Color Theory: Olive Green’s Comeback

You know how they say nothing is new and everything comes back in style? Well, there’s a reason those are sayings. As of late I’ve been drawn to rooms with olivey green walls.  I used to hate this color on walls, or anything in the “sage” family (or “cranberry” for that matter) in a home. And now, I’m digging variations of this color. I’ve always liked green, but more of a crisp emerald, or a green with blue tones to it.  But olive/army/ sage looks AMAZING with brass or gold accents, leather, wood, marble,  animal prints and has a very historic, cozy quality to it.  Here are some inspired spaces using variations on the shade:










Here are some of my favorite color pairings with olive green:


*paint sample images from Pure Home.

Lots of people like plum and olive green together too, but as a child of the 80’s all I can think about when I hear “purple and green” are the years I had braces and always chose those colors for my bands. File that under #scarredforlife #isurvivedthe80s.

Braces week 15



  1. Love this color too and in fashion, I dig it with neon. I love that image of the kitchen with olive cabinets and chalkboard fridge!!

    Ps. I completely forgot about colorful elastics on braces, I always did colors for holidays too – orange and black for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, I am cringing…

  2. I have loved a deep olive green forever. It goes with everything similar to dark gray or navy. With the yellow tones… are right…it looks great with gold and brass!

  3. I just found the perfect upholstered headboard on One King’s Lane in Olive velvet! It sold out and now I am trying to find another. I just love that color :)

  4. Could you provide color names and sources on the paint colors? Those pairings are wonderful -said from a former olive phobic!

  5. About 12 years ago when shopping for our first home, my husband and I visited a house with a realtor. I loved the house from the outside but once we entered the house I could see that it clearly had some issues. As soon as we got to the kitchen, our realtor sucked in her breath and said “Never buy a house with avocado green or harvest gold appliances!” and then she made us leave. I have never forgotten that advice and your post reminded me of it. If olive green is in fashion, can harvest gold be far behind? To be followed by the country blue and dusty rose?

  6. I remember the AD spread of Julianne Moore’s NYC brownstone a few years back – all purple, green, black, white, & gray, inside and out. I loved that!

  7. Oh man, I am SO with you on the green and purple!

    Our living room is a sage green (courtesy of the former homeowners)and it seems dated to me, but I love your selection of pairings. That dark teal color is gorgeous!

  8. I know this is a lame request, but will you be adding these images on Pinterest? I cannot get my ‘pin from website’ tool to work and would LOVE to add some of these pics!!

  9. Ahh that braces flashback! Just looking at that made my teeth hurt! I love all shades of green so olive never needed a comeback with me. Lovely!

  10. This is an awesome post–beautiful interior shots, good specific advice, and awesome paint pairings!
    Plus–green has always looked fab with leopard. . .

  11. I would never think of olive/army green as a stylish color, but between this post and a recent one by Little Green Notebook (I think?), I’ll happily eat my words.

    Real talk though, the best part of this post is the braces comment. I totally went “teal and purple please” with my braces allll the time. God bless the 80’s/90’s and now our straight teeth.

  12. Check out Jenny Komenda’s guest bathroom on her blog Little Green Notebook. Olive green loveliness!

  13. The July/Aug. Elle Decor had a feature called “Heading South” with lots of these schemes, including an olive den and olive and mustard wallpaper in the entryway, a mustard-colored dining room, plus coral and peacock blue accents. Must be a new trend!

  14. Another great post! I love the bar stools in the 2nd picture. Green is a nice complementary cuisine colour & the high gloss shine really makes the olive pop.

  15. Just moved and we are installing an olive green grasscloth wallpaper in our dining room (literally as I write this!). It looks fabulous with the white trim and all of our dark wood furniture. Now to consider what fabric will work on our dining room chairs…

  16. You are so right about olive green with brass. We are renovating our house and putting some brass details in our bedroom; now I’m excited to add green!

    And about those braces, I did orange and black (for Halloween of course) and it’s in my 5th grade pictures. It looks like my teeth are rotting out of my mouth. Hideous.

  17. I used to dislike this color as well for walls but recently used Farrow and Ball’s Card Room Green in a house in Tuscany and it’s gorgeous.

    I don’t think harvest gold appliances will make a comeback, ever.

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