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Scarlett Lovitt : Putting Out the Red Carpet

Putting Out the Red Carpet

The best way to use red without overdoing it

By Scarlett Lovitt

Red CarpetWhenever we think about the Queen of England or any other visiting royal dignitary, the first thing that springs to mind is the red carpet that is rolled out in their honor. The color red denotes royalty and regality, yet it does not have to be confined to Buckingham Palace.

So how can you make your living room reflective of your royal palace? What is the best way to use red without "overdoing it," and adding a touch of class to your home?

Well, using red does not have to cost you a royal fortune either. What you need is a sense of good taste and an eye for good quality.

First of all, paint your walls a cream color. This will keep the room looking light and airy and will provide a beautiful contrast with the color red. The French windows should be decorated with long red brocade curtains, while the armchairs and sofas should be either red or burgundy. You may consider investing in a leather sofa, adding a touch of modern sophistication to the room. You do not have to change the actual sofas, however, if this would be too expensive. Putting on new covers should be enough, in which case you should try to use velour, as it looks very aristocratic and is also very soft. The cushions should be white or cream, or even black, for contrast and variety.

The centerpiece of the room should be the table. A dark wood goes the best with the aristocratic look that you are attempting to achieve. The tablecloth should be either cream or white, with a vase of red roses in the center. The main carpet of the room could be cream or white, offset by a red area rug, or alternatively you could make the contrast go the other way. Your main carpet could be red or burgundy, with a white area rug on the top. The main thing is that the carpet and the area rug should not be the same color, as this would be too red, ruining the aristocratic look that you are trying to achieve.

For paintings or wall designs, a good suggestion is a red and white screen print of some sort, maybe with a pattern involving rose petals.

The bookcases and your breakfront should ideally be made from wood. Once again, a dark wood, matching your table and chairs, carries off this aristocratic look the best.

Keep the number of ornaments in the room small. Too many can make the room look crowded. A beautiful Victorian lamp can make all the difference to the room, adding a certain class to the décor. However, this is not obligatory, and if you don't want the room to look too old-fashioned, you may prefer to use a more modern style for the lighting.

The main idea, when using reds and burgundies, is not to overload the coloring of the room. You need to know how to juggle the contrasts in order to get the most classic look. But once you have the knack of using red subtly, you can see that you don't need to be the Queen to live in your own castle. •

© 2010 Scarlett Lovitt. All rights reserved.

Scarlett Lovitt has extensive experience in home decorating and interior designing. More »