Red, turning up the interiors heat in 2019

A very Happy New Year! It’s that crystal ball time of year for trend predictions and, even if you choose to ignore them, I always think it’s fun to keep at least one eye on what’s going on. This January the blog is turning up the heat with a look at the use of primary red in interior decorating schemes. Although it may appear to be more of a micro trend right now, it’s one I believe will intensify as 2019 goes by.

Seeing red

The truth is that there will be several colour and style interior threads on the go. Amongst these for 2019 is possibly a return to more muted, neutral interiors colours – as part of a shift away from the dark charcoals, ebonies and colder shades, which have been popular in recent times. As mentioned in a previous blog post, a colourful 1980s inspired palette is also emerging from paint companies.

However, before we dip into the red, I should just like to give mention to Pantone’s colour of the year, Living Coral …

Bani Park wallpaper in red, Lindsay Alker Studio

Pantone colour predictions

If I am honest, whilst I am sometimes a little bemused by Pantone colour predictions, this year is different.  Their prediction of Living Coral as the colour for 2019 is one I wholeheartedly embrace. You may remember ‘Boho Style’ – a trend piece teamed with coral,  I wrote on the blog in January 2018.

For me, coral seemed like a natural (colour) progression from blush pink and because it had been so inspiringly used by designers such as Lulu Lyttle of Soane. If you like blush pink, then you were really going to like this more gutsy version of it – particularly in a Boho style context. Here is my Instagram post  from August 2017 …

Red hot for 2019

The Chinese associate red with joy and good luck so it seems even more appropriate to start the new year with a look at Red.

The 2019 moodboard adore list is exceedingly long this year and impossible to edit but here is a fabulously fiery selection:

Collage 2018-12-31 10_40_47
Top left: Bani Park wallpaper, Bohemia circles linen fabric,  Lindsay Alker Studio; Drop cloth No. 283 paint, Farrow & Ball; Sisal Aztec Alabaster SZ752 flooring, Crucial Trading; Odeon 8 Peony stripe, Ian Mankin; Peggy Angus Small Damask Grey on Natural, Blithfield; Nantes Madder Red LW113198, Lewis & Wood; Photo and styling: Charis White

Red hot bargain

45 cm square cotton cushion cover, £8.40, Dunelm

Red hot flashes

The question is, how best to use red in a scheme? There are interior designers – particularly in the U.S. who are using red in quite a dramatic way, such as Ashley Whittaker Design and Katie Ridder Inc with full-on lacquered, gloss walls and woodwork.

Another approach is to add hints of red into a scheme. I think this is powerful without being overwhelming. Adding one or two accessories, a set of red lacquered picture frames perhaps, a piece of furniture or trimming will add that desired but controlled shock of colour. I love the way red paint is picked out as accents on panelling and lighting in the Little Greene scheme below. Highlighting and celebrating elements of deconstructed architecture or upholstery also works beautifully too.

Fashion has been doing it for centuries. For example, in the reign of King Louis XIV of France (1638-1715), red heels were a sign of aristocracy. Christian Louboutin has also continued to use this design idea with flashes of red on the soles of his luxury shoe collections.

Little Greene: Heat and Pompeian Ash
Love this bedroom project by interior designers Turner Pocock with flashes of red.
Photo: Décor Facil/Pinterest
Stripey trimming as border on roman blind. Turner Pocock/Pinterest
Red Bohemia linen fabric on chair, Bloomsbury wallpaper on wall, Lindsay Alker Studio
Red flash in a bureau. Photo: Magpie Interiors/Pinterest
Salon chair in Beetled pewter linen with red leather handle, Made by Howe on Charis White Interiors blog
Chair in grey linen and red leather handle, Howe.

Red Ladderback chair Made by Howe on Charis White Interiors blog
Red ladderback leather chair, Howe

Red on the bed

The Mint in Rye is a lovingly restored 15th Century holiday house for rent in the centre of the Medieval town of Rye in Sussex. I have been admiring it from afar on Instagram and love the way that the bones of the timber frame house are uncluttered. Colour and warmth is added with sumptuous vintage red and white linen.  BTW, I have spent many a photographic shoot on location in Rye and can vouch for Rye being a great place for a break.

Screen Shot 2018-12-18 at 20.15.17
The Mint in Rye
The Mint in Rye

In the red

There is every reason to always include vintage fabrics in a decorating scheme and I was so excited to come across Rebecca Engels’ wonderful selection recently.

Red Antique quilt, £145, Rebecca Aix Home  Photo: Charis White
Rebecca Aix Home specialises in vintage linen for cushions, tables and beds. Photo: Charis White

Colourwheel merry-go-round

Colour is as subjective as it can also be political. For me, successful decorating is about using the right proportion of a particular colour and then how it’s combined with other colours and textures. There is often an overlap of what colours are more in fashion than others at any one time. For 2019 along with the warmer more nurturing pinks, it is red which is catching my eye.

Gallery wall on red with a costume water colour over pencil by John Piper from Moore Gwyn Fine Art. Photo: Charis White

Colour blog rewind

For other colour inspiration, you might like to take a look at these previous posts: Yellow Interiors and Fashion, Interior decorating with Indigo blues, Indigo and blush, The Green Room, Marmalade and Slate, Monochrome Interiors, Boho Style (Coral), Pink Blush Interiors, Is 80s Decorating Back?

Bathroom designed by Sarah Story via New York Social Diary

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have been inspired and this might help with your new year’s projects! Please do get in touch if you require any styling/colour advice as I work on both commercial and private projects.

In the meantime, I wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year 2019. Charis x

Charis White, Interior stylist/writer. Photography:
Charis White, Interior stylist/writer. Photography: Fiona McLean

(Left: Art Deco surfers dress fabric, 1937, Manchester from V&A Museum; Right: 1810-1830 Silk satin slippers, Snowshill Wade Costume Collection, National Trust Collections)


8 thoughts on “Red, turning up the interiors heat in 2019

  1. This is right up my alley! I love a hit of red here and there. I’m especially drawn to a dab of red in artwork—especially small paintings where the tiny spot of red is a nice surprise when your eye lands on it. And remember when Bunny Williams used a red egg chair in a mostly blue and green room and all the rucukus it caused?!! I loved it. Worked for me😍


    1. Aw Mary, I am so pleased that this hit a note with you. I love the idea of red as a surprise dot too. I steered away from talking about some of the other meanings of red as it can evoke both positive and negative connotations for people. I love it too – but then I think I love almost every colour and style! Thank you so much for your message. Charis.


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