Even the White House has a Red Room.
Americans generally are timid about using bold color when decorating their homes and apartments. We fear we were all born with an automatic default setting for "white" or "beige."
But then along comes Valentine's Day, and the world suddenly turns a bright red. We're saturated with reds, pinks, and dusky oxbloods and we frankly find it refreshing to add a little heat to our normally glum and proper color environments.
Here's a decorating assignment: freshen up one room in your house or apartment this weekend by bringing in a few punches of red. You can add red in accent pillows, book jackets, artwork and frames, a colorful fabric throw draped over the back of a chair or sofa, or a hot accent rug. Go a bit mad and turn up the heat with a bit of red, pink, or related shades. It shouldn't cost much either; you can go out to Home Goods and pick up some of their red and pink accessories for very little cash. The end result will be a fresher and livelier room.
Here are a few of our Favorite Red Rooms.
Actress Angelica Huston has a smashingly red gah-gah look going for her in this dining room at her Central Valley, CA ranch. Not afraid of bright color, she's blended punchy reds with greens and blues and warm wood tones in the flooring and dining chairs to get a great look. This room suggests two great ways to get red in a hurry: red paint will get you a quick hit of color in your room and a fab red tablecloth will add an inexpensive and sharp burst of color to your room while dressing up your dining.
The woman who does a fantastic job blogging on her Soul Pretty website complained that she can't relax in a room with red walls, and that's after painting her cool living room a hot red color and adding some pink and other colorful bursts. The point is well taken that red is a lively, vibrant, and often VIBRATING color. A little of it can go a long way. But unless it's your bedroom, we think red walls are fair game and can jazz up any living space. And we love her colorful seat cushions and neutral pillows, adding great comfort to the room while taking not a drop of attention away from the bold red walls, mod art, and classic marble lines of the fireplace.
Look at the punch that red gives this 2008 Kips Bay Decorator Show House library designed by Geoffrey Bradfield. The red upholstered chairs, walls, and artwork form a strong composition that is toned down a bit by the calm of white and lucite accents.
We could learn a thing or two from master interior designer Carleton Varney. In the living room of his Upstate New York farm (above), he's toned down bright red walls and red popping up in upholstered chairs and in fabric patterns with contrasting cool blues and soft, buttery browns from his wood furniture and area rug. Beautifully done, and he's staved off boredom by fearlessly using bold color!
We love the simplicity of this Country Living decorating idea. Use a large clear jar to collect pincushions and display fabric tomatoes just as you would real tomatoes. Red collectibles would look beautiful on a breakfront, etagere, display case, or grouped together as a tablescape, too. Look for red plates, bowls, glass paperweights, marbles, salt and pepper shakers, and other items to display with color-punchy pride.
The Heart Truth: And speaking of red . . . The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHBLI) hosts an ongoing campaign called The Heart Truth that focuses on raising heart disease awareness. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, so it is important to spread the word not only about heart disease, but also about the risk factors associated and how all women can take action to reduce their risk of heart disease.
Become a part of The Heart Truth Healthy Action Community by pledging to take action to reduce your risk of heart disease and encourage others to join you. Post your Healthy Action badge and share with others while taking action to lead a healthier lifestyle. Choose from any of the following: Quit Smoking, Aim for a Healthy Weight, Get Moving: Exercise Regularly, Eat for Your Heart Health and Know Your Numbers. You can download the badges from NHBLI's exclusive preview page.
Also, join and encourage your friends to join the The Heart Truth fan page on Facebook. Learn of new events in your area, get first hand updates on the 2010 Red Dress Fashion Show, and share your stories with others. This is another way to add RED to help energize your life, and let's face it -- good health is the best design for your home and family.