'Don't pair it with grey' - and three other design secrets color expert Dabito swears by when decorating with green

Color expert Dabito shares the surprising ‘neutral’ he relies on to create the most joyful interiors

Dabito in his bed surrounded by throw pillows and blankets in different colors
(Image credit: OLd Brand New. Design by Dabito)

When we think of neutral colors, unavoidably our mind wanders off to creams and off-whites, right? While of course, they do have their time and place for beautiful minimalist interiors, we tend to go for these barely there colors because we’re nervous about something with a bit more punch. We might be worried about choosing a bolder color thinking it will look too strong, or that we’ll get bored of it too quick, or that we won’t know what to pair it with. And so we go back to the same old traditional neutrals instead. 

However, when I spoke to one of Livingetc's favorite designers with color, Dabito, he told me he had a different vision of what a neutral can be. '‘Green is neutral for me,’ he explains. I asked him how he uses this color in his designs, and what colors go with it best. As far as color trends go, it's a failsafe way to give your modern home a more uplifting feel. 

How Dabito decorates with green

white bedroom with green feature wall behind bed

(Image credit: Old Brand New. Design by Dabito)

Dabito is the sort of designer who makes you rethink everything you know about decorating with color. Designer, photographer, author, and color expert, he creates interiors that are maximalist and full of joy with bold color combinations that work in such harmony that he seems to possess a secret the rest of us don’t know about. 

‘Green is a very soothing, calming, color to play with. It reminds you of nature, it’s everywhere,’ Dabito explains. ‘Green is one of the colors that I think is so easy and natural. There’s so much versatility. You can go dark for a rich effect, or lighter with a pistachio. Sometimes I have to catch myself if I use it too much,’ he says.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Green is probably one of the most natural colors that we will subconsciously associate with the outdoors, and therefore incredibly easy on the eye. While it would be hard to name a color that will clash with it, Dabito does have a few favorite colors that go with green.

Dabito in green and peach kitchen

Dabito is a designer, artist, and author of Old Brand New: Colorful Homes for Maximal Living. His use of bold color and eclectic maximalism cemented him as an always refreshing and ever-evolving influence in the world of interior design. Dabito's guiding design philosophy is that everyone can harness the power of color and meaningful objects to tell a moving and personal story in the home.

What colors go best with green?

green kitchen cabinets with black and white tiled backsplash and peach wall

(Image credit: Old Brand New. Design by Dabito)

You might be a bit unsure when I say green can really work paired with anything. In fact, you might think it can be overwhelming. But looking through Dabito’s designs, you will see it in a variety of combinations that create such a beautiful look that's both joyful and uplifting, but also soothing and inviting. ‘In my work and throughout my life, the colors I always gravitate towards have been greens and peachy orange colors,' explains Dabito, going on to add that green and yellow, and green and blue, work like a charm together. 

When choosing what colors to put next to each other, I learned that the tone can be a deciding factor. ‘I love playing with warm and cool tones,’ says Dabito. If you’re not sure about pairing colors with green as your neutral, ‘choose colors that are not too vibrant, or too saturated, or aggressive. If you’re just starting to dabble with color that’s a good first step’.

For those of us who might overthink about what would be the best green to pick, I had to ask about Dabito's go-to paint brand that he goes back to again and again for beautiful greens. ‘Currently, I’m into Backdrop, a company that's new to the scene and they have these really beautiful palettes of green,’ Dabito tells me. A few of his best green paints from the brand are Kismet for a darker tone, and for softer, more neutral greens that can be easily paired with other colors, Lawn Party or Drive-Thru Safari

Are there any color combinations to avoid?  

bathroom with white marble and green feature wall

(Image credit: Old Brand New. Design by Dabito)

Of course, I had to know if there were any colors that we absolutely must not pair with green, and the answer was surprisingly encouraging - a plain and simple ‘no’. ‘People get terrified of mixing color. The thing is, colors have a magical way of all working together. You look at nature, flowers, the world, it’s all out there, it all works,’ Dabito says, and I’m so ready to take this as gospel because it will just make decorating so much easier. 

There is, however, one color that he would avoid, and if you’re familiar with his soulful interiors, you will immediately understand why. ‘The one color I would say is not my favorite is grey,' he notes. 'I’m talking a light grey. A deep, rich, warm charcoal grey is different but I don’t ever use a light grey, it reminds me of air pollution and smog.’ 

So, if the only color that might not be the best to use would be light grey, and we know really anything else might work, how do we decide on our final color palette that goes with our new neutral? Sometimes, having too much choice poses its own challenges. ‘I tend to not overthink things,’ explains Dabito. ‘There’s something liberating about not being stifled by overthinking. That’s why people are scared of color and decorating because they’re overwhelmed, overthink, and then they don’t do it. Just do it, make it happen, and then edit or review.'

Now that’s really liberating encouragement right there: pick your favorite green, start thinking of it as a neutral, and if you’re nervous, start small, with accessories, accents, or just one wall. Soon enough you’ll see your interior come to life, and you might not want to look back.

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Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.