August's Room Decorating

20 Inspiring Red Rooms

August is super into three things right now. Legos, sea creatures like sharks and rays, and the color red. I was in the middle of fixing his room up (bedding, a new desk) when we had to stop work and let electricians take over the second floor. His bedroom has been rewired now, leaving behind a bunch of holes in the wall and ceiling along with a temp light hanging from wires, so once I fix the damage we’ll be ready to continue on.

August has liked red for a while now. When we were choosing his desk, he wanted red. When I painted a clock for Eleanor, he asked for one like it too, but all in red. I picked up a couple of red table lamps for him (the lighting situation is bad with that bare bulb in the ceiling), and he was pretty happy with the color I chose. So any guesses as to what color he wants his walls to be? Yep.

He just turned five. I let Eleanor choose her wall color when she was about the same age, and she went for a bold dark blue that she still loves. I would hope that the same will be true for the color August picks, but red? That’s not the easiest wall color for a bedroom.

Pottery Barn, Red Walls, Living Room
Source: Pottery Barn (old catalog image)

The room above has always been a favorite of mine, so I went off in search of other red room inspiration. I’m going to show these to August to make sure this is the look he wants because he’s doing the same thing that E did, down to requesting matching toys all in the same hue. I think he’s pretty sure and I’ll make it work for him if he is, but oof.

On the Walls

It works in a traditional study with large antique portraits. Somehow I don’t think a life-sized wall decal of Boba Fett would have the same effect in a kids’ room.

Red Library Study by John Charles
Source: John Charles

And red as a backdrop to symmetrical groupings of framed art? I can get behind that.

Red Rooms With Symmetrical Gallery Walls
Sources: Our Fifth House, Pottery Barn

In a Home Library

Red is amazing on built-in bookshelves, especially in lacquer. So glossy. So lovely.

Ruthie Sommers' Red Library with Built-in Lacquered Bookshelves

Red Lacquer Library by Ruthie Sommers

Glossy Red Lacquer Painted Library Bookshelves

Gil Schafer Library in Red
Sources: Ruthie Sommers, Ruthie Sommers in Town & Country, Steven Gambrel, Blaine Johnson of JP Interiors in Chicago Home & Garden, Gil Schafer in Architectural Digest

As a Pattern

Broken up as a wallpaper or fabric pattern, the color isn’t overbearing. (Of course I’m a little hesitant to wallpaper my kids’ rooms after the great wallpaper peeling incident of 2013.)

Red Wallpaper Rooms

Red Patterned Curtains and Upholstered Red Bed in a Bedroom

Scalamandre Zebras and Beastie Boys' Mike Diamond's Brooklyn Toile Wallpaper
Sources: Hygge & West, Mel Yates, Veranda, Elle Decor, Mike Diamond’s (Beastie Boys) Home


And then there’s red incorporated in the way I was hoping August would be happy with. Furniture. Bedding. Accents. Not all over the walls. (Please?)

Red Painted Colonial Cannonball Wooden Bed

Black Wooden Beds with Red Bedding

Red Painted Vintage Wooden Kids Twin Beds

Sources: Martha Stewart, Country Living, Martha Stewart, Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, Sarah Richardson in Country Living

Nursery/Bedroom Built-ins

If August was in Calvin’s room, I’d paint the built-ins red and call it a day. Kind of like nursery inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel in the Lake Forest Showhouse that I visited last year.

Nursery by Steve and Filip Design, Inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel, Photo by Wittefini Photography
Source: Steve and Filip Design

We’re going to look at all of these, and hopefully it will help me suss out how to finish decorating my little guy’s room. He has some strong opinions and I want him to be happy with his room. But… red! It’s a lot of look.

Grand Budapest Hotel
Source: Still from The Grand Budapest Hotel

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  • Suzanne
    February 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Aw, give that kid “a life-sized wall decal of Boba Fett,” and he’ll be overjoyed about it! But if not that, then I vote for something like this ( and the symmetrical art display. Can’t wait to see what he picks!

    • Making it Lovely
      February 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      Oh, yes. We already have it waiting to go up once the walls have been painted!

  • Mimi
    February 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    how about installing a chair railing? White on top, red on bottom

  • Antonia
    February 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Maybe just one accent wall, in a nice vivid orangey-red, and bright white walls everywhere else? Then you just have to repaint one wall when his favorite color changes to green. :)

  • Laurie
    February 25, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Gosh, I wouldn’t have thought I was a red room kinda gal but I loved ALL of the rooms you shared! Maybe I need to rethink this…

    I think the Boba Fett would be EVEN better than an ancestral portrait. And he certainly is a good color palette for a red.

    Too bad he isn’t into space stuff yet. JPL just released the most fantastic posters that you could print up at FedEx/Kinko’s.

    I wish I had a room to redecorate with these!

  • Feisty Harriet
    February 25, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Red is my color, I feel like no room is complete until there is a little red somewhere. Much like you and pink, actually. :)


  • Jessica
    February 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I always thought wallpaper on the ceiling of a kids room was a sweet idea. So he can look at it while he’s laying in bed or playing. That might also help with the expense and satisfy his love for red without making it feel like his bedroom is Victorian London men’s club. Good luck! I love how involved you get kids with design choices.

  • Emily
    February 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I love red so I can support his vision :-) What about a simple painted pattern vs. wall paper- maybe large horizontal ruby style stripes on a wall? I think that’d be a fun backdrop to play with patterns on.

  • Megan C.
    February 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Maybe red and white stripes? It could be a little circus-y, a little vintage-y:

  • duh
    February 25, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Don’t forget Diana Vreeland’s apartment!

  • Mary
    February 25, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Twenty years ago I painted my kitchen red. It took 6 coats! I would advice anyone considering to paint a room red to think long & hard about it.
    I think a white room with lots of red accents would be the way to go. A favorite color doesn’t have to go on the walls to enjoy it.

  • Marie
    February 26, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Being surrounded by red is supposed to speed your heart rate, which may make it more difficult to fall asleep.
    Something to think about.
    It is also the reason that many English dining rooms were traditionally painted red: to keep the conversation lively (ie. Farrow & Ball’s Eating Room Red).
    Rare is the doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room painted red.
    But the heart wants what the heart wants. Especially at 5!
    Best of luck.

    • Cynthia
      March 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      Marie, I’ve also read that to a child, red is warm and welcoming. It may be why many school houses were traditionally painted red! As for our fine author, Nicole, kudos to you for allowing your children such freedom. Good way to get them interested and involved in design and aesthetics from the get-go! I remember my 6th grade son wanting an ombre blue room WAY before the word ombre was used. I couldn’t wait to paint that room vanilla after he left for college. My eyes just needed a calming break.

  • Kristin
    February 26, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I’d add the red Jenny Lind bed from Land of Nod on your red list – we love ours. (I’m not sure why it’s called raspberry, which makes me think of a pinkier red, but it’s a really nice red color.) My daughter LOVES red, and I think we’ve got a lot of it in her room, without the whole thing feeling overwhelming. We just updated her rug with a striped Flor rug with lots of red, and I love how it turned out.

  • Heather
    February 26, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    I really just love that you’ve allowed your kids to choose the colors they want for their rooms. I wasn’t allowed to make a paint choice decision until I was in my late teenage years and even then my mom wasn’t too keen on the idea. ;)

  • Heather Peterson
    February 26, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I had a red bedroom once, as an adult. I loved it! We had a lightish rug, tortoise bamboo blinds, and ivory trim and bedding, and honestly, it was pretty. I only have a single polaroid, but it is on the blog:

  • Kate
    February 29, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Have you considered a stencil in lieu of wallpaper since you’re worried about peeling? I had the same concern for a small sitting nook area in my kitchen and actually loved the same otomi wallpaper you posted. I ended up buying this stencil and doing white on red:

    Let me tell you, it took time and was not easy and that was just for a small accent area. But it looks awesome and I get compliments on it all the time!

  • doodletllc
    February 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    I tried one red in the dining room and it lasted less than a month and it was horrid to cover over. Your examples of red rooms are all fabulous – I loved every one, especially the staircase in red, black and white. The red furniture against white walls is very Scandinavian/Clean/Fresh/Bright…that was great too. Good Luck. I didn’t think your daughter’s room in dark, dark blue would work but it’s wonderful. I have faith you’ll get it just right!

  • Rachel
    March 1, 2016 at 10:26 am

    HAAAAA – love that last shot from the Grand Budapest Hotel. I literally laughed out loud in a coffee shop.

  • Tara Jane
    March 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    A true red paint has horrible coverage in my experience (not enough pigment to really cover). That said, i painted our library and a set of drawers red and I loved them (after multiple coats). The realtor and appraisers that sold our house said the red room had too much personality. Exactly my point! Hruph.

  • Mike
    March 2, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I agree with everyone regarding it being difficult to paint anything red… I’ve had similar experiences.

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