Go Green: 10 Warm-and-Woodsy Ways to Use Forest Green in Any Room

Whether you want to create a log cabin look or a more refined effect, you can’t go wrong with deep green. Hunter, emerald, spruce: These shades can read warm or cool, rustic or modern, and work beautifully with layered neutrals and pops of red and gold. Here, inspiring ways to use this comforting color palette to achieve a range of totally different styles.

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July 19, 2016
By: Amanda Lecky

Photo By: Caitlin & Caitlin

Photo By: EmeraldLight, William E. Enos

Photo By: Caitlin McCarthy Design

Photo By: Caitlin McCarthy Design

Photo By: Cortney Bishop Design

Photo By: Design by Brett Mickan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, www.bmid.com.au Photography by T, www.hindenburgdalhoff.com

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Soothing Retreat

Deep green walls create a restful backdrop in this masculine living room. Designer Caitlin McCarthy chose pale, neutral upholstery on the sectional sofa to keep the look serene, not subdued, and added rich texture in the rug and the upholstered benches for richness. Hints of red throughout the room lend just enough energy.

Focal Point

If committing to a bold color like dark green seems overwhelming, consider using it on one wall, as the team at Harrell Remodeling did in this Zen-like master bedroom. The warm shade helps ground the bed, which might otherwise seem adrift in the soaring space. Incorporating hints of red and gold adds just enough color to keep the space inviting, without detracting from the minimalist vibe.

Dramatic Effect

In a space with plain-vanilla architecture—standard-height ceilings, minimal detailing—it’s a designer’s challenge to create personality and presence. In this modern living room, designer Caitlin McCarthy used paint to get the job done, choosing a deep forest green for the walls, and then repeating the same color in a leather-upholstered armchair and a Southwestern-style rug. Charcoal upholstery on the sofa adds definition, and the gold-toned frame of the abstract glass coffee table offers just enough contrast to keep things interesting.

Opposites Attract

Rock and roll is all about energy, and for a living room created for a music enthusiast designer Caitlin McCarthy took care to incorporate plenty. Using colors on opposite sides of the color wheel—in this case, dark green and red—immediately amps up the attitude. The key to success, as illustrated in this space, is choosing one color to emphasize (green, here) and using the other as an accent; otherwise, the effect can be chaotic. 

Modern Rustic

To give this living space a clubhouse feel, designer Cortney Bishop installed horizontal paneling painted in a warm, woodsy green. Geometric patterns, layers of texture, and red and yellow accent colors add visual and tactile interest. Mid-Century Modern furnishings and a contemporary hanging sculpture keep the look fresh and sleek.

Great Addition

Designer Brett Mickan used color to help link a new addition to a 1913 Arts & Crafts-style home to the existing architecture. “The deep green gives a wink toward the fashionable colors of the period and makes the walls of this large-scaled space disappear, changing the visual focus to the garden outside,” says Mickan.

Luxe Living

To give a Los Angeles galley kitchen an attitude as big as its city views, designer Kristi Nelson painted the simple, paneled cabinets in a deep hunter green—an unexpected choice, but one that infuses the small space with outsize style. Golden tones in the granite counters, tile backsplash, and herringbone wood floors lend warmth and richness; the smallest hint of red—a bowl of roses is enough—completes the picture.

Grand Illusion

It may seem counterintuitive, but dark wall colors, as designer Kelly Sutton shows here, can make a small space seem larger: dark colors absorb light and appear to recede, and using dark colors on both the walls and ceiling blurs the line between the two, helping the ceiling seem higher. More designer tricks: light furnishings and accessories create bold contrast against a dark background; mirrors reflect light and trick the eye into seeing more space; and long window treatments “extend” the walls vertically.

Traditional, With a Twist

The combination of green, yellow, and red is not just beloved in bungalow style, but also in traditional French decor. Here, designer Leslie Lundgren adapted the classic trio for her clients, who had a French-Vietnamese connection. “The clients wanted their home to be Indo-Chine in style, so I altered the green, yellow and red combination to fit the desired visual effect for this particular project,” says Lundgren. “The French-Asian aesthetic called for a jade green, vivid yellow and coral red.” The effect is at once exotic and familiar—and absolutely successful.

Bohemian Chic

Designer SuzAnn Kletzien used unexpected elements like a hanging chair and a mix of natural fibers to give this living room a whimsical, bohemian flavor. Deep green walls create a soothing backdrop against which the mix of materials and colors—warm, natural browns, blues, reds, and golds—stand out.