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Red, White and Blue in Home Decor

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

Happy Independence Day!

While red, white and blue wave in our flags outdoors today, how do you use these colors in your interiors? Here are some insights into these patriotic hues and some of my favorite applications.

You probably already know that red is one of the three primary colors (blue and yellow are the other two). Primary colors are ones not derived from other colors. Red, in its primary state, is the lipstick color Madonna wore in the 1980s and Rita Hayworth in the 1940s.

If you add a drop of yellow to red, it becomes warm. Add enough yellow and it becomes orange. On the other hand, if you add a drop of blue, it becomes cool. Add enough blue and it becomes purple. (By the way ladies, a cool red lipstick makes teeth appear whiter).

When it comes to red interiors, I think of kitchens. Cheery, appetizing and even healthy like tomatoes, cherries, apples, and peppers. Red kitchens come in all styles from modern to country-cottage. A combination of red lacquered cabinetry and stainless steel appliances pose a sleek, uptown kitchen while a retro, enamel red stove surrounded by white, bead-board cabinetry is down-home and cozy. If these examples are too extreme for your liking, a red tiled backsplash can add just the right pop. Just keep the rest of the kitchen simple and clutter-free so that the tile stands out.

If you’ve read my previous columns, you know that I have a soft spot for white. My office furniture is white, my sofa and chairs have white slipcovers, and my dedication to white blinds, white towels, white bedding, and even white candles is steadfast. You’d think my walls would also be white but they never ever are — which is the trick to my success. Given all my white furnishings, I can paint my walls any color and it will never look overpowering. Chocolate brown, raisin purple or charcoal gray like my cat, Oliver, just become colorful accents. When clients fear doing the same, I remind them that any large walls can be softened with art framed in white.

When it comes to blue, my favorite is not exactly on the color wheel. I like turquoise, which is a tertiary color; that is, a primary color mixed with a secondary color (a blend of two primaries). Turquoise starts with primary blue and secondary green (blue blended with yellow) and ends with a dollop of white. By the way, adding white to a color, is “tinting” it. Adding black is “shading” and grey is “toning.”

Where better to apply dreamy, watery turquoise than in a bathroom. Let the ocean, sand and sunset inspire your overall color scheme. A current client is considering a light, dusty blue and beige color scheme in her soon-to-be remodeled bathroom. When she thought it might need more color, I suggested a dark pink orchid. My idea did not come from left field but from a sunset over a tropical beach. You’re always safe when choosing colors found in nature.

One way to introduce turquoise to a bathroom is with glass tile around the shower walls and tub surrounds. Glass has an iridescent and multi-dimensional quality that is both dramatic and meditative.

Celebrate our Nation's birthday with color - red, white, blue or any variation!

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