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Is Red Really the Color of Desire?

Painting your bedroom dark red can really work. (If you love red.) Be brave and use the colors you love in your home.

Drive by most any fast-food restaurant and you’ll most likely see red regardless of your emotional state, because red is understood to be a color that stimulates the appetite. KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, and In-n-Out are some of the national fast-food companies that use red in their marketing.

Red has such a reputation as an appetite stimulating, passion rousing color that I’ve had clients insist on putting red in a room for that reason, or insist on not using red for that reason.

This was the case for a business that wasn’t in the food industry. After putting together an office color scheme with a company CEO, I was approached  by an upset employee who was sure that the dark cranberry red color we had chosen for the conference room would exacerbate arguments and increase dissension.

I assured the employee that red was going to work beautifully in the room and stimulate conversation rather than direct it. He wasn’t that sure of my advice, but he accepted his boss’ choice. The boardroom walls became cranberry red and everyone deemed it a success.

But all reds aren’t equal. Red-oranges, blue-reds, pinks, magentas, deep reds, bright reds, dull reds, dark reds and light reds are some of the variations of red that most any national paint brand offers.

And just like the many varieties of reds, there are just as many reactions and beliefs  surrounding the color red. Passionate, powerful, stimulating, argumentative, sexual, life-giving, playful, decorative, deep, are just some of the concepts that people attach to the color red and/or feel from the color red.

Whatever you feel about the color red, if you are attracted to it, I encourage you to use red in your room. As a room color or as an accent wall color, if using red scares you, putting it on your wall is a worthwhile risk. Whether you love it or hate it, facing the color red will leave you feeling stronger.