Decorating with green

Green is a soothing and rejuvenating colour, which is why it is often used in health spas. You can harness zesty limes to create an exhilarating and energising scheme or opt for toned down mint for a relaxing and restful atmosphere. Green is the ideal colour for a study, living room, bathroom or hallway, but if you are really a fan, you can make a green colour scheme work in any room of the house.

Decorating with green

Tips on using green

  • Keep a green colour scheme fresh by using plenty of white.
  • Use scatter cushions, a vase or candleholders to pick up a contrasting accent, but keep it to no more than ten per cent of the overall scheme.
  • For an austere study, team olive green with brass and dark wood.
  • Create an ephemeral and enigmatic scheme with phosphorescent chalky limes and smoky lavender.

Harmonising schemes with green
To create a harmonious colour scheme, combine green with colours adjacent to it on the colour wheel, for example apple green with bottle green, turquoise and royal blue.

Moving in the other direction around the wheel, you can create a harmonious scheme using organic colours like moss green with lime, deep ochre and terracotta.

For a more subdued colour scheme, use toned-down shades of the same harmonious colours. Using the colour wheel, select a paler shade of green and then use it alongside the colours adjacent to it on the same ring which will be of the same intensity and create balance.

Harmonious schemes work best when you don't use all the colours in equal measure, so save the brightest colour for an uplifting accent. If you want to incorporate wallpaper or patterned fabrics, try using botanical patterns featuring leaves or bamboo. Alternatively a simple geometric pattern combining harmonious colours can help the scheme hang together. Use fabrics and accessories to bring the component colours into the scheme.

Green in a contrasting scheme
For a modern and exuberant use of green, team it with accents from the opposite side of the colour wheel. Use lime green with a splash of violet, grass green with red, or mint green with candyfloss pink as an accent.

Paler shades can also work well in a contrasting scheme. Use the same trick of choosing a fainter tone of green and combine it with an accent from the opposite side of the colour wheel, making sure it is on the same ring as the shade of green you have chosen so that it is of equal intensity.

Dramatic colour combinations work best in larger scale floral prints or bold geometric patterns. When using a complementary palette, try painting three walls green and papering the fourth feature wall with a print that brings in contrasting colours. Combine three colours by using a split contrasting scheme, for example green with red and orange. Green contrasts with red and orange because they are on the opposite side of the wheel, but the warm colours harmonise with each other because they are nearly adjacent to on the wheel. Nature always offers inspiration, even for the most flamboyant colour schemes. Think of the combination of orange and green in a bird of paradise bloom or the red body and blue and green wings of a macaw.

Tonal schemes using green
For a calming, monochromatic colour scheme opt for three shades of the same colour. This is also known as a tonal scheme and uses colours that sit on the same segment of the colour wheel. These become progressively lighter as the colour is mixed with greater quantities of white. Add interest to a tonal scheme with a variety of textures, like a woollen throw, silk curtains and crushed or devorée velvet cushions.

This subtle combination of colours can create a serene atmosphere in a room like a study or guest bedroom where you do not want an over-imposing scheme. Use a neutral colour like beige for the carpet and white for the ceiling to make the room feel as spacious as possible. Foliage will give a green colour scheme a natural freshness so finish the room with fresh cut flowers or a house plant.