Benjamin Moore's Spanish Olive is a subtle take on green that feels 'effortlessly sophisticated' – here's how to decorate with it

This gray-green paint is subtle and restful – a great alternative to classic neutrals

pale green paint schemes
(Image credit: Caroline Riddell Interiors, Interior by Heidi Caillier Design, photograph Haris Kenjar, Sara Tramp)

Of all the most recent color trends, green stands out as one that designers can't seem to get enough of. From deep forest greens to light variations of this color, we're seeing so much popularity for this nature-derived hue.

There are many reasons why green is retaining its popularity throughout home decor. It's known for its ability to create calming and restful schemes which is something we all want more of in 2024, while it can also be an incredibly versatile color that pairs well with many different interior design styles. 

While there are endless green paints to embrace, Benjamin Moore's popular paint Spanish Olive is one that's currently trending, and for good reason. This gray-toned green is the perfect subtle nod to this tranquil color trend. Without being overly saturated, it's a liveable and soothing paint that serves almost as a neutral. 

What color is Spanish Olive?

'Spanish Olive is a beautiful take on both green and gray tones,' explains interior designer Kathy Kuo. 'It's softer and subtler than a full-on olive green color and it also feels brighter and more uplifting than a traditional mid-tone gray paint. I love that this light green feels both nature-inspired as well as effortlessly sophisticated.'

Helen Shaw, Director of Color Marketing at Benjamin Moore elaborates, noting the soothing qualities of this paint color: 'With its faded olive notes, Spanish Olive offers a touch more character than your basic gray. The dusty hue connotes relaxation and peace. Sitting in the corner of the color spectrum, it symbolizes balance and harmony.'

Spanish Olive is a versatile color that can be used throughout the home, but Helen says it's best placed in well-lit rooms: 'Due to the presence of gray in this hue, it is best suited to south-facing rooms where natural light fills the space.'

Helen Shaw
Helen Shaw

Helen Shaw is part of Benjamin Moore's UK division. Color expert and international marketing director, Helen and her husband Craig are founders of Shaw Paints, acquired by Benjamin Moore in 2020.

1. Provide contrast with light or dark accents

Small shower room with green walls and marble enclosure

(Image credit: Caroline Riddell Interiors)

For a pared-back scheme that lets this green hue act as the focal point of a room, keep things simple by pairing Spanish Olive with either bright white paints or a deep charcoal color for contrast, as Helen advises: 'This mid-tone pairs beautifully with a soft crisp white and a deep slate to create an elegant, contemporary scheme.'

Interior designer Luis Carmona also recommends these contrasting pairings, adding: 'Because Spanish Olive can resemble taupe, I would pair this paint color with either a much lighter shade, such as Alabaster, or a darker, cooler shade like Temptation. The brighter and darker shades will help balance Spanish Olive, counteracting some of the tones that come through.'

'Painting the ceiling or baseboards a lighter paint can help accent Spanish Olive, almost framing out the space. If considering a darker shade, more specifically some shade of gray, try using it as an accent color in cabinetry. The darker color will act as an anchor in the space allowing Spanish Olive to fill in the rest of the space with its lighter, almost creamy color.'

Luis Carmona
Luis Carmona

Luis Carmona is the owner and lead designer at VERDE Interior Design. With almost two decades of experience in the creative space (interior design, advertising, and marketing), Carmona gets to blend his many passions into one design studio, offering services to commercial and residential clients in both Houston and Dallas.

2. Create a calming bedroom

bedroom with pale green walls

(Image credit: Sara Tramp)

Since Spanish Olive is known for creating a calming feel, it makes an obvious choice for a bedroom, helping you create a space that feels restful, yet provides more interest than other classic neutral colors such as white or gray. 

'Because it is a bit warmer with a tint of yellow, Spanish Olive would be great to use in bedrooms,' says Luis Carmona. 'The color is muted and light enough where coverage on all four walls would add a nice, subtle color to the space without it being overpowering. The use of natural or more yellow light will bring out the warmer hues in the paint while still keeping the space looking fresh and not dingy.'

To really lean into a cozy look, opt to color-drench a bedroom in this paint, as Helen suggests: 'For a fully immersive experience paint the ceiling of a room, in addition to the walls – this will achieve an enveloping sensation transforming the room into an oasis.'

3. Add a natural look to the kitchen

Small sage kreen kitchen with patterned tiles and terracotta floor with marble worktops

(Image credit: Interior by Heidi Caillier Design, photograph Haris Kenjar)

Green kitchens are replacing ever-popular navy blue, and while this prominent kitchen trend focuses on richer, forest green shades, opting for Spanish Olive instead is a far more subtle take on this trend. Whether that be on the kitchen walls or the kitchen cabinets, the end result will feel neutral, yet with more warmth and interest than pared-back colors such as beige or gray. 

The added benefit of embracing a green kitchen is that it helps establish a tranquil feel thanks to its links to the natural world, which is often an appealing quality for highly frequented spaces such as the kitchen. Opt to pair this shade of green with plenty of other natural materials such as wood, which will further achieve an organic, timeless look. 

If you're looking to decorate with green but don't want to make too much of a statement, Spanish Olive is a great choice. Style it in pretty much any room throughout the home, and by keeping it simple by pairing it with crisp white and natural wooden accents you can't go wrong. 

Paint & Color Editor

Emily is H&G's Paint & Color Editor, covering all things color across interior design and home decor. She joined the team in the summer of 2023, having studied Fashion Communication at university before working in various creative roles ahead of making the leap into interiors. She lives in Glasgow where she loves admiring the city's architecture, frequenting her favorite coffee spots, and sourcing vintage furniture for her tenement apartment. Emily's interior style is inspired by the simplicity of midcentury design, mixed with more playful modern pieces that inject small (but bold) doses of color.