green color palette

Working With a Green Color Palette

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Green. It’s the most universally pleasing and yet one of the most challenging colors on the spectrum. We see green more easily than any other color.   Artificially, getting it on to fabric or dishes has historically been a nightmare as it is often chemically unstable and the color shifts over time. (One of the many reasons you still don’t see very many green cars on the road.) And yet, it is restful, relaxing, and generally a fabulous way to bring the outside in.

 So… with all the those shades of green that the human eye can detect you can see how there’s a lot of room for things to go slightly (or horribly) wrong aesthetically.  Here are a couple of simple tips to keep your green color palette on track.

Pick Your Favorite Nature Spot

Here’s a bit of Hawaii I captured with my camera and just some of the greens that are in the photograph

Here’s a bit of Hawaii I captured with my camera and just some of the greens that are in the photograph

  • If you are after a particular nature mood – tropical jungle, Scandinavian forest, Appalachian Spring, find an evocative photograph and stick to the colors in the picture. Mother Nature always gets her rooms right!

  • Keep strong prints and contrast colors to a bare minimum and focus on smaller designs and textures

  • Alternatively, limit patterns to a contrast color in the photograph (pink blooming trees for example) and go all out with a cherry blossom print that works with your theme.

What Kind of Green are You?

Not after a theme room? No problem, just stick to this basic separation of greens and you should do alright.

There is a huge range of green shades but like all colors on the spectrum it blends with adjacent colors – in the case of green, that means yellow on one end and blue on the other.  The majority of greens available on home goods or apparel fall pretty clearly into one end or the other. Olive greens on the yellow end:

A simple pattern of 4 shades of olive greens

A simple pattern of 4 shades of olive greens

 

And forest greens on the other:

The same pattern shifted to forest greens

The same pattern shifted to forest greens

 To confuse things, most  actual forests are shades of olive, but that’s not too important to remember.  Where you can easily get into trouble is mixing the two groups:

An unfortunate mix of yellow greens and blue greens

An unfortunate mix of yellow greens and blue greens

This one is two shades of olive and two shades of forest. It doesn’t work so great, does it?  Most people naturally fall into one or the other camp in terms of what they’re attracted to, maybe based on what era they were exposed to as a kid (the 60’s and 70’s were olive heavy (avocado carpet, anyone?) while the 80’s veered heavily into the blue side of green as did the 00’s with a grayed version.

If you’re shopping online you probably know that colors can vary a bit from what they look like on a screen. But they won’t be looking blueish green if they’re in the yellow green camp or vice versa (without someone doing some seriously bad Photoshop mucking).

 As you become more aware of greens you will probably begin to notice where things fall and be able to easily say no to something that’s not going to work. But it’s always a good idea to carry a photo or a small swatch of something that has the key color(s), like wrapping paper or fabric, if you’re going to be making big or highly visible purchases.

  I hope this gave you some useful ideas to add more green to your surroundings. Green is truly good for you!

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