There are a lot of colors that go with olive green from all across the spectrum, including bright pops of primary color to more sultry shades and neutral hues.
'Olive green is such a versatile 'neutral' that can venture between modern and traditional quite easily,' says Allison Lind, design director at Allison Lind Interiors. 'The trick to using this hue is choosing the right finish – go flat/matte for a more modern look, and add a bit of sheen for a more classic or traditional interior. This tone goes well with yellow, orange, blue, pink, and many more classic colors.'
Choosing the right colors that go with green isn't always easy, but these designers are here to help. Take a look at these 10 perfect pairings.
10 colors that go with olive green
The advantage of working with olive green is that the hue can be used to drench spaces for a more moody interior or can be used in small doses along with other tones to uplift a tired hallway, bedroom, or living room corner. This tone looks especially well in a traditional setup, and with wood tones.
Here are 10 best examples to use this versatile tone.
Decorating with neutrals is fairly easy as whites, beiges and greys allow any color to layer upon them. A good, soothing combination for the bedroom is olive green and white – the two tones with an inherently calming vibe to them.
'Olive green and white can create a fresh and natural color combination,' says Ginger Curtis, founder and CEO of Urbanology Designs. 'Ensure there is enough contrast between the two colors to avoid a dull or washed-out look. The richness of olive green can be complemented by the crispness of white, creating a balanced and visually pleasing effect. I love this combo a lot. It can be done in so many creative ways.'
'Experiment with different textures and patterns to add visual interest to the olive and white pairing,' says Ginger. 'For example, you could incorporate a textured olive green accent wall and pair it with white furniture or vice versa. Additionally, consider introducing patterns like botanical prints or geometric designs to enhance the overall aesthetic.'
Green and blue is a classic combination. Plus, many other colors go with blue, allowing an interesting layering in interiors, adding depth to the home. 'It's a pairing we often use as our neutral base,' say interior designers Jen and Mar, co-founders of Interior Fox. 'They are closely connected on the color wheel, so it's easy to introduce the two tones to create an illusion of more color without overpowering the space. Fresh, earthy, and completely versatile, you can't go wrong.'
'The trick is to tone up or down depending on the desired outcome,' say Jen and Mar. 'For a calming effect, opt for lighter colors offset by natural finishes, or for a more sumptuous scheme, choose darker shades. We find that darker hues add more shadows and different tones when the light hits and make the perfect backdrop for brass accents.'
Paint type: Water-based
Price: $70 for 3 liters
To create a calm, relaxed scheme, choose this mid-smoky blue paint with cool grey undertones in our smooth matt finish.
3. Other greens
Think tonal and create an interesting scheme by trying green on green. Many colors go with sage green, mint, teal, and more. Plus, a scheme layered with more greens will look refreshing, welcoming, and always on-trend.
'If your room calls for a mix of cool colors, consider layering different greens, beginning with olive as the darkest than building lighter with other greens in the same tonal family,' says Julia Mack, founder of Julia Mack Design. 'Begin with an ‘anchor’ like a green patterned area rug then build upward in the room focusing on multiple green textures in the same space. Consider a textural green wall finish or wallpaper to envelop the walls then move to a lighter version in a soft khaki green for upholstered furniture. What you will achieve is a soft, textural room filled with elegance and design impact.'
Olive green is a color that goes with yellow, and understandably so. The two hues are seen abundantly in nature and work perfectly well in any interior setting.
'A warm yellow would be a beautiful accent pop against the soothing green,' says Allison Lind, design director at Allison Lind Interiors. 'It can influence the vibe of the space – classic, bold, mid-century interiors can make olive and yellow feel like the most perfect pair. While in a more traditional space, I could envision olive wainscoting with a colorful muted garden of floral wallpaper above.'
Paint type: Acrylic
Price: $75 for 3 liters
Want to create a bright, welcoming, and refreshing interior? Consider this pastel green that can offset very well against green.
Bring the depth of olive green to the fore by pairing it with a delicate cream tone. In this neutral bedroom, the combination looks calming and sophisticated. ‘Olive green is a very strong yet quite muted color,’ says Fanny Abbes of New York-based The New Design Project. ‘So you can decide to make it the star of the show as the main accent and keep the rest very neutral.’
In this rental development project in Queens, the brief was to make the units exciting for a young, professional market. 'We wanted to emphasize how the space, regardless of size, can be fun and used cleverly by creating moments of interest through blocks of color, shapes, and a muted yet fresh color palette,' explains Abbes.
In this example from Chicago-based design firm, PROjECT, olive green’s moody quality is harnessed and emphasized for a bold look, with black and white checkerboard flooring against the olive green. The overall effect is sleek and elegant, sophisticated and dramatic.
'Olive green is comforting, sultry, and bold on its own, yet plays nice with nearly every color,' says Aimee Wertepny of PROjECT. 'Layered with a monochrome pattern like the Kelly Wearstler tile in this entry, green can activate a space and set the vibe high. An immediate mood enhancer in my book.'
Olive green is one of the most charming colors that go with pink. It's a classic pairing that crops up time and time again in modern interior schemes.
These two shades work so well because they create a sense of balance. Blush pink softens a green tone, while the warmer tones of olive green keep the palette feeling youthful and fun.
'When pairing olive green with pink make sure to avoid bubble gum pink as this pairing is already quite dated,' say Jen and Mar. 'Use moody or washed-out pinks if you want to pair the two together as it's a more timeless look.'
'Olive green and pink is a marriage made in design heaven,' says Julia. 'Think of olive green when selecting a sofa color because it will tonally ground your space, offering a hint of cool color then pair it with a soft blush wall color, like Farrow and Ball 231 Setting Plaster. Next, add pops of peaches and greens in artwork and other accessories like throw pillows and blankets. The result is a room that is anchored by olive green yet bright and vibrant with eye-catching pops of color.'
Recommended Primer & Undercoat: White & light tones
Price: $40 for 0.75 liters
Choose this dusty pink color with yellow undertones to add softness to your interior. It creates a wonderful backdrop to antique furniture and also works incredibly well when paired with other earthy tones.
Olive green also works well when paired with taupe, as in this example from House of Grey, where a dark olive green velvet bed looks all the more sumptuous against the wall. The shade on the wall is taken from the Visual Silence collection from House of Grey with Bauwerk.
'Olive green and taupe work together nicely as they are both neutral and earthy so there are many ways to use these colors together,' say Jen and Mar. 'Try using a taupe lime wash paint on the walls paired with olive green upholstery, such as a headboard or lounge chair. You can introduce a variety of wood tones with this pairing as well from framed artwork, furniture, and hardware.'
'Consider a soft taupe paint color for the walls like Benjamin Moore Silver Satin then add a light color palette of textural greens, focusing primarily on olive green for upholstery,' says Julia. 'Add light oak wood tones for flooring and furniture and textural white or khaki linen for window treatments which add lively interest, softness, and balance to the room.'
Orange is a great way to add a touch of warmth and depth to olive green. It provides a stark contrast, can be fun and playful, and encourages a retro vibe. Plus, olive green and orange can be used for color blocking walls. ‘We've recently been inspired by handcrafted modernism and pairing more organic colors and shapes with contrastingly strong, more brutalist lines,’ says interior designer Tanya Selway, co-founder of Stelly Selway.
‘Olive green is evocative of both the natural world as well as warmth and comfort, and makes for a statement-making background for oranges – particularly in complement to warmer tones in glossy or metallic finishes,’ says Tanya.
For a more dynamic contrast, olive green is a color that goes with red, burgundy, cherry, and coral – giving a room real zest and energy. ‘Being opposite sides of the color wheel, red and green are naturally complementary colors,' says internationally acclaimed interior designer Fiona Campbell. 'It’s important when decorating with complementary colors, particularly when using vibrant versions of them, that you allow one to dominate.'.
'When using red it's important to use the right shade of red, especially when pairing it with olive green,' say Jen and Mar. 'Otherwise it can look like a Christmas special, so we recommend using muted reds such as burnt sienna or even burgundy. If you love red and want to use it somewhere in the home, try a red picture frame or red paint inside of a cabinet or drawer.'
What colors go with olive green that you wouldn't expect?
Whether it’s paint, furniture, or even a plant, olive green is a beautiful addition to any color scheme. 'Green is one of our favorite colors to incorporate into projects,' says Britt Zunino, principal of Studio DB, who also has some suggestions for bolder color combinations with olive.
'Some of my favorite green color combinations include deep olive layered with pale lavender and a pop of acid yellow and/or cobalt blue,' she says.
'We recently covered the walls of a double-height living room in a soft minty blue-green,' says Britt.'The ceiling and crown molding were painted a few shades darker with the intention of creating a cozier space. I’m excited to incorporate poppy-red, deep forest green, and creamy accents to the room too.'
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Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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