The Significance of Red in Design


Have you ever seen the movie, “The Red Balloon”?


Or “The Red Shoes”?


These movies made a big impression on me as a youngster, and it makes me think how powerful color is in our lives.  Color is used in story telling; it evokes feelings of power, passion, strength, and danger, to feelings of serenity, calm, and security.


Red is particularly a very emotional color. Look at how it pops against these greens and blues. The color, not the balloon, silly!  The balloon needs to last through the play you see…  The cinematographer, Edmond Séchan, knew exactly what he was doing in this film to make every shot a ‘picture’ worth saving.


Red is generally considered a warm color.  Think about a hot fire, and that’s easy to associate.  See how it contrasts with this very cool blue?


However reds can be cool and warm within their own family.  For instance, my husband and I chose to paint our front door with Sherwin-Williams Radish.  If you look up and down the strip, you’ll notice the color is quite in the middle between the cool and warm reds.  Farther up the strip you can see how blues are added to make cooler, more ‘berry’ reds, and as you go down the strip, yellows have been added to make warmer, more ‘brick’ reds.


Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Do you remember your primary colors?  I grew up singing a song about them: “Our primary colors are 1, 2, 3… Red, Yellow, and Blue”…

You can see on this color wheel how Red becomes more berry as it progresses toward the blue primary color, and how Red becomes more brick or ‘orangey’ as it moves towards the yellow primary color.


Complimentary colors are also interesting to note while designing your living space.  Here, my husband perfectly illustrates the use of red’s complimentary color: GREEN!  It’s not just for Christmas my friends.


Rather than have him stand there all day every day in the same old t-shirt, we put a plant outside instead. 😉


Don’t be afraid to go bold in your design, but do remember to prime your surface, and keep in mind the more intense your color, the more coats of paint you’ll have to apply.


According to Feng Shui, red is an excellent choice for your door IF it’s facing the right direction.  Red is associated with the Fire element (there we go again: our primarily warm color), and the direction of South.  Take a look at these two interesting articles if you’d like to learn more: 1.) 5 Feng Shui Tips for a Strong Front Door, and 2.) Feng Shui Red Door Significance, which also talks about how red doors evolved in Western history as well.


In the mean time, come visit us!  We welcome you to our home, but please take your shoes off. 🙂 We are working on that around here.  (The Asian Custom of Removing Shoes at the Door.)


 You may also want to add these old films to your queue!  If you do, let me know what you think, and please, pass the popcorn!





About Makie ↞ Maker of Indie/Folk Music & Art. Lover of horses, farm & natural living. Earth child here @NativeGypsies. Living the SoCal Beach-Life & Midwest Farm-Life. ↠ Meet MakieStories by Makie

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