Colour Histories: A Look at the History of Green

Galen Schultz small
Galen Schultz
, Witness This Editor

The Green Hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Colour Histories

The Green Hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal Image: Galen Schultz

The rolling green hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal are very much a part of me. I’ve been lucky enough to have spent my holiday-time in these lush and fertile lands. It is 50,000 shades of green and I could never tire of spending time in the garden – observing the local flora and fauna.

The people of my hometown, Eshowe, are some of the most relaxed and peaceful people on planet Earth, and I have a feeling that the colour green may have something to do with it.

Green Quotes. Colour Histories


The colour green is a favourite for many – second only to blue as a global favourite. What’s more is that there are more shades of green than that of any other colour, and green occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye than most colours.

Green Colour Candy Image Source domainehomecom. Colour Histories

Green Colour Candy, Image Source:

Colour Histories: The Effects of Green on the Mind

Because green is found all around us in nature, it makes sense that green is considered to have a soothing effect on our minds and helps us to relax mentally. This has been incorporated into different sectors of society – for example, in some theatres or studios there is a “green room” where performers can relax before or after performances.

Green Room. Colour Histories

Green Room, Image Source:

Some argue that green even helps alleviate depression and anxiety, and may even offer us a sense of self-control, renewal and harmony. Feng Shui claims that green eases absent-mindedness, nervousness and rudeness.

Paint companies, hospitals, schools and prisons are becoming increasingly aware of the therapeutic benefits of colour – a term which has been coined as “colour therapy”. Our own Colour Manager, Anne Roselt, has written about the healing powers of colour in your home on Plascon Trends before.

Colour Therapy. Colour Histories

Colour Therapy, Image Source:

Colour Histories: Green in Interior Design

Because green is such a pervasive colour in the natural world, and because it has all these positive effects on our well-being, it is celebrated as an ideal backdrop in interior design. Here are some interesting / useful tips for maximising the use of green in and around your home:

  • Green is one of the cooler colours in landscape design and it brings a soothing element to the garden.
  • Green plants recede visually – helping to make a small space appear larger.
  • The complementary colour to garden green is red. Plant red flowers and they will stand out beautifully against green.

For interiors, there are plenty of Plascon greens to keep you inspired.

Green Complimentary Colour. Colour Histories

Green’s Complementary Colours, Image Source: Plascon

Colour Histories: Different Perceptions of Green

Green is no longer just a colour, but is also a verb, an environmental symbol, and the universal colour of traffic lights around the world. Throughout history, green has signified growth and rebirth. To Muslims it is a holy colour, and to the Irish it is considered lucky. Interestingly, Israelis consider green to symbolise bad news. The Chinese once even considered green as the colour of the heavens and Japan still regards green as the colour of eternal life.

Colour of the Heavens. Colour Histories

Colour of the Heavens… Image Source:

However, green has negative connotations too, which is evident in the English language. To be “green with envy” or “green around the gills” are not how one would want to be described. One might even consider “snot-nose green” as a particular shade.

What comes to your mind when you think of green?



You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *