inspiration5 min read

3 colours that go with red

Dark red boho living room

WordsFrankie Marqueé


Simply red – the colour of passion, energy, warmth and excitement. Paint with red and it’ll ignite your interior, no question, transforming it into a stimulating space whether you’re thinking a feature wall pop or full-on ceiling to skirting scarlet. But what are the colours that complement red should you fancy mixing things up with another hue or two? Over to our colour expert Sam who has picked out her top three palette picks for those seeing red…

Understanding the colour red 

Colour theory – lets go. Red’s the longest wavelength on the spectrum making it one powerful hue indeed. It commands attention and stops you in your tracks (ergo, traffic lights), causing people to react to it not just emotionally but physically too – red raises your pulse; it literally sets hearts racing so it’s no wonder it’s linked with all things amorous. 

“Like every colour, red’s got its downsides. Pay attention to the shade and tone of your red to find out where it looks best.”

Red can feel aggressive and on the demanding side. It’s no shrinking violet, put it that way. Be careful then with it in bedrooms where pillar box red is unlikely to give off the right vibe. Instead, an earthy red (à la Red 01) will be far more of a hit as it’s dulcet rather than dramatic.

Otherwise, let red’s natural qualities loose in living spaces such as dining rooms (where it’s liveliness can stimulate conversation) or high-energy spots like the kitchen. And when it comes to living rooms, where you’re probably going to want a happy balance between cosy and laidback (for lounging out sessions) and both buzzy and welcoming (for when you’re entertaining – remember those days?), run wild with red but one that’s got softness baked in too (both Red 01 and our light terracotta paint Red 03 can take care of that for you). 

Colours that go with red: black 

Out of the colours that go with red, black is one of the very best, hands down. If you’re inspired by Japanese interior design, this colour combination is a winner, though it was a big hit in the Art Deco era too where all things powerful and evocative received applause. 

 Sam says: “Red and black have always been best friends. – they get on so effortlessly, so naturally. It’s a colour combination that fell out of favour for a while but to me, it’s a classic pairing, and everything comes back around eventually…”

“Red and black have always been best friends. – they get on so effortlessly, so naturally.”

It’s a colour combination that fell out of favour for a while but to me, it’s a classic pairing, and everything comes back around eventually…

To modernise this colour coupling, you need to think softly whether that’s on both shades or just one. So, go dusky on your red and maybe off-black on your black (Red 01 and Black 01, that’s you). Or, try a wholesome, terracotta-like red like Red 03 alongside velvety red-based Black 02.  Don’t rule a charcoal grey out either – Grey 07 works a treat with either of our red tones (discover colours that go with grey here).

Colours that go with red: gold 

Sticking with the classic theme, another of the colours that goes well with red is g-o-l-d. Erase images of gold lustre metallic paint all over your walls (unless you’re completely courageous, in which case, hats off to you), and imagine instead golden sunbeam tones, courtesy of warm Yellow 02. Be sure to throw in some brass accent pieces from candlesticks and light fixtures to brass-and-glass Deco coffee tables or cocktail trolleys. 

“Grand with luxury feels, gold in the company of red is a beautiful colour-way for dining in, elevating the experience to new levels.”

Like the notion of red and gold but want to tone down the luxe? Ochre yellows are your answer here to give rise to a scheme that’s gorgeously rich and warming (read up on our round-up of uplifting colours here) , but mightily down to earth if it’s got a heritage red for company too. Back to Yellow 02 in that case which, with either Red 01 or Red 03, will give you the most colour-rich yet grounding palette in town.