by Johnny Hoang Juny 15, 2020

It says a lot that “green” is the word we use to describe anything relating to the environment, or that’s at all eco-friendly. It shows that green is, above all, the color we all associate most strongly with the natural world. And it makes sense! Chlorophyll—the substance that makes plants green—is absolutely necessary for photosynthesis. In other words, plants are green because it allows them to feed themselves and to grow, by converting light to energy. So nearly all plants are at least partially green (with only a few exceptions).

What that means is that green is everywhere throughout the natural world (with the exception of places plants don’t really grow, like the earth’s polar regions and deserts). Its direct association with lush growth and fertile ground means it has some pretty fascinating (and ancient—even prehistoric) associations in the human mind. It’s not unreasonable to think that maybe these associations could be of value in the cultivation (so to speak) of a living space that is perfectly suited to your needs and goals. Interested in learning more? Keep reading!


When you think about home decor, green may not be the first color that comes to mind. However, it’s fair to say that green is extremely underused in interior decorating. Consider green’s many versatile shades: from a deep, earthy, mossy green, to a light, refreshing mint hue, to a perky kelly green, to a gorgeous and sophisticated jade. In addition to this versatility, the color green has considerable emotional and physical benefits—it’s worth taking advantage of these, and to transform your living space into one evocative of unspoiled natural beauty.


Like other cool-toned colors (such as blue and purple), one of green’s main effects is to inspire feelings of calm. Green is strongly associated with harmony and balance. Deep down, when we see the color green, we think of lots of lush plant growth. By extension, this means fertile soil, plenty of water, and the ability to find or cultivate food. This is the deepest association for humans: being in the presence of green makes us believe, subconsciously, that we will be experiencing abundance, nourishment, and thus health. Is it any wonder, then, that green can be so beneficial? It affects us at a deep, almost instinctive level.

Many psychologists have also found lots of evidence of the benefits of exposure to nature, much of which has to do with being in the presence of green. In Japan, many also practice what they call “forest bathing” (shinrin-yoku). Forest bathing is all about intentionally going out to be in nature, to absorb the benefits of nature. It has real, measurable effects. In one study, forest bathing “significantly reduced pulse rate and significantly increased the score for vigor and decreased the scores for depression, fatigue, anxiety, and confusion.” Other benefits include immune system boosts, increased focus (helping to reduce what’s called Directed Attention Fatigue), and quicker healing.

So green might help improve your health, make you happier, and improve your focus (to make you more productive). (Pretty amazing!) Why not consider bringing some of the benefits of forest bathing to your home, by incorporating the color green into your living space?


Use of green is an ideal decorating decision in spaces that you need to be especially restorative, as well as where you need to focus. Here are a few ways to use green in your living space:

1) Stay focused: your home office

As you now know, spending time in green spaces effectively combats Directed Attention Fatigue. This is a lack of ability to focus that happens when the part of our brain that lets us concentrate becomes worn out. Green spaces revitalize our brains and let us focus on the task at hand—so green is a perfect choice for your home office.

2) As a neutral: your bedroom

According to an article from Apartment Therapy, a muted sage green is considered a great “neutral”. Its subtle green tone is not overwhelming—it might even register as a grey or beige at first. This is, in fact, what makes it ideal for your bedroom: it will bring to mind herbs and foliage without being too in-your-face, and offer an overall feeling of serenity that’ll be majorly conducive to great sleep. (In addition to the bedroom, muted variants of sage green are ideal for virtually any space, since they function so well as a neutral.)

3) To subtly cultivate feelings of abundance: the kitchen

Since green is so instinctively associated with lush growth, and thus with fertile soil, using it in your kitchen is a great way to bring some of that “abundant” feeling to your cooking process. Green also sparks feelings of freshness, making it perfect for a space dedicated to food preparation, where cleanliness is such a concern. Plus, if you’d prefer to go for a more retro vibe, using a pastel mint shade is a great way to get that look (which is so trendy lately)—especially if you include some matching, vintage-style pastel appliances.


There are so many different shades of green that the possibilities for appealing color combos are virtually endless. Nevertheless, we’ve done the hard work of selecting five of our favorite complementary pairs that include green, in order to inspire you on your journey toward bringing green into your home! Since green is a combination of blue and yellow, it’s a cool-toned color that includes hints of warm colors as well (to varying degrees, depending on the shade). Therefore, by pairing it with warmer colors, you can play up its warmth; alongside cooler colors, green’s coolness is also emphasized. (Remember: warm colors tend to be energizing, while cooler colors are more relaxing. Keep that in mind as you’re choosing your color combinations.) Here are three of our top picks:

1) Blue + green

It’s virtually impossible to go wrong with blue and green. This makes it a perfect option if you’re still a bit hesitant about incorporating more daring colors into your home. Don’t worry, though: the combination of blue and green is by no means boring, and you’ll have a whole host of shades to choose from depending on what you’re going for. The reason it’s such a perfect pairing is that it so commonly appears in nature: for instance, there’s no image that’s more classically perfect than a big green field with the backdrop of a clear blue sky. You can combine blue and green as two separate colors, or you can even choose a shade of blue-green such as teal (there are some shades that can be defined as both blue and green) if you prefer a more monochromatic look.

2) Purple + green

Think of a patch of violets in the springtime: all those small, rounded leaves offset by the deep purple faces of each tiny flower, sitting close to the ground and waiting to be discovered by a keen eye. There are few color combinations that are as rich and vibrant, or as striking. Purple and green is certainly a less conventional color scheme, but it’s one that combines the regal associations of purple with the natural, leafy feeling of green—a match made in heaven (or rather, in nature, to be exact). It will add unique sophistication to your living room, especially, but works in virtually any room. It’s a great choice for those who hope for a slightly quirky and unexpected vibe in their home, too—your guests will be both surprised and pleased when they walk in.

3) White + green

If you go for a hunter or kelly green and a bright, crisp white, you’ll achieve definite preppy vibes. It’s sophisticated without being stuffy. This color combination includes two colors that are known for their freshness and immediately brings to mind early spring—something like the first shoots of the earliest-blooming spring flowers emerging through the snow. Plus, green pops beautifully against a white background—think of a bedroom swathed all in white bedding, with white walls, and then with a few bright green plants absorbing the sunshine streaming in your window. That kind of interior design is ultra-trendy, all over Instagram, and for good reason. (Psychologically, this is the kind of space where you can rest and breathe easy, feeling invigorated and relaxed simultaneously. It’s an oasis of calm.)

Written by Johnny Hoang