Olive Green

By Kate Riley July 28, 2015

I found myself buying a sleeveless olive green military style jacket this month to wear from now through fall. I’ve always loved the color, in fashion and interiors too. Olive tree branches are a go to botanical for me, we have five in our yard and every other month I’ll place branch clippings in a vase, they last several weeks and look beautiful on the dining room table with the light filtering through them.

olive branches in urn

once wed

Pantone has included “Dried Herb” as part of the fall fashion palette, it’s an earthy and muted shade of olive green so it’s not surprising we are seeing olive green popping up among some early fall collections.

dried herb


Olive is a common color in my area, much of the landscape is planted with olive trees and so many of the glass wine bottles are this color too.

oversized green wine bottles

pottery barn

You can’t go wrong with a dramatic deep green curtain, we have Scarlett O’Hara to thank for that.

green walls curtains

source unknown

olive green velvet drapes

how to decorate

Olive green is divine on cabinets from contemporary to traditional, it pairs well with brass, nickel, or oil rubbed bronze hardware. A muted green is at the top of my list in cabinet colors for an upcoming remodeling project.

olive green vanity

roselind wilson design

olive green kitchen cabinets

mazen studio

olive bark cabinets

disc interiors

moss green cabinets

how to decorate

olive green laundry room cabinets

riley custom


It’s such a beautiful paint color for furniture and front doors. The inside of my dining room hutch is a shade of olive green , I’ve always loved it!

olive green hutch

how to decorate

jungle green front door

emily a clark

Olive green can feel traditional or modern, it just depends on how it’s used in a space and the furnishings and accents that it’s partnered with.

olive green painted walls

better homes and gardens

olive green walls

elaine griffin

moss green walls jessie webster

jessie webster

olive green walls

little green notebook

I always found olive green so very warm and inviting, sophisticated too, are you a fan of this hue?


  1. I love olive green. For most of my adult life my house has had olive/moss green in it. I wanted to depart from that color scheme in this house, but an Arhaus sofa presented itself to me at the thrift store for $100…and it’s green. No worries…I’ve mixed the green and the blue and love it. So, green will always be a part of my home. It’s a cozy color.

  2. Do you ever see preserved/dried olive branches for sale? Locally or online? Thanks.

  3. Loved this post! Shades of green have always been my “go to” decorating color. The chandelier in the Pottery Barn pic is fabulous!
    And I just bought a pair of olive green pants at Loft for a steal – happy to know I’m on trend!

  4. This is exactly what I love the most about bloggers and writers alike. Things are shown with a new approach and a different perspective. This is a color that I don’t think I would’ve ever considered using in my home but after reading this and looking at the inspiring pictures I will definitely give it a chance!! Oh and I can’t believe that fall is just around the corner! Thank You!

  5. We recently painted our master bedroom Benjamin Moore Nantucket Gray, which despite the name is actually a lovely shade of olive green. It’s very cozy!

  6. I’ve never really considered olive green, but your post is inspiring me. I love the cabinets painted olive green. That dining room with the pops of blue and the red rug is a great illustration of how to mix colours with green.

  7. Green is my favorite color. As a new wife, I bought my appliances in olive, accenting my decor with bright orange & yellow. Eventually, I left for hunter & then apple. The trim on my new navy flowered comforter is lime, accenting again with a beautiful dusty tangerine. I’m ready to paint my dining room a rich dark olive similar to the dining room you showed. What’s old is new again, especially me!

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have loved this color all my life and I’m soooo glad you have posted that it is coming back as soon as this fall. I have been wondering what color to paint a jelly cupboard and an old secretary, and this cinches it! They are going to olive green.
    I love that your olive branches you cut for your arrangement have olives on the branches. I live in Arizona and these trees are plentiful.
    I really enjoyed this post.

  9. How lucky for me to have the foresight to order olive branches offered as a deal on the Internet. I love olive and the olive branches will be a perfect starting point. Kate, I wish you would have shown us your jacket :-)

    • Ha Marisa, I would have linked to it but it was from TJ Maxx soooo… a bargain retail find in my local store. It’s really cute though!

  10. Our couch is olive… I think it’s 10 years old now. It’s so pretty with brass and wood tones.

    If anyone knows where to find affordable-but-lovely olive drapes, let me know!

    • I used to have green couches too Becky and Kelly, more like a forest green but we sold them about 15 years ago. I miss them from time to time, they were warm and wonderful!

  11. I have a olive green velvet sofa that I adore. I also have touches of olive (all greens really) all over my house. When I was young I could never color a picture without a bit of green. Now I’m the same with my house : )

  12. We just bought a fixer-upper and while we won’t be doing the actual work (we are not handy)! I love your style and will be looking back at your ideas for inspiration!

  13. Yes, I love olive green. I painted a curio cabinet olive and the inside a lighter shade. The cabinet was my Mom’s and I have my Wedgwood blue Jasperware on display. Also, my kitchen island is olive green.

  14. Which colors–pillows/accessories–would complement an old (I think drab) olive green traditional sofa?

    • Hi Beth! Olive as others have pointed out acts as a neutral, think of all the flowers in nature with deep green leaves, olive green goes with just about anything including analogous blues to complementary warm tones like orange or even coral. White always works too so perhaps a larger light colored 24″ pillow with a white background and a 20″ patterned pillow of your choice in front.

  15. I, too, love olive green. I think of it as a neutral. I do fear that if it becomes too big a decorating trend, however, it will go the way of the 1970’s avocado and be seen as very dated. So, I think I would be shy about utilizing it on major items such as built in cabinets, etc. I do love the look of it though.

  16. I’m not the only one who has been suddenly loving olive. I’m usually such a blue fan (I’m a blonde) but the muted olive looks really nice this season!

  17. I’ve always loved olive green, even before I realized that green was my color, though now I lean more toward the brighter yellowed greens. I think it’s a great neutral because so many colors work well with it. My late husband’s sister who lived in Lakeside, Colorado in a wonderful rustic cabin-style home used olive throughout her house and it was lovely. In the kitchen it was olive with a slightly orange/rust red and gold (matched her pottery dishes). In the LR the same colors were slightly subdued to focus on their fantastic artwork; in the powder room it was olive and light plum in wallpaper, towels and other accessories; in the bedroom where we stayed it was a very country look with olive and cream printed wallpaper, etc. The pictures are very inspirational. Although I probably wouldn’t paint my cabinets olive, those above look pretty because they appear to be a greened grey which is the way I prefer my grey – with warm green undertones. I still have a pair of olive casual pants which I no longer fit into and I’m still looking for a similar right-sized pair. You’ve brightened a lot of reader’s lives today, Kate. Thanks!

  18. We just toured a house for sale on Sunday that had an olive green great room, and custom olive green stained cabinets in the kitchen. From the online photos, I thought we would have to paint everything, but seeing it in person, it was nice! Don’t think hubs cared for it, but he has issues with color anything! I love most shades of green. At our old house, my girls once told me we had more than enough green in the house, it was feeling a bit “jungle-like” !!! I had to pull back for their sake. ;-)

  19. Growing up in the country, raising 5 kids and hosting lots of company, my Mom chose olive green carpeting. It was the best color. Absolutely never showed any discoloration. It set the tone for very comfortable and grounded rooms.
    The pictures you shared are lovely! I always enjoy seeing your blog.

  20. Ten years ago, I chose a local Vermont gray-green slate for our bathroom floor and tub surround, and paired it with a simple silvered cedar vanity (reclaimed from a dog run in the yard), hammered brass sink, sleek satin nickel fixtures, and white walls and shower curtain. The space felt calm and spa-like to me. Recently we made a long-distance move. Though I really like our current place, a part of me will probably always miss that gray-green slate. I still love it–so much so that I paid a premium (it’s nowhere near local now) to buy a few pavers as a short walkway through part of the garden. Wonderful, soothing, and surprisingly versatile color. I prefer the more muted, grayed hues, like Jenny Komenda’s in the last image.

  21. Green is my favorite color….EXCEPT Olive. It is called Olive DRAB for a reason. The exterior of my house was painted Olive when we bought it. One day, on a whim, I painted my front door Plum, and I loved the combination, BUT it was still Olive Drab. It is now, (and has been for about 20 years) a nice sunny yellow, with white trim, and an Italiano Rose front door. The End.

  22. Ha Bernie! Nice to have a dissenting opinion ! Olive can’t please everyone :)


  23. I didn’t realize how much I liked green until I read this post! So many beautiful ways to do it!

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