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The emotional meaning of Red

Have you ever wondered why Valentine’s Day is decorated in the rich, luscious color of various shades of RED?

We grew up knowing that red is associated with the color of romance, sexuality and can stimulate deeper passions in humans, so it is used to describe erotic sceneries in paintings and the writings based on love of various poets. Red represents physical energy, lust, passion, and desire.

Red is the call to the adrenal glands to get the body and its senses activated! If you are in the world of dating, searching, seducing, the best way to get attention is to wear red and be confident about it!


Red is the most PHYSICAL color in the Color Spectrum. It also has the longest spectral wavelengths and I will share more about when to avoid red in architectural applications and how to use it in interior design in another post. However, I do want to share this image though, since it had a very disturbing effect on me. This is an example of the wrong application of red in my opinion. I took this photo one morning when the news anchor interviewed someone at the Blood bank in Austin. The color of the wall could not have been more wrong!

Maybe they did it to increase the heart rate as well as blood pressure? Easier to find a vein? Or chances are whoever made the color choice, did not pay attention to the psychological effect of red in a Blood Bank. The green chairs also didn't evoke the calm feeling that is usually associated with green. Not in this setup for sure.

Red walls blood bank

Red is also associated with happiness, seasonal joy, laughter! Loving life! If you want to stand out or just feel like lifting your emotional well-being, wear red!

So many red foods have powerful health benefits in the form of phytonutrients. Strawberries, beetroot, red cabbage, tomatoes, cherries, apples, pomegranate to name a few! And a healthy body hosts a healthy mind!


Almost universally, red also means danger. Be careful, look out!


The image of red warning signs has been ingrained in our brains ever since childhood. Even nature has a way of letting us know when something is dangerous!


But there is an ANTAGONISTIC, VIOLENT and FEARFUL side to red, as we all know. Red used in the WRONG context could be seriously disturbing!

Red could provoke anger. "Seeing red" is an all familiar saying, too well-known for comfort! Avoid having highly saturated red paired with ominous colors in a kid or teenager's bedroom.

Moviemakers have long gone realized the powerful effect of pairing red with deep dark moody colors, combined with their special effects to raise fearful emotions, leaving us breathing shallow and feeling intensely afraid! Sinister, evil, vile. Even clowns are not fun anymore!

It is quite evident that using green or yellow would not have created the desired effect.

Evil, Anger, Fear

But on the "brighter" side. red is also the color associated with power, courage money, speed! It is applied in many traditional and powerful settings such as using it as the main color in national flags, political parties, coat of arms. And ain't we all familiar and slightly envious with the powerful importance of the VIP red carpet events!

Ferrari red

I choose to focus on red as a POSITIVE, VIBRANT and ENERGETIC color!

One that increases enthusiasm and interest, boost energy, create confidence, and offer the promise of happiness and joy!

How about you?