Everything You Need to Know About GREEN
When it comes to choosing the best green paint colour for your home, you’re often one small step away from a room that looks like it’s designed by Kermit or Shrek. This is why it’s SUPER important you do your research (btw, you’ve come to the right place).
As with EVERY paint colour, it’s never just as simple as ‘choosing the colour that tickles your fancy‘. To pick the best green for your space, it’s about tuning into your surroundings to see which TYPE of green your home is asking for. And while you’ll find everything from olive and chartreuse to pickle and sage, there are generally TWO TYPES of green to choose from…
- WARM GREEN
- COOL GREEN
Choose the RIGHT green and you’ll be giving yourself personal high-fives. Choose the WRONG green and you’ll be twitching in the corner, cursing the pea soup, baby poop, or mint-inspired colour of your walls.
This SUPER dark green-gray is striking with the wood cabinets
WARM GREEN PAINT COLOURS
Green that has a YELLOW undertone is a warm green. When my clients want a warm shade of green, they’re usually craving a green on the more subtle end of the warm range. This means that while there’s yellow in it, it’s a very SMALL amount. This passive approach avoids the pea soup and chartreuse end of things (colours that I personally love…in the right spot).
See the entire farmhouse country paint palette
- Warm green paint colours have a yellow undertone that can be virtually unnoticeable depending on HOW MUCH yellow is mixed in.
- Warm green paint colours with a STRONG neutral base will lean into either GREIGE or TAN. Add enough of a neutral base and your warm green will become the UNDERTONE, rather than the dominant colour.
- Warm green paint colours can help balance out cool northern light or flat eastern light.
In this next photo, we step OUT of green and into GREIGE, which means it’s a warm neutral with a green-yellow undertone…
Sherwin Williams Anonymous
COOL GREEN PAINT COLOURS
Green paint colours that lean into BLUE are cool greens. And as it relates to ‘colours’, green-blue or blue-green (where blue is more dominant than green) are the most POPULAR shades these days.
You might look at that above photo and think to yourself, ‘ermmm, that ain’t green, that’s BLUE.‘ Truth be told, it can be both! This is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, which is a well-known green/gray. However, because of Sea Salt’s particular make-up, it just LOOOOVES leaning into blue (because the black that it’s made with is a blue/black, but that’s getting a WEE bit technical). I have clients who find it TOO green (when they want a green/blue) and others who find it too blue – it’s a bit of a ninja!
Benjamin Moore Prescott Green
- In the lighter range, green-blue can come across minty if it doesn’t have enough gray in it.
- Lean CONSIDERABLY into blue and you’ll hit the teal/aquamarine end of things.
- If you add ENOUGH gray to your cool green, you’ll get a shade of GRAY with a green-blue undertone.
- Cool green paint colours offer balance to rooms with warm southern or afternoon western sunshine.
Benjamin Moore Dark Pewter – a GORGEOUS green-blue blend.
NEUTRAL GREEN PAINT COLOURS
Short of hitting the primary end of things, it can be hard to land on a green-green; you know, one that doesn’t lean obviously warm or cool. And really, I can’t say that many people are looking for THAT green. In fact, most of my E-design clients have a clear idea of which green they love and it’s often a definitive preference for WARM green or COOL green. Taking this a bit further, they also love green as an UNDERTONE in cool or slightly warm neutrals.
Let’s take a look at Sherwin Williams Liveable Green, a green that’s about as close as we get to a TRUE green with a neutral base…
Notice that it looks just a TOUCH cool in the above light (natural light).
Now take a look at the same paint colour with the light fixture on…
While this isn’t a shift in NATURAL light, the warmth of the bulbs (likely around 3000K) changes how Liveable Green looks, making it look WARMER than it does in the room’s natural light!
PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR HOME’S INTERIOR FINISHES
It’s not just your exposure and personal tastes that count when choosing a colour, you also need to pay CLOSE attention to your surrounding finishes.
A countertop like this demands a COOL green paint colour
- If your countertop or tile has green in it, find out if it’s a warm green or a cool green. If you’re not sure, bring home a WIDE RANGE of green paint colours and see which ones clash and which ones connect.
- If your surrounding finishes have violet or pink undertones and are craving a green hue, I suggest a cool green over a warm one. Just keep in mind that opposites attract and can make each other STRONGER!
Because the green in this tile is a VERY slightly cool, stormy (and subtle) green, it prefers green paint colours with similar traits
On the other hand, if your room has reasonably flexible finishes, you can pick almost any darn green you want…
Farrow & Ball’s Green Smoke (the tile floor has MINOR violet-pink undertones)
GREEN PAINT COLOURS IN NORTH OR EAST-FACING ROOMS
If you’re hoping to paint your north-facing room a green paint colour, I highly suggest reading up on the best paint colours for north-facing light. The quick n’ dirty is that northern light is a gray light with a subtle cool (blue) undertone.
What does this mean?
If you paint a north-facing room green with a cool blue undertone, you might find that things look a titbit nipply as your northern light ENCOURAGES this combination even cooler. If you want to BALANCE the temperature of your natural light, and if it suits your room’s interior finishes, consider the following…
- Warm green paint colours.
- Warm grays with a green undertone, as even these have a touch of yellow hiding in them.
- Greige with a slightly more noticeable green undertone – especially if your room doesn’t have a lot of natural light.
East-facing rooms are similar to north-facing rooms. While they have a bright light in the morning, they can feel quite flat and drab in the afternoon. So, just like north-facing rooms they often benefit from a warmer, cosier green or a more noticeable green undertone.
In this next photo, this paint colour is similar to Sherwin Williams Acanthus. While it’s a warm green, it’s not OVERWHELMINGLY warm and can be a great happy medium if you and your north-facing room don’t agree on which way to go…
However, give this same room some strong afternoon western sunshine, and a warm green paint colour like this could end up looking more like Benjamin Moore Fernwood Green! Why? The afternoon western sunshine will ADD more warmth to the walls, making the paint colour look toastier than expected! EXPOSURE MATTERS (especially if it’s indecent).
GREEN PAINT COLOURS IN SOUTH OR WEST-FACING ROOMS
When it comes to south or west-facing rooms, you’re dealing with the OTHER side of the thermometer – the warm one. And if you want to paint your south or west-facing room your favourite shade of green, you MAY want to do your research first (read THIS!). To give you a quick summary, south-facing light is a warm light with a yellow hue. As for west-facing rooms, they’re flat in the morning light but pick up warmth in the afternoon, dipping into orange and pink as the day wears on.
What does this mean?
South-facing rooms or rooms with western afternoon sunshine will ADD WARMTH to your walls. So, if your walls are already a warm hue, you risk tipping the scales a bit too far for visual comfort.
This next room looks gorgeous with Benjamin Moore Caldwell Green on the cabinets…
However, PLEASE keep in mind, that how a paint colour looks online can be MUCh different from how it looks in your home. Why does this matter?
Well, look at the cabinet in the bottom right corner – see that snippet of green? THAT’S how Caldwell Green looks in more muted light. The upper cabinets are getting hit with…
a) awesome exterior light
b) interior lighting
c) a great photographer who knows how to show a room at its best
This means that if you don’t have this SAME environment, your paint colour will look different!
This ALSO means that if you’re considering a WARM green, you may want to tweak things a bit. South and west-facing rooms often suit…
- Green paint colours that lean into blue as the COOL temperature can help to visually balance the warm sun.
- Cool neutrals such as gray with a green-blue undertone.
- Greige paint colours that have a green undertone, but lean closer to gray than beige.
And heck, this isn’t written in stone – you do you, boo! If you love a certain green even though it goes against your exposure, FILL YER LITTLE GREEN BOOTS! However, if it goes against your finishes, you MAY want to find a happy medium instead.
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