Breaking news: Southerners return to living in the red.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Design: Elly Poston Cooper

Our friends at Sherwin Williams predicted that Cavern Clay (SW 7701), an earthy terracotta shade, will be the color of the year, but I think it’s best to leave the terracotta to the plants or for diehard University of Texas fans. And, our buds at Benjamin Moore staked their claim in Metropolitan (AF 690) a cool, sophisticated grey that goes with anything. It sounds a wee-bit frigid to use in our comfortably collected homes and cottages.

Southern Living’s Color of the Year should be lively and easy going—a user-friendly shade that’s a simple addition to existing homes. This reasoning brings us to declare bright red as the color of the year. Scared? Don’t be. Using red in your décor is no different than how you wear it in your wardrobe or when making up your face. Late to a Christmas party? Throw on anything red—an entire dress?! Stilettos-only? Or just a swipe of red lipstick? Whatever your preference, you’ll be party ready. Stuck in mid-winter’s pasty rut? Paint your nail’s with OPI’s Big Apple Red and you’ll feel much better.  The trick to decorating with red is knowing your limits and nailing the right shade of red.

WATCH: This Is The New Neutral Paint Color of 2018

Picking the Right Shade of Red

2019 is not the time to use red in a rustic way. Stick with a classic and clear shade of red (picture Cocoa Cola cans and fire engines not roosters). When it comes to red paint colors, we recommend Sherwin Williams Real Red (SW 6868) and Benjamin Moore’s Moroccan Red (1309). Beware of too bright a red shade. You’ll be blinded. And if you’re going to commit to a fully painted room, keep the application clean and simple—no distressed or faux finishes. And, prime, prime, prime to avoid streaks.

Accessorizing with Red

Painting a single piece of furniture bright red like a chair or side table can have a huge impact on a room and a second life for the piece. Try Gloss Colonial Red from Rustoleum. Can’t commit to paint in any form, work in some red fabrics. Our favorite new red pattern is the Amaya from Marigold Living. The big white background and pops of lush green make it versatile and down-to-Earth. Red and white stripes never get old either. This area rug from Ikea will certainly uplift a blah room without much work. A simple framed piece of art can take your room far—err on the side of modern with a basic frame and mat like Nashville artist Leslee Mitchell sells. Last but never least, arrange some red flowers and call it a day.