When we think about Christmas, two colors come to mind – piney green and bright red. Maybe it’s the boughs of holly or the cranberry sauce, but Yuletide cheer is often associated with this fiery hue. Learn all about the color red and how you can incorporate it into your living spaces for festive merriment that lasts all year long.


Red and Color Theory

There’s a branch of psychology theory that says our moods are affected by the colors that surround us. Of all the possible hues, red influences our behavior the most, according to an article published in Scientific American. Scientists point to the biological basis of red and emotion: Increased blood flow makes us flush in embarrassment, anger, or merriment. In China, red is associated with good luck, while Hindi brides don shades of red before walking down the aisle.

Associated with our passions, red is the only color that can be reflective of both intense anger and overwhelming joy.

There’s another symbol of the season we readily link with red – a rosy-cheeked figure with a white beard, who reportedly has a fondness for cookies and reindeer. But why does Santa wear red? Many believe it’s due to his depiction in Coca-Cola advertisements in the 1930s, but that’s not the case. According to historians, St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, traditionally donned robes of scarlet. Known for his secret-gift-giving and kindness to children, he provided the basis for the Santa Claus we know and love today.


Red and Interior Design

Red’s energy and passion make it a classic choice for interior walls. In fact, red is a commonly used hue in feng shui, an ancient Chinese art that dictates furniture placement and surroundings to promote harmony. In feng shui, red is associated with the fire element, which represents creation, renewal, and destruction. A balanced fire element in your home is associated with good luck, happiness, and positive energy.

Psychologists also believe red stimulates appetite, which is why many choose it as a hue for a kitchen or dining room. If you’re looking to make a big, bold statement, try it on your cabinetry or appliances. If immersive experiences are your style, dare to coat every wall with your favorite variation of the color.


How to Choose Your Red

Red, like any other color, comes in a variety of shades. Some will work better than others will for your space, depending on your personal style and amount of natural light. For example, blue-tinted reds (think berry and burgundy) won’t have as much of a stimulating effect as a paprika or cherry hue. Get samples of several types of red you like and paint them on your wall to get a feel for how they would look in your home. Remember, your chosen shade of red should match your particular personality, so resist choosing a shade just because it’s trendy.

Red symbolizes power, energy, and happiness. Bring some of this hue into your home color scheme to promote emotional well-being and good luck for years to come.