Red is a color that seems to have passionate fans, and those that would love to decorate with red but are a pretty intimidated by it. Decorating with red can be a little scary, especially as a wall color. The biggest secret to decorating with red is using the right red in the right space. The other secret to decorating successfully with red is to know the ins and outs and undertones of the red color you're considering. You'll really want to get a basic understanding of undertones before you commit to a bold color like this.
DON'T be afraid to decorate with red. There is the right red out there for you, regardless of the room you're decorating, and the style you love. Finding the right red is only a matter of knowing how to recognize the right color.
DO Narrow your search down almost immediately. The most frustrating part of searching for the right color is becoming overwhelmed right away by the hundreds and hundreds of color choices available.
If you're choosing red paint, try to find your color in the smallest collection possible.
DO remember that red is a primary color, which means it will be easier to create a palette using other simple colors. Check out how to create a color scheme using a color wheel. Some basic color theory is going to make your work so much easier, as you put together a color palette or try to decide if a red accent piece is going to work in your space.
DON'T be afraid to go bold with red, but do so sparingly. A vibrant red front door color, or accent chair, is going to endure much longer than a lipstick red couch, or red carpeting. Less is definitely more when you're using the brightest of red colors.
DO consider that you may actually be looking for rust or burgundy. Red can cover a lot of other colors because everyone has their own way of expressing the color they see. If you're not finding the right red, it could be that you're actually thinking of a color that's close to red. Rust is a gorgeous alternative to classic red, especially if you love rustic style decorating.
DON'T forget to give some thought to the neutrals you're pairing with your red decor or wall color. Once you know the undertones of your new color, you'll be able to pair it with the right neutral. Warm red colors look best with warm neutrals like beige, and cool reds look best with cool neutrals like gray or white. How you're using neutrals all wrong, and how to fix it.
DO look for inspiration everywhere. A rich color like red can be found in many regional decorating styles, like in the landscape of Tuscany. You don't have to decorate in a Tuscan-inspired style to benefit from the color combinations of the region, but you can translate those color palettes into your own taste.
DO sample any red color you are considering. If you're painting red in a room, it will require more work than lighter colors, so you'll want to be sure that you have the perfect color before committing it to your walls. The sample rule also applies to furniture and fabric, try before you buy if possible. Find out why sampling paint is essential.
By Diana Hathaway Timmons