A Green to Envy

Looking to refresh your rooms with an unexpected shade? Forest green is a natural.

When nature creates its compositions, green is the one constant. The lush hue looks as elegant mingling with a riot of color in a wildflower field as it does in winter, when pointy evergreens punctuate the frosty landscape. Because we’re so accustomed to seeing green in our environment — and because it literally coordinates with every color under the sun — using it in bold strokes in a room is less risky than you might think. And yet, “people tend to avoid dark, earthy greens, in particular, which are seen as drab and somber,” says Falmouth decorator Penelope Daborn. Sensing a challenge, and inspired by the forest greens she sees cropping up in the latest paint and furniture palettes, Daborn dreamed up two rooms — one playful, one pared down — that showcase the versatility of a shade that may as well be Maine’s state color.

Juxtaposed with a symphony of shades, green reads like a neutral — just as it does in the garden. Starting with a moss-colored sofa, Daborn pulled coordinating tones from a whimsical, Albers-esque rug. “The key is to draw from both ends of the color spectrum,” she says. If the green were matched with all warm hues — rusts, oranges, tans — the room would look “stuck in the mid-century,” particularly since the furnishings are of that era. Sky-blue paint and cloud-like accents lend airiness, and impressionistic prints underscore the nature-inspired theme.

1. Farrow & Ball Lulworth Blue paint

2. The Urban Electric Co. Bit sconce

3. Trowbridge Wall Meadows series

4. West Elm Belgian Flax Linen Curtain

5. Article Sven sofa

6. Osborne & Little Fontibre fabric

7. 366 Concept 366 Easy Chair Loft

8. Osborne & Little Ledoux fabric

9. Wisteria Modern Pull-Up Table

10. Company C Concentric Squares Rug

11. Curated Kravet Kino Nesting Tables

12. Uttermost Piota lamp

13. Schumacher Zimba fabric

14. Curated Kravet Delilah Console Table

Linens printed with a watercolor forest pop against a snowy backdrop of whites and creams. “I’ve never had a problem mixing different whites,” says Daborn, noting that warm and cool versions lend depth to a composition — like areas of light and shadow. Intricate, geometric-patterned wallpaper balances the painterly bedding, and walnut furnishings “hold their own with the green,” says Daborn, who was careful not to let the design skew too earthy: teal glass bottles and a smattering of gold, brass, and bronze accents provide glam counterpoints.

1. Schumacher Milo wallpaper

2. Article Culla Spindle bed

3. Room & Board Grove Armoire

4. Uttermost Balkan mirror

5. The Urban Electric Co. Audley sconce

6. Uttermost Annabella Bottles

7. Article Culla nightstand

8. DiaNoche Designs Forest Trees Green duvet cover and shams

9. Serena & Lily Flokati Rug

10. Wisteria Mid-Century Upholstered Bench

Click here to see more color inspiration from Penelope Daborn!