A midcentury-modern staple, olive hues, as well as the tree's beautiful wood and foliage, are trending again.
Olive trees, native to the Mediterranean region, are among nature’s oldest trees, and they look it.
Gnarled, brawny trunks, a crown full of silvery leaves, and clusters of tiny green fruit give olives an interesting Old World look.
Designers have lately been warming to the tree, its wood and olive hues.
Olive trees are fast growers and prolific fruit-bearers outdoors, if given favorable conditions. Dwarf varieties are easy to grow in a pot or basket, if given decent light and ample sunshine.
For indoors, Pottery Barn is offering the Dried Lavender & Olive Leaf Wreath ($89), a relaxed and aromatic wreath. The retailer also has Olive Branches by Lupen Grainne ($59–$199), a framed close-up of an olive branch that’s spare and intimate.
The wood’s distinctive characteristics — its smooth density and interesting grain pattern — have made olive furniture and accessories popular.
“There’s a great sculptural quality to olive wood — a simple bowl becomes an elegant art piece,” says New York City interior designer and artist Mike Harrison.
Olive wood serveware can be especially nice. Williams-Sonoma has a collection of utensils and cutting boards, including a set of four Olivewood Spoons ($80 at williams-sonoma.com), as well as pinch bowls and lidded salt keepers.
West Elm’s Olive Wood Rustic Cutting Board ($49–$59) has an organic shape with a natural edge.
Olive’s wide array of hues allows for versatility in decorating.
Its place in midcentury modern’s color covenant has made it a popular paint hue the past few seasons. It pairs well with other toothsome colors like chocolate, orange, raspberry, cream and mustard.
“Olive tones are timeless, and green is an important color in 2017,” says Sue Wadden, color marketing director for Sherwin-Williams. The company’s Relentless Olive packs all the punch of a zesty martini.
Benjamin Moore’s Tate Olive has a refined intensity, while its Spanish Olive dials the hue back to a more neutral position.
Consider using the color in family rooms, bedrooms and kitchens for a warm and welcoming vibe.
“Because olive is such a quintessential food color, people enjoy a positive association with this color, especially in the kitchen,” says Wadden. “Olive tones are great on cabinets and furniture. My own bedroom is a deep olive green, so I really do love this color.”
At Article, the Chester ($1,399 at article.com) is a stunning chesterfield sofa upholstered in olive green velvet.
OTHER TOUCHES OF OLIVE
Pottery Barn’s Vintage Olive Buckets ($99 each), made of galvanized metal with symmetrical air vents, have a nice cottage-y look and can hold herb plants or fragrant milled soaps.
And then there’s olive oil. There are hundreds of ways to enjoy its flavor, but there are other uses for it, too.
The folks at marthastewart.com recommend olive oil as a natural furniture polish, and a combo of oil and vinegar as a cleaner. A little oil on a clean rag will restore shine and protect from tarnish your stainless steel and brass items.