Cardi B's Bathroom Embodies This Color Trend That's Going Viral — And Experts say it Adds the Perfect Finishing Touch

She may be the artist behind 'Bodak Yellow,' but looks like she knows a thing or two about 'unexpected red,' one of our favorite new color theories.

cardi b on a red carpet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you heard of the unexpected red theory? For the uninitiated, this TikTok-coined term is a short way of explaining the zest and attitude that a surprise pop of red can add to a room. Think red candles, red pillows, red flowers ... adding just a touch of cherry red is said to completely elevate a room's design scheme, according to the social media theorists behind the supposition. Not even halfway through the year, it's already one of the biggest color trends.

And experts do really think this school of thought carries water. 'Red is bold yet classic and surprisingly versatile as it goes with everything in small doses,' says Eddie Maestri of Maestri Studio. 'It adds drama and energy to a space. The secret to making it work? Definitely a light touch. Too much of it can be overwhelming.'


♬ Sunshine - WIRA

That's the beauty of unexpected red; you can add that bold color to a room without hanging your whole design on the shade. 'A pop of red adds a touch of intrigue [...] and brings visual interest and cohesion,' adds Michele Iapicco, principal at Iapicco Design Studio. The theory itself suggests that adding something red, however small, to a room can 'make a design feel complete and pulled together even though the red is not part of the holistic color palette.'

A perfect example of the theory at work? Rapper Cardi B's guest bathroom.

As you can see in her tweet, Cardi's guest bathroom is mostly black and white ... except for a lovely pop of red in the corner. 'The red flowers in Cardi B’s guest room break up the black and white color palette,' Michelle tells me. 'Also, the solid red draws your attention in and away from the graphic wallcovering and highly-veined marble sink.' The red flowers (or maybe they're feathers?) are perhaps so unexpected that Cardi says it's the only room in her house to feature such a hue.

It's a perfect contrast and very of the moment, and it's also quite easy to replicate. All you need is a few small red accessories and perhaps a helpful shopping editor who knows her way around all of the best home decor brands.

The 'unexpected red' shopping edit

Style Editor

Brigid Kennedy is a Style Editor at, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.