Red may feel like a bold color choice in your kitchen—especially when all-white styles are popular in many designs. But rather than saving your statement colors for the rest of your home, blend function and fashion together by adding pops of character to your favorite cooking space.
If you're on the fence about incorporating this vibrant hue in your design, there are plenty of ways to add stunning red accents without completely committing. Whether you opt for a modern red rug, upgrade your backsplash, style vintage-inspired red seating, or even paint your cabinetry, this classic color can make a major impact in your home. We asked expert designer Danielle Nagel to share her best tips for decorating with red.
Meet the Expert
Danielle Nagel is the creative expert behind Dazey Den. Along with her eye-catching interiors styled with vibrant colors and textiles, Nagel is also a successful fashion and apparel graphic designer.
Below, read on to learn the expert's advice on how to decorate kitchens with red accents to showcase the color in your space.
Choose the Right Shade For Your Decorating Style
- Modern: Opt for a true cherry red in modern homes to style pops of color that stand out against sleek lines and open spaces.
- Traditional: Darker shades of red are a great complement to traditional décor, like rich mahogany and wine-inspired hues.
- Minimalism: Minimalist spaces can be a blank canvas for accent colors. Choose brighter reds to contrast white rooms, or add depth to your space with purple undertones in colors like currant red.
- Maximalism: Light and dark shades alike can bring color to a maximalist home, but we're fans of vibrant red tones like scarlet and crimson to create focal points.
- Eclectic: Style a stunning display of monochromatic red hues around your space for visual interest and balance in eclectic rooms.
Go Bold With Backsplash
"Sometimes pops of color are a great trick," says Nagel. "Let red be the focal point, and tie it into a few parts of the room." Backsplash is the perfect place to make a statement: Choose an option like red subway tile to keep your kitchen feeling sleek.
Continue the red accents in your dining area to echo the accent colors in open living spaces. "I try to make sure the color pops are evenly distributed around the room so the eye isn’t too focused on one thing. The rest of the room can serve as a more neutral backdrop top those bold pops of red!"
Opt for a glossy finish on your tile backsplash to reflect light from your windows and brighten up darker colors.
Add Eye-Catching Barstools
In open-concept rooms, barstools are on full display—and it's worth it to invest in a statement-making set. Mix and match barstools from the same red color family, or opt for matching designs with a style you love. This simple way to add red accents creates a significant impact that isn't built-in (and can easily be swapped out).
Opt for Earthy Hues
For a hint of red that doesn't overtake your space, stick to earthy tones. To liven up your kitchen without a renovation, rugs are a great way to design with colors in a risk-free way. We love the muted hues in this traditional rug that bring fresh personality to a bright, modern kitchen.
Embrace the Dark
Red can make an impact on cabinetry, especially with darker shades like deep ruby or rich burgundy. For a clean overall look, paint your lower cabinets red to keep the statement below eye level. Dark reds are a great hue for two-toned cabinets that make your kitchen look grounded.
Take It to the Tile
If you're a fan of all-white kitchens, focusing on the floor is a great way to warm up your design with red. Choose a shade that complements white walls and cabinetry while disguising dirt on the floor.
"I personally use more muted reds in my spaces—terracottas or hints of orange," says Nagel. "Just be sure to test paint swatches; the slightest difference in tone can change the whole room!" These shades are bright enough to make a statement, but thanks to brown undertones, they're easy to blend with other hues.
Offset Multiple Accents
Style a cohesive space by offsetting multiple red accents. Rather than opting for rugs of the same pattern, focus on the color: In this open kitchen, vintage cherry red hues are carried from room to room with similar rugs that feature slightly different palettes and prints (think siblings, not twins).
Red tends to be a vibrant color, but some varieties are surprisingly subdued. Look for shades like burgundy or brick: While these colors aren’t neutrals, their earthy hues blend effortlessly with clean, bright décor, which makes them incredibly versatile to style in any space.
Make a Vibrant Statement
Accent pieces are common in living areas, but many kitchens focus more on practicality. Those less necessary pieces, however, can be the most striking. If you have the space for a chair, table, or floor lamp, consider adding it to the mix. It's a simple way to echo bold barstools or complement décor on your countertops.
Install Bright Appliances
Some appliances are available in colorful varieties. Whether you opt for a fire engine red oven or a ruby red refrigerator, even your most functional pieces can be the center of your kitchen's style. While these colors may seem intimidating to decorate with, they can be incredibly stylish in small doses.
Bright appliances can work in sleek, minimalist spaces and colorful kitchens alike: Just be sure to choose a red shade with undertones that complement your other décor.
Try Small Pops of Color
Red is a popular color for buttons, knobs, and other appliance accents, and you can bring it out with thoughtfully placed décor like a printed rug. To keep your space harmonious, choose reds that fall within the same family.
"Lean into the warm tones," says Nagel. "Red can be an intense color, so I would use softer colors to counter it. Muted Salmon and pink would be great since they are in the same family and can douce the fiery red a bit."
Mix and Match Colors
Once you’ve invested in red fixtures, add in other hues to complete your design. A burgundy rug may work surprisingly well with mint cabinetry or a jade green backsplash. The key is to keep your colors relatively subtle, staying away from bright hues like lime green.
Transform Your Cabinets
Style an accent wall by painting your cabinetry, then blend lighter shades into your space. "Sometimes with paint, I’ll find the color I’m working with, then match it to the exact tint—but a few shades lighter or darker," says Nagel. "That way, they look cohesive but are different enough to stand on their own."
When styling red on your cabinetry and décor rather than wall paint, the designer notes that similar colors create a softer blend. "[Use] shades of pink to mellow out that bright red! Whites can be too contrasting and look stark next to a red."
Opt for Dark Patterns
Rugs are a great way to add color to any space, especially when they echo the décor you already have on hand. Look for a print that matches your utensils, cabinetry, and even light fixtures. These little details can make a bold red rug feel harmonious rather than isolated.
Try a Contrasting Design
Shopping for appliances can be a practical matter, but a colorful oven and matching hood can take your kitchen to the next level—especially when it's paired with contrasting colors. Once you've settled on an appliance, choose wall and cabinet paint colors that stand out like these vibrant blues.
After you’ve added a red rug to your space, pair it with another bold accent for a maximalist design. Choose a backsplash that brings out the shapes in your rug's print. A single similarity can balance these elements even if their palettes are totally different.
Turn Practical Pieces Into Statement-Makers
When you’re bringing a practical piece into your space, consider whether it can double as a statement-making accent. Need a ladder to reach your highest shelves? Opt for red to serve as a pop of color. The same goes for pots, cookbooks, coffeemakers, and more.
Style a Subtle Accent
If you're going for earthy tones, a muted rug can still make a big impact. Make your space feel softer with a washed-out red, or try a darker shade for an eclectic look. We love the mix of mid-century modern cabinetry and vintage décor that ties this kitchen together.
Go All-Out With Texture
Remember that color isn’t the only design element you can play with: Texture can be just as important, whether it's visual, tactile, or both. Pair a printed red rug with a geometrically tiled floor, then mix in other accents like marble backsplash or natural wood counters.
Incorporate Fresh Flowers
A bouquet of fresh flowers can be the cherry on top of your design. If you're craving a pop of color that's easy to switch out, style a set of fresh roses or opt for darker flowers that bring out an earthier feel. Blend a variety of red shades into a single bouquet for a monochromatic look.