Vail Design at Altitude column: A punch of color is a must for visual interest and strong design
Design at Altitude
Where as January was all about resolutions and being strict with yourself, February is all about love, and love is definitely in the air. Hand in hand, or perhaps heart to heart, we’re using red in design. Red is passionate, red is bold, red evokes strong emotion and inspires drama. So, in this otherwise dreary month, be bold and go confidently in the direction of your dreams, as was recommended to by Henry David Thoreau. Now is the perfect time to use red in your home. It will be good for your heart and your decor.
THE POWER OF RED
Red is a powerful color. It can be striking, warming and inspirational, or it can be overwhelming and, quite simply, too much. I love neutrals, but a punch of color is a must for visual interest and strong design. I like to use red as an accent color — bright throws or pillows or an interesting floral arrangement stand out. Even a splashy piece of art can add visual interest to an otherwise unadorned wall.
I particularly like to use red in living rooms and dining rooms, and tend to steer clear of using it in bedrooms. Red, with its power and bold hue, can make a bedroom feel less like a relaxing retreat and can be too energizing. But it can be welcoming: Window treatments or a throw in a red print add punch, levity and warmth.
Small splashes of red go a long way, especially in a light-filled home or a monochromatic house. Incorporate an interesting, hand-blown sculpture, maybe something Chihuly inspired, in the great room, or install a stunning chandelier in warm red tones above a dining table and neutral walls. A red love seat paired with more neutral chairs will be eye catching: It can be the interesting element that makes the living room come together. Try a red leather armchair — divine.
You don’t want to commit to a design element, color, hue or statement and not be in love with it, so start on a smaller scale.
Try using a beautiful candle in red as a centerpiece or a red lamp on a side table to draw the eye, without dominating, overwhelming or oppressing. These accessories are also easy to move from spot to spot to find the exact location that you’ll love.
EXPERIMENT WITH HUES
My friend has seven colors of red lipstick and is still searching for the right one. A perfect red in your home can be just as hard to find. There are rustic reds, sleek reds, contemporary reds, dark reds and pinkish reds — they are all spectacular and it’s a highly personal choice.
Red accent walls can make or break a room design. It’s important to think about the spatial elements of a room before going red, though. A small room bedazzled in red can welcome or can be a cringe-inducing design decision. A powder room in red will alter everyone’s appearance. Try a fun red frame accenting the mirror or medicine cabinet instead.
If you’re inclined to go bold, go boldly without hesitating. Enhance a bold, red wall with an ornate gold mirror. Who’s to say what’s too much?
All in all, if red inspires and enlivens you, go for it. If the color makes you smile and warms you in these chilly winter months, use it as the spice of your life. Be daring … in doses.
Yvonne Jacobs is the president of Slifer Designs. She is always on the lookout for the perfect shade of red to enhance a living space.