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Painting the Town Red

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Red is often described as the color of love: powerful, intense and exciting. It is sophisticated and chic. Red is so iconic that on its own it has meaning. It can mean anger, danger, warning and stop. It is no mystery why it is the preferred color for sports cars, lipsticks and, yes, rooms. Red is used for drama and sexiness — and because it is synonymous with fast.

Red is a regal color, full of pomp and pageantry. From Buckingham Palace to the White House, historically, the "Red Rooms" are used for important receptions and other formal occasions because of the color's richness and warmth. In the U.S., red is a cheerful color that is as wholesome as an apple, which has a certain homey connotation. In China, it is the color that symbolizes prosperity and happiness. In feng shui, the color red carries the energy of fire, which can be creative and destructive. In India, red is reserved for marriages.

Some say red is passe, but history shows us otherwise. Decade after decade, the vision of talented new decorators shows that red is classic. Red continually reinvents itself and brings surprising aesthetic pleasures. Red can be paired with almost any color for a striking color palette. It is not for the faint of heart. Strong personalities typically consider red a neutral color. In many ways, this is true.

Celebrities across the board have embraced the rage for rouge. Legendary 1960s Vogue editor Diana Vreeland's apartment was an all-red combination that matched her luscious red lipstick.

News personality Barbara Walters' library is a red shrine right down to a custom-made red leather Eames lounge chair and ottoman, and pop star Christina Aguilera's dressing room and closet is a rhapsody of pink and red that she calls the "Red Lips Room."

Red is a fashion statement and can be seen in almost every season in some form on the catwalks. Red has defined the careers of haute couture designers such as Valentino and Christian Louboutin. And the grand entrances to most galas and star-studded affairs are paved with red carpet.

Red can be used in many ways for interiors: as an accent wall in a room, on a door to accentuate its importance, on walls in a matte or gloss finish, or for a wall-to-wall carpet. Selecting a specific red for walls can be a challenge, as the quality of light can affect the appearance of the color. I suggest trying a small swatch of several shades on your walls. Reds, in general, work best in rooms that are dark or have little or controlled natural light.

Traditionally, red has been the go-to color for restaurants and bars to create instant mood. The color red evokes many emotions and has been a favorite for libraries and dining rooms throughout history. For those who are bold and love the unexpected, try painting your bedroom red. Go ahead. I dare you. After all, it is the color of desire.

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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