Which Colors Make Green? How to Customize a Green Paint Color

Refresh your home with a custom shade of this nature-inspired color.

deep green can paint lids with marble jade and paintbrush
Photo: Adam Albright

Whether you’re looking for a calming paint color for your bedroom or a deep, moody shade to add drama to your living room, green is one of the most versatile colors you can use. It offers an array of rich, timeless hues as well as soft, soothing shades. Go bold with a striking jade or malachite green that makes a stunning statement and pairs beautifully with other jewel tones. Or go classic with a hunter green that’s the epitome of sophisticated elegance, especially when embellished with traditional molding and millwork. There are countless shades of green available on the market, but you can also take the DIY route and create your own custom green paint color.

neutral green paint lids with leaves and branches
Adam Albright

Which Colors Make Green?

This nature-inspired color is a great way to bring the outdoors in and give your home an instant refresh. The basic answer for what colors make green is blue and yellow. However, color theory is a little more complex.

Yellow and blue are both primary colors, meaning they are the starting point for mixing secondary colors, such as green. Green can have warm or cool undertones, depending on the amount of yellow and blue it contains. If yellow is the dominant color, expect a green paint color with warm undertones. If you use more blue than yellow, you will end up with a cooler shade of green. 

In addition to the amount of each of the primary colors used, the shade and saturation of yellow and blue also affect the green color you get. This is why the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating your own custom shade of green.

Earthy Green Paint Colors
Adam Albright

How to Make Light Green Paint Colors

A light green paint color is a great way to freshen up a room, create a spa-like feel, and make a space feel light and airy. It’s a great choice for a bedroom or bathroom and one that works well with cool or warm neutrals as well as soft pastels.

To make your own shade of light green paint, start with yellow. Little by little, add small amounts of blue to it until it begins to turn green. It’s important to add the blue in small increments to avoid creating a dark shade of green. A large amount of yellow paint mixed with a little bit of blue will give you a warm, light-green color perfect for injecting a little warmth into your home.  

If you’re looking for a cooler shade of light green, such as a mint green, add white. It will tone down the warmth of the yellow undertones and, depending on the amount of white you add, give you anything from a soft mint green to a beautiful pastel green.

To add more depth and create a light sage green color, instead of adding white, add a little bit of red paint. A little bit of red goes a long way but adding too much will turn your paint brown quickly, so make sure to add it in slowly and in small increments. 

deep green can paint lids with marble jade and paintbrush
Adam Albright

How to Create Dark Green Paint

A deep, dark shade of green paint creates a cozy atmosphere and timeless elegance no matter which room it's used in. Add dramatic contrast with bright white molding and millwork to instantly dress up a room and give it a traditional feel. Pair it with metallics to go glam or black and charcoal for a more modern feel.

To get started, begin with the same base—blue and yellow paint. Use a larger amount of yellow or blue depending on whether you're looking for a warmer or cooler shade of dark green. You can, of course, adjust the warmth as you go as well.

To darken the green, add a bit of black paint to it. Start slowly and add a tiny amount as it will darken your paint very quickly. Experiment with adding more yellow to warm up your dark green or add extra blue or even a dash of white paint to cool it down.

Another option is using purple to darken green paint. Either use ready-made purple or mix your own by combining red and blue. Add black as needed to create the perfect shade. Green and purple are contrasting colors and some shades sit opposite each other on the color wheel, making them complementary colors. A dark green paired with a regal purple form a stunning color combination that feels dramatic yet sophisticated.

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