For as long as I can remember, I have always associated May with Poppy Red. I think it was a combination of those classic red tulips that bloomed like clockwork each Spring along with the arrival of the May J.Crew catalogue, which undoubtedly featured the bold & bright shade.
Stuck somewhere between red and orange, Poppy Red is a vibrant color most identifiable thanks to the poppy flower.
Though bright and seemingly upbeat, in color psychology it is oddly enough considered to be a "color divided." According to color theory, the 'uneasy integration of orange and red reveals deep complexity: vibrancy, life, inseparability and imminent death.'
Historically, the color has had both negative & positive connotations.
Poppies were worn as an act of remembrance started by the Royal British Legion in 1921. It was chosen as the symbol to acknowledge those who did not survive the battlefields of Northern France because its resilience meant it was one of the first blooms to appear on grounds destroyed by artillery fire.
It was also the selected color for the impressive unveiling of the Mustang car at the1964 Worlds Fair and later made an appearance on many other Ford and Mercury vehicles.
Poppy Red was even a popular choice for painted front doors. In America, the red hued front door held historical significance indicating travelers were welcome at those homes that displayed a red door.
Incorporating Poppy Red into the everyday is oftentimes easier said than done. Since it is such a high energy shade there is an important balance to strike.
The fiery tone definitely commands attention and it has been said that too much red can increase heart rate but if kept at a minimum it barely makes a design or style dent.
When used correctly, it is an effective way to immediately inject a dose of style. In both home and fashion, touches of Poppy Red evoke a sense of fun despite the duel psychology of the color.
I like combining it in two different ways. When going for a slightly more subtle effect, I tame it down by pairing it with linen or beige. Whether a printed pillow on a beige colored sofa or a Poppy hued top paired with linen pants, the combination is always chic.
On the contrary, sometimes I will take the opposite approach and pair bright Poppy with a saturated golden yellow. This only works because both are on the same end of the color spectrum so they play really well together. They mimic the colors of sunshine and immediately give off a feeling of warmth.
Check out more of the combinations here on May's Moodboard.
Another surprising but popular pairing frequently used in interior design is Poppy Red with either a powder blue or turquoise blue. Delicate powder blue works to bring calm and cool to a space while the bright Poppy becomes the driving force for style and design. When paired together the effect is balanced and beautiful.
Alternatively, when two equally vibrant shades like turquoise and Poppy Red are paired together they end up neutralizing each other and a bold room actually becomes visually soothing. The bright red relates to the classical coral & turquoise sea combination and the result is chic and stylish, much like the room pictured above at Faena Miami Beach.
This month, you can punch it up with Poppy Red through new tableware, bedding or some fun finds:
Here are a few of my favorite picks for May:
Shop the Board
A napkin ring that could truly double as a bracelet
I can't get enough of their chic coverups and this pretty pareo in Poppy is next on the list
This fabric would make for the perfect porch chair pillow
I never thought I would go for red in the bedroom, but this sheeting collection is making me reconsider
A vintage 1979 edition of five legendary crime novels
Wouldn't this vase be just perfect on a beach house entry table?
Chic storage for special watches
The Hermés lipsticks are amazing and I can't wait to try this sheer version named of course "Poppy"
Whimsical linen napkins add in just a drop of color
How amazing is this1960's re-furbished lacquered dresser?