Natural Beauty: How to decorate with Olive Green

Paint experts share their trade tricks for working this bang-on-trend shade.

This combo of green walls and rich-brown furniture looks confident yet classic. Paint the skirting in the same tone as the walls to score extra style points.


Add areas of black and white for a sophisticated and crisp look,’ suggests Judy Smith, consultant at Crown. ‘For a more unusual combination, try a flash of dusky pink or vivid turquoise. This could go on something as simple as a single chair or oversized vase.’

BeST FOrmaking a statement

‘Start in the bedroom, where olive green can help to create a serene environment,’ says Charlotte Cosby, head of creative at Farrow & Ball. ‘It’s also suited to rooms that overlook nature. The colours from the great outdoors will further enhance the green tones of the walls and create a relaxing outdoor feel in your home.’

BeST OLIVE GREEN PAINT FOr a serene and sophisticated backdrop

‘Olive green is a predominantly yellow shade of green, with a little black and a hint of green to it,’ says Nelly Hall, brand director at M&L Paint. ‘This makes it a particularly good shade for use on window frames, conservatories or garden rooms that lead to a predominantly green vista, as it draws the sight line through the frame.’

BeST FOra room with plenty of natural light

‘For a modern take on the trend, pair olive tones with brass accents to create an elegant yet minimalist decor,’ says Sue Kim, senior colour designer at Valspar. ‘Or, think bold and beautiful – team it with pink! The colours sit opposite each other on the colour wheel as a sophisticated duo and can work well in a bedroom.’

BeST FOrmixing with luxe materials like natural stone, brass and dark, textured woods

‘Paler olive has a grey undertone, so works naturally with soft greys – a combination that’s extremely calming and peaceful,’ says Judy Smith, consultant at Crown. ‘With this look, keep to a tonal palette and paint woodwork the same colour as the walls to give a harmonious feel – great for visually opening up spaces.’

BeST FOrpairing with yellow undertone creams such as ivory

‘This is a great colour for east-facing rooms,’ says Cathryn Helsby, marketing manager and colour expert at Earthborn. ‘These spaces often have green/blue undertones and it’s best to play to this. Similarly, olive would also work well in north-facing rooms: instead of competing with the lack of light, we recommend embracing it.’

BeST FOradding richnessto a small space

‘Mossy olive tones radiate an earthy richness that matches well with neutrals, crafting an aesthetic that’s both elegant and serene while showcasing how bold and calming shades can exist harmoniously together,’ says Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands. Neutrals with a pink and biscuit base pair well with olive shades as they have a warm undertone and bring a balancing light to the scheme.’



Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.