green olives on olive green background

Are you curious about the increasing popularity of olive green? The warm yellow tones green shade is not just a relic of past interior decorating schemes, but can be a great choice for a range sophisticated colour schemes. Olive goes well with a surprising range of colours, from neutrals to bold. Find out all about olive green and explore how to use it with style in your home, wardrobe or for your next party or event.

What Is Olive green?

Olive green is named after the yellow-green colour of olives. Not black olives of course, but unripe or green olives.

In design and decorating olive green is a deep yellow-green. Make sure not to confuse it with the dull grey to brown olive green shade known as “olive drab”. This was used for military uniforms and equipment in World War II and deserves its drab name! Olive green as we know it has much more yellow and has the following colour codes:

  • Hex code #808000
  • RGB 128, 128, 0
  • CMYK 0, 0, 100, 50
Collage of olive green images including olives, paint, plants with olive green hex and colour codes

Meaning of Olive green

Olive green is a warm and earthy yellow green shade. Like other shades of green, olive can be associated with growth and renewal. However, it’s unique deeper shade is also linked to wisdom and sophistication. Olive green also represents peace and harmony, remembering that the olive branch is a symbol of peace.

With the increased interest in mid century modern decoration, we are seeing a lot more olive green in homewares and furnishings. Olive green was also very popular in the 1970s, especially when combined with shade like burnt orange and mustard yellow. Whether you love or hate the 1970s vibe, olive green is experiencing a return to popularity but with a fresh approach.

Olive green is also becoming a popular choice for wedding colour schemes.

Collage of olive green images including flowers, fathers, olives and table settings

Colours that Go with Olive Green

Despite it’s warm undertones, olive green is a great earthy shade that can work just like a neutral. It combines very well with other neutral shades like white, cream, grey and even black. Olive also pairs well with light or mahogany (reddish) timber tones when decorating your home. You can also pair olive green with other warm colours, like yellows, oranges, reds and pinks.

Olive green green colour schemes including analogous colours (next to olive on the colour wheel) or complementary colours (opposite on the colour wheel) look great together.

Here are some of our favourite olive green colour combinations.

Olive Green and White or Cream

When you want to maximise the sophistication of olive green, try pairing it with white or creamy oatmeal shades. This stylish combination looks amazing in classic linen clothing, or in bedroom and living areas.

For a sophisticated colour palette, add highlights or black, gold or a hint of pink. This combination would be amazing for a wedding, party or event. Use olive green with white and your highlight colour for everything from invitations to table settings.

collage of olive green and white images with table settings, interiors and paint

Olive Green and Red

Olive green and red is very much removed from the classic Christmas colour combination. Red works surprisingly well with the yellow undertones of olive. Just think of a classic pimento stuffed green olive.

Try olive green with different red shades from bright, to pinkish red and dark mahogany shades.

collage of olive green and red images with stuffed olives, plates and strawberries

Olive Green and Orange

I know many of you will think of olive green and orange and be transported back to the 1970s. Olive and burnt orange was everywhere in clothing and homewares. However, orange and olive green is making a comeback. The key to using these colours is to think about the shade of orange you are using and what other colours you combine it with.

When you think of orange, don’t be limited to just classic orange. Try olive green with peach tones or brown oranges like copper and tan. When it comes to your wardrobe, tan accessories like belts, bags and shoes go especially well with the classic olive and white combination. For interiors, mix olive and orange shades with light grey or light oak timber.

collage of olive green and oraneg images with flowers, interiors, clothing and bird

Olive Green and Yellow Or Gold

Olive green has a yellow undertone, which means that you can mix it with shades of yellow well. Yellow and olive green are also complementary colours on the colour wheel.

For the best combinations, use a bold bright or golden yellow. Metallic gold or brass accents go very well with olive green, especially when mixed with other light neutrals.

collage of olive green and yellow images with flowers, baby clothes, paint and bird

Olive Green and Blues

I love olive green with every shade of blue, from light sky colours to deep royal blues and navy. Mixed with sky blues, it reminds me of the Mediterranean. As olive green is a warm shade, it will also look stunning with a warm blue like cobalt.

Olive green looks great when paired with navy blue (or navy blue and white). This is a timeless combination for sophisticated decorating or putting together a classy outfit. You can also add a pop of another colour that goes with olive, like peach or pink.

collage of olive green and blue images with food and flowers

Olive Green and Pinks

Pink is another warm colour that goes well with olive green. Experiment with all shades of pink from soft pale pink to bright pink and fuchsia. I also love olive green and coral pink (which has an orange tone).

Pale pink and olive green are relaxing colours to use in the home, especially when mixed with lots of light neutrals like white. I also love this for a party or wedding colour scheme.

collage of olive green and pink images with paint, flowers, handbags, clock and  bedroom

Olive Green and Purple

Olive green and warm shades of purple, like plum and grape, are complementary colours. They are opposite each other on the colour wheel and make a statement when paired together.

Pinks and purples mixed with olive green look wonderful in floral arrangements and make a striking event colour scheme. Try mixing these colours with white and some metallic gold accents for a beautiful combination.

collage of olive green and purple images with flowers, handbag, paint

Olive Green and Grey or Silver

Grey is another neutral that works well with olive green. Whether you chose a dark charcoal or a light grey, or every a shiny silver, these colours work wonderfully together with olive.

For a classy colour scheme using these 2 hues, try:

  • Olive green, white and silver;
  • Olive green, black/charcoal and silver; or
  • Olive green, grey and pink.

All of these combinations are a great way to use olive green shades in your home, wardrobe or event styling.

collage of olive green and grey/gray and silver images with olives, gifts, jewellery and a bird

More Shades of Green

Looking to explore other shades of green for your home, wardrobe or special event? Find out more about using fresh mint green or seafoam or sophisticated sage green. And follow us as we explore green in all its shades.

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