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Red is a color that instantly evokes emotion, so if you’re looking to add drama to a room, the fiery hue is a great choice. And while you might not think that red paint will work in every space, some of our favorite designers have proved that the shade looks fantastic everywhere from kitchens to bathrooms to closets. “Red evokes royal interiors—Louis XIV’s sumptuary laws forbade all but him from wearing scarlet-heeled shoes—ecclesiastical vicarages, brothels, and Diana Vreeland’s ‘garden in hell,’” says architect William T. Georgis, who created a stunning sitting area filled with shades of red for the 2014 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. “The color also provides a smoldering and luminous background for a varied collection of art, antiques, and custom furnishings.”
One space where the shade works particularly well is a study or home library. In fact, one of the most famous red rooms of all time was the red-lacquer library that legendary designer Albert Hadley created for American philanthropist Brooke Astor. Many designers have taken inspiration from Hadley’s design, putting their own spin on the classic crimson space. Design firm Pappas Miron created a library with glossy red bookcases and matching walls in an Upper West Side home, while Peace Design took a more modern approach for a home office and sitting area.
Red isn’t limited to formal settings, either. Thom Filicia used red paint in the bunk room and a bathroom of a lake house in New York, evoking a classic all-American look. Richard Lambertson proved that a bit of red can make a big impact in a small space by painting his Manhattan closet in Farrow & Ball’s Rectory Red. If you’re ready to paint the town (or just your living room) red, take a look these spaces for inspiration and discover the paint colors that make them pop.
Farrow & Ball’s Picture Gallery Red distinguishes the dining room of a home by Los Angeles–based architecture firm Tichenor & Thorp.