Beautiful Rooms: A splash of green

Green is all anyone is talking about at the moment; whether it’s colour of the year, our impact on the planet or new paint ranges so I thought we would use that as excuse to look at some greenspiration today and perhaps if you are thinking of incorporating this colour into your space it might inspire you.

I wrote about the psychology behind the colour green here here so you can have a look at that too while strolling round these beautiful rooms.

antique green paint via jotun lady
antique green paint via jotun lady

Now, one thing that everyone does agree on is that green is a calming colour that helps with relaxation and can also spark creativity. That said, as with all colours, different shades will provoke different reactions in different people and it’s about you finding your happy green.

One way to do this is to look, well here to start with (!) but then go perhaps to pinterest and look at green rooms. Work out how the different shades make you feel and that should help you narrow it down. For many of us a strong emerald green will be too intense for a bedroom but you might like it in a sitting room. It’s too much for me on a wall but I could take it on a cushion or vase. Always, always make a note of your emotional reaction to a colour before you choose and then ask yourself if that’s the right reaction for the room you want to put it in.

green walls image via jamb london
green walls image via jamb london

The first two images today are from the paler end of the spectrum. They’re a bit Tranquil Dawn or Dulux Colour of the Year 2020, if you like. Think misty dawn mornings. There are lots of versions about and for me it’s a relaxing colour and I like the idea that Dulux have tied it to an early morning as, for me at least, that’s a time of day that is full of new possibilities, it’s a blank slate for the day ahead and so, psychologically it’s a colour I can live happily with.

Other people, not least my podcast co-host Sophie Robinson, find this colour dull, flat and uninspiring. There are no right or wrong answers here, it’s all about you and how it makes you, and the people you live with, feel.

green walls and vintage rug by wattleanddaubhome
green walls and vintage rug by wattleanddaubhome

Moving to a slightly stronger shade now and above is slightly darker but also gives you a sense of what to put with your shade of green once you have chosen it. Despite the old adage that blue and green should never be seen, I think it works really well with this blue above. Both have an element of grey in them that tie them together. You need to avoid, where possible, pairing a yellow-based green with a violet-based blue, or pink. That’s when you get a clash.

An experienced colourist and designer will know how to style that out. The rest of us should probably avoid. If you look at two colours that don’t seem to work and you don’t know why it might well be to do with the base shade.

green walls and furniture via susana ordovas
green walls and furniture via susana ordovas

On the whole, green likes every colour and it’s just about finding the right shade of it to go with it. This room above with its shades of emerald is particularly striking and it loves shades of turquoise and pink. Olive greens love really strong pinks and dark foresty shades hang out well with a bit of blush.

Personally I’m not a fan of green and white – in any shade of the former. It’s too much of a harsh contrast so I would suggest, if you have chosen a pale green, matching the woodwork to the walls and perhaps choose a darker or lighter version of the same for the ceiling or pick a contrasting colour such as a soft pink or cream.

green panelling via @lifebehindglebehouse
green panelling via @lifebehindglebehouse

In this room above, the ceiling is gold which matches the French bed perfectly while the walls are a soft creamy pink. The wall behind the bed has been panelled to create the look of a giant bedhead (rather than a feature wall) while the freestanding wardrobe has been painted to match so the room looks cohesive and pretty. This is one of my favourites although you can’t really tell the ceiling is gold from the picture you will just have to assume that it works. My gold ceiling sometimes looks brown in pictures and sometimes there is a real flash of metallic to it – it depends on the light outside when I’m taking the shot.

Another French bed below – and if you like them try The French Depot for similar  – that link takes you to a particularly pretty one but there are lots more on the site. This belongs to Pearl Lowe, whose new book Faded Glamour is out this week and whose house tour you can see here. She has teamed her green velvet Manette bed from Soho Home with soft pink wallpaper and vintage mirrored bedside tables. The cover of her book also features the French bed in her daughter Daisy’s room.

pearl lowe's book Faded Glamour is out now, this is her bedroom
pearl lowe’s book Faded Glamour is out now, this is her bedroom – house tour here

And finally, I love this. And it’s actually my own favourite down pipe but in certain lights this colour has always looked green. A year ago Emily Henderson featured a picture of my sitting room on her blog in a post about the fashion for dark green walls. My walls were down pipe at the time and given that it was a big deal to be on her blog I didn’t like to tell her it was actually grey although if you read the post she’s not sure either. And I did exactly the same thing when I saw this picture of Emily Wheeler’s. It’s a dark grey that can look green or blue and whatever colour it is it loves this pale gold and ivory French bed.

green bedroom and french bed via emily wheeler interiors
green bedroom and french bed via emily wheeler interiors

Now before I go a word about a project that Emily is about to launch called Furnishing Futures. It’s best said in her words and it’s not operational yet but give her a follow on @furnishingfutures and do get in touch if you can help in any way:

“As a social worker, it’s part of my profession to advocate for those without a voice and I have always carried this into my personal life too. . . The issue of furniture poverty isn’t widely known about and as I talk to more and more people, I realise how important it is for me to raise awareness.

“Over the past few weeks through my social work job I’ve met families who don’t have beds for their children, sofas to sit on, flooring or curtains and pregnant women sleeping on floors. This is what austerity and changes to the housing and benefit system has done to the most vulnerable in society and I’m determined, in whatever small way to use my knowledge and experience to change this through @furnishingfutures. I have a unique set of skills in social work and interior design after meeting too many women who found the courage to flee domestic abuse, only to be moved with their children into empty flats with concrete floors, no electricity and no furnishings. Often they ended up going back to the perpetrator out of desperation because to have a warm home and be able to cook a meal for their kids was more important than their own safety.

“You wouldn’t know [this] unless you do a job like me. I want every family to live in a home that is safe, warm and comfortable. No child or pregnant mother should have to sleep on the floor and we all deserve a place to call home. …Offer me your support as I try to save items from landfill and collect donations from brands to help our families in need.”

And what could be more green than that? Happy Monday everyone.

Tags : a splash of greenaccent colourbeautiful roomscolour schemegreen accentsgreen interiors
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. We live in a rental and have that awkward spaces between cabinets and ceiling also. It is so dusty and gross, I don’t want to put anything up there even if I could reach it. I think the way you did yours actually makes the ceilings look taller and the space bigger. Well done! It looks great!!!You can check out they have amazing articles too.

  2. Mmmm – love green. I’ve always used green either as the main act or as an accent colour (like indoor plants, for example). Currently, I have deep, dark green skirtings and door frames on the ground floor as my “red thread” to unite my various coloured rooms ! (sunshine & cobalt kitchen, raw plaster & spice living room, yellow ochre “garden” room … )
    In our bedroom we have a beautifully restful pale green by AURO Natural Paints called GRASMERE – and, almost hidden in the window reveals, their pale yellow BUTTEROW which makes the light glow like sunshine into the room (regardless of the weather!). Additionally, Auro paints are eco, natural, and all that good stuff !
    Oh – and the front door is SERPENTINE, another green by AURO

  3. Emily, thank you for your initiative and to Kate for giving it a mention. To think of women and children in UK sleeping on bare floors makes my blood boil. Interior design often feels like rich persons game . But everyone should have means to create a safe haven for themselves and their children whatever their circumstance. People who have bourne the brunt of cruelest government austerity have the same rights , hopes , dreams, imagination , ability and creativity as anyone else and I cannot applaud you enough Emily for recognising this need and doing something about it.

    On the colour green Kate. I painted my hall and stair/landing in farrow & ball card room green and also studio green. Its pretty dark but opens to a large bright room. Have never before had visitors mention it ( in a good way) as soon as they walk in the front door. Green just seems to bring out something in folk .

  4. I am very ashamed to say that furniture poverty did not occur to me and now it has I am spreading the word. Is this now the time for furniture/kitchen/bathroom companies to donate? They have display stock for a start and I think charity donations still attract tax benefits. Hotels, especially in large cities, also have beds which are no longer appropriate for paying guests but adequate for most folk. I hope Emily has volunteers to galvanize these people. Unfortunately I am in France or I would help out. I wish her all the luck in the world

    1. Furnishing futures is a great idea. I’ve followed immediately as, like so many, I’m in the midst of house renovation project and would love to pass on furnishing items that are still great quality and in good nick but just don’t work for me any more. Thanks for the info and I do hope the idea flies …

  5. Thank you for highlighting this problem with furniture poverty at the end of this blog post. It’s not something I had ever given any thought to before. I hope that the project that Emily is about to launch is very successful and if possible could you please let us know more about it if you find out anymore information.

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