Straight from the experts: the best way to jazz things up with our nation’s colour pallet.
Did you know that red and white wasn’t always the colour choice of Canadians? In fact, the Canadian flag was almost a—wait for it—green maple leaf. But unfortunately for the flag’s creator, Canadian author Barlow Cumberland, the war interrupted any momentum the almost-flag had. And when the flag debate reopened in the mid 1900’s, red and white trumped all. With just over 50 years of the red maple, Canada’s colour pallet is now cemented as red and white. But how exactly do we get the look at home? Professional Colour Consultant Kora Sevier and Interior Designer Melissa Ennis know how—and they’re spilling the beans just in time for Canada Day.
How does red and white work together?
ME: Red can add energy and passion into a space, but it needs to be done in a way that is not too overpowering. White is clean and simple and can be used in virtually any space. White is a great backdrop to red—it allows one single piece of art, or one beautiful rug to shine. KS: Red and white can often be a very harsh combination. With a strong, deep colour such as red it’s important to use a softer white. For instance, let’s say you wanted to paint a dining room in Benjamin Moore's Dinner Party. It's a strong deep red with a bit of brown in it, which is the type of red most people would be willing to use. If you wanted to add white trim to this deep red, I would stay away from anything too stark and go for something creamier—try BM French Canvas or Floral White.
What are some of the benefits of using a popping colour like red in home décor pieces?
KS: Colour is an emotional experience and for most people red is about life, passion, and fire. Using it as a popping colour in décor pieces is a great way to add some vavoom to your space!
Is there such a thing as too much red?
KS: On the contrary, I think the mistake most people make with red is that they don’t use enough of it. People are attracted to red, but they get scared and pull back. This is why you sometimes see a red feature wall that doesn’t really relate to anything else in a room. It’s like having only one person at a party who is doing the talking. Create a conversation! Art gallery walls were historically paint red. Artists and curators felt it was the perfect background colour to showcase complex artwork (Farrow & Ball even has a colour named Picture Gallery Red).
How can we get the look?
ME: Here are my top picks. 1. I love Madeline Weinrib's vintage moroccan carpets ($4,500 from madelineweinrib.com). The red injects such a vibrancy into a family room, dining room, or bedroom. They can be pricey, so Ikea has some great red hand-knotted rugs (see Persick Belutch) as an alternative. 2. One of my favorite candles is Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange ($30 from indigo.ca)—it not only smells like summer but has a beautiful red glass jar that is the perfect pop of red in a room. 3. Jonathan Adler's red Zebra Pop throw pillow ($125 from jonathanadler.com) is super fun in a kids space, play room, or basement rec room. 4. Tonic Living has a dreamy Clifton Hall, Strawberry pillow ($56.95 from tonicliving.com) that would look gorgeous in an airy family room or even on a rocking chair in a screened in porch (I can just imagine rocking on it watching the Canada Day fireworks).
Any last pieces of advice?
ME: The most important thing to remember is to not get thematic—a Canadian Flag doesn't have to be in the space for you to have fun with red for Canada Day!