Interior Designer’s Guide: Mastering A Green Color Palette
'It isn't easy being green.' Or is it? Those words sung by one of America's most enduring Muppets, Kermit the Frog, lamented his green coloration. While the amphibious creature may have struggled with his particular shade, designers have once again commandeered this compelling hue for all things design- related, whether for interior, architectural or commercial projects.
It is easy to understand a green color palette's current popularity. The color represents tranquility, good luck (thanks to the Irish), and health. Researchers believe a green color palette can also improve reading ability. Because it is most commonly associated with the natural world, it’s a tonal association that makes sense right now. And ‘going green’ as a design concept now not only means a color choice; it can also refer to sustainable building practices. Some of the most sophisticated green architecture not only contributes to the environment at large but can be used as a power source to fuel the operations of [said building], as well.
But alas, thanks to the original Bard of Avon himself, green is also associated with jealousy.
In the tale of Othello, the protagonist is lured into a false rage by Iago, who convinced him his wife was cheating on him with Cassio. The Venetian Iago is experiencing his own form of envy against Othello, a Moor. Despite causing this futile emotion, Iago tells Othello, "Beware, my lord; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on." Eventually, by the mid-1800s, the expression 'green with envy' was common nomenclature. The following lust-worthy examples of a green color palette’s chic implementation through design may also have you seeing green.
Home stylist and interiors expert Carlos Mota whose tome Beige is Not a Color, extols the virtue of the intense green color palette, despite comparing it to the abhorred hue. "Green is like beige to me; a color that goes with anything. Green is also like nature, the great original designer," he said, suggesting "start by adding small touches like pillows or tablecloth, then a small space such as entryway or bathroom."
Another approach is to go all in. At the Dar Es Saada Marrakech home of Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent, the duo brought a touch of Parisian chic to Morocco, incorporating the North African aesthetic and French provincial mood into an engulfing sea of green and blue in the salon.
Because of its relation to nature, a green color palette can easily recreate the feeling of nature in any home, such as this wallpaper and drape effect that doused this room in tropical-looking foliage.
Marble is another natural way to invite the shade into one’s home. This kitchen in a Brussels residence created by Studio P Architects is anchored by a demonstrative green marble island and kitchen backsplash. The velvet chair complements the pigment but contrasts in texture to compelling effect.
Green velvet is fast becoming the ‘right-here-right-now’ seating treatment. In a tribute to a colleague, fellow architect and interior designer Luis Laplace posted an image on Instagram of this unique puzzle chair covered in a bright emerald shade for a salon project the deceased designer did in Menorca, Spain. The popular curved sofa style graces this lobby in Moscow and appears in a moss green color palette, while a tufted L-shaped sofa adds a sense of comfortable regality to this salon when set atop diagonal checkerboard marble floor tiles.
After getting a master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Illinois, Vector Architect founder Gong Dong returned to Beijing, where he started the firm in 2008. This green technology showroom is exhibit A of the work the firm is doing to combine the technology of today with the sustainable ideals of tomorrow. The designer, who also honed his craft at Richard Meier & Partners, has won several awards, including taking top honors for new Chinese architecture at the 2010 Venice Biennale of Architecture.
Mother Nature often supplies the best ingredients for architectural design, especially when the principals are applied outdoors. For the landscaping on his infamous Chateau de Fabregues in France, the designer, Pierre Yovanonitch, kept things graphic but straightforward and modern by inlaying this stark pool and accented the surrounding neatly trimmed greenery with a reflective ball. The choice makes sense considering the designer’s career began in fashion while working on the men’s line of Pierre Cardin. After ten years, he traded one design persuasion for another by becoming an ‘architect d’interieur’ working on commercial projects in France and across Europe. In 2018 he brought his talents stateside, opening an office in New York.
Perhaps the most unlikely spot to find mesmerizing design is in one’s dentist office. But what better way to relax one’s dental anxieties by enveloping them in a calming green color palette. Valencia Spain design duo Claudia Perez and Pedro Ochando, who created this dentist office for Clinica Cubells with a wavy sage green metal painted wall and deep forest chairs and table, transform a clinical space into a space of sophisticated calm.
A deep shade of forest green colors the Thomas House in Victoria, London. The 6,650 square meter co-working space and office building designed by Soda Studio exudes serenity rendered in its dark sage Wainscotting. Similarly, the female members-only, London-based AllBright Club has crossed the pond, recently opening a third in Los Angeles. Overlooking the Hollywood Hills in Melrose Place, the bar at this distinguished professional woman’s club is swathed in a green malachite color palette and finished with a tufted ceiling and underbar treated in a subtly contrasting shade of deep emerald green. Pops of chrome and black-and-white houndstooth make a dramatic, we-mean-business statement.
Hotels are often the inspiration point for a multitude of directional design trends that eventually make their way into personal homes. To wit, the lobby of the Puro Warsaw Hotel is anchored by this show-stopping seafoam green sofa. The off-centered art features old maps of the city of Warsaw and are given a modern update vis-a-vis botanical drawings layered on top for a luxe, multi-dimensional finish to the space.