By Rhoda Parry
Green rooms promise to renew your connection to nature and is said to evoke feelings of balance, vibrancy and good fortune. It comes to life with plenty of natural light but can also work in a dark narrow space.
See: Decorating with green – get back to nature with a fresh palette
‘It’s all about what you pair it with,’ says Judy Smith, color consultant for Crown Paint. ‘Greens with a blue base are impactful colors, so introducing softer tones of clay white and chalky grey in furniture and accessories and keeping to a light, natural flooring will help to balance a scheme and add a calming quality.’
Meanwhile, greens with a yellow undertone such as olive pop alongside metallic gold or bronze touches that enhance their warmth and give them shine. ‘My go-to colors are green with a touch of gold,’ says the artist and designer Margit Wittig.
‘I've worked with chartreuse, emerald, turquoise and a pop of fuchsia pink. The use of color in lighting adds character to a room: it's like creating jewellery for the interior.’
1. Choose a sophisticated deep green for a kitchen
‘I first used Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green in my own tiny kitchen in London,' says Henriette von Stockhausen, co-founder of VSP Interiors. ‘I was amazed how well it worked in a small space even though it’s so dark. This rich tone defines a space and almost makes the walls disappear. It works in contemporary settings as well as very traditional spaces and is wonderful backdrop for art – gilt frames have never looked better.’
See more green kitchen ideas in our inspiring picture gallery.
2. Or pick a cool green for a busy, smaller space
Switch up your scheme by looking at existing pieces with fresh eyes. Kitchen cabinetry is an ideal vehicle for a color. Here Neptune’s Henley kitchen is painted in Sage – a light green – perfectly suited to country kitchens and works well with beams and chunky white ceramics. If you want to add a contrast color, a pop of raspberry pink will enliven a space.
3. Pick out a green detail for a living space
Add a pop of green on furniture. Deep colors are the way to go this season and work especially well against a light backdrop.
Celebrated interior designer Nina Campbell is a big fan of using green in interiors but counsels approaching using it with caution, suggesting that it's at its most powerful when used to add a finishing touch to a special piece of furniture or one specific area of your room.
Nina Campbell reveals how to use green in interiors at greater length in our dedicated feature.
4. Or go green-on-green for high impact
5. Bring outdoors in with a leafy green wallpaper
Connecting to nature is more important than ever, and you can achieve this by using touches of green in your rooms. Here, the green and white scheme gives this space a light touch, despite the pattern-on-pattern approach.
Wallpaper and fabrics by Rapture & Wright at The Fabric Collective.
6. Choose green for a soothing entranceway
Magnolia founder and HGTV's Fixer Upper star Joanna Gaines is also a big fan of using green, and gave away her tips for using green recently – the most important being to use tones inspired by nature. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't contrast it with bolder shades.
While green is widely regarded as one of the easiest colors to decorate with - you can pair various shades of it with just about any other color - it’s also thought that green rooms make us feel positive.
If the ceiling heights and aspect allow it (ideally, tall in the first case and north/north-east in the last), then create a wow factor by choosing one of the color’s more high-impact hues.
7. Make a dark hallway lighter by using green on white
If your hallway – or any other room – is light-starved, a great way to introduce soothing green is as an accent within a wallpaper, with the background a bright, light-reflecting, space-enhancing white. Adding a contrasting rug as in the green room idea above gives the space added interest and edge.
8. Create unusual combinations with green
It’s not in everyone’s power to mix patterns in a room with colors successfully, so Tricia Guild, founder and creative director of Designers Guild suggests choosing three or four shades, one of which is green.
‘Always remember that color and pattern is a reflection of your personality so be brave and embrace it. I would also suggest keeping floors and ceilings neutral or white to prevent a space from becoming overwhelmed.
'If you are drawn to a varied color palette, I would suggest you try and keep the look tonal and use lots of different textures within that palette – just think of a rich velvet pile, lustrous silk, smooth cotton or a crisp linen – each texture brings with it its own quality and captures light differently.’
9. Pick a warm green to raise the temperature
Soothing olive green brings a warm, enveloping and earthy aesthetic to any space – and works particularly well in rooms with good natural light as the sunlight enhances and warms the softer tone, almost making it glow, says Judy Smith of Crown.
But research recently carried out by Oxford University and paint manufacturers Valspar revealed another aspect to the color: it makes the room feel two degrees warmer. Perfect, in other words, for a space that you want to feel cozy, such as a bedroom, or one that's starved of warm natural daylight, such as a room that faces north or east.
10. Choose green as your backdrop for bolder shades
'Pale green makes a beautiful, almost neutral, backdrop against which to showcase bolder colors,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens.
'And, as you can see in the picture above, taken from one of our decorating photo shoots, it goes with almost any other color. The only visible architectural element of this room, the door frame, is painted in a putty pink, which is the exactly the same tone as the green; this allows for bolder colors to be used for the accessories, which are the focal points of the room.'
11. Choose an intriguing green for the floor
‘Key Shadow’ designed by Suzanne Sharp for The Rug Company is a handknitted rug, that shows that green works on the floor too. Here the zigzag design contrasts boldly with the wall color making a grand statement in a large room.
How can I make my green rooms look good?
To make green rooms look good, it's important to do a little in-room research first. To begin with, consider the room's natural light. Is it a cool, east- or north-facing light that the room gets or a warm one? Knowing this will help you choose a balancing shade – warmer ones for cooler rooms and cooler ones for warmer rooms.
Next, consider the mood you want to create – cozy and enveloping, in which case a darker green will suit – or light and airy, in which case you will want to choose a paler shade.
What colors complement green?
All colors complement green – including brights, like red, cool tones, like blues and naturals, such as browns. However, choosing accent colors – whether that is the green or another color – needs to be done carefully to ensure there's harmony, which is what green is all about, rather than contrast.
You use our guide to using the color wheel for more help with this.
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