50+ Rooms That Prove ‘The Unexpected Red Theory’ Really Works

There is often a correlation between trending colors in the fashion and the interior design world. And some colors in these design worlds have a way of standing out and starting trends that everyone talks about.

And right now, ‘The Unexpected Red Theory’ is a hot topic in the home décor world. Of course, it’s not that red is making a comeback, as this color is timeless and ever-present. But lately, people are noticing the difference this color can make to a room.

From the runways of New York and Paris to the interior design world, red is the trending color. And these rooms that showcase the Unexpected Red Theory show the power of red.

photo: Haris Kenjar

What is the Unexpected Red Theory?

The Unexpected Red Theory comes from a trending TikTok video by designer Taylor Migliazzo Simon. She suggests that you should add red to a room where you wouldn’t expect it.

‘Adding anything that’s red, big or small to a room where it doesn’t match at all will make the room automatically look better.’ And she is right; adding a little bit of red in places where it doesn’t necessarily match with other colors or styles makes the room feel alive and more stylish.

photo: Dulux

So why red? According to Simon, the color red is like a chameleon. Red works with almost any other color and will always look great. Plus, red grabs your attention; it’s not accidental that stop signs and emergency lights are red. This color catches your eye.

Designed by Gunter & Co, the bathroom in an award-winning apartment pairs black tiles with a red mirror.

Of course, some colors work better with red than others. Green and purple shades go really well with red; mixing them together will make your room stand out. But don’t shy away from mixing red with other colors.

Adding The Unexpected Red Theory to your home is easy. Start small with a red cushion or lampshade; this way, you can see how the color looks in your room. And if you want even more ‘unexpected red’ color inspiration, then you’re in the right place because I have selected some beautiful rooms with a touch of red to inspire you.

powder room with wallpaper and red mirror nordroom
photo: studio Duggan

Rooms with Unexpected Red Color Accents

Let’s take a look at rooms where you can find unexpected red color accents.

photo: deVOL Kitchens

Unexpected red with the red and white striped wallpaper by Ralph Lauren that serves as a bold backsplash in the deVOL Kitchen of Clarence & Graves’ country house.

ikea living room red color accent nordroom
photo: IKEA
red kitchen cabinets shelves butler sink nordroom
photo: Inigo
photo: IKEA

IKEA is not afraid to combine colors. A red sofa is paired with a blue wooden floor, orange cabinets, yellow pillows, and a colorful Eket storage system.

photo: deVOL Kitchens

Pearl Lowe’s laundry room features an unexpected red feature with the curtains under the blue cabinets.

photo: Inigo
photo: Inigo

Red and green are the main colors in this Victorian apartment, and in the kitchen, a subtle red accent has been added to the sink skirt.

light blue bedroom with red side table unexpected red theory
photo: studio Duggan

a calm blue bedroom is spruced up with red color accents on the side table and bed frame.

pleated red striped table lamp
photo: Alice Palmer
photo: Dulux

Bold color combinations in this Dulux bedroom from their Color Forecast 2024.

bathroom with red sink table
photo: studio Duggan
red striped abington sofa unexpected red theory nordroom
rowen and wren red striped sofa unexpected red theory nordroom

Besides smaller decor pieces, you can also go bigger and add red with a striped sofa, like this beautiful example from Rowen & Wren.

hallway with red built in cabinets nordroom

A custom-made red wardrobe system turns your hallway from bland to fabulous.

ikea catalog 2021 nordroom61 50+ Rooms That Prove ‘The Unexpected Red Theory’ Really Works
photo: IKEA
ikea catalog 2021 nordroom32 50+ Rooms That Prove ‘The Unexpected Red Theory’ Really Works
photo: IKEA
IKEASummerCollection2021BalconyGardenInspiration TheNordroom12 50+ Rooms That Prove ‘The Unexpected Red Theory’ Really Works
photo: IKEA

IKEA loves primary colors, and their 2021 catalog was filled with red color accents, like the striped rug in a blue children’s room or a red ceiling lamp paired with yellow, wood, and black.

photo: deVOL Kitchens
photo: deVOL Kitchens

Pair two warm colors and you get a stunning kitchen. This deVOL Kitchen, which can be visited in their New York showroom on Bond Street, combines Refectory Red cabinets with Farrow & Ball’s ‘India Yellow’ on the walls.

ikea workspace ivar cabinets nordroom
photo: IKEA
photo: Inigo

This bedroom in a colorful family home in London shows that you don’t have to be afraid of combining colors in the bedroom. The walls are painted in a soft pink hue from Little Greene, paired with yellow textiles, red wardrobes, and green wallpaper.

photo: deVOL Kitchens

Red comes in many shades, from orange-red to deep shades like this ‘Refectory Red’ kitchen designed by Uns Hobbs and deVOL Kitchens.


a magical cottage in the English countryside features its unexpected red moment in the kitchen, where designer Emma Ainscough added a red island and a red/white checkerboard tiled wall.

red painted ikea ivar cabinets

Simple Ikea Ivar cabinets are painted red to add a color punch to a Swedish living room.

light open plan living space with kitchen and red dining table
photo: The Modern House
home office modern london apartment bookshelves
photo: The Modern House

There are several bright color accents in this modern London apartment, including a red dining table and a red vase in the home office. You can always add a pop of red to an otherwise neutral-colored room.

photo: Haris Kenjar

One of the living rooms in a San Francisco family home designed by Heidi Caillier features a red checkered ottoman table and a red desk chair.

styling by Rydman and photography by Östling for Historiska Hem

The color and design of this table lamp make it stand out in a vintage home in Sweden.

photo: Inigo

a cushion or a lamp are subtle ways of adding red to your room. Painting goes one step further, but look how great this red ceiling looks combined with a yellow bath and green and blue tilework.

photo: Shootfactory

Several unexpected red color pops in this colorful vintage eclectic house; a small home office with a red stool, a red chair in the bedroom, and red fireplace tiles.

light bedroom pastel color accents
photo: Domus Nova
hallway wooden floor artist home london
photo: Domus Nova
colorful home teal stairs
photo: Domus Nova

A home bursting with color and the occasional red color accent. This playful artist’s home used red on the stair banister, a table lamp, and a door. It’s paired with pastel shades, which makes the red pop even more.

styling by Copparstad and photography by Boukari for Historiska Hem
styling by Copparstad and photography by Boukari for Historiska Hem

The owners of this small Stockholm apartment love to decorate with color. It features a red cabinet and a red ladder combined with yellow, pink, and blue.

red side table oval mirror
styling by Lindholm and photography by Boukari for Historiska Hem

Bod colors always work in a neutral-colored home, and the contrasting colors give a unique touch to a room, as you can see with this red side table in a serene apartment.

bedroom with red floor
photo: Avenue Design Studio
kitchen dining room with red floor
photo: Avenue Design Studio
photo: Historiska Hem

Burgundy red tiles add a warm tone to the kitchen in a vintage apartment with floral wallpaper, antique furniture, and green accents.

photo: Shootfactory
photo: Shootfactory

Blue and red is a color combination that works really well, as you can also see in this London mews house where a red bookcase has been added.

red table lamp unexpected red theory
L’art Plissé Table Lamp Studio Edition
photo: Inigo

Red walls in a sitting room in an eclectic art-filled townhouse in London.

photo: The Modern House

In a unique home in a former furniture workshop, they added a red bath paired with aubergine storage. The sculptural red bath is made in collaboration with Henry Stringer.

photo: Inigo
photo: Inigo

The owners of this historic English house really love red. Beside a red living room, they also painted one of the fireplaces red, which they paired with dark green walls.

photo: Haris Kenjar
photo: Haris Kenjar

a deep red armchair in a Fox Island living room designed by Heidi Caillier.

photo: Inigo

The red sofa really pops in a Victorian room that is painted in a light brown shade.

photo: Brotherton Lock

The Welsh coastline serves as the color inspiration for this Space A designed house. Mustard yellow, blue-gray, and splashes of “safety red” form the base of the color scheme in this seaside home.

photo: alvhem

Beige walls and a wooden floor form the base of this Scandinavian apartment. Red dining chairs are paired with a mint green table.

ikea catalog 2021 nordroom33 50+ Rooms That Prove ‘The Unexpected Red Theory’ Really Works
photo: Ikea
ikea catalog 2021 nordroom124 50+ Rooms That Prove ‘The Unexpected Red Theory’ Really Works
photo: Ikea
red shower tiles

Both bathrooms in Rufus Wainwright’s Laurel Canyon home feature red accents.

ikea catalog 2021 nordroom26 50+ Rooms That Prove ‘The Unexpected Red Theory’ Really Works
photo: Ikea
dining room with red painted doors
red double doors
photo: Anson smart
photo: Bjurfors Södermalm

Bold and unexpected, this Swedish hallway is painted in an orange-red shade and paired with black and white textiles.