Color tip of the day: Red is not scary

Marimekko Unikko fabric, $42-
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Thu, Oct 6, 2011 2:45 PM EDT
When my husband and I first moved into our Brooklyn apartment five years ago, one of the first things we did was paint one of the walls of our bedroom red. This was no easy task. First, from a labor standpoint, red is one of the more saturated pigments and it requires a ton of painting to get just right. But beyond this, it can be a very controversial color. For some people it's emotionally charged and associated with everything from war and power to wrath and blood-not something you'd necessarily want in your home. A few of my more design-y friends questioned our red-wall choice: "It's going to be so angry!" offered one. Even my husband wasn't so sure, fearing it would be too "loud."

Thing is, I've always thought of red (the right, bright, warm red) as bold and fiery in a good way. It's a color that, for me, brings to mind passion, intense happiness, and ultimately deep and abiding love. So, many paint samples and even more paint coats later, we had one very lively poppy-hued wall. I love it every time I look at it. My husband, doubter though he was, does too.

Since then, I've added red accents throughout our home with almost wild abandon. Red pillows, red teapots, a red-edged mirror-they all seem to brighten up my rooms in a clean, modern way. So, in honor of these successful, hard-earned design decisions and also the fact that we're now in red-splashed February and about to celebrate Valentine's Day, we like to take a minute to praise all things about this lovely, lively hue.

Check out our slideshow below for a few unexpected ideas, including the chair and curtain fabric from the gorgeous, playful children's room above.