Red: The Classic Color for Interiors


If you’re looking to paint your room in the most classic color, with the most impact and most dramatic effect – go with red. However, the ‘right’ red is hard to get. There are so many bad shades of red. They’re either too bordello or too raspberry nail polish. Or they’re so brown it’s like eating in a Southwestern themed restaurant, or so primary you think of the American flag. Look for a juicey pomegranate red, Chinese lacquer red or a really good oxblood.

Red is such an important color, it needs subtlety and depth. So think of doing a glaze or lacquer paint. Here are just a few favorites shades…

Benjamin Moore
Moroccan Red is strong and dramatic.
Redstone Red is traditional and elegant.
Ruby Red 1001-10 is as close as you can get to Coco Chanel red lacquer nail polish. Try it on the floor for great fun!
Salsa 2009-20 is a true orange red. This color makes you look great.
Tucson Red 1300 is an earthy, brick red. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright loved brick red.
Million Dollar Red 2003-10 is the perfect dramatic red. A little goes a long way.
Sangria 2006-20 is an neutral red – not too blue, not too orange, not too dark.
Chili Pepper 2004-20 reminds me of a deep coral. A cheerful red.
Red 2000-10 is a good match for the Diana Vreeland’s “Garden in Hell” room designed by Billy Baldwin. There’s no exact color given, but this paint is pretty spot on.

Ralph Lauren
Relay Red 1B11 is a great pomegrante red.
Paprika #13 by Portola Paint has a strie effect. Obvious brush strokes appear after the paint dries which adds texture to a drab room. This color makes food look great and people look great. Has pizzazz.
Pagoda Red 515 is a safe red ifyou arenot feeling daring yet. It’s nottoo orange, not too blue. Looks like antique red, Pompeian red. Almost everything looks good with it.
Lattice Red 1B57 by Ralph Lauren. Real red that never goes out of style. Always fresh.
Dessage Red TH41 by Ralph Lauren. Another true red, just like the American flag.

Other Brands
DKC-17 from the Donald Kaufman color collection is more of an Etruscan red.
Vintage Claret from Pratt & Lambert is exciting, interesting and unexpected.

You may be skeptical of the idea of a red room. So I suggest to try red walls in an entryway – a space dont’ spend a lot of time in but travel through often – or red accents rather than a full red painted wall. A red china cabinet shows that a small dose of red makes a big impact. Paint the back interior of a cupboard or cina cabinet and place white or contrasting color china in front of it for a bold look. But beware: once you try it and live with a red space in your home, you’ll love it.


About Karen Carpino

Karen Carpino is an interior designer and founder of Chicago-based Karen Carpino Design. A professionally registered interior designer with over 25 years of experience, Ms. Carpino's clientele includes both residential and commercial projects. She brings you techniques, trends and tips in “Style At Home.”