08/15/2012 08:27 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Sizzling Or Sedate, Red Is Not For The Timid


It's the color of fire, love, passion and blood. In China it is associated with happiness. In Japan it is linked to heroism. In Western cultures it also hints at sex, deviance and shame.

Whatever its associations, red is a powerful and beautiful color. True red is a primary color, but the spectrum of reds is vast, from pale pink (white with a little red in it) to scarlet, crimson and vermillion. In decorating, bright, vibrant reds are usually reserved for accents, while darker, browner reds end up on walls, floors and doors.

Its complementary partner is cyan, or turquoise blue, but it looks good with greens and all sorts of neutrals too, especially warm grays and whites. Red does well with a high gloss (think Chinese lacquer) and dramatic lighting.

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