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What colors go with red for calmness?

What colors go with red for calmness?

Red is a bold, vibrant color that can evoke strong emotions. While it’s often associated with excitement, intensity, and passion, red can also promote feelings of warmth and comfort when combined with the right accent colors. Choosing colors that complement red without clashing can create a soothing, tranquil ambiance.

How Color Psychology Affects Mood

Color has a strong impact on mood and emotions. This phenomenon is known as color psychology. Red is considered a warm, energetic shade. It increases blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rates. It also stimulates appetite and excitement. While vibrant red can amp up energy, pairing it with calmer hues can soften its bold impact.

Cooler colors like blue and green tend to be more relaxing than warm shades like red. Using adjacent colors on the color wheel is a straightforward way to create harmonious color schemes. Analogous colors sit next to each other on the wheel, providing pleasing color harmony. Triadic color schemes use three equidistant colors on the wheel for visual balance.

Soothing Colors to Pair with Red

Certain shades complement the vibrant red in soothing, tranquil ways. Here are some of the top options:

  • Pink: Red and pink are analogous colors, meaning they sit side-by-side on the color wheel. The soft femininity of pink balances the punchy boldness of red. Pale pink delivers a gentle, calming contrast.
  • Purple: Red and purple complement each other beautifully as analogous colors. Darker shades of purple like eggplant can be elegant and sophisticated. Soft lavender or lilac provide a light, airy counterbalance to red’s intensity.
  • Burgundy: A dark shade of red, burgundy has a calming effect. It carries red’s warmth but with a more grounded, earthy feel. Burgundy and red have enough contrast to avoid clashing.
  • Navy blue: The bold vividness of red works well with navy’s strong, deep tones. Navy delivers stability, offsetting red’s bright energy. As a cooler color, blue inherently has a calming influence.
  • Forest green: Nature-inspired forest green complements red’s warmth. Green carries renewal and harmony. Together these two rich shades promote tranquility and wellbeing.
  • Brown: Earthy, natural brown helps ground red’s vibrant intensity. It brings stability and sophistication. Red and brown have enough contrast to look bold yet coordinated.
  • Gray: Clean, neutral gray acts as a soothing anchor for red. It lightens up red’s bold impact, making it more adaptable for relaxed environments. Gray creates an elegant sophistication.
  • Black: Classic and versatile, black becomes richer and warmer when paired with red. Black enhances red’s boldness while grounding it. This high-contrast duo offers drama and sophistication.

Calming Color Combinations with Red

Here are some examples of specific color pairings that use red in relaxing, tranquil ways:

Color Combo Mood Created
Red and pink Warm, feminine, cheerful
Bright red and pale pink Playful, joyful
Red and lavender Whimsical, peaceful
Red and light sage green Uplifting, relaxed
Red and tan Warm, welcoming
Red and chocolate brown Elegant, grounded
Red and light gray Subtle, soothing
Red and charcoal Bold, stable

Lighter tints of accent colors help brighten red, while darker shades add depth. Combining matte and glossy textures also creates visual interest.

Calming Red Paint Colors

For interior walls, certain shades of red paint can actually take on a relaxing, tranquil personality when paired with the right accent colors. Here are some top options for serene red paint colors:

  • Rose red – A pink-based red with a soft, gentle feel. Goes well with creams and grays.
  • Apple red – A bright red with yellow undertones. Pairs nicely with tans and browns.
  • Brick red – A muted, earthy red. Complements nature-inspired greens.
  • Cranberry red – A rich, elegant red. Stunning with deep grays and blacks.
  • Terra cotta – A warm, rustic red. Works well with other sun-baked earth tones.
  • Wine red – A sophisticated dark red. Complements light neutrals.
  • Barn red – A faded, timeworn red. Pairs nicely with wood tones.
  • Clay red – An earthy, grounded red. Great with tans, browns and greens.

Lighter shades like rose red will feel more relaxing in large doses. Deeper reds work best as accents. Combining red walls with white trim prevents overwhelming.

Using Red Accents in a Calm Color Palette

In addition to walls, red can make a bold statement as accent pieces in an otherwise neutral room. Here are some ideas for incorporating red into a peaceful interior design:

  • Add pillows or throws in red tones on a neutral sofa or bed.
  • Use a red area rug to inject color while keeping floors neutral.
  • Paint or stain a front door red for curb appeal.
  • Display red vases or flowers as living accents.
  • Hang red art or photography on subdued walls.
  • Add a red chair or ottoman for a pop of color.
  • Place red candles around baths and bedrooms.
  • Set a red tablecloth on a dining table or console.
  • Arrange red books on clean white bookshelves.

Red accents look beautiful against backdrops of white, beige, gray, navy and wood tones. Scatter them sparingly to keep the look cohesive.

Creating Tranquil Red Bedrooms

Red can make a gorgeous focal point in a master or guest bedroom retreat. Serene red bedrooms use soothing accent colors and plenty of neutrals. Here are some ideas for designing a red oasis:

  • Paint one wall red and keep other walls cream or light gray.
  • Choose serene red and white bedding with patterned red pillows.
  • Select a neutral rug and layered natural fiber textures.
  • Add sheer white curtains for an airy, billowy effect.
  • Incorporate warm metallics like copper or bronze for zen appeal.
  • Place a red throw at the foot of the bed.
  • Use a red pendant or accent lamp.
  • Add red vases, candles, art or accessories.
  • Display wood elements like a headboard or nightstand.
  • Finish with lush, leafy green plants.

Avoid going overboard with red in a sleep sanctuary. Neutrals will keep the space feeling grounded and peaceful.

Creating Calming Red Bathrooms

Red can also help create a relaxing oasis in the bathroom. Focus red on smaller accents against spa-like neutrals:

  • Paint walls light beige, gray, or greige.
  • Select a white, cream or gray vanity.
  • Choose fluffy white towels and rugs.
  • Add a red rug or bath mat.
  • Incorporate red towels, curtains or accessories.
  • Display red candles around the tub.
  • Use a backlit red vessel sink.
  • Add a vase of red flowers.
  • Place red dishes for soaps and accessories.
  • Finish with green leafy plants.

Red is perfect for bathrooms as it evokes feelings of warmth. Keeping it minimal prevents overstimulation.

Coordinating Red Clothing and Fashion Accessories

Red’s bold vibrancy can also be toned down in apparel and accessories. Here are tips for wearing red in tranquil ways:

  • Pair a red top with neutral basics like jeans, tan pants or a white blazer.
  • Layer a red cardigan or blazer over simple dresses or blouses.
  • Select red handbags, shoes or jewelry to accent neutral outfits.
  • Work red into prints and patterns like florals, stripes or polka dots.
  • Choose a red dress with feminine accents like lace or ruffles.
  • Add a red scarf as a pop of color over a tan coat.
  • Tie a red headband or ribbon in your hair.

Let red clothing and accessories shine against quieter shades. Adding texture through knits, leather and suede also creates depth.


While red is often considered a bold, lively color, it can take on tranquil qualities when combined thoughtfully. Soft, muted reds work especially well in promoting relaxation. Pairing red walls or accents with calming neutrals and natural textures keeps the look serene. With the right complementary colors, red can help create an oasis of cozy comfort and zen.