The unexpected red theory explored

Written by Sarah Stripe


Posted on February 14 2024

Have you heard of the unexpected red theory?  Doing the rounds on the socials, it started on TikTok with Brooklyn based interior designer Taylor Simon, known for her eclectic style, explaining that the unexpected red theory is basically adding anything that's red, big or small, to a room where it seemingly doesn't match. It's like a colour pop but less contrived. 

According to Taylor, once that red piece has been added to your room, it automatically looks better. It can be as simple as a red lamp or soft furnishing, a scarlet painted window trim or doorframe, or a completely random brick red cupboard that stands boldly in your otherwise neutral kitchen. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sold.

(Image credit: Left: Charlotte Gaisford, Top right: Studio Atkinson, Bottom right: Alexroz)


Look around your home, where could be improved with a splash of red? What would you add?  Would it be an accent cushion or throw or go bold with a red trim or paint something you already have?  

For paint, Zoffany Venetian Red is one of our favourites with a warm deep tone and for something brighter, Strawberry Thief from Morris & Co is a chalky matt emulsion with a finish that lends itself well to a spot of DIY upcycling - a tester pot can brighten a candlestick, lamp base or even some stones from the garden painted and grouped together; the unexpected red can really be unexpected!

If you prefer a more ruby tone, Bengal Red from Sanderson is a deep dramatic red with a touch of black, it's an earthy, expressive shade that imparts an air of extravagance and luxury. 

Red is an uplifting colour, vibrant, bold and strong; it can range from the lighter pink tones to the deeper muddier siennas which add warmth.  Are you sold on a red accent?