Erin Napier's anti-trend kitchen color is controversial – but designers love this brave choice

The hue has a reputation, but has the designer's Americana color palette enough to win us over? Some experts are convinced

Erin Napier and a red kitchen
(Image credit: GettyImages / Kitchen Makers)

Designer Erin Napier is instantly associable with sweet Southern design – spanning traditional patterns, antique furnishings, and comforting neutral schemes – but a recent project saw her bridge into new territory. 

To conclude the latest Home Town series, the designer left us with one of her most controversial color choices yet: a red kitchen. 'We ended this season of HGTV's Home Town on a joyful note in an Americana color palette celebrating Jack’s new US citizenship and Iris’s love for patterns,' she says. 

The kitchen colors pay homage to the homeowner's decision to relocate to Laurel, Mississippi – meaning the red cabinets have underlining sentiments for those who will use them every day. It is, however, no secret that decorating with red is a controversial choice – not least because of its bold (and often stress-inducing) nature. But can Erin's red, white, and blue kitchen change our minds? We spoke to some designers, and honestly, they're convinced. 

'While red may have a controversial reputation, it can be a bold and dynamic choice that adds a unique touch to kitchen design,' says designer Nicholas Kaiko of Kaiko Design Interiors.

'Energetic and stimulating, red is a vibrant and attention-grabbing color that can stimulate appetite and create a lively atmosphere in the kitchen,' Nicholas comments. And while some may associate it with stress and anger, he says it is the hue of 'energy, passion, and excitement.'

Nicholas Kaiko
Nicholas Kaiko

Nicholas Kaiko is the founder of Kaiko Design Interiors – one of the most sought-after design firms in Sydney, Australia. Nicholas has over a decade of experience in the interior industry – refining his skills as an interior architect and decorator for luxury hotels and residential internationally.

As the designer explains, red has a bold reputation – but, instead of looking at it as a color of anger – we should associate it with a warmth and inviting aura. 

'In the kitchen, where gatherings and family activities frequently take place, using red can create a welcoming and inviting ambiance,' he says. 'It can make the space feel more intimate and comfortable, encouraging social interaction.'

Red is a color that demands attention and makes a bold statement. And while this can feel daring, Nicholas says this bold tone can leave a memorable impression – that is especially powerful when used on cabinets like Erin's above.

Red country kitchen with farmhouse table

(Image credit: Plain English)

'Incorporating red cabinets can be an excellent choice. The color adds a strong focal point and can serve as a striking visual element within the overall design scheme,' he says. And, in case we needed more convincing, the designer reminds us that, despite its reputation, red is both versatile and complementary when paired with metallic finishings. 

'While red can be an intense color on its own, red can complement metallic finishes, such as stainless steel appliances and brass accents,' he says. 'Your home should reflect your personality and style, so if you love it, go for it.'

Inspired? Us too. And for more Erin-inspired inspiration, we're picking up a copy of her latest book below.

Heirloom Rooms: Soulful Stories of Home by Erin Napier | $23.18 on Amazon

<a href="" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Heirloom Rooms: Soulful Stories of Home by Erin Napier | $23.18 on Amazon
This beautifully-illustrated book is a unique celebration of the homes we live in and love. Erin tells the story of her modern family life – and the days that made her home the place she longs for when she’s away.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.