Red Impact

Gain the confidence to use this bright color in an unexpected way, and add style to your home.
Alice Welsh Doyle

Many of us love red tones because they impart a festive quality. Reds are also a bold choice that can give a room a dynamic feel.

Paired With Neutrals
When Richard and Cindy Newquist bought their house in Marietta, Georgia, the cabinets were red, and so was everything else―red trim and red-patterned wallpaper. "The wonderful cabinets were really lost against that intense background," says designer Lisa Todd. "Now they make a stronger statement." For more impact, Lisa added raised panels to the refrigerator and dishwasher. "With the panels, the red is not broken up, and there's more unity in the room."

Keeping Red in Line
When using a bold color, you don't want the room to feel closed in. To add some lightness to a tight corner, Lisa replaced solid cabinets with glass-front ones. She also used a cream-colored tile under the cabinets instead of adding more color.

Black Accents
"Black was a natural choice for the countertops," says Lisa. "It's such a great complement to the walls and works with the appliances." Touches of black are mirrored in accessories such as a lampshade and candlesticks.

Extending the Color Scheme
Red continues in the family room through the upholstery pieces, accent fabrics, and paint color, although here the tones are more subdued. Black lampshades, stair treads, and a banister are influenced by the adjacent kitchen. These elements work to unify the two spaces.

Interior Lighting
Lighting can really affect color, so think about what's in your home before choosing new fixtures. Here, fluorescent bulbs were removed, and recessed lighting was added. "It created a softer look and makes the red feel warmer," Lisa says. Incandescent lamps impart a more subtle effect, depending on where they are placed in the room. If you have an important piece to emphasize, consider adding accent lighting, such as a recessed light with a directive beam.

"Red Impact" is from the December 2003 issue of Southern Living.