Deep colors offer enormous payback, but because they’re so powerful, they should be handled with care. “Red has strong associations,” says Ashcraft, so placing it with the right companions is especially important. “It can cause trouble with white (stop signs, candy canes) or yellow (ketchup and mustard). But temper it with an even deeper red, plus a dark ceiling, and it calms down.” The effect is dramatic but—because it’s low-contrast—not shocking to the senses. When it comes to furniture, spare, clean-lined pieces keep red’s bordello risk at bay. Paint: walls, Cherry Wine; ceiling, Dry Sage; trim, Raisin Torte: each from $36 a gallon, benjaminmoore.com
To buy: Large amber vase, calvinklein.com.
Danish tall oxblood ceramic vase from the 1950s, The End of History, 212-647-7598. Leger Tube stool, ochrestore.com
for info. Gueridon side table, stelacollection.com
for info. Georgian sofa, georgesmith.com
for info. Color Reform rug, abchome.com