The colour red: why we need it

Why do we love red so much? Or maybe why do some of us ‘hate’ red so much? Red creates strong feelings and deep subconscious reactions. Red can represent many things in different cultures. Passion, luck, danger. I think we can all agree that red is vibrant and can have a visceral effect on the body and mind. We are drawn to the colour red for better or worse and by adding red to a space we simulate a response. I started thinking about the attraction to red after seeing photos and videos of the amazing little bower bird.

Bower Bird

These little birds spend 9 months creating the perfect home to attract a mate. They add flowers, berries and place them meticulously in different areas of the home (in the videos it is almost agonizing to watch how he arranges the flowers). This is such a great example of nature mimicking a very human habit (or vice versa). This also got me thinking about the concept of biomimicry and how it happens on spontaneous level like this – but I digress. I think there is a fundamental appeal to the colour red that it goes beyond convention and cultural upbringing. So much so that even tiny birds in New Guinea use it to decorate their nests to attract a mate. So how can we add red to our space without it being overpowering or over stimulating? And should we add red at all? Does it even make a difference what colour my toss pillows are as long as I like them – isn’t that what counts?

Colourful & Bohemian Guest Room
From House and Home magazine

Deep Living Room Colours
From House and Home magazine

I am big believer in adding a hit of red, orange or pink to any space but that is my Feng Shui talking. Plus I think sometimes from a design standpoint it can make a space pop ad bring the unexpected. I think why you should consider it is because it helps boost the yang energy of a space. You can check out my video on balancing yin and yang for more on that. I think everyone should go ahead and add a hit of red and see what happens. I think you should definitely do this if you need a little pick me up and are feeling down in the dumps. Playing with how colour makes you feel in your home is so important – even if it goes against what you ‘like’ or have always done. We often continue to do what feels comfortable in our spaces like always using white, beige and cream keeping things achromatic (you know who you are out there). Think of your home as a reflection of your own personal patterns and energy ruts, maybe it is time to go somewhere a little uncomfortable.

Professor Lin Yun say “When we open our eyes in the morning, lying in bed, we see the color of the ceiling of our bedroom. When we leave home, we see the color of our entrances, then the color of our car. As we drive, we see the colors of other commuters’ cars. In the office or school, we see other co-workers’ or classmates’ clothes, the work and study interiors. All of these have a defining color or hue, and when these colors come into contact with our eyes chi is affected, creating a physical chain reaction.” — H.H. Professor Lin Yun Living Color