Color Psychology: Green

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Green kiwi fruit

The psychology of color is a useful tool in designing for the kinds of emotional responses you’re looking to create in some of the main spaces of your home. Some colors have dramatic, and sometimes even intrusive effects. And sometimes these effects are best kept in check with other colors.

One color that frees you up a bit on this front, and can often stand alone as well as a part of a tonal ensemble, is cool, natural, and positive green.

Green is a dominant color in the natural world and is therefore often associated with all things lush and wild.  It is the color of “yes”, and the color of “go”. It is a color we most associate with positivity, and invitation.  It denotes growth, and wealth. And because it is so well connected with the natural world, the color green communicates a unique sensitivity and organic soulfulness.

In short, green is a great starting point when you’re planning an interior design strategy around these kinds of emotions and atmospheres.

Moods and effects of green

Green shares the same sort of cool, calm, and collected nature of blue, with fewer associations with austerity and conservatism. It also is attached to the concept of fertility, being so closely tied to biological growth and to the lushness of the natural world.

The Green Man is a recurring figure in mythology through out the world, and to be found in carved form on many European churches, is a living embodiment of humanity’s connection to nature. At one point in history, green was the color of choice for wedding dresses, tied to many of these same cultural connections with fertility and prosperity. Green is a healing and nourishing color for many of the same reasons. It is a physical, earthy color.

Popular shades of green

Green can be lurid as well as being muted, like many other colors. Yet, the associations with positivity and welcome can be found across a wide spectrum from blue-green to chartreuse. Here are a few selected shades of green that add a touch of natural vitality to spaces.

In addition to the shades listed above, Kelly green is becoming increasingly popular for a variety of interior design projects. It has been named the “Color of June”, as experts agree that its elegant hues can enhance any room when paired with the correct tones.

Green in the living room

Combining the coolness of blue, and the warmth and cheer of yellow shades are a prime strategy for such a central, and vital location as your living room. When it comes to a balance, green can offer a space where it’s OK to sit contemplatively, as well as enjoy a movie night with friends and family.

Green can offer a relaxed, homey atmosphere, with green furniture against white, or other neutral colored walls.  Green accents, or accent walls can offer an unique, organic sense of contrast.

Green in the kitchen

Because so much of the foods that we enjoy are green, a green kitchen reminds us of where our food comes from. It also has an aesthetic value, with green grapes, green apples, and other green foods that can help to bring out any green accents you’ve decided to add to your kitchen. Green additions often bring out a subtle vibrancy in the earthy palettes of  stone countertops, and tile.

Even if you forgo green walls, appliances, crockery, and other additions, the presence of houseplants can be enough to give your kitchen the effect of natural goodness, and the implications of nourishment that go along with all of that.

granite countertops

Green in the bathroom

Much like blue, green is often associated with water, although with a warmer connotation. This makes bolstering feelings of comfort even easier in an area of the home where comfort and relaxation is paramount. Also, in an area of the house where you’re thinking about reducing your water use with low flow toilets and showers, use of green can add an outward expression of a sustainable lifestyle right where it counts.

Muted shades of green like sea moss, or clean paler shades like honeydew melon can bring a connection with the earth into focus, too. So can houseplants that like lots of humidity, like ferns, aloe vera, African violets, bamboo plants, and prayer plants .

Green in the bedroom

Because green is a color that is closely associated with the quieter side of nature, and all of the comfort that goes along with it, choosing green in the bedroom is a worthy direction to take. Green is highly conducive to natural comfort, and natural sleep, which can come in handy at the end of a busy day.

That connection with nature is in place too, and a green bedroom can add continuity from an en suite bathroom to which you perhaps also decided to add some green accents.

Green flooring & furnishings options

Green tones in flooring are common in stone flooring, and in porcelain and ceramic tile floors. With these varieties of floors, the green shades tend to be subtle, and earthy. If a bolder green is required, accent tile patterning with glass tile is a practical and stylish choice, too.

Green works very well with other colors in the earth tone spectrum. So, wood surfaces in cabinetry, flooring, and furniture are easily contrasted. Natural bamboo floors, or white oak flooring surfaces can add a touch of action-oriented yellow to the more laid back influences of muted green.

Why decorate with green?

Green offers the calmness of blue, and the energy of yellow, managing to achieve a balance between them. Green is lush, natural, and welcoming, and connects us subtly with our environment. In the 21st century, green has come to mean many things, not the least of which is as a symbol for sustainable living. The color green in a space can outward express the modern lifestyle, even as it provides a stylish atmosphere in any space of your home.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our color psychology interior design series: Purple.



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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.