Blues and greens have been getting a great deal of attention recently, but we’re here to talk about red – and not just because we’re a couple days away from Valentine’s Day. People who love red love it wholeheartedly. To them, red is timeless – never trendy. They drive red cars. Carry red wallets. Wear red dresses. Or, if the dress is black, they wear red shoes.
Of all the adjectives that have been used to describe red, tranquil is not one of them. Bold, warm and invigorating are more like it.
“I love the color red. I have been a fan of red forever,” said local interior designer Susan Reedy Jackson. “I bring out the red at Christmas and then let it linger until spring. I keep a red-and-white houndstooth throw, a red plaid throw and a red, black and white Navajo-inspired throw in the family room. Toss in pillows of red plaid, and the room stays cozy through winter.”
There are many, many shades of red. Talbots’ shade for Spring 2017 is Poppy Red. Ann Taylor serves up Bright Geranium and Rumba Red. Pantone named Flame, a red-based orange described as gregarious and fun loving, as one of its top fashion colors for Spring 2017. And the Buick Cascada in the Super Bowl commercial starring Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and model Miranda Kerr is Sport Red. Of course.
So, for now, navy and greenery must take a back seat.
February is all about red. It’s the season for red roses, red hearts, red carpets and the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign to fight heart disease in women.
“Red is a passionate color, a beautiful color. We use it for two major holidays – Christmas and Valentine’s Day,” said Michelle Peller White, president of the Interior Design Association of Western New York.
But red extends beyond the winter months. You’ll find shades of red in spring fashion – often named for flowers. Geranium. Poppy. And, of course, those rosy reds.
Talbots offers a classic double-breasted raincoat in Poppy Red with a contrasting band of indigo blue at the hem. In its Spring 2017 look book, Old Navy adds sueded red pumps to faded jeans, an indigo blazer and a red-and-white striped boat neck tee. J.Crew shows a long-sleeve, off-the-shoulder top in Fiery Red on its website. White House Black Market offers solid-colored dresses in Ruby Red, Coral Red and Rosey. And LOFT and Lands' End are just two retailers that show printed dresses with red backgrounds.
In home decor, red moves into warmer days in a variety of shades. Rusty reds tie into the farmhouse chic trend. Orangy reds work well as accents on a patio or deck. Bright reds tie into nautical or patriotic decor – and are a favorite for front entrances. Sherwin-Williams makes a high-gloss red called Stop – a shade Country Living described as “one of our favorites for a show-stopping front door,” for example.
But true red takes courage – and it’s not for everyone, including White. “My mother loved red and my daughter loves red, but it’s just not my color,” said White, noting that she finds raspberry and bright orange more flattering on her.
White joked that another factor may be that she was saturated with red as a child. The Amherst house she grew up in during the 1960s had lots of red and white.
“The front door was bright red with white trim. The foyer wallpaper was white with red flocking. We had red velvet draperies. The three bathrooms had white tiles with 2-inch red tiles as accents. The family room was an open-floor plan and had red wool carpeting. The kitchen had white cabinets with red Formica countertops with gold flecks ... and my father always drove white Cadillacs with red leather interiors,” said White, owner of Chochkeys.
“Today, as a designer, I love all colors. If a client calls me and says ‘my favorite color is red,’ I wouldn’t steer away from it. I would welcome it,” she said, adding that she might suggest pairing it with neutral, softer tones such as gray, oatmeal or cream.
Others agree. “When I use red in a room design, it is more apt to be as an accessory, a bit of color pop, an enhancer to the gorgeous neutrals, sage greens and warm grays and whites that are so lovely,” said Susan Reedy Jackson, of Reedysign Interiors.
“If I do venture to make red a predominant color, I choose an orange-red heading into terra-cotta. This rusty red pairs extremely well with the grays, greens and neutrals of today’s interiors,” she said.
As for on-trend reds: “For 2017 I see red used as the pink, dusty-red and maroon of florals and the brownish, orange-reds that lend themselves to a ‘world view’ of Turkish patterns, Kilim rugs, Indian prints. All of these work so well with today’s neutrals,” Jackson said.
Looking for a few more ideas? Here are some suggestions:
• If you’re constantly losing things in your large handbag or tote, consider switching to a red phone case, change purse, key chain or pen.
• From HGTV: “Use red on the inside back of a cupboard or china cabinet to add energy to a room.”
• From Better Homes and Gardens: “If you entertain often, go red (in the dining room). It stimulates lively conversation and appetites and can perk up a roomful of neutrals. In candlelight, red walls create a soft rosy glow that flatters complexions.”
• Another from BHG: Remember that warm colors are known as “advancing colors.” One trick: “Reshape a long, narrow room by painting the end wall yellow or red; the wall will visually advance to help square up the space.”
• Finally, from Jackson: Treat your dog to a splash of red. “My yellow lab, Maggie, looks cute as can be in her red collar,” she said.