What Does the Color Green Mean?

Color is so important in home design. It has the power to set the tone, focus, and energy level of a space. Interestingly, one color in particular has more shades than any other: green. Green is also the most common color found in nature, and it is the second most common favorite color (right behind blue).

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In this article, we’ll look at green quite closely at and determine the color green meaning and effects as you consider the use of this beautiful hue in your own space.

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Definition of Green

At its most basic, green is the color between yellow and blue in the color spectrum. Interestingly, green has a physical effect on our bodies, including stimulating thepituitary gland, relaxing the muscles, and dilating the blood vessels. In other words, green has been found to calm and relieve stress and also (a bit paradoxically, perhaps) invigorate.

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Various Symbolism of Green

Around the globe, the color green symbolizes different things to different people. For example, green is a sacred color in Iran (along with blue) and symbolizes paradise. It’s the emblematic color of Ireland. Green is the color of eternal life in Japan and a symbol of hope in Portugal. It is a symbol for infidelity in China or bad news in general for Israel. In the United States, it is the color of currency and good luck.

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Meanings and Effects of Green

Most children learn that green is created when one combines yellow and blue. What many don’t realize, at least consciously, is that such a lineage brings the best qualities of both color parents – from yellow, green has characteristics of clarity and optimism, while it encompasses the insight and inherent calhm of blue. Below is an in-depth look at green meanings (many of which are adapted from Empower Yourself with Color Psychology):

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Growth and Renewal –Just as green buds form on trees each spring, the color green is associated with growth and renewal. Green helps to restore and rejuvenate depleted energy in nature and in human beings (physically, mentally, and emotionally) and represents vitality and freshness, although it is the color ironically associated with the pallor of sickness as well.

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Emotional Positivity – Green gives us the ability to love and nurture both ourselves and those around us unconditionally. In addition, green is the color of the heart chakra, which is in essence the center of the human energy system and includes the complete chest area including lungs and heart. The heart chakra is believed to bridge the gap between the physical and spiritual worlds. As the representative color of this fourth chakra, green improves people’s capacity for love, empathy, and compassion.

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Balance and Harmony –As its abundance in the natural world would suggest, greensymbolizes the master healer and the life force. It is also the color used to balance intellect with emotions by creating equilibrium between the head and heart. Green encourages us to nurture ourselves and others and is ever dependable.

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Sanctuary – Green presents a refuge from the stresses of a busy urban or contemporarylife. The color restores in us a sense of natural well-being with its essence of stability. Interestingly, green is the color used for night-vision goggles because the human eye is most sensitive to and able to discern the most shades of that color, so there are many available shades for its sanctuary-like effects.

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Hope and Change – Green can be used in association with the anticipation of things to come. This is not surprising, since change and transformation are necessary for growth in nature. What is interesting is that the ability to sustain those changes as a result of growth is also part of green’s energy.

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Wealth and Generosity – Along with representing natural change, green can also connote expansion or increase, which is associated with prosperity and abundance. Good thing that green is generous by nature.It’s associated also with progress (as in“give it the green light”). Conversely, green carries with it the potential of being a bit self-centered, possessive, and materialistic (such as being “green with envy”).

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Creativity and Productivity – In design spaces that require the facilitation of productivity and creativity, green is often the color of choice. In fact, in fengshui, green is used to decrease absent-mindedness, nervousness, and rudeness.Furthermore, green has been found to improve reading ability. This is perhaps why so many offices and schools use shades of green.

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Friendly and Diplomatic – Green is agreeable and charitable, promoting love of nature, family, friends, home, garden, etc. As a natural peacemaker, green means observation, listening, and counseling. There is the ability to view situations clearly from multiple sides and an inherent sense of right and wrong with green, although these traits can produce effects of being a doormat and/or over-cautious.

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Variations of Green and their Meanings

As has been discussed, green has more shades than any other color. Certainly, though they are all a form of “green,” these hues do not carry with them the same meanings and aesthetic intonations. Below are some of the more common green variants, with a brief description of their meanings.

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Olive green is a traditional color representing peace (as in the olive branch, even though the branch itself is not green per se), but an olive tone might also suggest deceit and treachery.

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Chartreuse, or yellow-green, historically is associated with cowardice and fear; however, the retro color can look beautiful in design, especially naturally lit spaces.

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Neon, or lime, green is positive, playful, and naïve, bringing with its inexperience a sense of youthful anticipation.

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Aquamarine (is it green-blue? Or blue-green?) is the color of the tropical ocean. It calms the spirit and heals emotions.

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Kelly green is the color of both grass and money. It is naturally self-confidentand healthy.

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Emerald green is inspiring and, not surprisingly based on its name, associated with prosperity and wealth.

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Jade green is slightly bluer than emerald green, a difference that shifts the meaning toward trust, tact, and diplomacy, not to mention generosity.

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Teal is a rich jewel tone of green, and its maturity and depth resonate with serenity, wholeness, and sophistication.

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Forest green is like the brooding older brother of the other greens – somber and dark, forest green exudes a bit of greed, selfishness, and resentment.