ask the experts5 min read

Colour explained: everything you need to know about green paint

Bedroom with shiplap cladding painted in Lick Green 02 paint

WordsFrankie Marqueé


Everyone’s always saying that they need more greenery in their life. So we listened. And made nine sorts of the stuff.

Shop green paint

Here’s how to get the most out of our nine shades of green, to get clued up on your undertones, to learn what green best suits a north-facing room (and south for that matter), and to find meant-to-be-together, ready-made room palettes from Green 01 all the way down to mint Green 08 paint. Because, let’s be honest, choosing green is no walk in the park, but when you get it right, boy it’s like having the freshness of the park bang on your doorstep.

(Tip: don’t paint your doorstep green).

Let's talk undertones

Colours are more complicated recipes than we give them credit for. There’s a whole load bubbling away beneath the surface that deserves proper attention, because that end shade you’re looking at on the tin is anything but one-dimensional.

Cue the undertones.

If you’re going to get this colour thing right, you’ve got to bear in mind the undertones. Think of them as the base notes in the wine, that, once you’ve got them all figured out will help you appreciate the taste ten times more and give you a banging palate (or palette in this case). 

Undertones are what will change up the temperature of a colour. At Lick, we use six for our greens, and you can expect them to do a little something like this to your room: 

  • Grey: in the paint industry adding grey is actually called adding a tone, so you can imagine the impact that it has on every colour. It’s going to make your room feel a bit more contemporary and a bit more crisp (depending on how much you add).
  • Blue: crisp? Go on then.
  • Blue-grey: that’s right, we merged and the result is a cool tone, but a soft one. There’s nothing stark about this undertone;
  • Yellow: get ready, things are about to get cosy and country.
  • Blue-yellow: another case of the merge. This one’s for when you want a middle-ground. Not too cool, not too warm, but (you guessed it) just right.
  • Brown: 100% warm but this is where you’ll get mega depth too.

Drop a tint. Throw some shade

Next up in this quick-fire colour theory class are tints and shades. 

Once you’ve got your head around the undertones, remember that there’s also the intensity of colour to wrestle with. In other words, do you want the lighter shade of pale or to head over to the dark side?

Add white, and colour buffs call that a tint. Add black, and they’ll say – now that’s a shade. As we said, this green business is no walk in the park, but your green scene is just a few tints, undertones and shades away…

Colour compatibility and room direction

Okay, so my room is north-facing and gets buckets of natural light. So that obviously means I need a god-knows-what sort of green.

Sound familiar?

People throw around room direction statements rarely with a clear conclusion as to what compass point suits what sort of colour. 

Until now that is.

Here's what green paint we recommend for rooms with different directions...

North-facing rooms: muted and warm green paint

North-facing rooms: northern light is the coolest of the lot. It casts a blue hue. So avoid cool greens like Green 03, warm Green 04, Green 06 and Green 08 (you could just about get away with sage Green 02 wall and furniture paint) and look more to Green 01 (your most muted option), Green 05 (for mega richness) and Green 07 (for your biggest colour pop).

Check out our colours for north facing rooms.

East-facing rooms: blue and grey green paint

East-facing rooms: you’ll see a lot of change in them. Whatever green you choose will look very different whether it’s sunset or sunrise. But easterly spaces have a tendency to look a bit bluer, so undertones of blue are a good shout on the whole. Green 02, Green 03 and dark Green 04 paint – we’re looking at you.

South-facing rooms: cool and dark green paint

South-facing rooms: they have a golden glow going on and the good news is, they pretty much suit all greens. Use a cool green like Green 03, Green 06 or Green 09 and they’ll still feel modern, but if you want to keep the Scandi nature of Green 08, it’s best to leave that to a north or east-facing room.