Thursday, February 4, 2010

Success With Greens

Mother nature does green so well. Why is it a tricky color to get right in interiors?

Image: Stow Lake @ Golden Gate Park_Jerry Levy

Green was my Mother’s favorite color and I was surrounded by it growing up. Two upholstered high back velvet chairs in forest green graced the living room. Each time the color faded, Mother spray painted them. It’s hard to believe she pulled this off, but they looked beautiful to the eye. They were prickly to the touch and uncomfortable to sit on in skirts or shorts. Our kitchen was a green sanctuary with ivy green linoleum counters. Four different wallpaper patterns with green stripes, leaves, and berries were found upstairs and down. Her largest green installation was a custom built floor to ceiling wall-to-wall china cabinet painted Williamsburg green.

In color psychology green is associated with nature. It’s the color that is used to soothe and calm the spirit. Visually it hits right on the surface of the retina, so it neither advances nor recedes. It’s a non-demanding hue.

Image: SFMOMA 75th Year Anniversary Focal Wall_Jerry Levy

So why is challenging to select the perfect green for your environment?

In nature there are blue greens, grey greens, yellow greens in light and dark values and color names reference nature – sage, ivy, fern, apple, forest green and mint.

Image: Painting Diebenkorn Cityscape 1. @ SFMOMA _ColourStudio

Historically many institutional offices, schools and hospitals have been coated top to bottom with green. Cold and lifeless these colors do anything but soothe the user. People frequently select pastel colors for their environment as they feel safer. Green is a hue that is more successful when it has some character and personality.

I live in a house with many greens- olives green, yellow green, historic green and I find that if you select the correct hues, green creates a wonderful backdrop for living. It can be work in traditional interiors as well as contemporary settings.

Image: Martha Stewart Everyday Colors Brochure

Image: Residential Dining Room_David Wakely

Here are some of my favorite greens:

Farrow & Ball Colours
Folly Green_#76
Saxon Green_#80

Dunn Edwards
Stuffed Olive_DE 5529
Watercress_DE 5528

Martin Senour
Chrysanthemum Bud_105-5

Pratt & Lambert Williamsburg Color Collection
Russell House Green_CW519, CW520, CW521, CW522
Palace Chamber Green_CW523

Author: Jill Pilaroscia, Life In Color, Colour Studio

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