Red: Hot or Haute?

Red: Hot or Haute?

When thinking of colors in terms of their color temperature, red is at the top of the scale for being a really warm hue. It is commonly referred to as the color of fire and flame and it sizzles in terms of sensuality.

Red is a romantic valentine or a sweet smelling rose on one level — and a feared rash or sunburn on another level. There is nothing wishy-washy about red. It makes a statement no matter how it is used. Red says “stop” one minute and can indicate “come hither” the next.

This color has risen in the ranks of popular colors rather quickly in the last few years. There was a time when a paint dealer sold a quart of red a month and now they sell it by the gallon on a daily basis. Why is this? What happened to make this hue move to the top like the mercury in a thermometer?

One factor in its move to the top is the preponderance of do-it-yourself television shows using red as a makeover color. The one thing a makeover show wants to provoke is a reaction from their participants and their audience.  Whether it is a good or bad response, it needs to be controversial to be memorable. Red enjoys this love/hate reputation that no one can deny is dramatic and thought provoking. Because red was highlighted so often in these shows it gave confidence to consumers that they could achieve dramatic results in the easiest, least expensive method:  a gallon of red paint.

Our connection to certain colors is based on our memories of past experiences or recollections of objects featured in that color. We may have had loved a color because it is the hue of a favorite flower.  You may hate it because it was a color overused by a not-so-favorite neighbor. Looking for the most common, pleasant memories is significant in the selection of colors for products. Because of this packaging often uses red to boost the sales of certain products.  Red can’t and won’t be ignored and will remain in the limelight for years to come.

Used judiciously, incorporating red into your home decorating can be an inviting showstopper.

Here are our favorite picks.


by Pat Verlodt, CMG, Color Guild International for Hirshfield’s

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