interior designInteriors

15 Shop Spaces That Put Red to Work

by Bethany Joy Foss

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Red is one of my favorite colors to use when something needs a little cheering up. It can brighten a rainy day, make an object stand out, and I’ve never tasted a red fruit or vegetable that didn’t enhance flavor. But it isn’t always used to activate happiness. The color red has a very powerful psychological duality. It can spark an undeniable optimism and it can also be intimidating and aggressive. Our emotional response to this color is usually dependent on the tone, amount, and context of use. Successful red placement considers balance and how it interacts with other colors.

As a primary, we see red everywhere, whether we are conscious of it or not. Think about the beautiful red tones we encounter outdoors — flowers, soil, rocks and birds. These natural reds lead us to appreciate this type of warmth as something special in our visual experience. Designers often use red as a dominant accent to command attention and when used thoughtfully, the results are instantly breathtaking. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “pop of color.” If so, it was likely a reference to a red hue that brings something unexpected into view. Red is persuasive, playful and always wants to be the center of attention.

Below are a few examples of shops that have considerately used red as a means of crafting a memorable customer experience with wit and intrigue. —Bethany

Image above: Create mystery with deep red. This moody window niche in the 67 Pall Mall club in London is set with red velvet and leather furniture against a complementary pale green wall that feels luscious and elite. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Use mood lighting to add drama. Baciocchi Associati designed a G&B boutique in Italy that boasts this quiet red dressing room with cushy, plum-colored carpet. The backlit brass framed mirror adds to the luxury of the small space by gently highlighting the red behind. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Combine shades of red for a beautiful blend. Raw Edges designed this textile-inspired installation called “The Picnic” for Kvadrat at the Stockholm Furniture Fair by hanging 1,500 strips of fabric of various shades from the ceiling to represent roof tiles. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Fill a small space with red all over. The red room peeking from behind the door in Marlies Dekkers’ shop in Amsterdam embodies her lingerie collection with soft, plush textures from red carpet and wallpaper that seem to be as luxurious as her product. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Use soft materials to temper a bright red. This stunning floral paper display lined the ceiling in Anthropologie’s King’s Road store in London last year. Handmade, red “desert blooms” seem like the perfect way to usher in spring and add a bright, ascending focal point without overpowering the shop space. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Combine a saturated red with gold or brass for a rich, historic feel. A bright red booth in the LAMILL COFFEE boutique in Los Angeles picks up on the warmth of the oversized chandelier and is set against a monotone mural to give the space a charming, classical vibe. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Try an analogous color palette. There is no better place for bright red than in a candy store. Combining red with other warm colors that sit closely on the color wheel evokes a lighthearted feeling at this sugar shop in Budapest. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Frame windows with red for visual impact. This colorful little cake shop in Porto Alegre is filled with delight. Designed by Gustavo Redlich, the red is modeled after Pantone 185C and frames the large windows, picked up by smaller red bursts throughout the space. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Use red against a complementary color for high contrast. I love how this peachy red wall paint and burgundy velvet curtain frame the green-filled Kate Spade dressing room in New York. A solid red color block set against a complementary color creates striking contrast. If one of those colors happens to be a pattern, it’s an added bonus. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Use bursts of red in a neutral environment to add interest. This small café in Hangzhou, China was designed around the idea of creating sitting neighborhoods. Guests can gather under these cheery red trees that are dotted around furniture clusters and mini houses. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Use a red pattern to draw attention. Yayoi Kusama wields the power of red in this incredibly immersive pattern installation for the Louis Vuitton concept store at Selfridges in London. To show off the collection, the artist’s signature dots cover every surface of the space. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Bring conduit to life with a little paint. This gelato shop in Girona, Spain added candy cane stripes to their industrial piping. The touch of whimsy is offset by pale blue and white for a modern and playful interior. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Let red express your biggest statement. This shop spills the beans from the first glance with bright red lettering captured by Andrew Knapp. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Use red to center a room. At Kidimo, customers can create displays from discarded signage. This brilliant red “a” creates an anchor for the space and shows Kidimo’s product in use as a decorative element. (Image Source)

Red Shops on Design*Sponge

Use red sparingly for more impact. Valerie Confections bakery in Echo Park, Los Angeles uses a bright red door to draw in the crowds for tea and pastries. (Image Source)

Suggested For You


  • For a wonderful use of many shades of red, check out the Wurtele Thrust Stage seating at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. The seats are upholstered in many different shades of red, instead of all one color as is usual.