Combine red and brown to create rich and sensuous bedroom decor. Earthy brown and warm, passionate red work together to create a welcoming, intimate environment. And marsala, a mid-value combination of brown and red, is a compelling neutral that makes everything look good, from makeup to bedroom furnishings. A shade of red exists that complements every skin tone.
A Warm Environment
In the language of color, rich, passionate red says love, sex and power. Red in your environment raises your temperature, makes your heart beat faster, boosts testosterone, and can even make you look more attractive. It's no wonder that strawberries, pomegranates, beets and rich brown chocolates are considered food for love; add red roses, and -- well, you get the idea. While brown is also warm, it is reassuring, safe and stable, like a good spouse, and it's an inviting balance to passionate red. Taking a cue from nature, make your love nest both sensuous and safe by lining it with a warm palette of red and brown. Almost all woods are brown, so finding furniture and hardwood floors to coordinate with your furnishings should be simple. Add neutrals, from pale ivory to rich espresso, and you create an intensely intimate setting.
A Little Red
Because red is often an intense color, difficult to live with, and not too restful, consider using it in small doses. Accents of red in window coverings, accent pillows and items placed low in the room such as a bed skirt or rug provide the pleasure of red without the stimulation and intensity. Brown can manifest itself in khaki wall coverings and large areas such as bed coverings without overpowering the entire room.
Add Complementary Green
While red and brown are earthy, warm and exciting, adding a touch of green introduces serenity to your color palette. Green is the color of health, healing and growth in nature. According to Rachel Kaplan, Ph.D., and her husband Stephen Kaplan Ph.D., green creates a restorative environment. Green can be a cool complement to fiery red and is useful for creating a tranquil interlude for the eye and spirit. If red and brown feel a bit too intense or stimulating, use green in large areas like the wall and textiles such as the curtains and bed covers. Adding green brings a restful ambiance that is also desirable for a bedroom setting. When adding green objects to red and brown decor, look at different hues and intensities such as brick, burgundy, marsala, citron and avocado.
Textures and Prints Add Interest
To add interest to your decorating scheme, incorporate a variety of prints and textures. From classic leopard to regimental tartan, choices abound to augment your color palette. A brown herringbone tweed is a conservative choice, while red polka dots are a bit more contemporary. Add plush textures or nubby silks, striated corduroy, furry napped fabrics and natural jute for visual and sensory complexity. Adding a live plant or two also helps clean the air and extends the restful feeling.
Red is a beautiful hue but extremely difficult to match in paint colors. Professional designers often have a sample area painted to determine the accuracy of the color. It might take multiple tries to get a red wall just right, so be forewarned. Also, when you're painting a wall a dark color like brown, use a primer first to give best results.
- Pantone: Color Intelligence: Why Marsala?
- BBC: In-Depth: How the Colour Red Warps the Mind
- PBS: Learn Why These 10 Foods Are Edible Aphrodisiacs
- Karen Haller: Colour Psychology… the Meaning of Brown
- American Psychological Association: Green Is Good for You
- The Family Handyman: How to Choose and Use Primers
- Photo Credit Valentin Pacalo/Hemera/Getty Images
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