What Is The Unexpected Red Theory? & How To Make It Work For You

By Olivia Emily

2 months ago

There’s another interiors trend taking over TikTok

Red is the colour of the moment, with red tights, red sweaters and red bows bursting through the seams of the festive season and planting themselves firmly on the fashion agenda. But did you ever think the trend could be replicated in our homes? Enter: the unexpected red theory, a new home trend taking over TikTok with a whopping 4.1 million views on #unexpectedredtheory. Here’s exactly what it is, plus how to make it work for you.

Trending: The Unexpected Red Theory

What Is The Unexpected Red Theory?

‘The unexpected red theory is all about using bright pops of primary colour to elevate a room’s look and feel,’ say the experts at Quintain Living. ‘In many cases, just one or two red items can make a major difference to the overall vibe.’

It first gained traction after interior designer Taylor Simon’s TikTok celebrating the theory went viral, amassing over 1 million views, in which she declares ‘I’m petitioning to make red a neutral colour because it just looks good with everything’.

@intayriors UNEXPECTED RED THEORY #unexpectedredtheory #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Taylor Simon

Red is the most emotionally resonant colour there is, associated with excitement, energy, passion, warmth and desire. But this means too much red can also be overwhelming. The beauty of the unexpected red theory is a pop of the vibrant colour when you’d least expect it: with clashing colours, framing a mirror or painting, or on a lamp shade, for instance.

How To Implement It At Home

Feature Walls

‘Transform a room by painting one wall red,’ suggests Ryan Calvert, product expert at Hiatt Hardware. ‘Play around with colour analysis here, opting for a rich cherry red for a luxurious and sophisticated look, or consider a brighter hue for a more playful feel. Pair the red accent wall with light-coloured furniture and accessories to create contrast and balance within the room. This pop of colour will draw attention and add depth to the space without overwhelming it.’

‘A feature wall is a great way to introduce red, especially if you’re wanting to capture your guests’ attention,’ adds Michael Rolland, Managing Director at The Paint Shed. ‘I’ve seen some great red backgrounds used for home-gallery walls. For those using vintage frames, Johnstone’s Trade’s Crushed Tomato is the perfect tone for a richer, classic look, whilst Johnstone’s Trade’s Briquette is ideal for a fresh and playful splash of colour against boxy graphic prints.’


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New Red Furniture

‘Elevate your home interior with a bold red statement furniture piece, such as a plush velvet sofa or a sleek armchair,’ suggests Calvert. ‘Opt for a deep crimson or a vibrant cherry red to create a sense of drama and luxury. Balance the boldness of the red furniture with neutral accents and complementary textures for a cohesive and visually captivating environment.’

@lazyjamiehome unexpected red? sorry don’t know her. 🖍️ #unexpectedredtheory #interiordesign ♬ original sound – Taylor Simon

Painting Furniture

If you’re introducing the unexpected red theory on a budget, ‘a really easy way to integrate this pop of colour is by renovating or upcycling the furniture you already have,’ says Rolland. ‘For example, painting a dull bedside table in Little Greene’s Atomic Red is a creative and affordable way for those not-so-confident with colour to create a statement piece which adds personality to their home.’

Decorative Accessories

‘For a more minimalistic approach, infuse the colour red into your home decor with accessories such as pillows, rugs, curtains or artwork,’ suggests Calvert. ‘Although small, these changes are easy to make and will add an addition of warmth and vibrancy to a room whilst allowing you to experiment with different shades and textures on a smaller scale.’

Red Tiling

‘Red tiling looks really impactful in kitchens, particularly when placed above a wooden workbench,’ says Rolland. ‘It’s great for intertwining rustic with timeless luxury. Contrast berry-toned tiles with a lighter, beige tone like Farrow and Ball’s Calamine to compliment the tiles, whilst really making them the focus point.’

Unique Pops of Colour

‘When it comes to redecorating your home, living rooms and bedrooms are the easiest places to switch things around,’ says Calvert. ‘Why not use this new trend to experiment with elevating the unconventional areas of your home? Painting the staircase red, or implementing the colour into functional items like kitchen utensils or bathroom accessories can really elevate your space, whilst incorporating red in unexpected places adds a whimsy charm to your decor.’


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Take It To The Bathroom

Unsure about implementing the unexpected red theory in your living room or bedroom? Try it out in the bathroom first. ‘Adding a single red accent piece, such as a statement mirror frame or a bold vanity cabinet, instantly draws the eye and injects energy into the room,’ says Warren Kinloch, interior expert at Bathroom Deal. ‘In a bathroom, where functionality often takes precedence, this unexpected burst of colour serves as a focal point, tying together disparate elements and infusing the space with personality.

‘Whether you opt for a deep crimson or a bright cherry red, incorporating this bold hue adds a sense of drama and vitality to your bathroom, creating a space that feels truly dynamic,’ says Kinloch. ‘Expect this to be a feature your guests comment on!’