Color Series: December Red

There are plenty of memory associations that accompany color. We think back to a favorite painting we saw in a museum or the fading colors of a carousel we used to love visiting. Every color can connote a feeling of past or present, and very few shades exemplify the feeling of the holidays quite like red.

Velvety scarlet, deep burgundy, bright cherry – there are dozens of shades worth a moment’s pause in the spectrum of this primary color, and they all have a place in exterior and interior design. The hue complements the blues, greens and whites common of the season as well as provides a bold design statement for the rest of the New Year.

While we have previously placed a focus on one specific shade for our color posts, we wanted to break from tradition this time to discuss different shades of red and how each one can be used to provide maximum interest.

What does red denote?

Red is often associated with passion, free-expression, fire, courage, and self-confidence. Best used in accessories and accents, red can be overwhelming if over-used and actually cause stress in abundance. However, just a dab of red can increase excitement and is a classic color option for nearly any room.

A few ways to use red:

In the Home: A little red can go a long way. This is a good motto when designing with a bold or bright shade of red. Even an accent wall may be too much, so the best way to use red is accessorize. Trends have shown stripes of red to be extremely popular in indoor and outdoor furniture. Combined with blues, browns and tans, red is the best method of making a more neutral pallet pop. Candles, lamp shades, mirror frames, table runners, and cut flowers are all easy ways to add red into a room. Red is an excellent color selection when designers choose a contemporary look, but rustic and deep burgundies can mold quickly into the principals of Victorian style.

Especially during the holidays, red can be a treat for the eye. Any shade of red will complement evergreen, so consider adding red throughout a room or on a door using decorative wreaths such as this one from Jackson & Perkins.

In the Landscape: While hundreds of shades of red have been produced in blooming flowers for spring and summer radiance, it is often harder to find bold, daring reds for the landscape during the fall and into winter. This year, we recommend a brand new perennial, Heuchera ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Terra Nova Nurseries, for an absolutely stunning display of cranberry-red foliage during frost.

Our favorite shade:

Glidden offers two shades of red we highly suggest, as each provides two different application possibilities for the color. Candy Apple is a fantastic option for a bold statement through accents, accessories and containers. The deep, classic red will not disappoint to draw the eye to new heights or into unused corners of a space.

We have also notated Terra Cotta Rose, or similar shades, as a popular choice for 2010 design. This lighter, more soothing red has brown tones that calm the shock of the color, allowing designers to use more if they choose. An excellent example can be found in the stone flooring of this outdoor space.

How have you used or plan to use red in your interior and / or exterior design work this year? Or, if a member of the media, what types of color information, sources and photos would be most applicable for your audience members during 2010?

To read more from our color series, visit our September and October suggestions.

~ Leslie

Jeff Collard

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