Decorate With Red: The Do's And Don'ts (PHOTOS)

PHOTOS: The Do's And Don'ts Of Decorating With Red

Whether it's lipstick or brick, the allure of red is undeniable. But after a few painting mishaps and bringing too much red into a room (accent table, chair, trestle table base, picture frames), we've learned that the color -- as bold and captivating as it might be -- needs to be used carefully. Furthermore, we found out that red isn't always the best choice for a room.

According to environmental psychologist Sally Augustin, Ph.D., "Red can be a useful color to include in a home. People are drawn to red so painting the wall at the end of a long hallway red is a good idea. But it's not such a desirable color to use in places where thoughtful work will be done."

Based on research studies by Andrew Elliot, a Professor of Psychology, Ph.D. at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his team, the use of red has distracting effects that reach into the subconscious levels of our minds. "Their studies showed that when people see something red, even briefly, before they begin some sort of competency evaluation, such as an IQ test, they do not perform as well on the test and actually avoid challenging tasks," says Augustin. Given that, Augustin and the researchers believe that many people may respond to red in such a way due to the fact that the color brings to mind the red pencils and red pen marks used on tests and assignments by teachers, thus making red not the best of choice for study spaces and offices.

"On the bright side -- and opposite spectrum -- Elliot and his team have found that red backgrounds increase the attractiveness and desirability of a person standing in front of it," says Augustin, which explains the common association of sexual attraction with the color. "So even though your bedroom walls are a pastel blue or green," says Augustin, "red sheets may be in order."

Check out this slideshow for 9 different ways to bring red into your home, but not your home office:

Popular in the Community


HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds