Your browser is not supported. We do our best to optimize our websites to the most current web browsers. Please try another browser.
Skip to main content

Unexpected Red Theory May Be The New Home Trend You Need

Cozy, luxurious, and empty modern living room with two beige textile sofas, a cozy chair, and decoration (pillows, blankets) on the hardwood floor in front of a blank red plaster wall background with copy space. A low coffee table in front of the sofa with decorations, glasses, coffee cups, and a vase of flowers. Large sliding windows with a terrace and garden view (chairs, tables, and trees) on both sides of the room. An aluminum modern staircase leads to the upper floor in the background. A slight vintage effect was added. 3D rendered image.
Getty Images

We’ve tried all kinds of trends on TikTok over the years, some good (hello, cleaning hacks!) and some bad (goodbye, DIY black stairs). But the latest viral design hack that’s taking over the platform may have you seeing red — in the best way possible.


Unexpected Red Theory is proving to be a big hit with beginners and pros alike, and it’s no wonder why. The trend is easy to implement no matter what kind of space you’re considering, and it’s a design tip that lets you get as creative as you want. Want to know more? Read on to learn about Unexpected Red Theory and how you can make it work in your space.

What is Unexpected Red Theory?

The current Unexpected Red Theory trend is believed to have started with Taylor Simons. The Brooklyn-based interior designer explains the theory in a video that’s been liked thousands of times. “It’s basically adding anything that’s red, big or small, to a room that doesn’t match at all and it automatically looks better,” she says, with several photos to back up her claim.

Red sinks that have no business being pitted against a grey slate? Looks better. Red with purple? Better. A red mirror frame against teal? Again, instantly better.

As per the theory, by adding a touch of red to a room where the colour shouldn’t match, you create an instant pop of colour that makes the space stand out in a new and unexpected way.

“I’m petitioning for red to be a neutral colour because it just looks good with everything,” Simons adds in the video.

Related: Pinterest Predicts Bold New Home Decor Styles in 2024

Does Unexpected Red Theory Work Every Time?

Yes — and no. The theory, which has actually been around for a while and has also been called the lipstick theory, depends on the shade of red in question. It all goes back to the colour wheel and ensuring you’re working with complementary contrasts. So while bright red pops against greens, blues and blacks, you may want to match off-whites, blue-greys and lighter blues with a pop of orangey red. Looking at lighter greens or grey-greens? They need a more pink-hued red to really jump.


Related: These 10 Celebrity Homes Deliver Fresh Design Trends for 2024

How to Implement Unexpected Red Theory    

When implementing the Unexpected Red Theory, simple is best. Don’t overdo it and start small. Remember that the theory only works because you’re only adding a few small touches or accent walls, not necessarily painting an entire room or spending your paycheque at HomeSense (again) on red accessories.

Sure, that feature wall is always nice if you’re considering paint, but perhaps you’ll want to scale it back even more by painting a doorway trim or a post, instead. Remember to explore different shades of red to complement your space. Cherry red might not be your best choice against brown wood floors, for example, while earthy red won’t pop like a brighter red will when you’re contrasting black furniture.

If you’re unsure, stick to accessories over paint, and repurpose items you already have. Begin with one room in the house and see how it looks. You could try a red lamp in the living room, or a red painting in the bedroom (because what’s more passionate than that?). Red throw pillows or blankets can also go a long way in a space.

Related: Kitchen Renovation Trends We’ll See Everywhere in 2024


Does The Trend Work With Other Colours?

In the comments of Simons’ original post, many users pointed out how the trend can work with blue, orange, yellow, or any other complementary colour. The reason red is going viral, however, may have everything to do with its energy. Red is unexpected and passionate, which makes it a memorable colour.

Studies have also shown that red has been giving feels for thousands of years, and can also symbolize power, love, vigor and beauty. When it comes to one little colour packing a big design punch, you can’t ask for more than that.


Latest News

Scott and Debra Salmoni had some genius ideas on how to bring this income property to life.
May 21, 2024
Bryan helps a couple take their business from beatdown barn to chic century farm.
May 21, 2024
Find out more about the acclaimed potter from British Columbia who creates the things she loves for a living.
May 21, 2024
A subtle style is great, but we like to live bold and beautiful.
May 20, 2024
With just a few boxes and a dash of creativity, you can craft a cat house that'll be the envy of the neighbourhood.
May 17, 2024
You won’t find an eclectic mix of jaw-dropping homes like these anywhere else.
May 17, 2024
We sat down with Debra Salmoni to talk life, renovations, and the ideal country wardrobe.
May 17, 2024
Follow these steps to make your BBQ look like new!
May 17, 2024
With patio season upon us, this DIY plant stand and planter is what you need.
May 16, 2024
This content is restricted to adults of legal age.
Please enter your birthdate to confirm.
Date of Birth