design by ioa studio | photo by tom ross | photo via yellowtrace


Now that the mountain house is done and revealed, I’m restraining myself (both physically and mentally) from starting a new massive project until I finish my book that’s due in December. But the stylist in me, the one whose mantra is “style play every day” loves to do just that, so I’m turning my attention back to our LA home, ready to push it to the next level. Keep in mind I actually “borrowed” a lot of stuff from myself to bring up to Lake Arrowhead (or donated to our recent Flash Makeover recipient).

I like so much that is in the living room, but my home is my style lab, an alive organism for me to express my creativity, so in the spirit of such creativity, I’ve decided it’s time to embrace my true love of the color RED.

You’ll see where we are with the living room next week (before switching out too much or adding this bold color), but know that it’s still really eclectic, with a big dose of midcentury, ’70s, utilitarian/primitive and modern traditional and yet still and always casual and comfortable. But it looks a little too “designed” and I want to make it more exciting without making it too crazy.

I think that adding a small but very intentional jolt of red is going to push it in an unexpectedly good direction. Need some examples? Here you go:
design by studio robert mckinley | photo by nicole franzen | photo via coco kelley
Executing red is hard, but I really love it in painted metals OR in really luxurious fabrics. I have no idea why I think that is the rule, but for me and my space, I want it to feel chic in that midcentury French way, not just like a red and cream plaid blanket.
design by studio robert mckinley | photo by nicole franzen | photo via coco kelley
It just feels so exciting, modern and unexpected, but like I said, I think it’s easier said than done. Our house is really traditional looking and my window treatments are SUPER traditional so I’m a bit nervous that it won’t read as chic, and instead just wrong.
design by kingston lafferty design | photo by barbara corsico | photo via yellowtrace
But when done right, it can really add a jolt of boldness and fearlessness into a space.
design by maurice scheltens & liesbeth abbenes | photo by bart kiggen | photo via coffee klatchdesign by studio gum | photo by filippo bamberghi | photo via archilovers
Red velvet chairs are like the flourless chocolate cake of the furniture world. SO rich and enticing, but if added to a full “meal” of a room (you know…something over stuffy or “designed”), you’re left feeling bloated or just…overstimulated.
design by arent pyke | photo via paper & stitch
I LOVE it on the edge of that table. It picks up the red from the super traditional rug, but the chairs, table silhouette and basically everything else in there is modern. Also, it’s so nice against the soft yet rich wood and caned chairs.
design by emmanuel de bayser | photo by erik melvin | photo via dore
I also love it in a pretty neutral room. It’s a nice POW to the eyes, but it has to be a fire-y, not-too-orange red. Like a maraschino cherry instead of a dark, sweet cherry.
design by sascha callaghan | photo by nikki to | photo via the design files
In an unexpected shape, it just comes off edgy and cool but still somehow…comfortable?
design by sabrina de sousa | photo by brian w. ferry | photo sight unseen
When I see it done right, I say to myself “they went for it and DID it,” followed with “this room is a total badass” just for having that one bright red moment.

Now I have dabbled in red in the past, and have always liked it; case in point:

The red cross really SLICES through the natural wood and wicker…plus I’ve always loved blue paired with red.

Remember this?!? My old Glendale house was much more mid-century than my traditional Los Feliz Tudor, but that didn’t stop me:
photo by tessa neustadt for ehd | from: our modern english tudor living room
This was the first iteration of this room (well, the first pulled-together “reveal.” I later swapped out the red rug with a more subdued blueish and white rug.

I’m obviously VERY comfortable wearing it, in fact it is my favorite color.

So I found myself shopping for and pinning so many red elements, toying around with where to bring it in.

At first, I felt confident I could handle one major piece of furniture, either a chair in the corner or even two matching chairs (#2 and #5 have pairs). I even thought to try #3…reupholster it and add a fringe trim.

But then I realized that more likely, what I’d do is bring in a modern lamp (like #1 or #3). A pendant could be cool like #5 or an unexpected sconce, but I’m not sure that’s what the living room needs.

I actually bought a pair of  #7 from Schoolhouse for the kids shared room (they both love red, too).

I think it might take a little playing around to figure out exactly what that red power piece addition would be for the living room. Again, I’ll probably just go the route of a punch accent piece like a lamp, but I still haven’t ruled out a rad vintage armchair, it’s just about finding the right mix with the rest of the furnishings and decor.

What do you guys think? Into it? I love it in my closet, so why wouldn’t I love it in my home? Do you think I should go big with a larger furnishing or go “home” with something small that I can test out and more easily swap out if I grow tired of it? As always, appreciate your thoughts. See you in the comments.

The post Living Room Mini Update: Can I Handle Bright Red in My House? An Analysis (& the Answer) appeared first on Emily Henderson.
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