|Red As the New Neutral|
(ARA) - Throughout history, red has grown to symbolize passion and power.
Whether in hate or love, red stirs our emotions and passions, a life force. On
stage it evokes danger and deceit. Ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Indians
believed that the color would energize and heal, actually increasing heart rate
and blood pressure. Some therapists say that people who favor this color know
how to enjoy life and are assertive, full of energy, vitality and passion, and
are definitely not timid.
There is no subtlety with red. It will gain your attention no matter where it is
used -- on business memos, fire trucks, traffic signs and in fashion and home
decor. It is no coincidence that designers are adopting this persuasive and
complicated color. Taking a tip from interior designers, remember that red does
not need to be brash, only dramatic. This warm color works best when used either
a little or a lot. In large quantities, it defines the setting, such as a dining
room to enhance the appetite. In small portions, red is a wonderful accent for
any other color, when used in the same intensity.
With a warm yellow mustard, a hot red brings thoughts of a Mediterranean
countryside. With a deep green, red evokes warmth and masculinity. Blue with red
is patriotic. For a Southwest feel, include blue and orange. For true drama, if
you dare, gold and red are luxurious. Bold red with stark white gives a feeling
of formality; however, that same red with beige trim or accents speaks more of a
When using a softer palette, rose red with lime green invoke visions of
watermelons and summer drinks. Pale greens also make a wonderful background for
orange-red accents, and as a pastel, a light red with white is fresh and sunny.
Papering a room is an instant makeover and, if red is used, there is vibrancy
and style. Wallpaper is coming back as a timeless classic. “Wallpaper is like
meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s comfort food for the walls,” says
Phillip Ostler, Los Angeles chapter president of the National Guild of
Professional Paperhangers. We remember Grandma’s kitchen with red and white
checks or cherries. Perhaps there were red and beige cabbage roses on bedroom
walls or in the dining or living room.
Memories of casual gatherings, playing Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit, with popcorn
and soft drinks, are being rediscovered as more people are staying home to
entertain. There is a trend toward cocooning and looking to the past for
comfort. Red has always been, and will continue to be, an important color
element in home decorating.
Most consumers, however, are afraid of color, especially red. They won’t use it
for fear of making a mistake. The easiest way to experiment with strong color is
to use it in small areas first, such as a toile fabric pillow on a side chair or
a checked tablecloth in the kitchen. Try wallpapering an area where people don’t
linger for long, such as an entry foyer, mudroom or laundry room. Move up to
hanging a brightly colored border or use wallpaper on one wall of a room as an
Red accents in the timeless designs of berries, apples, flags, and roosters are
being featured by Chesapeake Wallcovering in their new collection, Peace and
Plenty. Here the consumer will find soft, blended, traditional colors, such as
burgundy and garnet red in patterns that will connect them to the past, but will
work with both classic and country décor.
Interior designers have many innovative ideas for wallpaper that can be used by
practically everyone. Striped wallpaper, for example, can be hung horizontally
to lower a room with a high ceiling. A paneled wall effect can be inexpensively
obtained by hanging one width of paper 20 inches from both the floor and the
ceiling. Outline with a coordinating border or with molding. Don’t forget that
there is a fifth wall in every room, the ceiling. Using a border above the wall
or crown molding, on the ceiling, brings the eye upward, making the room appear
Conversely, using a border along the baseboards will draw attention downwards,
perhaps to highlight a beautiful wood floor. Using a narrow wallpaper border
over the seam of an open small print will give the room a striped effect. Or
measure out the plain wall and hang the border vertically for stripes. When
finished hanging, cut out a design from the wallcovering and decoupage lamp
shades or cut a single design element, such as a group of red apples and attach
to room or window corners.
In the kitchen, add a bold, but homespun flair with a red-checkered tablecloth
over a white table with white shutters at the window. Laying tile on the
diagonal and hanging lattice-patterned wallpaper give the illusion of fresh air
and openness. Replace hooks with red antique or antique-looking glass knobs for
hanging kitchen towels.
In an entry area, a high backed, red painted settee adorned with yellow
pinstriped seat cushions against a wall with a small yellow floral print is both
refined and casual. Instead of hanging only pictures on the wall, use a variety
of shelving, plates, mirrors, and architectural remnants, some of them red, to
give both character and style to the room.
A dull beige sofa can be brought to life in a dull room with red and blue
patterned toss pillows and a subtle beige and red wallcovering. A side table
with a red lamp and a stack of red books will inexpensively bring new life to an
old piece of furniture. For today’s décor, for every room, red is truly the new
For more information about Chesapeake Wallcovering visit www.cheswall.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content