The Decorating Power of Red

8161349_SRed is daring. Red is romantic. Red is sexy. That’s one reason why it’s the color of Valentine’s Day. A splash of red makes an outfit come alive. Whether you love red or not, the color is almost impossible to ignore.

In honor of the holiday, how about looking at red in decorating? Here are three variations on using red in your home, depending on just how daring you feel.

Hard-core red: This photo shows a room where red is the dominant color. This rich dark shade of red takes over the space. Red can be a great color for dining rooms because it raises the energy level in a room and draws people together, encouraging conversation. Your dinner parties could be livelier with red walls.

The secret to this type of luminous and rich red color on your walls is multiple coats of paint. Stop at one or two and you will end up with a red that looks washed out and flat. Plan on at least three coats, and consider five. It’s a lot more work, but getting a result like this makes the effort worthwhile. Also, notice that the rest of the room’s decor is fairly neutral. Once you commit to red, really watch out for any other color choices. Red like this is generally enough color for one space.

2409263_SA splash of red: By choosing red leather for this dining room’s chairs, the homeowner adds style and a spark to the space. Once again, neutrals keep the red to the forefront without having the color overwhelm the room. You may notice that the brown flowers in the rug look almost rust against the red. This actually works because of the extremely neutral effect of the rest of the room. The red chairs ensure that the table is the focal point of the room. Remember that your eye will always be drawn to any red in your home.

8961688_SJust a touch of red: If you’re not ready to jump into the world of red full-blast, how about dipping a toe in? This light fixture provides a dramatic impact in the room and saves it from a boring neutral look. If a permanent fixture seems too extreme, how about adding in a couple of throw pillows or a vase? You could even test out your red comfort zone with a bouquet of red flowers. But you might want to wait until later in the month – those red blooms are quite expensive at the moment!

 

Thinking about Walls: Dark

How daring do you want to be with your walls? Would you risk painting your walls this dark?

As you can see, it’s a dramatic look that works very well here. Let’s take a look at the choices that make a midnight black wall work in this room.

To start, plan to paint multiple coats to get this rich a tone. When you choose a dark shade, at least three coats are generally needed to build depth of color. You may be able to get away with two if you use a tinted primer, but don’t hold back – an extra coat or two will really make a difference.

Next, take advantage of contrast. The bright white sofa and chair upholstery help the walls pop and make the room feel light. Take a look at the mirror frame and the curtains. Once again, the pure white works well with a dark, dark wall. Adding the brown pillows provides a contrast on top of contrast. This contributes to the drama of the space.

Make sure the lighting lets the space feel open and inviting. During the day this space stays well lit thanks to the two large windows. At night, look for lighting options that pull light into corners and highlight the shine on this luscious floor.

Notice that we’re working with white, black and brown here. There are a few plants, but they play as neutrals rather than color because they are living elements rather than accessories. A splash of color – yellow, red or orange – would make a fun element.  Are you ready to take a chance?

Thinking about Walls: Yellow

Yellow can brighten up a bathroom or kitchen, or make a bedroom seem extra sunny. But it is the most difficult paint color to get right. The wrong choice can make a room gold instead of yellow, or turn a space into egg yolks rather than lemon. If you want to bring yellow into your home, take these steps first.

Go lighter: Yellow dominates a room much more than you would expect. Whatever tone you want, choose one at least two shades lighter. The color strips available at paint stores make this easy. Don’t worry that it will be too light. Yellow reflects off every wall and the color naturally intensifies.

Test test test: Buy a sample of two or three possible yellows. Paint poster boards, one in each color, and try them close to each other. If one of the yellows has an orange or green cast, you’ll be able to tell thanks to the contrast. Choose the purest yellow you can find. Also, put the painted posters on every wall of the room and then see which works best. Yellow changes its mood depending upon the type of light, so check in daylight and artificial light.

Combine with white: Don’t be tempted to use too much yellow. Paint the ceiling white and don’t add yellow cabinets or furniture. Too much yellow quickly takes over a room. White areas help the yellow look brighter without becoming overwhelming.

Yellow can be gorgeous or a real problem. Doing your homework at the start will give you a space that uses yellow at its best.

Fall Home Maintenance

For those of us who live in the Sonoran desert, our fall maintenance requirements are much simpler than for people in colder areas. However, it still pays to tackle several areas now that temperatures are starting to drop. Here are a few suggestions:

Check your home’s exterior. We had quite a bit of rain and wind in this summer’s monsoon. It’s smart to pop up on the roof and make sure everything is still in place. This is particularly important with an older home. While you’re up there, make sure your gutters are clean and operational. Finally, take a walk all around your home to look for signs of termites or other home challenges.

Test your heat. We will eventually get to an evening cold enough that we’ll be ready to turn the heat on again. It pays to check your heat before then to make sure it’s working well. Also, if you haven’t changed your filter recently, do so. The summer’s air conditioning demands really take their toll on filters and you will have better energy efficiency if you stay on top of them.

Trim your landscaping. In the heat of summer, it’s risky to trim bushes and trees because of the risk of sunburn on previously-protected foliage. Now that it’s cooling off you can start trimming back those plants that have gotten carried away this summer. For some plants such as citrus and roses, wait until December or January for serious trimming.

Paint your home’s exterior. The best temperatures for exterior paint are between 50 and 85 degrees. Because of our significant temperature variations between day and night, there is a small window when painting is ideal. The next month should be a great time for getting your house looking its best with a new coat of paint.

Now that the weather is nicer, outdoor maintenance feels like less of a chore, so take advantage and make sure your home looks and performs at its best.

Home Decor – Paint It Red

The primary color red is one of the strongest colors on the color wheel. Red can intimidate some people for its bold, rich color. Small doses of red can be used as an accent color to spice up a room. Buying or painting a single accent piece of red furniture is a fun way to add a pop of red to a room.

 

A red chair or ottoman in a living room or a red console table in the entry will create a focal point. Red accents can be in furniture, rugs, lamps or soft accessories like pillows and throws. A red bowl on the dining table or kitchen counter is a nice way to incorporate the color into a room. Even a bowl of red apples can add a little burst of red to a kitchen.

 

If you want to make a bigger statement, use red on furniture or the walls. Red area rugs or or multicolor rugs that have red in the pattern are less overwhelming than red walls.

 

Red painted furniture can be done with spray paint or traditional oil based paints for furniture. To get a good saturated color, multiple layers will need to be applied. A red lacquer is great for its deep color and hard surface—perfect for a coffee table or dining table. The shiny, glossy surface of lacquer can be imitated with a high gloss enamel paint. Durable enamel paint is a good choice for chairs and surfaces that will get a lot of wear.

The Power of Paint

We are all aware of the power of color.  For both our personal fashion and homes, color can be transformative.  While neutrals and black and white are great foundations for a wardrobe and home, nothing changes the look and feel of a room like color.  This is the reason that paint is such a powerful decorating tool.

 

Paint is one of the easiest ways to decorate a room.  Paint can open up a room, make a space feel cozy, raise or lower the ceiling, and personalize a space. When you paint your walls, you will transform your space.  This is true even if you are painting in neutral colors.  Going from a deeply colored wall color to white is just as transformative as the other direction.

 

The power of paint doesn’t stop with walls.  Painting the ceiling can also change the feeling of the room.  A darker color on the ceiling will lower the feeling of the ceiling and make the room feel cozier.

 

Beyond the architecture of the home, paint can change the look of furniture, fabrics, and even solid colored rugs.  Painting furniture is a wonderful way to give it new life.  Inexpensive solid neutral fabrics can be turned into interesting patterned materials with textile paint; the same is true for area rugs.

 

Next time you get the urge to change your room, start with paint.  A new paint color on the walls or old dresser can give you a new look without spending major money.