H:W

Olive’s perfect partners
Previous story Next story

Olive’s perfect partners

One colour alone doesn’t create a decorating scheme, so whenever we bring out a new seasonal hue (which, this autumn, is Olive, a deep and warm shade of green), as well as sharing a few ideas on how you can generally use it around your home, we’ll also always make sure to suggest a few possible palettes. These three are by no means the only colours you could happily pair with Olive, but they are three combinations that show just how versatile Olive can be and that, quite simply, we love.

Palette no.1: Olive and Honed Slate

Our first palette introduces the colour that, we feel, is Olive’s ideal neutral partner: Honed Slate. Like Olive, it has a yellow base and could even be considered to have a touch of green about it, so it’s less of a crisp contrast than, say, Shell, Salt or Snow would be, and more of a tone-on-tone pairing.

One way to use it is simply as the woodwork colour to walls in Olive. Although the first thought with your room’s skirting, coving and doors is to reach for a shade of white – which Honed Slate, although neutral, decidedly isn’t – if you were aiming for a muted scheme like the one in our moodboard, any white, however soft, is going to stand out as bright when directly against the deep and pigmented Olive. (Although that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with that if your palette is a cleaner, bolder one.) So, while on its own Honed Slate is quite dark, side by side with Olive, it takes on that role of the muted woodwork neutral perfectly. You could even take it up onto the ceiling, although if you feel it’s too dark for that, we’d suggest Old Chalk, which comes from the same colour family as Honed Slate, instead.

The other course you can take is to flip things around and make Honed Slate your dominant colour with Olive as an accent. In several of our photoshoot schemes this autumn, we used Honed Slate across both walls and woodwork and then added in Olive on painted furniture and through our Harris Tweed textile. The effect is very similar to Olive with accents of Honed Slate – still soothing, warm and cossetting – albeit lighter.

You can then leave things at that, like we’ve done in our moodboard, and continue the subdued palette with undyed linens, natural and darkened timbers, and other stone-like hues, or you can see the Olive and Honed Slate pairing as your jumping off point from which brighter colours can really sing.

Palette no.2: Olive and Chestnut

If ever there was a colour palette that said ‘autumn’, it was this one – when Olive met the fiery russet of Chestnut. That’s not to say though, that this is a pairing which would feel out of place in your home come next spring. Rather, it’s one that imbues the space with welcoming, homely warmth and which, as you can see from our moodboard, can easily be made fresher with pale neutrals and perhaps a touch more verdancy when March rolls around (the zesty greens and yellows of a bunch of daffodils would feel perfectly at home in this room). In fact, the wallpaper we’ve opted for in this scheme – Morris & Co.’s Blackthorn – depicts the spring blossom of blackthorn and the May meadow bloom, snake’s head fritillary, within its green and russet palette.

This scheme, especially with the richly-detailed Arts & Crafts wallpaper, can feel wonderfully traditional – a real British heritage kind of look. In the two rooms we’ve used it in though, one a bedroom and the other a kitchen’s corner, we’ve paired it with furniture (the Wardley four-poster and the Ardingly cabinet respectively) that has a clean and pared-back character, and instantly, the space feels more contemporary. In fact, you can see the same thing in this moodboard, with the simplicity of the bud bottle and the hemp rug, the playfulness of the curly sheepskin and the precision-cut engineered Savernake flooring. You could even, so easily take this palette in a mid-century direction, depending on the patterns and pieces you opted for. This is truly a palette both for traditional homes and those that just want to hint at it.

Palette no.3: Olive and Ink

Our third Olive palette is the one that inspired the third Suffolk kitchen in our ‘One kitchen, three homes’ shoot. For these spaces, our team were tasked with creating three versions of our Suffolk kitchen painted in almost-black Ink (which is actually a very deep blue) to show how, over time, you can add to, adapt and even move homes with your Neptune kitchen. While the first was bright and bold, with its Saffron-Ink combination, and the second smart and contemporary but family-friendly, this third kitchen welcomed in Olive to create a space that’s sophisticated yet warm and lively.

This is a palette that builds on our previous one, taking those russets and yellow-based greens, and adding to them Ink’s contrasting coolness for a good balance of warm and cold. Orange doesn’t have such a big part to play here (well, maybe it does if you opt for an orange Everhot as we’ve done) but it is important to the palette, so even if you don’t include Rust fabrics and Chestnut paint, do make sure to introduce richly-coloured timbers, tan leathers, brass, bronze or copper metals, and undyed natural textiles.

This palette also goes to prove that you can create a harmonious space using three strong colours – it’s all about how each one is weighted. In our kitchen, Ink was the main colour, used on the main run of base and wall cabinetry and the impressive cooker hood, followed by a little less Olive (on the Charlecote island and, on the other side of the room, a Chawton bookcase). The most vibrant orange was then just confined to the stove and to small sections of a vintage rug.

Don’t feel you can only apply this colour scheme to a kitchen though. In a living room, especially a north-facing one, Ink on the walls (see this post and this post from our journal archives for an idea of how this might look) with accents of Olive and orange through painted furniture and soft furnishings would make an incredibly cosy space. Or, flip the weighting, choosing lighter, neutral walls in Honed Slate (remember palette one?), a Harris Tweed Olive sofa with an armchair in Harry Rose Hip or Rust, and the inky-black frame of a Coniston coffee table. There are so many creative possibilities when it comes to Olive and its trio of perfect partners.