Today I thought we would dive into a little colour psychology with an (amended) extract from my book but looking also at inspiration and what’s in the shops so that you can buy if you want but be inspired if you don’t. I wanted to start with green as it’s definitely one of the colours of the moment whether it’s in paint or velvet, plants or connecting to nature.
It’s also one of those colours (like grey) that comes in hundreds of different shades so whether you’re dark and foresty (me) or fresh and minty (never say never) there’s bound to be a version for you. It goes with all the shades of pink – think dark olive with a neon pink, or the palest of blush with a dark forest. But don’t forget the aforementioned mint with any of the pinks above depending on if you steer towards the pastel or the punk end of the spectrum.
I have found that more and more green has been creeping into my wardrobe over the last couple of years, which is a sure sign. At the moment I’m wearing it mostly with black or ivory but I quite often hang it next to the pink in my wardrobe.
So what does green mean? The colour of nature, restfulness and calm, of serenity and peace, rejuvenation and harmony. . .
But wait a minute. How many times have you met people who say they won’t have a green car? Whose front door is any colour as long as it’s not green? Who feel certain that green is the harbinger of bad luck? And what about the green-eyed monster? Or that time you felt a bit green about the gills? Remember the office junior who was green about the working of the internal office politics? On the other hand, we are given the green light on a project or might have a green thumb when it comes to the garden.
For every positive association of a colour there is a negative to cancel it out.
As with most colours, it’s about using accents or splashes of a colour to create the effect you want. And while green is indeed the colour of fresh starts and new growth, you might not want to use too much of it. Perhaps a sofa to create a pop of colour or paint the legs of a chair in bright energising green to keep the ideas flowing.
The key to getting green right is what you put with it. Sage and mint green are perfect with shades of pink – think of ice cream as a reference point. Or flowers – if it works in nature then it works indoors too. A strong green works brilliantly in a monochromatic scheme – use black and white as the base and add shades of green for energy.
But green is one colour that can really change under artificial light so you need to check it in both day and electric light before you commit to a shade, otherwise what looks fresh and energising in the day might turn blue and cold at night.
Let’s not forget also that green is the colour of money. And who wouldn’t want to encourage some more of that their way? Money, growth and success are all linked to this colour. Of course one of the best ways to bring it inside is with plants. Bring plants into your home and encourage a feeling of positivity and growth. But don’t forget to mist them regularly to keep the leaves clean and shiny; it’s pretty obvious that dry and decaying plants will not have the intended effect. A vibrant living green will automatically make visitors feel relaxed and positive – living plants are always better than cut flowers, by the way.
Too much of it can make you feel complacent though so throw in a little red or orange to counterbalance those feelings of relaxation and stop it leading to stagnation – think of a pond.
Mind you there was a survey recently which decided that a shade of green was the ugliest colour in the world. Opaque Couche, or Pantone 448C, is a sort of dirty olive and, said the survey, deemed so hideous that governments in the UK, France and Ireland were thinking of using it on cigarette packets to put people off smoking. It has been used in Australia since 2012. It’s not a bad colour, but it’s a long way from the fresh shades of emerald that will bring positivity into your office.
Another survey, by Dulux this time, in 2011 found that blue was the most popular colour in the world followed by green. They found that 23 per cent of people over 50 said green was their favourite but that dropped to 14 per cent of those under 50. More recently YouGov carried out a worldwide survey of 10 countries across four continents and while blue won all over the world, green came second in the US, China and Thailand. In 2017 it was a deep greeny teal.
Mind you that was a while ago. A more recent one by Digital Synopsis found that pink and green on are on the rise all over the world, with Argentina, Japan, Spain and the UK choosing pink and Brazil, Taiwan, the US and UAE going green.
In your own home try a restful forest wall with grey accessories – everything from silver to charcoal. Or jazz up a dark olive with a bright magenta or soft blush. Green has been given the green light and it’s coming to a wall near you.
Finally, as I have said you need to look at green paint in both natural and electric light to see if it’s the right for you. Lovers of dark can try Zoffany’s Huntsman Green as seen in Sophie Robinson’s Kitchen above. Green Smoke by Farrow & Ball is a good one as are Brompton Road and Meisel by Mylands. Below is Invisible Green by Little Greene, who have a whole green shade card. Now, I’m going to put my hands up and say I’m not familiar with the paler shades (yet) and, since it’s so subjective, I’m not going to point you towards things I don’t know so if anyone has any recommendations then stick them in the comments below.
That said, I do like Arsenic as seen in my client’s home below but it’s a bold choice. That said it’s great with gold as well as pink- one of my clients used it in the back of an alcove in the kitchen and put gold and white crockery on display. I have also liked Teresa’s Green, which will be blue in some lights.