The Power Of Red

Albright Knox Art GalleryThe symbolism of red is vast and varied — by culture and by context. But whatever our heritage, red in our surroundings evokes a reaction.¬†Culturally, red may denote different things, but it always means the ultimate.

In Asia, red symbolizes luck, success, fire — and stock market¬†profits¬†— while in Western culture, red indicates a bad day on Wall Street. Of all the colors in the visible spectrum, red is the one that demands — and attracts — the most attention. In nature’s palette there is an abundance of greens, blues, browns and even whites. Against any of these backdrops, red stands out and impacts our moods; arousing, startling, warning, electrifying or agitating us.

Red Impacts Energy

Feng Shui teaches us that red impacts the energy of a space. So in design, red can be a slight tease or an overwhelming force. New York City-based interior designer Heather Higgins tells us that darker red walls in a very small space might make the space smaller — but simultaneously increase our energy level.

“A visual trick is to use the same hue on the walls, in different shades, on all the elements of the room. Since those elements don’t stand out, they optically occupy less space,” she explains.

For Higgins, color is magic. It can instantaneously, and many times inexpensively, change both the look of a room and the mood of its occupants. It can also shape a room as well as any furniture arrangement or positioning of walls,” she adds.

Win Contemporary Bedroom-10409

The accents of red in the headboard of this bed adds a small burst of color to the room without being overwhelming.

Soaring foyers and dining rooms wear deep reds well as they suggest warmth and stimulation. Smaller accents of these same shades, in a chair, rug or a pillow, work extremely well in both living and work areas and can make a neutral color schemes come to life.”

Reactions To Red

Reactions to red, like beauty, however, depends on the beholder. For some a little splash can go a long way while others can literally bathe in it — and find themselves a glow. In her research on the effects of color on productivity by Nancy Kwallek, the University of Texas, Austin, she found that workers who are distracted easily by irrelevant stimuli are overwhelmed in an all-red environment, while those who can ignore irrelevant stimuli are more productive. For the record, Kwallek’s research discovered that the least productive environment — was an all white one.

Serene Sofa and Chair

A bold, red piece adds personality to your room and creates a focal point that can be accented with shades of red in accessories and artwork.

Higgins notes that if you are the type who can become agitated by red, there is no need to forego this hue entirely. Just turn it down a notch. A pale rosy peach can evoke similar sensations without the punch of a powerful red.

For More Information Or To Buy These Products

The Bridge by Steve Godzisz

Win Contemporary Bedroom

Serene Sofa and Chair

About John Kenyon

is the National Sales Manager at Advance Furniture located in Western New York, the largest retailer of Modern and Scandinavian furniture in the region. He welcomes visitors from across the country who travel to purchase from his exclusive selection of contemporary furniture and enjoy the services of experienced sales staff and interior designers. You can visit his online storefront at