Red is having a moment. Last year the stylish hue was spotted sneaking onto socks, hanging out on handbags and creeping onto crewnecks, and so it was only a matter of time before the fashionable colourway took centre stage in our homes too. In 2024, it is trending in interiors circles thanks to a design concept coined the ‘Unexpected Red Theory’. So named by Interior Designer Taylor Migliazzo Simon, whose hypothesis gained popularity on the social media app TikTok, the theory states that a simple pop of red will instantly improve a room, regardless of the rest of the aesthetic. It riffs on the long-held notion that red is an attention-grabbing colour, drawing the eye with its intense and vivacious shades – it’s not for nothing that this hue is often seen as a warning sign in the natural world, thanks to its ability to stand out from the crowd. When it comes to interiors, the theory suggests that red is effectively the new neutral, working with almost any palette. The look can be achieved with something as simple as a lampshade or as commanding as a rug – as long as it’s red, it works. Here are our favourite ways to bring the hue into your space.

A red graphic print is hung on a blue wall, above a wooden console table.
A floor lamp with a red lampshade sits in front of a green striped armchair, decorated with a red cushion.

Dip a Toe with Red Accents

We’re advocates for always ensuring your home feels timeless, so when it comes to colour trends, the best way to tap into a bold new hue is to seek it out in the form of an accessory. A cushion cover, for example, is a simple way to trial a style in your space, and can be easily tried and tested in different rooms. Perhaps you can use an embroidered design to add texture to an existing arrangement, or look for a plush velvet style to create a textural contrast with a linen armchair? Red accents needn’t be resigned to soft furnishings; a simple decorative pot will lift a console table display, while a red tray is a practical piece that will marry both function and form. To ensure your look remains balanced, pair these stronger hues with softer shades and graphic patterns, such as stripes and geometric prints – these more dramatic motifs will help to temper the vibrancy of your red designs.

Look Up or Down

The ‘unexpected’ element of this style is key, so look beyond eye level for opportunities to embrace the trend in surprising and playful ways. You could take the look to new heights by decorating pendant lights with red pleated lampshades, or paint your ceilings in scarlet hues. To ground the space instead, look to statement rugs where red is the dominant colour, or seek upholstered furniture with a tasselled trim for a fun and charming twist.

A collage of four images showing red accents: candle holders, a floor cushion, a cushion and a lampshade.
A red vase and red cushion add a contrast to a green-walled room, with a green armchair.

Energise a Neutral Space

In rooms where neutral tones reign supreme, an injection of colour can give the space a welcome lift. Red accents against a backdrop of paler tones make for a really energising contrast – to ensure the look still feels cohesive, try to repeat your chosen hue at least once, or seek additional colours that have undertones of red within them, such as terracotta or pink. Natural textures, such as rattan and wood, are also great for preventing the colour clash from feeling too stark, as they echo the warmth of red and help to build a unified and inviting look.

Add Red to Your Walls

There’s no easier way to introduce colour into your home than through artwork. A statement canvas, gallery wall or simple framed print can work wonders on a space, bringing in fresh palettes and motifs. If you’re hesitant about this vibrant hue, an artwork that features subtle pops of red is a simple way to tap into the look, without it dominating the entire space. For those keen to embrace the colourway in full force, we’d recommend seeking a red frame to make an even bigger statement – either to decorate an existing artwork, a new piece, or even a mirror to truly allow that cherry red hue to sing. 

A velvet chair and lamp add pops of red to a neutral-coloured room.
A pleated lampshade adds a pop of red to a sitting room corner, where a palm-print armchair sits.

Make the Shade the Star of the Show

If you’re sold on the trend and want to embrace it in full force, there’s no reason your ‘pop’ of red needs to be small to be effective. Why not make your chosen hue the focal feature of your sitting room with a sofa in red upholstery, bring energy to a neutral dining space with red chairs, or add a red upholstered seat to the corner of a bedroom? The theory states that anything goes, so simply find your favourite design and run with it – the more surprising, the better.