Applying any kind of colour requires bravery and commitment – from both the client and the designer. For the latter, a keen eye for colour combined with some theoretical knowledge can ensure decisions are made with confidence. And knowing a little bit of history can make the colour selection process more interesting for all.

About the colour green…

Green falls right in the middle of the light spectrum, meaning our eyes need minimal adjustment to see it.

The human eye can differentiate more shades of green than any other colour, and this is evidenced by the long list of adjectives often applied to the hue. Yellow-green and blue-green are apparent, but the following list includes some (but not all) of the more complex shades:

  • Apple green
  • Avocado green
  • Chartreuse green
  • Emerald green
  • Forest green
  • Grass green
  • Jade
  • Khaki
  • Leek green
  • Lime green
  • Mint green
  • Olive
  • Pistachio green
  • Sage
  • Teal
  • Viridian


The history of green…

Put simplistically, green is made up of yellow and blue. No, it’s not rocket science, but it wasn’t always so clear! The ancient Greek mathematician, Plato, stubbornly maintained that prasinon (leek) was made by mixing purron (flame) and melas (black). The father of atomic theory – Democritus – believed pale green was a product of red and white. Like the colour red, green was deemed one of the middle colours sitting between black and white. The medieval Latin word sinople could refer to either red or green, and – not surprisingly – the two were often confused.

Green was further complicated when it came to creating dyes. Historically, there was a deep aversion to mixing different substances, and there was a long-standing taboo associated with mixing blue and yellow pigments. Anyone caught dyeing cloth green by dipping it in woad (indigo) then weld (a yellow dye) could face severe repercussions in some countries.

Artists struggled with the colour green, too. The taboo against mixing began to fade in the early Renaissance, but artists were challenged by the varying reactions with combined pigments.

These craftsmen and artists’ struggles could explain green’s symbolic link with capriciousness, evil and poison. Of course, the more scientific link between poison and green potentially had more influence: the popularity of copper arsenite pigments in the nineteenth century was responsible for many deaths. As consumers papered their homes, clothed their children and wrapped their baking in the exciting new shade of emerald green, lethal doses of arsenic proved fatal.

Today, however, the hue is much more associated with peace, serenity and the natural environment. After a year of lockdowns and home confinement, many homeowners have a new appreciation for the need to connect with nature. There’s no easier way to meet this need than with the application of a dash – or splash – of green.

Following are four gorgeously green interiors that demonstrate how the various shades of green can evoke a range of feelings in your clients’ homes.

Sydney duo, Kate St James and Catherine Whitting (St James Whitting) bathed this beautiful bathroom in forest greens. Jade and emerald mosaic tiles shimmer and shine, invoking the magic of a deep, dark forest.

A sweet sage green adds a sense of calm to this light and bright kitchen. Perth’s Jalpa Karia (RJ Design Studio) balanced the Vivid White cabinetry with Dulux’s Sage Monica and Blackbutt-toned floors, creating a harmonious and homely space.

Silver fish swim in a sea of teal in the powder room wallpaper specified by New South Wales designer, Cate Liedtke (Catherine de Meur Interiors). The striking design and stunning colour palette make for a tranquil space.

Perth designer, Kerrie Richardson CBD Au (Lux Interiors), brought warmth and earthiness to this kitchen with a clever combination of colour and texture. The muted green-brown tones of Laminex Possum sit peacefully alongside the textured Planked Oak, echoing the sense of serenity found in the Australian bush.

Do you have a favourite shade of green? What does green mean to you and your clients? We’d love to hear your thoughts – comment below and feel free to send us images of your best green applications.