Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

If you’re into bold looks, then you’re going to love the latest interior design trend that everyone’s buzzing about on TikTok.

Coined the “unexpected red” theory, the trend was introduced by Brooklyn-based interior designer Taylor Migliazzo Simon. In a viral TikTok video that has garnered almost one million views to date, Simon defines the concept as “adding anything that’s red, big or small, to a room where it doesn’t match at all and it automatically looks better.”

While decorating with a pop of color or an accent wall isn’t a new concept, the inspirational photos seen behind Simon in the short clip illustrate just how effective this look can be. From a vibrant red lamp to a punchy red bathroom sink, the eye is immediately drawn to the crimson red shades.

a bathroom with a red wall

Heather Talbert

Why is the “unexpected red” theory going viral?

Red lipstick, flashy red sports cars, sky-high red-bottom stilettos — red is certainly an attention-grabbing favorite. But in a world dominated by neutral interiors, homeowners often gravitate towards safer options (unless it’s a festive holiday occasion or their space is curated by a maximalist who embraces bold colors without hesitation).

But the past few years have shown us that more and more design enthusiasts are willing to welcome energetic color choices, like red, to normalize designing with your personality in mind. Yes, a red room can be jarring if not done correctly, but a splash of red doesn’t hurt anyone!

a living room with a couch and a table with a red and white pillow

Rayon Richards

Living room designed by Naïka Andre.

Naïka Andre, interior designer and founder of NJA Interiors, agrees. “People are getting comfortable breaking design ‘rules.’ Red has always been considered a harsh color. People are seeing how designers successfully use this color in their spaces,” she explains.

How to add some unexpected red to your home

Is pulling off the red color theory as easy as it looks? Not quite. The references Simon selected in the video featured complementary or analogous colors like blue-green and purple, so reddish undertones look right at home.

It’s important to zero in on the red that works best for your room and ask yourself questions like, Should it be cool-toned or warm? How much of the color is going into use? and Where will it fit in best? This stimulating color is an instant wake-up call, but it can veer into a nightmare if there’s no strategy.

Jamie Davis, co-founder of Portola Paints, advises that not all reds are created equal. “It is absolutely possible to create a shade of red that feels warm and inviting, but it can be tricky. Dialing back the saturation is a good place to start,” says Davis.

room with zebra patterned chairs and red table

Heather Talbert

Before you begin buying jars of paint, notice that the examples Simon used focus on a pop of color, not a monochromatic look. The theory is making a major statement because it’s a low-lift commitment that doesn’t require hiring professionals. Red can be a playful, sexy and the extra zest of life your home is waiting for. Maybe it’s time to break up a dull living room by adding contrast — go for a red accent chair! Or add a bouquet of red flowers to your coffee table.

Andre suggests starting small if you’re intimidated by red. “Introduce a pop of red with flowers, an accent chair, artwork or a red picture frame. Observe how the color makes you feel. If you love it, go ahead and add more.”

a bed with a lamp and flowers

Justin Cole

Bedroom designed by Naïka Andre.

Do we think red is on its way to becoming a go-to neutral? Not quite. But is this invitation to take risks with colors more than welcome? Absolutely! “One misconception about the use of color in your home is that there are different rules associated with how you use color,” Andre shares. “The beauty of designing your home is that you make up the rules. Incorporate colors that bring you joy.”

To help you champion this classic color in style, we’ve curated a shopping list of decor and accessories that will help you rethink the power of red in your home.

Cindy Farmhouse Hot Red Console Table

Safavieh Cindy Farmhouse Hot Red Console Table

Scalloped Edge Throw Pillow

Scalloped Edge Throw Pillow

The Minimalist Shower Head

The Minimalist Shower Head

Now 11% Off

Mushroom Table Lamp

MKolour Mushroom Table Lamp

Daulton Velvet Side Chair

Daulton Velvet Side Chair
Headshot of Medgina Saint-Elien

Medgina Saint-Elien is a lifestyle and design editor, whose journey has been marked by her interest in popular culture and technology. Saint-Elien uses her editorial eye to find the “on the pulse” moments in media through trend forecasting, exciting new product launches, hands-on reviews, and covering the “lightbulb” moments in every maker’s story. She is a creative strategist who conceptualizes digital franchises and partnerships that draw readers to take a second look. In addition to House Beautiful, her work has been published in Cosmopolitan, Byrdie, Snapchat, and more. 


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