Red room ideas – 11 ways to use this striking shade in any space

Be inspired to embrace bold decorating with these red room ideas

Red room ideas triptych
(Image credit: Future)

Red room ideas are perfect for those looking to create interiors with impact. Whether it's used wall-to-wall or as an accent color, being such a powerful shade, red can easily transform a space. 

While it may be a strong and confident choice, red is also versatile and depending on the tone, it can be used to evoke all sorts of moods and looks. 'Brighter, vibrant reds can be uplifting and bring in the essence of the summer, whilst deeper, darker reds will create a cozy and moody atmosphere,' says Emma Deterding, founder and creative director, Kelling Designs and KDLoves.

If you're thinking of decorating with red then you're in the right place as we've gathered an array of room ideas to help get you inspired, alongside some handy tips from the experts.

Red room ideas

Red room ideas can be a challenge to get right, as red is such a dominant shade, but with the careful treatment they can look stunning.

'For me, all colors have a place in interiors, and this includes red too. It's all about how you use colors and where you use them as this can really make or break an interior design scheme. If you use colors, including red, in a balanced way through your design scheme, it'll work wonderfully and make a real impact,' says Emma Deterding of Kelling Designs.

1. Create a warm welcome with a red hallway

Hallway painting in Primer Red by Annie Sloan

(Image credit: Annie Sloan's Primer Red)

As transitory spaces and the room into which guests first enter, the hallway makes a brilliant place to make an impression and be daring with color – opting for a rich, warm red hallway is guaranteed to bring a warm welcome.

'Red is a color of great joy and passion, the boldest of all the shades,' says Annie Sloan. 'It brings great warmth, energy and dynamism to a space so it's a great choice for active areas such as hallways.'

2. Use red to create a striking living room

Living room with walls in Deep Space Blue & Bronze Red Absolute matt emulsion by Little Greene

(Image credit: Walls in Deep Space Blue & Bronze Red Absolute matt emulsion by Little Greene)

For those looking for living room color ideas, red is a brilliant option. While it may seem like a daring choice, red is a warm and inviting color, making it perfect for creating a cocooning and cozy atmosphere. 

For a contemporary take on the red living room try introducing bands of contrasting colors as demonstrated here. Not only do the Deep Space Blue and Yellow used here an element of fun, they also help break up the large expanse of red which could be dominating when used on all four walls.

3. Bring drama with wall-to-wall red

Living room in Benjamin Moore's Ladybug Red

(Image credit: Project Phillip Thomas / Photograph Michael Mundy)

If you're confident with color why not embrace an all-red living room for a dramatic yet inviting scheme? 

When it comes to living room paint ideas, 'don't be timid with color,' says New York based interior designer Phillip Thomas. 'Stop playing it safe, and choose colors you love and bring you joy. In one of my favorite living rooms ever, we used Benjamin Moore's Ladybug Red to create a super vibrant space with a strong personality.'

4. Create a kitchen with impact

Red kitchen with red cabinets, rug and bar area

(Image credit: Michelle Nussbaumer / Douglas Friedman)

Kitchens are rooms we spend lots of time in, so it makes sense for them to reflect our personalities at to be as joyful and uplifting as possible.

In this red kitchen design by Michelle Nussbaumer,  statement red cabinets set the tone for a dramatic and unique scheme, while the lavish use of marble, brass fixtures and mirrored shelving all combine to bring luxury and glamor. 

5. Set the mood for entertaining

Dining room color schemes Crown

(Image credit: Crown)

When it comes to dining room color ideas red is a popular choice with interior designers and homeowners alike which has endured across the decades.

'For me, red really suits dining rooms. It makes the perfect backdrop for beautiful feasts with loved ones, and looks fabulous at night time with candle light. It's a great color for creating energy and dynamism and therefore is perfect for social environments such as dining spaces,' says Emma Deterding. 'It will really set the atmosphere for meal times and will help bring you together with friends and family, making amazing memories.

To create an intimate and enveloping atmosphere in a red dining room edge towards deeper tones says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown. 'The darker the color the more light it absorbs – so reds, plumbs and terracottas will visually bring walls inwards making a room look warm and inviting.'

6. Paint furniture in red

pink kitchen diner with red bench and red table with wooden top, yellow stools, statement artwork and gray pendant

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

If you're cautious about using intense color then adding in a piece of red furniture or refreshing an existing piece with a lick of red paint can be a great place to start as it can easily be moved or repainted if tastes change. 

A red-painted built-in bench and table frame are a great way to liven-up a muted kitchen-diner and work particularly well with pastel pink walls as demonstrated in this space.

7. Add a red sofa

monochrome living room with vibrant red velvet sofa and geometric design curtain fabric

(Image credit: Jon Day / Claudia Bryant)

If you're looking for ways to warm-up a cool grey and white living room then you can't go wrong with a sumptuous red couch. 

With its red velvet covering and elongated curves, this sofa brings instant softness to this monochrome scheme, while also creating a beautiful focal point. 

When introduced as a flat color red can feel jarring, but by opting for a textured fabric, such as velvet which shimmers in the light, the red will appear more varied and will be easier on the eye.

8. Use red as an accent color

Red console table in a hallway with wallpaper

(Image credit: Vanrenen GW Designs)

You needn't go all-out with red in order to make an impact, adding in just a small piece of furniture or a few accessories is enough to bring instant life and personality to a small space.

In this red hallway a scallop-edged console and table lamps are teamed with a decorative wallpaper and gilt mirror to create a quirky traditional hallway idea.

'We wanted to make a real statement on entering this hallway so that you didn’t just walk past the hall table without noticing it,' says Louisa Greville Williams co-founder of Vanrenen GW Designs. 'Proportions of console tables are essential, and we think this looks elegant with a classical feel but with a modern twist.'

9. Bring a sensual feel to a bedroom

Walls in Mylands' Post Hill

(Image credit: Mylands)

Used wall-to-wall, red is an effective bedroom color idea for achieving a cozy and intimate feel, alternatively, try it over small areas to liven up more muted bedroom schemes. 

'Red walls are a bold choice, and depending on the shade and room, red pigments can transform a space in a multitude of different ways. A deep, dramatic red like Arts Club™ No. 28 is sophisticated and intense, but also warm and welcoming, which makes it a great choice for a living room, dining room, or a sensual choice for bedroom walls,' says Dominic Myland, director of Mylands Paints. 

'A brighter pigment like Red Post Hill™ No. 68 is similarly friendly and inviting, which makes it ideal for bedroom details such as inside shelves or for contrasting door and window frames, as well as entire walls.'

10. Pair red with black and white

living room with red chair and gallery wall

(Image credit: Corine Maggio / CM Natural Designs)

If you're thinking of incorporating red living room furniture then decorating in black and white is a good neutral base for letting them shine as proven in this room design by interior designer Corine Maggio of CM Natural designs.

'This space was interesting to design because it was a rental. One of the few pieces the clients already had was the burgundy chairs so in order to incorporate them we had to either really embrace a lot of color or let them sing by neutralizing the rest of the space, which is what we ultimately decided on.'

11. Use red to add an element of surprise

Bathroom with wallpaper and red paneling

(Image credit: Future)

As small spaces which aren't used for long periods of time, you can afford to be bold when it comes to decor in cloakrooms and guest bathrooms, and this combination of red paneling and wallpaper is guaranteed to turn heads.

Not only does painting the paneling in Little Greene's Red Bronze bring warmth and color, it also helps highlight the beautiful shape of the sink unit allowing it to really take center stage. 

What color goes with red walls?

Red walls can be paired with many other colors – to find what shades work well with red the color wheel is a useful tool.

Sitting opposite red on the color wheel, blue makes a natural partner to red and it perfect for bringing balance to red rooms while neutrals like white, grey and black are always a safe pairing for bold colors.

'The key is to balance out bright colors with more conventional tones. If you want to add a touch of red to your home, for example, I’d pair it with a deep navy, white or some lovely neutral shades to soften the look,' says Sue Jones, co-foudner and creative director at Oka.

However, red can also work well with neighboring shades on the color wheel such as orange.

'Any colour that is made up primarily of red or orange will make a room seem much warmer. Using two or three of these colors together will create that warm palette with tonal interest. Many think that red and orange clash, but they do in fact work brilliantly together,' says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown.

If you want to create a scheme with impact then red can look show-stopping when paired with high-contrast black and white and other primary colors, however, pastel shades should not be ruled out, in fact, pink and lilac work particularly well with red.

How can I make my red room look good?

There are many ways to make a red room look good, from a well designed lighting scheme to finishing touches. 'As always, use furniture and accessories in complementary and contrasting shades to add that all important balance. Mirrors are a great way of introducing sparkle and fun, but will also help to bounce light around a room, creating the illusion of space,' says Emma Detering, founder and creative director, Kelling Designs and KDLoves.

'Lighting should always be fitted to dimmer controls to allow you to change up the atmosphere and ensure you light any artwork well. Pictures in gilt frames look particularly amazing on red walls, but you just need to make sure you light them properly.

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.