How to Decorate with Red: Achieve Balance and Results

Red is a powerful color that most people tend to shy away from when decorating their homes. Today’s collection of beautiful rooms show how to successfully decorate with red to achieve balance and pleasing results.

Yes, you can use red in small spaces, especially when it’s balanced with a good amount of white. A small butler’s pantry looks inviting and interesting due to the use of red paint on the cabinetry. 

Red cabinets in butler pantryPhoto by VanderHorn Architects


Red acts surprisingly well with neutral tones, as evidenced in this cozy living room. There’s a bit of red brick in the fireplace which might have been the inspiration for adding red accents in this room. The result is a warm and inviting space that feels relaxing, not overpowering. 

How to decorate with red in a living roomPhoto by Dona Rosene Interiors


Did you know that the color red is supposed to stimulate your appetite? When considering how to decorate with red, the first room you might want to consider is the dining room.  In this space, just the upper walls are papered in a red grass cloth-type paper. To match the intensity of the hue, yellow chairs are set around the table. A soft gray, plaid area rug helps to balance the vibrancy.

red dining room with yellow chairsPhoto by Janine Dowling Design Inc.


This beautiful bedroom reflects how to decorate with red if you’re not sure how to approach this vivid hue. A red and white pillow, red table lamp, and a red book are all that’s needed to add a bit of cheer. On a side note, I love this bed!

red lamp in white bedroomPhoto by Colonial Reproductions, Inc.


Here’s a Scandinavian-style bedroom that shows how to decorate with red in an understated way. A red blanket adds a pop of color at the foot of the bed while a hanging red heart and a pitcher of red tulips add a pretty punch at the nightstand. Gray is the perfect accent color for red as it calms its vibrancy. 

Scandinavian style bedroom in red, white, and grayPhoto by


Have you noticed the presence of wood finishes in most of these inspiration photos? Red pairs beautifully with wood tones, increasing the warmth factor of the space. The addition of white in the fabrics of this cozy nook lend a cool, crisp element. 

red and white chair in wood paneled sitting roomPhoto by Violandi + Warner Interiors


If you’re looking for a temporary infusion of red, consider a rug like this striped beauty in an historic bathroom. No need to make a permanent commitment when you use textiles to add color and pattern.

historic bathroom in wood, gray, and redPhoto by Di Biase Filkoff Architects


You could use any color in a wood-lined room, but if you want to increase the energy a bit, consider the use of red. It really livens up this kitchen, keeping it warm and cozy as opposed to dull and dreary.

wood kitchen with red cabinetsPhoto by Blackburn Architects, PC


A sophisticated kitchen enjoys just a touch of red through upholstered bar stools and a red berry arrangement on the kitchen island. In the foreground, red is also used in a pillow and throw on the adjoining family room’s couch.

Traditional kitchen with cream cabinets and red accentsPhoto by Merigo Design


Last but certainly not list on today’s inspiration of how to decorate with red is a gloriously grand staircase. The homeowners have rolled out the red carpet for themselves, and why not? This stairway is part of an addition to a stunning Georgian style home in Boston. 

grand red staircasePhoto by Helios Design Group


Do you have any red in your home? Are you interested in adding it now that you’ve seen some ideas?


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  1. Red is not my favorite color because it was my mother’s and I wore it so many times when I was a little girl. I do like these examples of what you can do with red and as I look around my home I do have more than I thought.

  2. Oh my. How lovely. All are nice, of course, but the first two photos are my favorite. Such pretty rooms. And then the white kitchen with a touch of red on the bar stools. Thanks for this post.