Decorating With Green
How to Add a Little Green
Perk up a wallflower room with strategic hits of this vibrant color.
- Start with the floor. If you want one big burst of green, choose a rug. It is usually less expensive than other sizable furnishings and can be easily moved from room to room when you’re looking to shake things up. Opt for a style with multiple shades of green so it will better coordinate with the rest of your stuff.
- Bring on the accessories. Just a few well-chosen pieces will give you a green fix. And you can add and subtract items depending on how much green you want. Real Simple placed a green runner on the console, set the table with olive-colored dishes, and framed scraps of green-patterned wallpaper.
- Don’t forget the blossoms. Consider green (or greenish) flowers. Forsythia branches, which bloom yellow before sprouting bright green leaves, look great on the console. The Billy buttons, arranged in a light green vase on the table, can last up to two weeks. Also try Lenten roses, which have soft green flowers and foliage.
How to Add a Lot of Green
An overwhelming task? Nah. Putting together an all-green room is easy, and the result is refreshingly chic.
- Mix shades. Paint the walls your favorite green, then introduce other tones elsewhere. “In music, you want harmony,” says New York City interior designer Celerie Kemble, author of To Your Taste (Clarkson Potter, $45, amazon.com). “It’s the same with decorating. If everything is one hue, it’s blah.” Temper strong greens with mild ones, says Guido-Clark. “Lime looks beautiful with forest or olive,” she says―as shown here.
- When it comes to incorporating patterns, consider scale and motifs. Decorating with multiple patterns isn’t as daunting as you might think. To create a layered look (not an optical illusion), “combine large-scale prints with small ones, and florals with geometrics,” says Kemble. “It’s a game of balance.”
- Vary textures. Heavier materials, like the velvet on the bench and the headboard and the rug’s densely woven wool, ground the busy patterns.
- Add a natural touch. Place moss in a vessel lined with plastic wrap. It should last for several weeks.
Four Gorgeous Shades of Green
- 1. Ralph Lauren Paint in Sea Grass #ML15 (from $28 a gallon, ralphlaurenpaint.com for stores). You can’t go wrong with this understated green. Like beige with a twist, it provides a subtle backdrop with a hint of color. “Green is great for color-phobes, as it can be surprisingly neutral,” says Jessica Becker, a New York City interior designer with her own firm, Jessica Becker Designs.
- 2. Valspar in Lovely Green #6009-9 ($26 a gallon, lowes.com for stores). Slightly more saturated than option number one, this milky green tone would look fantastic in a kitchen with crisp white trim.
- 3. Farrow & Ball in Minster Green ($80 a gallon, farrow-ball.com). Since this almost-black forest green is so dark and intense (and somewhat pricey), use it sparingly―on one wall in a powder room or a den, for example.
- 4. Benjamin Moore in Spring Meadow Green #2031-40 ($57 a gallon, benjaminmoore.com for stores). The boldest of the bunch, this brighter variant of pea green is ideal for when you really want to make a statement. It pairs well with dark wood trim.
Four Foolproof Color Combinations
For a natural look:
Moss green and soft blue (shades reminiscent of forest and sky) are a terrific match. “When in doubt, stick with nature―bad color pairings don’t happen there,” says Laura Guido-Clark, a color consultant in Berkeley, California.
For a soothing look: A lot of spas use sea-foam green and chocolate brown―for good reason. Try painting the walls chocolate and the trim sea foam in your bathroom or bedroom and rest easy.
For a fresh look: Consider the classic Rugby-shirt twosome of Kelly green and bright white. “The green is such an exciting color,” says Guido-Clark. “And when you pair it with white for contrast, you give it a chance to sing.”
For a playful look: Don’t worry about your room resembling the pages of the 1980s Preppy Handbook. This duo of lime green and soft pink brings a cheery, light-hearted appeal to a bathroom, a nursery, or a playroom.