The 10 best colors that go with green – interior designers on how to build a palette around this timeless color
For colors that go with green to round out your decorating scheme, try these 10 ideas, favored by interior designers, that make the most of color theory
If you're a fan of verdant hues, luckily there's lots of colors that go with green to round out a color scheme for your home. No matter the look or feel you're trying to achieve, there will be some combination of colors that will bring the energy you're looking for to the space.
Of course, your choice of green is equally as important at the color you pair it with. Lime greens are zesty and energetic, while sages are calm and relaxing. Emerald greens are sophisticated and luxurious, while mint green can be playful and fun.
To find the best matches for every shade of green, we've talked to color theory experts about what colors they'd choose to match up with which shade, and how to get the most from these pairings.
What are the colors that go with green?
'I can wax poetic forever when considering green in an interior,' says interior designer Ghislaine Viñas. 'Green is one of those incredibly versatile colors that can be both soothing and activating – and used in combination can create a great balance.'
According to color theory, green is at the center of the color wheel so you can combine it with both warm and cool hues. However, there are certain factors you'll need to consider, including the base and undertones of the green color you choose.
'Greens with a blue base are impactful, so introducing soft tones of clay white and chalky grey in furniture and accessories bring a calming feel,' explains Sarah Spiteri, Livingetc's editorial director. 'Greens with a yellow undertone, such as olive, pop alongside gold or bronze, enhancing their warmth.'
These are our favorite colors to combine with green.
1. Green and other greens
It might seem an obvious place to start, but combining green with other shades makes for an easy color palette.
'Sage with emeralds, chartreuse, khakis and mint greens can work harmoniously,' explains interior designer Ghislaine Viñas. 'In this dining room, the focus is really on a jewel-toned jade green,' she adds, but the schemes pull on a range of other greens to complement.
There are lots of options for building a monochromatic color scheme like this, but hanging your design on black and white as a unifying design element is a smart choice, especially with green which works so well with these 'value' colors.
2. Green and red
You might be surprised to see red feature on this list - after all, isn't red and green the preserve of Christmas? 'When using colors like red and green you're approaching the design with the intent to make a statement,' says interior designer Katie Paulsen from Maestri Studio.
However, you're not bound to use the most basic red and green shades together, and the real joy in this combo is often found in the more interesting combinations of shades from each color family, as in this dining room by Maestri Studio where an emerald green is chosen as a color that goes with red.
'In this case, the space needed to be exciting but also needed to have a soothing quality that the family could always enjoy,' says Katie. 'We did this by softening the brighter values of the red and green by pulling in wood tones and by adding in warmth with the metal finishes. We knew that our best approach to using these bold colors was in knowing they will stand out but also keeping in mind that they need to feel like they belong.'
3. Green and yellow
Green and yellow are adjacent to each other on the color wheel, so rooms in this palette are harmonious and easy to live with. 'When pairing colors, we strive for a similar base - so there’s a relationship between shades,' explains architect and interior designer Noa Santos, founder of Nainoa and designer of this refined green living room. 'In this case the colors, though different, feel like they are a part of the same family.'
While bold, contrasting tones of green and yellow can work, for a modern way to use this combination, look to soft, tonal shifts in shades for colors that go with green. A chartreuse, for example, can be a great in-between tone of yellow-green that can bring a zesty energy, and is a color that goes with sage green well, while also transitioning gently between shades, keeping a restful aesthetic overall.
4. Green and blue
There's an old adage that 'blue and green should never be seen', but give a good interior designer a rule and they'll show you the exception to it, and how best to break it.
Blue and green has become a designer favorite in recent times, for the very reason that it's a color pairing that feels new and exciting, and not overplayed. Much like green and yellow, green is a color that goes with blue as a neighbor on the color wheel, making a tonal scheme again a great way to approach this palette.
'As long as you carefully pair the right tones, this color combination can be an unexpected, yet striking pairing,' explains Helen Shaw, Director at Benjamin Moore. 'By using the same tonal color group, the two hues will complement one another.'
While rich jewel-like greens and blues work together whether, more vibrant, primary and pastel tones can also work in the right scheme. 'The color scheme for this kitchen is fresh, bold, bright and fun,' says interior designer Cortney Bishop. They key to making this combination work? 'Grounding the pastel palette,' Cortney suggests. 'Be thoughtful to pick colors you can thread through the home in fabrics and other home accents - cabinetry, trimwork - for this.'
5. Green and pink
Green is a go-to color that goes with pink and it's a color combination that we are seeing gain popularity yet again, after its surge a few years ago.
'Green and pink are complementary colors, sitting opposite each other on the wheel. This means that the scheme is high impact,' explains Sarah. Get your proportions right for a truly restorative space - a generous amount of green against touches of pink is gorgeous. Nature-inspired patterns, such as florals or botanicals, are particularly effective when decorating with this combination.'
'A popular trend at the moment is painting the cabinets green and then pairing it with pink which brings in the nurturing quality and therefore perfect for a kitchen as it makes you warm and restful.' advises Tash Bradley, director of Interior Design at Lick Home.
If you love this combination but after it in its most subtle form, pair a light sage green or a creamy pistachio with a grounded deep pink.
'One of my all-time favorite color schemes is a sage green with an earthy pale pink. These colors are all luxuriously rich and soothing, inviting you to be cozy and relaxed in your home.' says color expert Annie Sloan.
6. Green and white
While you wouldn't necessarily count it in colors that go with green, white is the perfect companion for green hues. From deep forest greens to vivid limes, white will instantly add contrast and freshness to the scheme.
Now as you will know if you have ever faced the seemingly simple task of buying a 'white' paint, white comes in many forms and certain shades work better with certain greens.
As a rule of thumb cooler-leaning greens and yellow-toned greens like lime, fern greens, jade greens and emerald greens work best with crisp true whites. You have more choice with more muted, dusky greens like sage and pistachio. They will usually work both with a bright white to add a freshness to these more muted tones or an off-white for a more warm, cocooning feel.
Already feeling tempted to go green? Find all of the best green paints in our buying guide.
7. Green and orange
If you like warmer tones in your home, but want a color combo that still feels fresh and interesting, try pairing a deep forest green or a dark olive shade with a muted orange. You have that clear contrast here, so it still feels daring and has an impact but it's not too overwhelming.
There are of course more punchy variants of this combination – tangerine hues with chartreuse, emerald with bold terracotta, we would just always recommend adding a touch of into these bolder schemes to break up the colors.
'Pairing green with a vivid orange will give more energy to a space; contrasting complementary colors emphasizes the qualities of each and creates a bold statement look. I’d use a strong black, too, to give a solidly masculine mid-century modern scheme. It’s calming because it’s strong and looks very put together,' says Annie Sloan.
8. Green and grey
Neutral lovers that want to inject just a hint of color, this is the combination for you. Grey is a color that goes with green in a lot of different tones (just look out for shades that have a more cool grey undertone) but a very on-trend scheme is grey and sage green.
'Sage green is the optimal color choice right now. It harnesses the calming energy inherent in green but anchors it with an earthiness and depth not present in more vivid hues,' explains Sarah Spiteri.
Pair a cool light sage green with a really pale, cloudy grey for a contemporary combination that works particularly well in kitchens and bathrooms, or any room that might lack natural light. Then ground all those light, airy colors by adding just a hint of black, or as you can see in this gorgeous sage green kitchen idea, a dark marble or wooden accent.
9. Green and purple
Purple and green may sound like a bold look but as Sarah says, it's one that 'can be very charming, particularly in a smaller room where you want to make an impact and embrace coziness. Botanical greens and jewel-toned emeralds look amazing with plum - these colors are a wonderful foil for each other.'
Again, if you want to slightly tone down the combination bring in some neutral tones like soft greys and whites to make sure purple is a color that goes with green, without reading like a Halloween decorating scheme.
10. Green and wood
While, we know this isn't technically a color that goes with green, we could not ignore how well green works with those natural shades and textures. It makes sense since green is such a nature-inspired color to pair with other natural materials, so you will find that almost any shade of green looks lovely when combined with wooden accents.
But what is particularly on-trend is pairing green with pale woods. You can choose between light sage greens for a soft, subtle look or break up a dark and moody green with some light wood accents.
'Green goes very well with natural textures, and in particular pale wood. A sea-green works so well with raw timber, for instance,' explains Sarah.
'From a color pairing perspective, of course this harmony extends to combining green with neutrals. As mentioned, green sits in the center of the wheel so can be combined with both cold and warm tones. As an example - combining verdigris green with a chalky, blue-toned grey will create a cool, calm scheme, whereas pairing it with a warmer, yellow-toned beige will create an earthy, outdoorsy feel.'
What colors don't go with green?
As this expert advice hopefully proves, there's a right tone and shade of almost every color that will work with versatile green. However, there are some shades that can be challenging to put with green, just for the connotations these colour combinations have. This tends to particularly apply to a green shade mixed from primary yellow and blues.
With orange and purple, in the wrong combination, you can create a color scheme that's best suited to Halloween decorations, while primary red and green can struggle to escape the trappings of Christmas decor.
What is the opposite color of green?
The opposite color on the color wheel from green, sometimes called a complementary color, is red. In theory, this color combination goes together effortlessly, but the combination has connotations to Christmas that are hard to ignore. However, by changing up the tone of the red and green, you can still achieve a sophisticated scheme that proves red and green go together.
Hugh is the Deputy Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2023.
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