October 5, 2022

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Would You Try This Unexpected Color Combo In Your Home? (+ How These 28 Rooms Got It Right)

BUCKLE UP, Y’ALL. It’s (almost) Christmas in July. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite no-fail color combinations – yeah, seriously – and making an impassioned case for the mixing and matching of (you may have guessed it by now) RED AND GREEN. That’s right, gang – you can (or maybe even should?) be employing this fresh, warm, cozy color combination in your home. I’ve compiled a few of my all-time favorite examples of Christmas colors done right (as in “livable,” “will be enjoyable for a long time,” and “will not make you feel like you’re living inside a Santa set up at the mall”) and I’m SO excited to share. From farmhouse to full glam, from English countryside to 90s revival, from quick DIYs that’ll add a little personality to your home to full-blown red and green kitchens (two of them, actually!) – there’s something for everyone here. I’m going to ease you in with my favorite trick – just adding a pop of red or green to an existing space – but by the end, we’ll be going ALL OUT. ARE YOU READY? (Can you tell I’m ready? Can you also tell I drank a lot of caffeine before writing this introduction? Like, HEY, HAPPY TUESDAY! Let’s look at some inspiration, friends!)

Add A Little Pop

We’re easing our way into it with some nice, desaturated tones. There’s something inherently comforting and home-y about this palette, right? Brick reds, olives, and sea-foam greens – it’s a nice mix of sturdy and soothing. I love a red stripe or plaid paired with a tiny hit of green – if you’re looking to add some color without adding a ton of fuss, this is a really livable option.

via sight unseen

Turning the saturation up a little (or, uh, a lot) here with this next space! OBSESSED with the super punchy Bočan chair against a sea of green furnishings (here’s the rug), warm woods, and ornate detailing. Red is such a powerful accent color (remember when Em added that balloon chair to her old living room?) – adding a single piece in a contrasting color is an awesome way to make a high-impact design statement without splurging on a ton of stuff. (And if you wanna learn more about these chairs…well, baby, I GOT YA.)

Two sets of stripes, two VERY different looks. I love the room on the left – who knew that olive, kelly green, and coral could all live so happily together? There are a lot of traditional elements (the stripe, the piping, the tufted headboard, and embroidered shams), but the unexpected color palette leaves it all feeling fresh and youthful. On the right, those terra-cotta cushions speak to the rich wood credenza. The rattan definitely warms up the space, too – no one’s thinking “winter” or “Christmas” when they see a giant peacock chair.

design by marie-anne oudejans | photo by francois halard | via architectural digest

CAN I VISIT? The hand-painted mural is to die for, but first: this is the kind of magazine-worthy styling that I love, y’all. Like, yeah, just chilling in my ::checks notes:: extremely red kitchen with my ::checks notes:: pile of apples and ::checks notes:: tray filled with rose petals. You know. LIKE WE ALL DO. Photos like this are the reason I still subscribe to magazines – it’s SO FUN to see things that are so inspiring and escapist. Second: let this live as proof that candy apple red and kelly green can, in fact, live in harmony.

No-fail design hack: add a bright red pendant. It’s the simplest finishing touch – and it’s pretty easy to install if you have some DIY chops! – but it makes ALL the difference, don’t you think? It really brings the quiet, muted palette on the left to life while bringing a really nice balance to the bold, more saturated palette on the right.

design by bridie hall | photo by paul massey | via house & garden

My first thought when I saw this home: “the person who lives here is fun and vibrant and welcoming!” One thought noticeably absent from my brain: “red and green are usually billed as the be-all and end-all of Christmas colors!” That’s due in large part to the other primary colors featured here, which brings me to my next favorite tip for making this palette work in your home…

Sprinkle In Some Blue Or Yellow

design by sarah vaile

The mix-and-match here is SO good – I looooove these ornate, lacquered Chinoiserie chairs paired with such graphic, colorful, modern art. (The walls are great, too. Obsessed with this paint job – the variation in finishes just gives it a little something extra, right? It feels extra special and thoughtful and considered.)

Who knew that such bold, bright colors could feel so grown up? In the room on the left, we have no lack of pattern – the pillows! The blankets! The rug! The wallpaper! The curtains! The art! – but it all feels balanced by the sweet, playful mix of red, green, yellow, and blue. The room on the left is the opposite – not a pattern in sight! – but again, the hard lines are softened by the fun and vibrant soft surfaces.

design by luke edward hall | via vogue

Weekly reminder: PRETTY LOOKS GOOD NEXT TO PRETTY. The blue art, the yellow frame; the yellow lamp with green accents; the chalkboard-colored walls and vibrant upholstery (those tigers are lined in green, too!)…it’s all such a masterclass in building an eclectic, cohesive space. If you wanna take it to the next level, though, there are a few options…

Go Permanent With Built-In Fixtures And Finishes

WOAH. Tone-wise, these are VERY different. Commitment-wise, though, these are VERY much the same – these two homeowners will be working in these red and green wonderlands for a WHILE. I’m obsessed with the cabinets on the left – the profile, color, and finish are all ::chef’s kiss:: – and I also love that hit of yellow. The kitchen on the right is a “modern-day interpretation of when the 90s referenced the 70s” but I love thinking of it as a 2022 take on a 90s sitcom kitchen. You know, like…it’s livable and relatable, but the color palette is turned up to the MAX. (And those cabinet pulls? So good.)

design by rp miller

DREAMY OFFICE SETUP. (I mean, that coffee table under the desk and the plant light fixture? ARE YOU JOKING? Like, yes, I would love to work from here, thank you!!!) This artichoke shade on the built-in bookshelves makes for a great, neutral background – committing to color on permanent fixtures really allows the other decor pieces (like say, the red curtains) in the room shine, don’t you think?

GO BIG OR GO HOME. That red seating on the left makes such a statement – it wouldn’t have been my first instinct (probably why I’m a partnerships person and occasional blog post writer and not, you know, a professional interior designer in a magazine) but MAN, I don’t think anything else would have had as much of an impact. It’s luxe, isn’t it? And the entire apartment on the right is worth a tour – the ENTIRE HOME is decked in shades of red and green and it’s UNBELIEVABLE.

design by studiowta | via dezeen

Last but not least – everything kinda goes with those sweet and timeless red clay tiles, right? I’m especially taken by how thoughtful the placement is – that diamond motif combined with the timeless stripe leaves the tile on the floor and the tile in the shower feeling SUPER cohesive, despite the difference in finish and color. That actually brings us to our next tip (my personal favorite – you ready to see some INCREDIBLE spaces?)…

Layer In Lots of Pattern

I mean, like, would I really write a post without including a bunch of photos of wallpapered spaces? I THINK NOT. I’ve long been taken by the bathroom on the left – I once pitched a post exclusively about that mirror after seeing it in so many rooms! – but the room on the right is a new favorite of mine. Do you see how the paint color in both (the trim on the left; the mantle on the right) is SUPER similar, but how the surrounding elements totally change the feel of the color? It’s incredible how much personality we can bring into our homes while working under the same constraints, you know? I’M GETTIN’ EMOTIONAL, GUYS.

design by lulu lytle | via sheerluxe

I love someone who just GOES FOR IT. There’s something so unapologetic and personal and special about this room, don’t you think? The striped rug on top of the carpet; the painted rattan console (right next to an end table and a bookshelf – who else woulda thought to put another surface in there? It’s brilliant!); the frames of the gallery wall…it all just sings. Weirdly, I don’t think any other color console would have felt nearly as cohesive – it’s just really special and intentional.

SPOILER: I LOVE THIS HOUSE. The whole place is done in variations of this restrained palette and it’s IMPRESSIVE. The printed headboard against those green walls and the green door into the patterned bathroom…swoooooon. Highly recommend checking out the full tour as it’s SUCH great inspiration for those looking to keep each room feeling connected but still different.

design by georgie pearman | via interior designer magazine

LET’S ALL GO ON A TRIP. (Because this is a hotel, in case the crisp bedding and beautiful symmetry didn’t tip you off.) That striped headboard? Those terra cotta-colored lamps (are those shades leather?!)? The sweet red fringe on the pillows? That WALLPAPER? ADD IT ALL TO CART. (Most interesting, though: did you clock all the light sources here? We’ve got picks for DAYS.) This is the perfect mix of playful AND restful, which is such a hard balance to strike.

Opt For Full Glam

When in doubt, GO ALL OUT. (If that’s not an idiom yet, it ABSOLUTELY should be.) I wanted to show you two super classic examples of red and green first – that’s the entrance of the Beverly Hills Hotel on the left and a suite at the Greenbrier on the right (if you’re not familiar with the latter, it’s worth learning about – such SICK design history!). Before it was a ~Christmas~ commodity, red and green were SUPER CHIC. Lemme show you how to translate this super glam look for your everyday life…

design by beatriz silveira

WELL. For someone’s everyday life, at least. First: look at the modern shape of that mantle juxtaposed with that classic commode. INCREDIBLE. Second: while every piece here is incredible in its own rite, it’s the mix of upholstered pieces that take this room into the freakin’ stratosphere. A room with black chairs would have been beautiful, but a room with these deep salmon-colored chairs is SHOWSTOPPING. The tension is what brings it to the next level, you know?

But hey – maybe you WANT more classic, full-glam maximalism…and in that case, THIS IS FOR YOU. Can you believe the impact that these full-scale pieces (the chandelier; the art) make in such a tiny space? And the sconce above the bar – it’s all so thoughtful. I DIE. I don’t think I have the willpower to stick to such a tight palette (believe me, I’m trying – it’s hard!) but the impact is unmatched. Like, how can we continue to shove this color pairing in the “Christmas” barrel when beautiful spaces like this exist?

This is where I leave you for now – WHAT SAY YOU??? Yay/nay on the red and green? (It’s okay if it’s not for you – I know that color isn’t everyone’s jam.) Anyone inspired to add a pop of color? Anyone realize that they’re already rockin’ this color palette in their own home? (I’ve realized that there’s lots of deep reds and olives in my childhood home – probably why I’m so drawn to it, I think.) LET’S CHAT, OK? xx

Opening Image Credits: Design by Salvesen Graham | Photo by Simon Brown | via Architectural Digest

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