Color Theory

Living with Green

Lucky green, plucky lime and sassy sage, March is all about green.   And so apparently is this entire year according to those universal home-interior color experts. All paint manufacturers have chosen a shade of green as their color of the year.

And with good reason.  Green is the color of calm, that calm that nature gives to us.  Green is the color of health giving life, of plants that sustain us and of the chlorophyl that nourishes trees.  Studies have shown that our blood pressure reduces when we look at it and when we eat it.  Amazing to think about.

I have always had green in my life.  I was born with the color in my eyes and I like to live surrounded by it; on my body, in my gardens and in my home. But there are some tricks to using green around you.  Too yellow and it will suck the life out of most complexions, and too bright in a room, painting or quilt, it will look like you stepped into a cartoon.  The trick is to use a complex green, a green that has a bit of its compliment red contained in the mix.

For picking a green for a room color or craft project DON’T look at the greens on the paint palette (or straight off the color wheel), but instead look at the grays or browns that have a ‘green tint’ to them.  In large amounts those muted tones will read green. 

Know that when any paint color as it lightens gets cooler and more stark.  This is due to the presence of titanium dioxide, calcium dioxide or other fillers that help make the paint opaque.  Those fillers have a gray cast to them so when you reduce the green pigment the gray takes over. This means you may need to jump to a different shade of green if you don’t want a pale shade to lose all its warmth and look like mint ice cream, a sometimes depressive color to live with.

When pairing additional colors with your green know that they will stay more subtle if you coordinate them with other like-colors such as additional shades of green or blues. 

If you want the green color to intensify, pair with shades of its compliment of red; russets, red-browns, red-violets.


I am planning to repaint the trim in my kitchen and dining room this spring.  It has been a darker gray-green that we loved but I am lightening it a bit to give the room a refreshed look.  I have chosen several gray greens and am currently auditioning them in the room, hanging the swatches in different lights and checking them out as the day light progresses and wanes.  All are good I think.  What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Living with Green”

  1. Green and blue are my favorite colors. I am getting a new sectional couch and want a green one but am having trouble finding one. I hope the couch people get on the green bandwagon soon!

    1. No doubt Sue…once those colors are sent out into the universe the fabric makers start doing it too. If not right there on the showroom floor, I bet one could be ordered in green real soon! Thanks for commenting.

  2. I always enjoy reading your posts! However, I truly doubt my blood pressure goes down when I eat spinach! But I will take that into consideration the next time I eat something green. Happy Almost Spring!

    1. HA ha ha!!! I think we need to eat a LOT of greens and consistently to get the blood pressure down, something most of us have a hard time doing! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  3. Hi Jane,
    I should have consulted you when trying to find a green for the walls in our kitchen! Miss you!

Leave a Reply