Trade neutrals for nature-inspired cabinetry in kitchens, mudrooms, and more.

By Elizabeth Sweet
July 24, 2020
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While green has soothed for centuries, interior designers and cabinetry experts are increasingly turning to this burgeoning color for its bold yet restorative attributes. Recently, shades of green have been sprouting up on more than just walls and exteriors. This fresh color is now a top choice for kitchen cabinetry, trim, and built-in shelving, too, and they've never looked better.

Kitchen cabinets in Tarrytown Green by Benjamin Moore.
| Credit: Anthony Masterson

"Green is a perennial favorite, but the palette has come to the fore over the last two years," says Patrick O'Donnell, international brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball. "This relationship has been heightened recently due to perceived benefits of how we respond to the palette, which, in the right shade, can be ultimately restful and calming."

Nivara Xaykao, Benjamin Moore's associate manager of color marketing and development, credits the color's recent popularity to a desire for more natural elements in the home. "I think the idea of reconnecting with nature in this fast-moving, digital-driven world has contributed to the current popularity of greens," she says. "As nature shows us, green also pairs well with so many other colors, so it's a surprisingly easy color to work and live with."

Base cabinets are a 50/50 mix of Provence and Château Grey chalk paints by Annie Sloan.
| Credit: Annie Schlecther

How to Choose Green Paint Colors for Cabinetry

Whether you're leaning towards a softer shade or plan to go bold, both light and dark green cabinetry can create a fresh look. But with thousands of green paint colors available, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one.

For those struggling with the selection process, Christopher Scott Stinson of C.S. Cabinetry offers some selection advice."To mitigate anxiety about making a wrong choice on whether to go bold or not, just be sure to do your due diligence and display larger, painted samples in the physical space," he says. "Also, finding an inspiration picture on Pinterest ... can add to your confidence."

Tune in to your internal voice, too. "I always believe in going with your gut instinct," says O'Donnell. "Your house is an extension of you and your family's personality."

Best Green Paint Colors for Cabinets

We asked interior designers and cabinetry pros to share their favorite green paint colors for cabinets and trim. These are the shades they turn to and trust.

Credit: Paige Rumore

While it might be trending today, green has always been a go-to for Nashville-based interior designer Stephanie Sabbe. "As a lifelong redhead, green is my color," she says. "As in this small bathroom, my green selections are always on the muddy side so they read more of a neutral than a statement color." She painted this bathroom's walls, trim, and vanity in Benjamin Moore's Hillside Green. A monochromatic green palette helped her achieve cohesiveness in the small space. "Green is definitely the foundation to this room, but the green with the brass, linen, marble, and a touch of antique wood—the whole is what makes it special."

Credit: Stephen Karlisch

Dallas interior designer Carrie Hatfield used this lush Green Smoke color from Farrow & Ball for a client's home office. "This green color is a wonderful warm tone for a study in particular," she says. "It can work with so many different complementary colors and patterns."

Thanks to the versatility of the wall and trim color, the room can be styled in a number of ways. "It provides the perfect backdrop for a more masculine space," she says. "If styled differently, it could also go in a feminine direction. It becomes a great neutral to work with."

Credit: Sarah Shields

Indianapolis-based interior designer Whittney Parkinson loves to use green in her projects. For this space, Parkinson wanted a light, minty shade that felt both fresh and cheerful. Sherwin-Williams' Oyster Bay had the winning combination. "An easy way to elevate a laundry room is with paint color," she says. "The color green symbolized freshness, which is why we chose it to perfectly complement the cement tiled floor and contrast the space."

Credit: Regina Taylor

For a bold yet versatile green, Chicago-based interior designer Alex Kaehler turned to Enchanted Forest from Benjamin Moore's trusted Classics collection. "I love this specific color because although it is very much a true green, it has a lot of gray in it too," she says. "It's a bit dusty and muddy, which I love. It's warm and inviting, perfect for a little boy's room (like it's used here) but sophisticated enough that I've also used it in a library."

Credit: Scott Davis

For this European-style mudroom entry, Stinson used Farrow & Ball's French Gray. Carrying the color throughout the room, Stinson used the soft green paint on built-in cabinetry, mudroom storage, and a worktop island. The green-gray color truly shines thanks to abundant natural light, charming limestone floors, and crisp white walls.

Credit: Dustin Hallek

For her own home, designer Alex Kaehler turned to Benjamin Moore's Essex Green in a glossy finish for a jolt of eclectic energy. "Green is my favorite color, and I really wanted to paint our kitchen green but my husband felt strongly about white, so instead we painted our butler's pantry green," Kaehler says. "I knew since it was a more secondary space, we could really go bold and have a nice contrast to our more classic white kitchen."

Credit: Rikki Snyder

Connecticut-based interior designer Becca Casey hoped to capture the color of the English countryside in this soothing space. "Being from England, I wanted to channel a traditional Cotswold green for this custom built-in," she says. "We chose Pigeon by Farrow & Ball for its beautiful sage green hue and contrasted it with a bold floor tile and brass hardware."

Pigeon is a color Casey turns to again and again. "It can pull a subdued gray in a dimly lit room or allow its green undertones to shine through in spaces glowing with natural light," she says.

Credit: Katie Jameson

Sara Barney of BANND Design used green shelving and built-in cabinetry to accent her hip, Texas-based design studio. "With all of the dark blues and light walls paired with my love of using layers of colors, I knew I wanted the cabinetry to have some depth and be its own moment," she says. In the end, Benjamin Moore's Captivating Teal was the winner. "I threw up a few swatches and this shade was an easy yes!"

Credit: Julia Robbs

For Shelly Lynch-Sparks, founder of New York design company Hyphen & Co., Benjamin Moore's Hunter Green was the perfect color choice for her client's modern kitchen. "Making a bold choice with a paint color is worth it because you can always change it later on without cost being exorbitant," she says. "Color can change the energy of a space for the better, and it's okay to take a risk and explore something new." She adds that dark green lets neutral furniture pieces and materials pop.

Credit: Molly Culver

Houston-based interior designer Mary Patton used a number of Farrow and Ball's rich green shades throughout this home. Patton chose Calke Green as a "medium neutral tone" for this media space. "Even though it's green, the color is neutral enough for their art to pop," she says. "We decided to paint every inch of the room this color including the ceiling, walls, trim, etc. I love the way it adds drama to the room!"

Credit: Sarah Shields

For a client's powder room, Parkinson used a lovely shade of gray-green, Benjamin Moore's Intrigue. "In this space, we were combatting high ceilings, so we created four-foot-tall wainscoting, which allowed for the eye to focus on what is important: the beautiful, saturated yet soothing green color that we pulled directly from the Phillip Jeffries Tulu grasscloth," she says.

Credit: Werner Straube

Where to Use Green Cabinets in Your Home

According to paint experts, one of the most impactful places to use green is on kitchen cabinetry. “Greens are a natural fit for the kitchen because they conjure health and wellbeing,” Xaykao says. If you’d prefer to soften the look, consider choosing two cabinetry colors instead, placing the green shade on the base cabinets. Green also serves as a lovely accent against neutrals, making it a fun color for a kitchen island or an adjacent built-in bar.

Green adds energy to utilitarian spaces, too. Dusty sage and minty greens work well on cabinetry in mudrooms and laundry rooms, while earthy, rich olive tones can turn an ordinary bathroom into an oasis. To feel fully enveloped in the color, use green on all four walls, cabinetry, and trim.

If you’re looking to encourage focus, consider using a bold blue-green on the walls and built-in cabinetry in your living room or office. “Darker greens can make a statement in the office or library, balancing drama with a serene sophistication,” Xaykao says.

No matter the room, sticking to a satin or semi-gloss finish works best if you’re looking for a subtle, soothing aesthetic. Plan to pair frosty greens with white flooring or walls. To turn up the volume, consider a glamorous, high-gloss finish in a striking, all-over green shade.

Credit: David Tsay

Tips for Painting Cabinetry and Trim

If you're taking on a cabinetry painting project yourself, be sure to follow the paint manufacturer's recommendations for preparation. This helps ensure that your new green paint adheres properly, creating a long-lasting, durable finish.

If you don't feel brave enough to take on this DIY project, consider hiring a paint professional to paint kitchen cabinets, vanities, built-ins, and trim. "The best finish will usually come by employing a reputable painter, especially if you are considering spraying the paint," O'Donnell says. "But the key to any longevity is preparation. This is the most laborious task but will give you the best end result."

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