Asked on Feb 06, 2016

I need suggestions on color to go with olive drab!

Jeanette S
by Jeanette S
We are in our mid 70's and have no intention of a big bathroom redo, so it is "suck it up and live with the olive drab!". However, a stumble by a guest calls for repair of the wall where the shower curtain bar saved him from a bad fall...Thank God no one was hurt. But once we repair that wall, it has to be painted. I would like to paint something other than a sort of cream...mainly for a change. The paint there now is one I mixed up using left over white and a sort of beige color. This olive drab is not an easy color to work with, but since the tile is in perfect condition...and mold free...after 45 years, it can just stay were it is. (Note, even the grout is still white!)
(Please excuse the poor lighting...but those new bulbs are not much better than candlelight!)
I thought about an almost white of those that has no green in it...more along the color of the inside of a banana??? Suggestions???? Keep in mind that the orange and aqua that was popular with olive drab 45 years ago is not to my liking! LOL
A little compound and a little sanding is all that is needed...the PAINT! We will make sure to get "holders" for the rod this time!
The lighting makes the tile appear brownish, but it is a olive drab! It is not bright at all.
  31 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 06, 2016
    I know you mentioned no orange, however what about a very pale peach just enough for a touch of color.
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    • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 06, 2016
      I know the swatch you are speaking about thats funny. I am a past associiate of the Home Depot and spent many hours in the paint department. I think that would really spruce up the bathroom and tone down as you call it the drab olive.
  • Carolyn V Carolyn V on Feb 06, 2016
    I love playing around with the behr paint internet site. it has so many options to see choices of color combinations and you can even find a similar room to add the color to the room by touch with color selections. just try it
  • Lucy Nunn Lucy Nunn on Feb 06, 2016
    It's now not only acceptable, but trending to mix warm tans and cool greys. Consider a soft grey color. Instant update!
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 06, 2016
      @Lucy Nunn I had to giggle...not at you but because that green is so awfully hard to deal with. I may pick up a sample and try it! No harm done! Thanks!
  • Penny Penny on Feb 06, 2016
    I always go to Lowes or Home Depot and get a paint chart with all the color samples. I go home and hold them up and see what color I like best to match.
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Feb 06, 2016
    Hi Jeannette! You always give such great advice- but once in awhile we all need some help-lol! I love the color Storm Cloud Gray by Ben Moore It is a soft gray with green undertones. If you want to try and minimize the olive drab, this will help neutralize it.
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 06, 2016
      @Sue@CountryDesignHome I just may have to try a will either work or scream "paint me"! I would not mind a very light gray! Thanks!
  • Shirley Shirley on Feb 06, 2016
    Well, thank you for this post! I have the exact same tile! (Actually, our tub areas look identical.) Maybe in 69 that was the go to color but wow, trying to figure what to do with it now....To add insult to injury, they tiled my floor in the same color, octagon shape, with white tile interspersed.....It's a big workaround that I have no idea what color would be best. I will definitely following your post to see what ideas you get! Thanks!
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 06, 2016
      @Shirley Yep! That was the color late 60's early 70's! I remember going to look at a model home with my sister a few years ago and saw lots of olive drab...told the realtor I did not like it then and still don't! LOL! Actually my tile is the small tiles making up a pattern which is quite nice. Again, the color does not show up well in this photo but is pretty.
  • Angela Shumate Angela Shumate on Feb 06, 2016
    Jeanette S You can always go to Lowe's or Home Depot and get paint swatches and look for the one that matches the tub exactly or as close to it as possible and then you can see what other paint colors swatches work with that color color of your tub. It should be several swatch/s you can play with. Using the swatches, once you have decided on a color or a few colors, ask for sample can, which are not expensive and you can keep trying those samples until you find something you can go put it on your walls or a main wall that will really tell you if it will work or not. This way you do not have to pay for a gallon of paint and end up with something that doesn't work and you had to put out that cost of an entire gallon.... Hope this helps.
  • Mary Ker Mary Ker on Feb 06, 2016
    There are a number of sits on the web that will generate color palettes for you. And that 60's color was called avocado at the time. If you find a pic of that color (Google avocado paint) and can import it into whatever color palette generator you choose, it should make the whole job easier.
  • Sharon Boughner Sharon Boughner on Feb 06, 2016
    I would suggest a pale yellow or pale pink. Both of these go great with olive. Some shades of red do as well. You would need paint chips or samples to decide.
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 06, 2016
      @Sharon Boughner I agree...I will definitely get some samples of paint and see what happens
  • Glenda Osborn Glenda Osborn on Feb 06, 2016
    If you are wanting it brighter paint it white in egg shell there is also paints to paint the tile and your floor
  • B. Enne B. Enne on Feb 06, 2016
    white,creamy white, a lighter version of the current olive, terra cotta (not the super orangey one) dark or light grey, brown, navy, plum, eggplant (looks really good), greyed plum, Here are some combinations:
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    • Shirley Shirley on Feb 12, 2016
      @Jeanette S I was just at a St Vincent DePaul store and found this lovely canvas wall hanging that has hydrangeas (In lavenders/plum...). It is hanging in the bathroom so that I can watch it for a while..Although I'm not a typical lavender/plum person...this looks like it might be doable.....I might add the the leaves in the hanging picks up the olive as well...
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 06, 2016
    I am just the beginning stages but he first thing I will do is get hubs to fix that wall. Then I will get some of the samples per the suggestions and go from there. I am sure this will not be done any time soon!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 06, 2016
    I am just the beginning stages but he first thing I will do is get hubs to fix that wall. Then I will get some of the samples per the suggestions and go from there. I am sure this will not be done any time soon!
  • Barbara Schuler Fox Barbara Schuler Fox on Feb 06, 2016
    Visit a Sherwin Williams store, they have experts to help you pick colors. I went in, told the lady my tile colors, floor color, she picked a handful of swatches for me in a matter of minutes to take home and try, no charge.
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 06, 2016
      @Barbara Schuler Fox I love Sherwin Williams paint...and we have one within 2-1/2 miles of my house!
  • Donna L. Woods-Clements Donna L. Woods-Clements on Feb 06, 2016
    What I want to know is how tall was the guest!?! That looks like a high place to thump the wall!
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 06, 2016
      @Donna L. Woods-Clements LOL! The person grabbed the shower curtain and with his weight against the rod, it banged the wall
  • Irene Irene on Feb 06, 2016
    You are very fortunate that your fixtures are white and not olive also. Are you aware that there are excellent paints made especially for tile? That way you can cover the olive green and choose whatever color scheme you fancy.
  • Pam Lott Pam Lott on Feb 06, 2016
    I love rich red tones. Don't be afraid of color.
  • Julies1949 Julies1949 on Feb 06, 2016
    Go talk to a paint person. I painted my Pepto Bismol pink tile years ago. You need to lightly sand the tiles first, then apply a primer like Zinsser Bulls Eye. It sticks to the tile and the paint sticks to it. Then paint the color of your choice.
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Feb 06, 2016
    You can paint everything. Ask the paint associate at Lowes for Gripper primer and then for the tile paint. I suggest a satin or semi-gloss finish. Enjoy your "new" room.
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Feb 06, 2016
    @Jeanette S I would paint the walls a light lavender to go well with the olive tile. :) Get a darker olive rug, and accent with both purple, & lavender towels etc...... A good rule of thumb when deciding on color combos is to use a basic color wheel, & anything that is directly across from your main color will be a good match/contrast.
  • Dfm Dfm on Feb 07, 2016
    avocado green. the 1st thing that pop's into my mind is - army jacket and camo. dark brown, light tan, black?
  • Linda Scats Linda Scats on Feb 07, 2016
    I love the idea of a dark red with olive and lots of beige and white trim and accents, however, on my computer screen, your tiles look more tan than olive, in which case a pretty blue for the walls would be nice.
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 07, 2016
      @Linda Scats Like I looks brown, absorbs the color from the beige and then I have Halogen lighting in there...a big mistake...A very unique fixture but not good lighting...I sure do miss the old fashioned light bulbs!
  • Red Feline Red Feline on Feb 07, 2016
    I agree With Katrina . . . Lavender would be a great color to use.
  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Feb 07, 2016
    Here is my 2 cent suggestion...It is not a stark white, but rather a soft white. I think rather than coming up w/ a complimentary/contrasting color for the walls I would highlight the olive drab bathroom surround & then add other pops of colors in the towels, linens, and accessories for the bathroom. Colors that would work well would be the cool jewel colors(amethyst, forest green, sapphire etc.), black, white, cream, tan. Hope this helps.
  • Paula Brock Paula Brock on Feb 07, 2016
    I would go with Sherwin Williams, "Friendly Yellow," and accent with either navy or black towels, decor, etc. We painted our entire interior this past fall the yellow and jusst love it. What a cheery color it is, and it goes well with olive and all colors.
  • Holly Tompkins Holly Tompkins on Feb 07, 2016
    I think I would go with classic black and white finishes, maybe a variation of white on the walls. Some bright bras accessories and then pops of color in other accessories (i.e. towels, rug etc.) The Little Green Notebook has a post about her bathroom which is painted olive green I'm attaching a picture of that. I also attached a chart of colors that can pair with olive greens well. Hope that is helpful!
  • Jennifer Lawrence Jennifer Lawrence on Feb 08, 2016
    Perhaps a light fresh green colour might be nice
  • Eloise Eloise on Feb 08, 2016
    Why don't you paint the tiles another color. It can be done.
  • Kathy Reagan Kathy Reagan on Feb 08, 2016
    use aqua / very light pastel ; goes nicely with olive
  • Jennifer Lawrence Jennifer Lawrence on Feb 09, 2016
    Hello Jeanette, I think most paint manufacturers would have light green good luck!
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    • B. Enne B. Enne on Feb 09, 2016
      @Jeanette S good luck!
  • Debra Pordon Reed Debra Pordon Reed on Sep 21, 2016
    A creamy white would brighten it up!