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Decorating with Red

Splash it Around or Just Drizzle

by Susan Brunstrum – July 11, 2013

Red is the bold, in-your-face color of everything from romance and anger to sleek sports cars and sexy stilettos.

It’s the color of power and confidence but also cozy fireplaces, sweet strawberries and wine.

If you love it, go ahead and splash it on the walls to energize a room. If you prefer to whisper when you want to attract attention, drizzle it sparingly into your home with accessories and accents.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

A powder room is a great starting place to test your red tolerance: It’s a smaller space where you and your guests don’t spend much time.  For these suburban homeowners, we chose a high-octane shade and really made it pop with pure white contrast. On second thought, your guests may never come out!

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

For the same clients, we took a more subdued approach in the living room with this red sofa as contrast for neutrals. It’s like wearing bright red lipstick with a white summer sundress – it really brings the heat. Notice the African wildlife? The homeowners are from South Africa and collect native folk art.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

Want just the barest touch of red? This family loves the North Woods and wanted a rustic but sophisticated kitchen to remind them of their favorite get-away. We used warm colors for the cabinets and counters and accessorized with red knobs on the Wolf range and reddish-brown countertop accessories, all elements that are easily changed out.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

If you’re not up for eye-popping intensity, consider burgundy, the reddish-brown cousin of red that never seems to go out of favor with our clients. In this recent project, we went full-out with burgundy walls and accents for a warm, relaxed family room.  

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

For this bachelor’s retreat we added some sizzle with a crimson coffee table with a lacquered finish that shines like an Italian sports car. It tells everyone that this fellow may be conservative, but he’s got a wild streak.

About the Author: Susan Brunstrum

Susan Brunstrum, founder of Sweet Peas Design, Inc., Libertyville, is proud to be Cheeky’s new interior design maven. She believes that “Cheeky” design means living the lifestyle of your dreams. She has been featured on LXTV, CLTV and many other ‘zines and blogs. Visit her at