees it before any other shade. It’s why stop signs and traffic signals are red – this colour captures our attention immediately. It can create a strong statement in a room. In a space where you spend less of your general time – a bathroom, a utility room – it’s an energetic signal, exciting and creative, and full of passion and intensity.
Exercise caution, however. Used excessively, it can raise your heart rate, increase your appetite (which is why you often see it in restaurants) and in some cases, could even cause anxiety or stress. It’s beneficial to consider the various nuances of red shades rather than jump in at it’s brightest and most saturated point. A little certainly goes a long way.
Combining red with warm neutrals as the image above shows is one way to create a punch of colour tempered by softness. Using natural elements surrounding this bold shade warms it and creates a more calming balance.
Choose red shades that have a warmer brown undertone if you plan to use it on your walls. Combined with white, it creates a warm embrace in a room without overpowering the senses.
It can also make a striking focal point in a room. In the bathroom above, a bold red vanity unit is the perfect foil for dark walls and a boldly patterned tile floor. Consider where in your room you would like eyes to naturally fall and use this to inform where you might place your perfect red object or furniture.
For those who like their interiors dramatic, consider the addition of a deep red velvet sofa. Combined with a dash of leopard print against a darkly-hued backdrop, the look is luxurious and opulent and reminiscent of the grandeur and excess of the Victorian era’s elite.
However you choose to use this shade, the secret to its success is confidence. An unapologetic show-stopper, we’re sure to be seeing red embraced more and more in our interiors this year and for at least a few years to come.
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