“Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.” - Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute

The Pantone Color Institute recently announced Greenery as the 2017 Colour of the Year. The Institute describes Greenery as “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

Over the past five years, we have seen an increasing proliferation of plants in our urban environment with communal vegetable and herb gardens becoming commonplace, foliage spilling from multi-story buildings and green walls surprising us in unexpected places. In interiors, we’ve seen the resurgence of indoor plants and green walls as features in the commercial interior landscape.

The more we become immersed in modern life and our high-tech world, it seems the more we crave contact with the natural world.

I hear many people say that they don’t like green. This is usually because they are holding a certain tone of green in their head that relates to some unpleasant experience locked in their memory. They may not even remember the experience, but they have an aversion to this specific green.

However, who doesn’t enjoy being in the garden or taking a walk in the bush or a park?  There is something quite peaceful, refreshing and restorative about it.

There are many different shades of green, and you can find many of these just in the garden alone, from yellow green new shoots the colour of Greenery, to bright green blades of grass and grey green or blue green leafy bushes.

Greens can be tinged with yellow like a citrus green such as bright lime.  On the flipside, it can be a pale grey green that we call sage. There’s vibrant emerald green, so loved by the Irish, and then there are the blue greens like petrol blue and teal and the gentler, pastel greens like sea foam and aqua.

At the other end of the green scale, there are greens like Racing Car Green, forest (a key fashion colour for this autumn/winter), olive and khaki, to name just a few.

Green as a neutral

Around the beginning of the 21st century, a lot of neutrals had a greenish undertone. This was a result of our emerging eco-consciousness. There were many homes that were specified with these new neutrals, where the owners said they didn’t like green – but they weren’t thinking this kind of green!

Green is nature’s neutral and as such it works with many other colours – just look at a flower garden. Neutral based greens work especially well in exterior applications.

What works with green

Throw the old adage “blue and green should never be seen” out the window. They can work particularly well together. This is because they are neighbours on the colour wheel – blue and green are related colours.  Try lime green with peacock blue or indigo and white for a lively combination.

Pinks and reds complement green perfectly. An ideal classic trio is forest green with rust and cream. Or try a tropical combination of palm green, hot pink, zesty orange and purple.

Where to use green

Green is friendly and easy on the eye. As the colour that the human eye absorbs most easily, green is an ideal colour for walls behind computer screens. Because green is relaxing, it is great for the bedroom or living rooms. The lighter shades are relaxing and the bluer tones create a cool and calm environment.

Also, green is ideal for spaces where concentration is required and where sedentary tasks are performed. However, refrain from using green in an area where analytical thinking is required.

As always, when making colour selections, it’s never just about one colour. The whole colour scheme will need to be in complementary tones suited to the intended area and context is key. If you are out of your depth in this area, seek the assistance of a colour strategist.