Decorate a Bedroom With Red Walls

A red bedroom can be as romantic as roses, as rich as rubies. It can also be a hot mess -- too intense to seem serene and too dark to be relaxing. When the walls of the bedroom are the color of ripe apples or flames, pick a style to define the room and wrest calm out of intensity.

A Riot of Reds
The shade of red makes a big difference in decor choices. A deep Etruscan red with a lot of brown in it works with traditional decor, lots of wood furniture and offsetting touches of cream. Cherry red is pretty rococo, but it's Pop Art as well. With cherry, you could luxuriate in yards of velvet and embroidered damasks or opt for chrome, glass and gleaming white ceilings. Claret has a lot of blue -- think grapes -- so it adapts readily to red's color complement green, which underscores the cool in the hot color. Reds, like true scarlet and red-orange, that lack an undertone of blue, are sunnier and produce a cheerful room when paired with the right fabrics, curtains and carpet.

Faberge Egg
"I can't imagine becoming bored with red," said fashion doyenne Diana Vreeland. "It would be like becoming bored with the person you love." Vreeland was famous for her lavish use of vivid colors -- the iconic red room in her Manhattan apartment, called "a garden in hell," which has been an enduring style benchmark since 1957. The doors, trim and picture frames are lacquered in shiny red, walls covered in scarlet-flowered cotton, carpet red, upholstery solid red and more of the patterned red cotton, which is opulently draped, ceiling-to-floor, over a wall of windows. If you've ever imagined yourself as the heroine of a Russian novel, go for it. Glue rich red fabric to the walls instead of paint or wallpaper and disguise the closet and bedroom doors with red lacquer. Add more red lacquer on a low dresser and much more of the extravagant fabric hung over the entire window wall, quilted as a bed cover and shams, and glued to bedside lampshades. A solid ruby slipper chair is velvet, the carpet is plush ruby, and the bed is honeyed polished wood -- a curtain-less four-poster with crisp white sheets.

Back in the Barn
Barn red is a very respectable color that conjures up pastoral and rural scenes and happily offers a backdrop to rustic decor. A weathered barn-wood headboard, attached directly to the barn red wall over a platform bed, turns your former contemporary decor country. Place a reclaimed flea market dresser, distressed and painted with cream-colored milk paint, against one red wall. Decoupage old produce posters on a three-fold standing screen, lacquer it, and stand it in the corner in front of billowing barn red and cream plaid or checked drapes. Make the bed a cool oasis with pale ice-blue sheets and pillowcases and add a homey touch with a patchwork quilt. Primitive paintings of cows and chickens are whimsical folk art touches for the remaining walls.

Lighten Up
Red is a little risky in a boys' bedroom -- all that energy hardly needs encouragement. But take an old salt's approach, and those nautical laddies will keep the place shipshape and spit-polished, ready for adventures with their friends. Salsa-red walls, the yellow-warmed color of sun-ripened tomatoes, are brightened and balanced by shiny white-painted floors and trim and a flat white ceiling. Navy roman shades, printed all over with white anchors, cover the windows. Washable white cotton bedspreads with appliqued blue anchors cover the bunk beds. Keep bunk frames stained wood or paint them as glossy white as the floors. Toss a few area rugs shaped like toy sailboats around. Mount sconces on the wall by the beds with navy-blue lampshades that have cut-out boat, anchor or starfish shapes on them for light to stream through.


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