February 4, 2012
By Glen Peloso
It’s that time of year when everything seems to be hearts, chocolate and red. Valentine’s Day permeates just about every retail shop in the city, and strong reds seem to be so associated with this Hallmark holiday that we rarely look at the colour unless it’s in the month of February. In my opinion, cupid has run off with this colour but it is time to hang on to it as a great one to use in the home.
I have to say that red is one of my favourite colours to use in a space, largely because it is a strong colour that often overpowers the other colours that are part of the room. As a result, it offers the person entering the room for the first time – or anytime really – a place to start the experience of the room. We subconsciously look to the brightest colour in the room to start the experience of that room, and by offering a very clear focal point in a strong hue, we remove the feeling of being overwhelmed that you can get in a large space.
I have to say that there is something very enticing about the excitement the colour red invokes, and that may very likely be the reason that it has been selected as the colour that has come to represent Valentine’s Day – which is all about passion. That same kind of passion is great to inject in to the home, but the question remains how to effectively do it so that it isn’t overwhelming, but is an exciting experience.
Red is certainly a great colour for creating intimacy and romance in the home. It can often be a wonderful colour to use in a dining room, for instance, where you may cover all of the walls in a warm red shade. Generally, the dining room is used in the evening when it is illuminated with the warm flicker of candles or other sources of soft lighting. You want to create a sense of intimacy and closeness, whether you are using the space for a group of friends having stimulating conversation or just for two people celebrating a significant day, like Valentine’s Day. Creating a room that is both somewhat dark and aesthetically “close” helps to create that feeling of familiarity.
Deep reds can also be a pleasing choice for an accent wall in a master bedroom. Whether you use the colour in a detailed wall paper or as a solid block for a featured wall like the headboard wall, the depth of colour gives a feeling of sleep and passionate intimacy, which is generally what you hope for in the bedroom.
In other rooms, red is a fantastic colour as an accent. You can use it in accessories that may be placed on a bookshelf to offer pops of colour to the area. Having pieces of glass in a bright red can offer excitement to coffee tables, side tables, or elements on a mantel shelf. I have also used larger red glass bowls on a kitchen table, which serves to ground the table and the area.
Speaking of grounding an area, traditional Persian rugs filled with deep reds can be wonderful to ground the furniture in a room. I don’t suggest red as a colour to use in flooring, like the red cherry-stained floors that have been used in the past. Red works best in the home as a “spice” but not as a “flavour.”
Selecting the right red can be a bit of a trick and you certainly don’t want to work with a primary colour unless you are creating a kids play area. Opt for a
deep red when used on walls, and a slightly brighter shade when used it as an accent. Benjamin Moore’s “Rapture” is one that I really like and have used effectively in the past.
If you ask me, I think that every room should have some element in red, whether that be a throw cushion, an accessory, a carpet or an entire wall. It creates a sense of excitement, passion and good design. With
all that said – have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Glen Peloso, design editor at Home Décor and Renovations and principal designer of Glen Peloso Interiors, has been designing spaces for commercial, corporate and residential clients for more than 15 years. You’ll recognize Glen as the host of such television design shows as Restaurant Makeover, Take This House & Sell It and Renovate My Wardrobe, to name a few, as well as from speaking engagements at home shows across Canada. glenpelosointeriors.com
Filed under: STYLE FILE