A Little Red Goes a Long Way

I'm decidedly not a red person. It's my least favorite color to wear, and after living with a red dining room for one year too many, it's now my least favorite wall color, too. But there's no denying it — it has a powerful place in decor. The smallest bit can shake up a room, transforming "a safe room" to one with some edgy interest regardless of overall style.

Red, and its close cousins orange, coral, and deep pink, have a way of elevating drama in a way that's both sophisticated and youthful. In dark moody rooms, it lightens the tone without doing away without diminishing the depth, keeping them fresh and far from gloomy. Conversely, it keeps light and all white rooms from feeling overly sweet while still preserving a sense of femininity — think red lipstick on a bride. And the best part is that it only take a little effort and cost: a vase and bouquet, a lampshade or throw, a painted side table or piece of pottery.

Recently, I've discovered that red makes a particularly convenient accent color for homes with children. Try as I may to keep heaps of primary colors from invading my home in the form of children's toys, there always seems to be a red something (block, hairbow, action figure— take your pick) peering out from under the coffee table or hiding behind a pillow planning an ambush to my visual peace. Adding a little red into each room doesn't solve the problem, but it does make those "off" things a little less distracting. There is only so much you can control in a room without risking your sanity or your reputation for such among those you live with!

Images: 1: Cottage Living 2: Marie Claire Maison, 3: Roger Davies for Elle Decor, 4, 10: Domino, 5: Beach Bungalow 8, 6: Leah Moss for Apartment Therapy, Ralph's House of Cool, 7: Apartment Therapy Room for Color 2010 Joshua's "Vintage Primary," 8: Kelley Proxmire, 9: Skona Hem