Decorating with green – 13 ways to get back to nature with a fresh palette

Symbolizing nature, freshness and vitality, the color green is an enduring favorite when it comes to interiors

Decorating with green
(Image credit: Future)

If you are planning on decorating with green, then you've landed on the right page. Fresh, cool green can create a relaxing atmosphere in any room. It is associated with nature, outdoors, growth and creativity and, as it is such an organic shade, it is very easy to live with. 

Inextricably linked with the enduring beauty of nature, green is a timeless shade which pairs well with lots of other colors within interior design. The important thing is to pair whatever hue you choose with the right accent color to create a feeling of flow throughout a room.

Whether using it in a statement pattern, as bold block color or a subtle accent, our gallery of green room ideas is bound to inspire.

Decorating with green – everything you need to know

With so many inspiring green room ideas to choose from, it’s a good idea to first examine the architectural features and flow of your space.

‘Green is incredibly versatile, but it’s important to consider the colors that already exist within the space, be that furniture, flooring, art work or textiles, these are all elements that should be included as colors within your palette,’ says Ruth Mottershead of Little Greene.

‘Most importantly, consider the atmosphere you want to create; is it calm and cocooned or energetic and vibrant? Vivid, lively greens work well in rooms that are made for entertaining, such as kitchens and living rooms, but you don’t have to commit to all four walls, you can opt for just a pop of bright, rich contrasting green on dining chairs, woodwork or to paint a single door, it’s a quick and easy way to add impact and an element of surprise to an interior.’

1. Bring vitality to a kitchen with olive green cabinetry

Tom Howley green kitchen cabinets in Serptentine

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

Imbued with the nourishing powers of nature, green kitchen ideas are having something of a moment. This hasn't gone unnoticed by designers, who recognize the power of green and have introduced it into their kitchen ideas in a variety of smart, creative and sophisticated ways.

‘Serpentine, our striking olive green, is used to splendid effect here in our latest Devine design. It’s a stunning colour with earthiness and depth that leaves you feeling nourished and full of life, perfect for kitchen environments,' says Tom Howley of the eponymous kitchen company. 

'This bold color may pack a punch, but you have a scheme with undeniable appeal when combined with burnished brass hardware and Caesarstone Organic White worktops.’

2. Create a vintage kitchen with leaf green cabinets

British Standard by Plain English kitchen in Littel Greene's Hopper

(Image credit: British Standard by Plain English )

Leaf green can be teamed with contrasting colors to create a vintage kitchen aesthetic, as this kitchen from British Standard by Plain English proves. Shaker-style cabinets in Little Greene's Hopper are paired with chequerboard tiles and exposed salmon-pink plaster walls for unique, homely look.

'People are being braver and having more fun with color in the kitchen,' adds Richard Moore, Design Director at Martin Moore. 'Previously our clients were choosing bold colors, such as electric blue and hot pink, for smaller accent pieces in the kitchen. However, today we are seeing an increase in the number of people opting for bright colors throughout the kitchen, especially on kitchen cabinets and walls.'

3. Bring the outside in with a botanical wallpaper

Living room with Cole & Son's Wisteria Botanica wallpaper

(Image credit: Future / Polly Wreford)

With green available in a whole host of shades, it’s easy to find green living room ideas that will suit your look and give your scheme a seasonal lift, whether it’s a large-scale makeover for the living room or simple styling project. 

Fabric and wallpaper ideas featuring botanical prints are pretty without being too feminine, and they work just as well in both modern living rooms and country living room schemes. In this botanical-inspired green living room, Cole & Son trellis wallpaper speaks of blissful spring and summer days in the backyard.

4. Add a playful touch with abstract fabrics

Living room with an occassional chair in Rapture & Wright fabric

(Image credit: Future)

Is there any color more suited to this current climate than green? At at time where our happiness and health have seemed more important than ever, it's only right that we'd want to surround ourselves in shades that symbolize growth and renewal. 

If papering wall-to-wall with green prints is too daunting a prospect, consider using green fabrics to bring a fresh twist to a neutral living room which can be introduced through window treatments, upholstery or on lampshades. 

Bold abstract prints in leaf green including Schumacher's Full Circle fabric (on curtains) and Rapture & Wright's Albaicin linen mix fabric (on chair), with its Moorish feel, both help create a to a lighthearted, cheerful look. 

5. Use green as a canvas for displaying art

Green living room with plate display

(Image credit: Future)

With its roots in the timeless beauty of nature, mid-greens make brilliant backdrop for displaying artwork. Try a mid-green paint in a living room as a base for hanging a variety of your favorite plates for an interesting living room feature wall

Be brave when choosing living room color schemes in small spaces. Keeping the wall the same color as the furniture helps to blend the room together – if nothing stands out, then your eye will flow around a space, and in a small living room this can be key to making it feel larger.

6. Pair olive green with period patterns

Edward Bulmer Light Olive

(Image credit: Lorfords / Edward Bulmer living room in Light Olive)

With warm, earthy undertones, light olive shades are a brilliant choice for decorating with green and are a good match for rusty tones, natural materials and folksy fabrics as this scheme by Lorfords and Edward Bulmer proves.

‘Early recipes for olive green seem to have been a browny hue but by the 19th century the addition of Prussian blue meant that it was a full green close to the colour of a plump Mediterranean olive,' says Edward Bulmer. 

'Too dark and the color tends to black when in the shade, so I have kept it a strong mid tone. It can be a great woodwork color and is also robust enough for exterior use.’

7. Bring freshness to a dining room

Dining room with curtains in Chandolin Flowers Green fabric by Charlotte Gaisford

(Image credit: Future / Simon Brown)

Opting for curtains and upholstery in contrasting leafy green fabrics is a good way to soften and liven-up large rooms with high ceilings. Pairing prints which are complementary in tone, but which feature contrasting designs and scales will help the look feel coherent – while also creating layers of depth and interest. Try Charlotte Gaisford's elegant Chandolin Flower fabric on curtains.

'I have lots of green fabrics in my collections and in my own home. I love the uplifting feeling that a swathe of fresh green can bring to a room, whether in curtains, wallpaper or soft furnishings. Furniture in contrasting patterns but similar colors pull it all together,' says Charlotte Gaisford.

8. Dare to go for a wall-to-wall green in the dining room 

Interior designers reveal their favorite shade of green paint, green in a dining room

(Image credit: Little Greene)

An easy way to introduce color to a living room is to go bold with your walls. Whether you opt for a bright paint color, or choose a wallpaper in a vivid green tone, you can really transform a room instantly and easily. 

For an optimistic space consider painting walls in vibrant, jewel-like peridot greens. Try walls in Sage & Onions, a shade from Little Greene's National Trust Greens collection, with a dado painted in the blue-toned Tea with Florence for a contemporary twist. 

And as the two colors most regularly seen together in nature, combining green and blue room ideas requires our eyes to do little, to no, adjusting, which is perfect for creating a feeling of harmony – even in small dining rooms.

9. Reflect nature with a whimsical wallpaper

Home office papered in Lake August Nasturtium

(Image credit: David Tsay/Otto)

Make working from home a more inspiring experience by papering the home office in a whimsical, uplifting green wallpaper. Here Lake August's Nasturtium wallpaper makes a real statement and gives a cocooning effect when used on walls and across the fifth wall – the ceiling. 

10. Brighten up am entryway with green

green wallpaper with a border in a hallway

(Image credit: Future / Simon Brown)

Including wallpaper among your hallway ideas not only helps bring visual interest to transient spaces, they are also a vehicle for showcasing your personality. Occupying only a small part of your home and one that is used for short periods of time, entryways are also the perfect location for those big patterns and color that might feel overwhelming elsewhere. 

Try a decorative green wallpaper complete with a border for an elegant, vintage feel. Here, the traditional green scheme gives this otherwise neutral entryway a light touch, despite the pattern-on-pattern approach.

11. Create an elegant, soothing sanctuary with green and pink

Green bedroom with a hanging fabric panel in Lewis & Wood's Coromandel linen

(Image credit: Future / Polly Wreford)

Conjuring scenes of romantic, flower-filled country gardens, pink and green is a natural pairing. The important thing is to pair whatever hue you choose with the right accent color, like the soft pink above, to create a feeling of flow throughout a room.

Try pairing warm, pale green hues such as Little Greene's Ulla with blush pink for a restful and romantic bedroom scheme.

12. Use green tiles to create an Art Deco-inspired bathroom 

Drummonds bathroom with green tiles

(Image credit: Drummonds)

Regardless of the size of your space, you can still have fun with an array of colors, patterns and bathroom paint ideas, as this stunning green bathroom shows. 

Conjuring the luxury and grandeur of the Jazz Age, emerald green was a popular shade in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, and was often used in glass products by the likes of Lalique glassware and Pilkington. Though not glass, these emerald green ceramic tiles contribute to a luxurious sleek feel in this bathroom, especially when teamed with luxurious brushed brass fixtures and fittings from Drummonds

13. Turn your bathroom in a vintage-inspired haven

Bathroom with Aspa Green wallpaper Sarah Vanrenen for Penny Morrison at The Fabric Collective

(Image credit: Penny Morrison / Mike Garlick)

For a more traditional bathroom scheme, switch the modern wet room look for a panelled bath and a decorative botanical wallpaper. ‘Green works very well in bathrooms as it reflects and complements the aquatic tones of water. We love using wallpaper in bathrooms to add a pattern and texture, which can have prepped or glass lining to prevent it getting wet,’ explains Penny Morrison, Founder and Design Director at Penny Morrison Studio

This Aspa design by Sarah Vanrenen for Penny Morrison at The Fabric Collective would be perfect for a country manor.

What color decor goes with green?

Green is a hugely versatile color which can pair well with all sorts of shades, but works particularly well with earthy, natural tones, as Ruth Mottershead of Little Greene explains.

'Green combines fabulously with earthy tones, along with paler shades like creams and stone, and darker, richer colors such as browns, blacks, cherry reds and ochre which can give a more dynamic effect.'

‘Used in its wide range of hues, green is incredibly versatile and can add drama or calm to a room,' adds Edward Bulmer. 'I also believe that because of its make-up, it forms a very reliable background for a whole range of other natural materials like wood, stone and terracotta. For this reason, it is often a very good choice for hanging pictures on.'

Mirroring the landscape, green and blue is also a combination that can work well in interiors, suggests Tricia Guild, founder and creative director of Designers Guild.

‘People feel nervous about teaming blue with green, but I believe it’s a quintessential pairing. Just imagine the landscape – the endless blue optimism of a summer sky against a green and pleasant land. It's a classic combination that evokes familiarity and comfort. Make it more dynamic by using glamorous fabrics, such as our Varanasi printed silk taffeta.’ 

When it comes to decorating with green in kitchens, pairing green with crisp white can be particularly effective.

‘Bright white is a great choice for creating crisp contrasts that will freshen and lift earthy greens. Two-toned kitchens have been in popular demand over the past year or so, not only combining colors but materials too. With bold color now materializing in kitchen design, using a two-toned palette enables you to add a bright shade without overwhelming the space,’ says Tom Howley, Design Director at the eponymous kitchen company

‘Another underrated combination to consider is light green and pink. A lush sage and blush combo are a match made in heaven for feminine bedroom scheme,’ say Rob Abrahams and Rob Green, co-founders of Coat paints.

How do you add green to a room?

If you are thinking of painting a room in green then consider the tone and warmth of the color as well as the position and lighting of the room. While many greens are beautifully neutral and work well in all sorts of situations, there are certain paint ideas which will work better in different rooms.

Energizing and uplifting, zesty lime, vibrant apple and botanical leafy shades are an uplifting choices for green kitchen ideas while greens with warm undertones, like olives as, are great for creating cozy green living rooms and for north-facing rooms. Alternatively, those at the cooler end of the spectrum such as soft mints and verditer shades are often well-suited to calming green bedrooms.

'Light greens are a great choice for north-facing rooms because of their warm undertones and are super adaptable, calming and reliably pair with both dark and neutral colors to create the perfect room combination,’ say Rob Abrahams and Rob Green, co-founders of Coat paints.

‘Dark greens are also a great choice for smaller spaces such as a narrow hallway or small bedroom. It may sound unusual to choose a dark shade for a small space, but it’s a great way to embrace the coziness that comes with compact areas. Try painting the walls, skirting boards and ceilings in one deep shade to soften the edges of the room to make it appear bigger than it is.’

Pippa Blenkinsop
Pippa Blenkinsop

Lover of all things vintage, floral and country, Pippa has been working in interiors media for 10 years. A graduate of Art History, and Style Editor for Period Living magazine, she is a nostalgic soul who is passionate about historic architecture and traditional craftsmanship. When she's writing about homes and gardens you'll find her pottering on her Gloucestershire allotment, Pippa's Plot, where she grows flowers for styling her own home and interiors shoots.