When it comes to decorating, green can be intimidating. But this hue — symbolizing nature and renewal — may surprise you. Whether used in a living room, bedroom, library, kitchen or bathroom, it’s unconventional and fresh. Here, top designers talk about how they employ the dazzling shade and extol the virtues of going green.
This little boy’s bedroom is nestled in a Beacon Hill, Boston, townhouse that was built in 1836 and recently renovated by Nina Farmer Interiors. “We wanted to find a sophisticated palette that could grow with him and still be playful enough for him to enjoy from the get-go,” says Farmer. “The Pagoda drapes by Katie Ridder were our starting point. I traveled to India during the project, so I was really drawn to the elephant-print fabric we used on the roman shades.”
Complementing the Hickory Chair side table and the Swans Island throw blanket, the faux bois wallpaper and the floor pillows in Lee Jofa fabric with Kelly Wearstler trim set the tone. “My daughter always asks me what my favorite color is, and my answer is green,” Farmer says. “I think it is really underutilized in interiors in favor of blue. It is the one color that I like in almost every shade it comes in. There is always a fresh way to pair it with other colors to create unexpected combinations.” Photo by Eric Piasecki
“This porch sits outside the conservatory and guesthouse of the clients’ home overlooking the pool,” Fawn Galli says, describing a project in Newport, Rhode Island. “The Link Outdoor green fabric used on the chairs pulls in the turquoise of the chandelier by Marjorie Skouras, as well as the color of the pool. My goal was to create a space that allowed for quiet reflection and serenity but could also be the life of the party. The modern take on wicker furniture is comfortable, and the bright upholstery draws you in.” Photo by Costas Picadas
“We wanted to make sure the gardens, designed by Denler Hobart, and the views of Mount Tamalpais were always the protagonists,” Eche Martinez says of this family home in Marin County, California. “With that in mind, we decided on a palette of light neutrals with accents of rich green tones and blue. Green is one of the few colors that can be elegant and relaxed at the same time, and that was exactly the vibe we wanted this great room to have. Being in Northern California means we can enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces — and all their shades of green — almost year-round.”
A custom A. Rudin L-shaped sectional and George Smith rolled-arm club chairs surround a custom ikat ottoman. Photo by Christopher Stark
“The Vinyl Factory record company asked us to design and construct three loft apartments in a former car park just off Carnaby Street in London, ” says Fran Hickman. Hickman preserved the original architectural features while creating modern, flexible spaces “suitable for work, reflection and play.” The green kitchen cabinetry by Plain English adds a pop of color to one of the flats. Photo by Annabel Elston
Located in a Spanish revival home in Santa Monica, California, this serene and moody mahogany-paneled library was designed by Kerry Joyce. “I wanted to make a statement to honor the great view and elevate the use of intense green to the level of art,” Joyce explains. The chairs in lush green velvet are by Dana John, the 1930s coffee table is French, and the Isfahan rug is from the early 17th century. Photo by Magnus Marding
Studio Ashby designed the art-filled apartment in London’s Mayfair neighborhood whose bedroom, with its verdant headboard and green-patterned bolster, is shown here. Antiques, bespoke pieces and contemporary furnishings create a colorful but elegant mix. The firm’s founder and creative director, Sophie Ashby, says that for her, every project starts with art. “It’s a lot to do with the palette,” she explains, “but it’s also a window into the client’s tastes and world.” Photo by Philip Durrant
“In this Upper West Side Manhattan apartment, the challenge was to marry two different aesthetics and create something unique and personal,” says Gideon Mendelson, founder of Mendelson Group. “He liked handsome and modern with a touch of global. She liked pattern and color with a hint of whimsy. We created a home that works for both: a well-curated, sophisticated space that emphasizes stunning views of the Hudson River and has ample space for entertaining.”
Textured elements, like the Jonathan Adler chairs, add warmth and softness to the clean, modern aesthetic. Mendelson introduced green in some of the furniture and accessories, such as the Zimmer + Rohde drapes. “This was a mostly neutral scheme, but it benefited from the energy of the green,” he says. “The small doses of green are carefully distributed throughout the room in just the right places in ways that are not overwhelming. It makes the space feel fresh and unique. Green is found in nature, always feels energetic and connects to the outdoors — and it can bring the feeling of the outdoors indoors. Our clients were newly married when we started the project, so it felt like a positive, happy color for this new chapter in their lives.” Photo by Eric Piasecki
Built into the rocky cliff of a private 17-acre island in Virginia, this mid-century Richard Neutra home gives visitors the feeling of being in the treetops. “Green was an obvious choice,” says Todd Yoggy. “With most of the furnishing selections on this project, our goal was to continue to bring the outside in but offer the client fresh bits of color. The rug is a custom Luke Irwin piece that has the texture and feel of the river in which the island is situated. The Vienna Way club chairs, designed by Marmol Radziner, are upholstered in Rosemary Hallgarten hand-painted alpaca bouclé. I fell in love with the texture and saturated green hue, as it reminded me of the trees on the island.”
The Origami table lamp in bronze is from Holly Hunt, the 1950s vintage stools from Dragonette Ltd. Photo courtesy of Todd Yoggy
“This bedroom in a New York City penthouse apartment is meant to be a restful aerie, with celadon-fabric-covered walls and crisp white cotton curtains,” says Courtney Coleman, of Brockschmidt & Coleman. “We designed the upholstered headboard, lacquered bedside tables and oval stained- and cerused-oak dressing table. The latter was fabricated by Oliver Musker, a furniture maker in New Delhi to whom our client was introduced at a glamorous-sounding Indian wedding.”
The Louis XVI–style duchesse brisée chairs are the client’s own, reupholstered in a Rogers & Goffigon linen. The walls are upholstered in a Clarence House woven toile. The bench is also upholstered a woven toile, this one from Claremont in an emerald green, with gimp from Passementerie. The photograph above the dressing table is by Ansel Adams.
“The room has a tranquil feeling, thanks to a limited palette based on pale celadon, our client’s favorite color,” says Bill Brockschmidt. “To keep it from looking too monotonous, however, we used one of our go-to decorating tricks, which is mixing warm and cool green tones. In our opinion, nature proves that all greens harmonize! Here, the contrast of the dark pine color of the bed quilt and the vibrant leaf color of the bench gives the room a freshness that is completely natural.” Photo by William Waldron
“For this lighthearted and energetic dining space of a young and vibrant family in Atlanta, grass green felt like the perfect complement to the vintage lighting and contemporary paintings,” says Nate Berkus.
“This is one of my favorite rooms we’ve designed,” says Ken Fulk. “Lacquered in nine coats of a custom color we call Battery Green, it’s secreted behind a revolving bookcase in a private San Francisco social club named the Battery, where I serve as creative director. It’s filled entirely with vintage finds, ranging from the Italian brass mid-century light fixture to the 1970s dining chairs that we covered in metallic gold leather. We inhabit a natural world surrounded by millions of shades of green that all live side by side in harmony. I think green makes the perfect backdrop for most any room. Furnishings of every era, whether modern or Louis XIV, look elegant in a green room. It’s a color that can be invigorating or utterly relaxing.” Photo by Douglas Friedman
“We selected a vivacious shade of green for the walls of this male client’s bathroom, as it felt nostalgic while also maintaining a freshness,” says Beata Heuman. “Completed with painted borders, chrome wall lights and a bespoke mirror, the look evokes the decadent feel of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.” Photo by Simon Brown