Red always makes a statement. The bold hue has a psychological effect on us and is sure to make an impression. That being the case, is red a good choice for kitchen cabinets? What do red cabinets do to a kitchen, and how can you work them into a design scheme? Should you want to? We discuss the answer to these questions and more in the article below.
The Science of Red
What is it about red? It can send a bull into a mad rage or cause drivers to slam on their brakes. It snags the attention, stimulates the appetite, and evokes ideas of love, life, luck, power, and passion across the world, but why? Why does red resonate in the deepest parts of our brains?
Research indicates that red speaks to our very core of foods that are delicious and rich in nutrients. Blue, on the other hand, red’s tonal opposite, naturally occurs in mold growth and other unappealing substances. Without us even realizing it, red raises the blood pressure and increases the appetite. Marketing executives understand this, which is why so many restaurants include red paint and furniture in their design schemes.
There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to capitalize on the same scientific principles. If you want your kitchen to feel like the perfect place to munch, red cabinets can inspire that feeling. We only caution that you use the hue wisely. Red is a powerful color, so you must use discretion so it doesn’t overwhelm your space.
Finding the Right Shade for Your Cabinets
Red is naturally an attention-grabbing color, but you want to make sure you grab people’s attention in a positive way. The shade of red you choose for your cabinets should mirror the rest of your space and be mixed correctly so you don’t end up with a hue that is too orange or blue. Here are a few suggestions of successful shades for red cabinets.
Feeling Solid with Modest Brick Tones
A traditional brick red is a safe and subtle start to introducing red in your kitchen. Brick red creates the impression of warmth and coziness that is perfect for kitchens in a farmhouse or rustic style. Brick red cabinets look good with natural and warm woods and hardware with warm undertones. For something a little deeper, maroon is also a good choice.
Fun with Fruity Hues
Adding just a touch more blue to the paint achieves reds reminiscent of some of the sweetest things in life. Fruit comes in many shades, from currant to plum to pomegranate. Here is where you find the rich hues of cabernet and the grounded shades of burgundy. These natural tones are sophisticated without being loud.
The advantage to choosing cabinets in fruity reds is that some woods come naturally in those tones. Cherry, which admittedly leans a little more toward brick hues, is a great cabinet wood. If you prefer the appearance of paint, there are hundreds of choices available.
If you want your red cabinets to make a statement and not pull any punches, scarlet is the key. These lipstick hues don’t have any traces of orange, brown, or blue and are as unadulteratedly red as you will find. Scarlet cabinets work really well in modern kitchens with clean lines and a lot of white. We recommend chrome or silver hardware to accentuate the effect.
How to Use Red Cabinets in Your Space
As you decide how to use red cabinets in your kitchen, the key is to make them your own. Have fun with the process and feel free to try a few things that might not work. If you are worried about the lighting in your space, consider painting your cabinets with a semi- or high-gloss finish. These will hold up well against frequent use and reflect light back into the room without too much absorption.
Pair with Neutrals
If you really want your cabinets to stand out or if you are worried about the room feeling cluttered, we recommend keeping the rest of your color scheme simple. Neutrals like beiges, grays, and whites work well with any shade of red you may choose to paint your cabinets.
The Center of Attention
The best way to highlight your red cabinets may be to set them apart. You don’t have to make all your cabinets red. We love a two-tone paint job. If you have a kitchen island, consider making those cabinets red while painting the others in a more subtle or neutral tone. You can accent the effect with little pops of red, i.e. dish towels or decorative plates. These will help pull the room together beautifully.
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