Red is considered a “power” color. Politicians wear red ties, royalty drape themselves in red velvet robes, and celebrities walk the Red Carpet at Hollywood events. Bold crimson walls in your home living room also make a powerful statement. In my years working for a professional painter, I learned some important tips that will help your design stir up all the positive attention it deserves.
Use the Right Paint
Everyone’s going to be looking at those red walls, and you don’t want your guests to notice anything other than the color. Buy a high quality paint from a professional paint store, or through your pro painter or decorator. Cheap paints in bold colors will have unappealing variations in hue and thickness, making every roller and paint brush mark visible. Avoid gloss and go with a flat or eggshell finish, as these absorb light and won’t reveal as many imperfections in the surface of the wall.
Consider Darker Shades of Red
A bright, primary, fire-engine kind of red for your living room can seem fun at first, but it will hard to live with such an eye-opening color after awhile. You want the space where you relax and entertain to be cozy and inviting, which is possible with deeper shades of red. Try burgundy or a dark brick red, or even a more earthy terra-cotta. Combine with dark, heavy wood furniture to create an opulent atmosphere.
Balance with Color and Texture
A living room with a lot of red can be overwhelming, so choose furnishings and fabrics that will help balance the effect. White ceilings and baseboards, pale birch furniture, and beige drapes are neutral elements that break up the intensity of the red without distracting from it. Print textiles that combine both reds and other colors can be used to draw the different pieces in the room together. If you plan to use an abundance of red in your design, mix in brocades, velvets, leather, and other varying textures to catch the light in different ways and create a rich and comfortable environment. Architectural Digest has some fantastic examples of these well-balanced red rooms.
Pay Attention to Details
A little beige brush-mark on your white ceiling might never be noticed, but a wavy line of red paint along the door and window frames will draw a lot of unwanted attention. Take the time to do the job right, and touch up mistakes as soon as you find them. Fix cracks and nail pops before you paint, and consider a primer, especially if you’re painting over a dramatically different color.
Use painted or decorative light switch and outlet covers. Nothing spoils a beautiful red wall like a glaringly white plastic light switch cover in the middle of it. You can paint air vents to match as well, or purchase a more attractive version in a darker metal or wood.