How to Update Forest Green with Paint Colour
Countertops / flooring / tiles / bathroom fixtures, toilets, tubs / etc…
In the late 80’s and early 90’s forest green was a hit in almost every home – especially when paired with oak, burgundy, and the Dirty Dancing theme song playing softly on the 8 track. However, forest green is not the most popular colour choice for today’s modern homeowner.
I’m not here to tell you that you HAVE to get rid of forest green if you want to modernize your space (okay, maybe I am – wink wink). Because while this particular shade might not be today’s hot colour, there are many homeowners who are quite enamoured with the forest green in their home and would like to work with it – rather than rip it out.
Now that being said there are many other homeowners who are not in love with forest green and are desperately looking for ways to make it look more updated, classic and appropriate in today’s style world (for personal tastes and resale purposes).
And no matter what side you’re on, I’m here to help you make forest green look it’s very best with the use of paint colour.
BUT (a Kardashian sized one) please read this before you look at the paint colours…
What NOT to do with Forest Green
When you are working with a colour that is ‘difficult’ or that you don’t like… don’t go outside the colour box!!
This photo is OUT of forest green’s colour box – ’nuff said.
What is the colour box? It is the range of colours and tones around the main colour that won’t ‘react’ with the main colour. Here are some examples of forest green’s colour box…
Green mixed with blue (which is also a cool tone)
- Green mixed with gray
- Green mixed with gray and blue
- Green mixed with greige (a mix of beige and gray)
Non-yellow beige/tan colours
Off-whites (containing mild undertones of any of the colours above)
That’s it. If you stretch outside of that box, you risk ‘accenting‘ your green and making it appear brighter and stronger.
So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, on to the fun stuff…
Please note that the ‘blobs’ are just basic representations. Click on the underlined name or even BETTER, go to your local store to see the samples in real-life!
Go With the Flow – With Green!
Believe it or not, when you want to modernize a colour like forest green, one of the best ways to do that is via itself! Yes, that’s right – painting your walls green can actually MODERNIZE your space!
Not just any green though. The key to picking a great green is choosing one that is a ‘modern-day version’ of the original.
Gray / Green Paint Colours to Update Forest Green
Benjamin Moore Moonshine 2140-60
Moonshine is a lovely light mix of gray and green. It can pick up a weee willy wink of blue, so if you’re into more traditional greens you might not like this fella.
Sherwin Williams Conservative Gray SW 6183
Conservative Gray is a light coloured gray-green. The green is definitely ‘there’ but not overly dominant. It is a slightly cool-toned green.
Some greens have a drop of blue in them, adding another layer of interest to a green-on-green palette. Just make sure you don’t go TOO blue or you’ll miss the colour connection completely.
Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere 2138-60
Gray Cashmere is a lovely gray/green/blue blend flexes easily into its undertones without committing to one or another.
Sherwin Williams Sea Salt SW 6204
Sea Salt is a fun and lively colour that offers ‘colour’ without too much ‘commitment. It’s soft and gentle and a great complement to forest green. It is a really interesting colour and while it IS a green, it has been known to flash a beautiful blue here and there!
Read more: Colour Review – Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
Read more: ‘Decorating Ideas to Update Forest Green’
Go Neutral or Go Home – The Best Neutrals to Update Forest Green
If you feel that it’s not ‘good to be green’ then you might be more inclined to neutralize your space with the use of grays and greiges. Check out these bad boys…
Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC 172
Revere Pewter is an amazing colour because while it is essentially a very soft, dove-like gray, in certain lights it picks up a ‘barely there’ green undertone, making it a soft and subtle partner for forest green.
Read more: Colour Review – Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
Benjamin Moore Intense White OC 51
Intense White is a soft gray/off-white that offers a sophisticated and classic air to forest green. It has subtle green/blue undertones and shifts quite a bit from space to space.
Benjamin Moore Grant Beige
Grant Beige is really as far as we want to go into the world of ‘beige’. If there is too much warmth/yellow in a beige, it can make a forest green room look even more dated.
Read More: ‘The 7 Best FLOOR Tiles to Update Green Countertops’
Sherwin Williams Wool Skein
Wool Skein is hit and miss and you have to have the right forest green mixed with other warmer finishes to pull this off.
Now, of course, there’s a lot of other things to consider when picking paint colours such as…
LRV refers to light reflectance value. Read more about it here… LRV – Using LRV to Pick the Best Paint Colour for Your Room
Have you considered the exposure of your room when choosing a paint colour? If not, you might want to read up! North Facing Rooms, South Facing Rooms, East Facing Rooms, West Facing Rooms.
Want help figuring out your room’s BEST paint colour?
Check out my Interior Decorating or Design Consultation / E-Design package – I’d love to hear from you!
The Best ACCENT Tiles to Update Forest Green
The Best Decor to Update Forest Green in Your Home
Forest Green Countertops: The Best Floor Tiles to Update and Coordinate
Kylie M Interiors E-design, Online Paint Color, Virtual Consulting and Blog Based in Nanaimo BC, Vancouver Island, Canada
Thank you!! We recently moved into a house with a basement that has wood panel walls and forest green carpet. We can’t afford to put in a new carpet now… We are going to paint the wood paneling. I plan to use your advise on using a gray paint… Wish us luck!!
Thanks so much!! Karen
Awesome Karen, good for you! Yes, do check out BM Gray Owl (gray with subtle blue/green undertone) and BM Gray Cashmere which is a blue/green blend with a gray undertone – BEST OF LUCK!!
Thank you for this terrific post (and your other one on forest green). I’m headed to a color consultation for a 6000 sq’ bed & breakfast with…….drum roll please….forest green carpet that they like and want to keep!
You’ve given me lots of ideas that can be implemented in different rooms. Can’t wait now!
We bought a house with stone walls exterior, and the previous owners installed expensive forest green gutters and gutter guards. Please recommend exterior colors
Hi Donald, thank you for your note. I get tons of questions just like yours every day, and when it comes to personal questions, I refer readers to my Online Consulting. I give as much free info as I can on my site, but if that doesn’t work, then the Online Consulting might do the trick! It’s affordable and easy to do 🙂 Here’s the link if you’re interested… https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/product-category/exterior-selections/
We are buying a house with a master shower tiled in forest green and the bathtub is surrounded in the green tiles as well. The flooring is also green, a lighter shade. The cabinets are white. We looked into completely redoing the bathroom but it is just too expensive. How can we make this much green work and what color of flooring and countertop would compliment it? (I wish I could post a picture).
Thanks for your help!
Hi Stacy, thank you for the note! When it comes to stuff like this, I can’t really shoot too much off the cuff! I try to give as much info for free as I can on my site and from there if that doesn’t work, it might be time for some e-design help! It is affordable and fun! If that interests you, the link to that section is here… https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/product/create-your-own-bathroom/
Thank you so much for the great information and your fun, lively writing style! I just used Sherwin Williams Sea Salt in our family room – had a hunter green leather couch and northern exposure to work with – and I love the color!! Before reading your related articles I was lost….a million thank yous!!
Well what a lovely note, thank you! I’m so glad you found some happiness with Sea Salt – it is a beauty!
I just want to say thank you so very much for the wonderful advice on how to update paint colors for forest green! It is an amazing transformation! I’ll need more help now with the living room color but that’s another day!
You are most welcome Lisa, thank you for the note!
I am renting a furnished house that has emerald green wall to wall carpeting in the living room. I was wondering if I could buy an accent rug to fixate the eye around the couch area… I posted a link to the house. https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/24-Loon-Cove-Rd-Alton-Bay-NH-03810/86714960_zpid/
I’d like to paint the dark wood and the walls (but havent received approval) and don’t even know what color I would choose….
I will be buying white floor to ceiling curtains for behind the couch and half curtains for the front windows.
Any advice would be highly appreciated. Thank you.
What color paint would you recommend with a hunter green lower halved tiled powder powder room?
I just found your site today. I have forest green carpet that will get ripped out one day!! I am living with it until I get my son out of college. I am so grateful for this post!
Would you use the same palette for exterior house colors?
just brought a home entire house has mud brown walls on bottom and forest green on top..Whole house is dark and ugly. unfortunately my husband has started liking the mud brown part. what do i need to do?
Hey Kylie, This and the other post on forest green have given me hope on living with our rental home forest green carpet and all counters trimmed in forest green. My question is there was a green in the color ‘blobs’ shown painted on a bathroom was but wasn’t identified. Thinking this might be the color for the kitchen/dining area (thank goodness not carpet but lots of green trimmed counters). Love your articles. Best wishes during holidays.
I got so excited when I seen that big green tub and sink! I thought there was going to be an updated version. I have these features as well as beige tile surrounding it. Top it off 90s style I even have gold fixtures. Considering oil brushed bronze for fixtures and cabinets knobs. I just cannot figure what to do with the awful oak cabinets themselves. Paint, stain or leave?
Hey Christine, sometimes it’s best to leave oak cabinets in place when other finishes are tricky. Either that or it’s ‘repeat what’s already existing’, meaning you’d paint the cabinets the same as the tub (ermmmm no) or a beige hue. PERSONALLY, I’d leave the oak. HOwever, for the metal finish, oil rubbed bronze will set you back a bit in time with the combo you have, I would lean MORE into polished nickel so that it’s low contrast and more passive or black if you prefer the contrast. To be honest, with the combo you have of green/beige, the gold actually does make sense!