What Does the Color Green Mean (Interior Design Guide)

Find out what the color green means for interior design by looking at a variety of rooms uses the color for paint, decor, cabinetry, and furniture.

Kitchen with mint green cabinets and white countertops with butcher block island

When designing spaces, one of the most important factors people decide on would be the colors. Some people tend to stick to their favorite colors. Some prefer “safe” colors, such as neutrals and monochromes. Some prefer to choose trendy colors or even refer to the “Color of the Year” to decide their color scheme, while others tend to choose colors based on their associated meaning or the feelings they invoke.

Green is probably one of the most common colors we can see in nature and is mostly associated with nature as well. As such, green has always been associated with things related to nature, such as life, renewal, and nature itself. As with many other colors, green has many different meanings and associations, depending on culture, and also has different psychological effects.[toc]

Green Color Meaning

Nature – green is most commonly found in nature, so it is most often associated with all things nature, such as life, growth, renewal,  birth, rebirth, environment, etc. It is no surprise that Sustainable Design is alternatively called “Green Design”

Wealth / Generosity – this usually applies to the USA & other cultures that use green for their monetary notes. In relation to this, green is also associated with green, envy & jealousy.

Good Luck – for Ireland and similar cultures, green is associated with good luck and good health.

Optimism – in graphics and signage, green is often associated with positive movements; like when stock price rises, they are marked green. When the traffic light is green, it means go, etc.

Psychologically, green is a calming & soothing color, and it encourages positivity & healing (both mentally and physically). In fact, there was a study that investigated the effect of window views on patients recovering from abdominal surgery by Roger S. Ulrich, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University. In his study, he found that hospital rooms that overlook trees (green) recovered faster & had fewer complications than those that were only able to stare at a wall.

Other similar studies also show how simply depicting nature in art or photos and placing them in a room helps relieve anxiety and the need for pain medication. (source: http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr01/greengood.aspx)

Some studies also show that seeing green/nature helps in overall mental health, improving positivity, performance, and mood & lowering stress levels. Studies by Terry A. Hartig, Stephen Kaplan, Rachel Kaplan & Frances E. Kuo are some great references citing the positive effects nature has on people.

Depending on the shade of green you use and the colors you combine it with, green will have a different effect and meaning as well. For example, bright lime green will invoke positivity, cheerfulness, and youth, and mossy green is more somber and calming, while olive is more elegant and earthy. 

What Color Goes with Green

Bedroom with yellow green painted walls and window seatGreen is easy to use as our eyes are used to seeing it, and it takes up more space in the spectrum, which is visible to the human eye. Even if it isn’t the main color, you can easily inject greens into your space without making it look out of place.

A great example of such is adding plants – the green surprisingly doesn’t compete with the existing colors, no matter where you put it. However, different combinations with green also have different effects & meanings. It also depends on what shades of green you use. Below are some colors often combined with green and their associated meanings/effects:

  • Blue – combining blue with greens will definitely mimic the feel of nature and have a calming effect. Greens & Blues are often used on interiors that want to give a fresh, sea/beach/tropical theme.
  • Browns / Beige – often associated with organic materials. When combined with sage green or other warm greens, it has a soothing & calming effect. Using more muted greens with brown and beige can also give a charming, shabby, chic effect.
  • Red – is often associated with Christmas, especially when using basic greens & red, but this combination will never go wrong as they are complementary colors. Do try experimenting with different shades of green and red to achieve the desired effect.
  • White – white goes well with any color, but combining it with greens usually produces a bright, crisp & cool feel, especially if you use cool-toned greens such as mint green and kelly green
  • Yellow – using brighter and lighter greens & yellows together gives off a youthful & fresh vibe, while using darker yellows and greens produces a somewhat antique/vintage feel to it.

For more ideas about finding complimentary shades that go with green, visit our page about matching colors using a color wheel.

Green Interior Design Ideas

Here are some examples of green being used in a variety of designs.

Room with yellow lamp accents, rug, green walls and wood flooringThis living room looks fresh and inviting by utilizing a sage color palette combined with white trim, colorful accent decor, and hardwood flooring.

Green themed room with white love seat and green area rugThis bright, modern living room features green throughout with a horizontal striped green accent wall and matching armchairs with a bright area rug.

Room with white wainscoting, cabinet and wood tableThe living room paint colors shown here feature white wainscoting combined with dark forest green color to create a relaxing ambiance. White-framed picture windows provide a lot of natural light, and a painted white ceiling and light wood hardware floor help keep the room looking bright.

Kitchen with farmhouse sink, faucet in brass finish and stacked platesThe color works well with cabinetry and is fitting for cottage or farmhouse-style aesthetics.

Single wall kitchen with muted green hued cabinets, exposed ceiling beams and dining setThis transitional kitchen looks beautiful by combining muted sage-painted cabinets with lovely French doors in white with an exposed beam ceiling.

Kitchen with rainforest green granite countertops and cherry cabinetsThis kitchen features gorgeous granite countertops with cherry wood cabinets and hardwood flooring.

Formal dining room with green colored walls, crystal chandeliers and cream chairsThis luxury dining room is well suited to use a neutral green for its main paint color and white wainscoting with white French doors and dark wood flooring.

Bedroom with green pattern wallpaper and wooden bunk bedsThis kid’s bedroom offers blue-green pattern wallpaper with mint green wall paint and light wood floors to create an attractive layout.

Walls in olive green shade, dark wood floors and green accent pillowsThis inviting guest bedroom paint color showcases an olive-hued accent wall, with the rest of the walls in an off-white color combined with dark wood floors. Other accents, such as the pillows and indoor plants, tie the styling together.

Bedroom with sea foam color, white bed and chest of drawersA seafoam paint color partnered with white trim and white furniture brings a light and airy atmosphere to the space, which is further complemented by large double doors leading to a small balcony.

Room with wall decals of flowers and four poster bedThis bright kids’ bedroom features a fresh green color painted with a painted flower mural and a large canopy bed.

Bedroom with dark green football field painted wall and wooden bureauThis fun kids’ bedroom is a football lovers’ dream, with a large mural of a green football field that wraps around the room.

Green bathroom with pedestal sink and towel hooksA bathroom can be an excellent place to use a green color palette. This small bathroom uses yellow-green paint with white wainscoting and faux white plantation shutters to create a soothing ambiance.

Bathroom with green mosaic tile wall and awning windowMosaic tiles in different shades of green in the bathroom create a dramatic backdrop that provides a relaxing feel to the space.

Bathroom with horizontal green plank walls and floral shower curtainsThis small bathroom uses horizontal wood planks that are painted in pine colors with a white tile shower/tub and white vanity. A large mirror, adequate lighting, and a window over the tub help to keep the space looking fresh and bright.

Bathroom with tropical wallpaper, carrara marble alcove bathtub and window blindsTropical wallpaper is one way to bring a touch of green into your interiors. There are a variety of wallpaper prints to find a style that suits your personal preference.

Man cave with home wet bar and poker tableA sage wall paint makes a soothing backdrop for this attic man cave, complete with a poker table, home wet bar, and media center.

Light green basement with light beige carpet and casement windowsA basement can also benefit from a light tea-green color theme combined with light beige carpet, white trim, and white casement windows.

Home office with neutral green theme and wooden desk This home office features light olive-colored accents in the wall paint color, a green-colored fabric side chair, a small area rug, and indoor plants to create a soothing work environment.

Room with white overhead cabinets, acrylic chair and windowA light sage wall paint complements this white built-in desk and dark hardwood flooring to make a cozy work corner in this open space.

Hallway with bright green wall artworkPaintings are another way to bring a touch of green into your interiors.

Hallway with walls in muted green, white painted moldings and staircase with wooden railingsThis home’s hallway & entryway paint uses a muted seafoam color with white trim on one side and an olive paint color leading upstairs.

Green metal interior door and black peninsula with chairThis apartment brings a sense of style to the space by using a dark greenish door and a combination of burgundy and blue-green dining room chairs. Visit this page for more front door paint colors to find one you’ll love for your home.

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