What Is the Opposite of Green? (Complementary Color)

Illustration with color wheel and text saying what is the opposite of green

Whether you are a professional artist, colorist, or designer, or need help understanding colors for a DIY project, learning basic color theory is extremely important to a successful result. A color wheel may be helpful to determine which colors you should use alongside each other, or to place together to diminish a certain color or neutralize a color altogether. In particular, green may be your color of concern. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn:

  • What is the opposite of green on different color wheels?
  • What are the opposite colors of common green hues?
  • How can you find the correct opposite to green?
  • How do you utilize these colors to your advantage?

What Is the Opposite of Green?

While many quick answers to the opposite (or complementary) of green may indicate ‘red,’ the correct determination is actually more complicated. It depends on many different factors, starting with the color wheel of choice. Under different color wheels, the opposite color or hue may be slightly or dramatically different. Follow along below to learn the opposite color of green under the most popular color models: RGB, CMY, and RYB.

What Is the Opposite of Green in RGB?

Magenta flowers surrounded by green.

If you are a graphic designer, website developer, cinematographer, or create digital products, the RGB model is particularly helpful to you. The RGB (standing for Red, Green, and Blue) color model deals with colors perceived through television, computer, tablet, or phone screens.

Since it is an additive color model, you can mix light sources (red, green, or blue) in order to create certain colors. When you add more light, you can create more vibrant colors. Finally, if you mix all three colors with 100% intensity, you will get pure white. Another way of looking at the RGB color model is to imagine a purely black canvas or the screen when it has no light emitting from it. Adding certain colored lights and determining intensities allow you to put together a particular image with a wide range of colors.

When determining the complementary color of green on the RGB color wheel, you will need to know what hue of green you are handling. Typically, when working with digital colors, you will have specific codes corresponding to the particular hue. The color wheel encompasses every digital hue of green available. Accordingly, there are hundreds of codes. Fortunately, you can invert these codes using special tools to easily find the opposite colors. We mention a couple of color inverters later in this article.

There are two particular stand-out colors with every color: the primary and the tertiary colors (on either side of the primary). In the case of green, the primary color is green. Its direct opposite is magenta on the RGB color wheel. The tertiary colors are chartreuse, as green leans into yellow, and turquoise, as green combines with cyan. The complementary color of chartreuse is violet and the opposite of turquoise is a pinkish red color called Desire.

Hex #FF00FF
RGB 255, 0, 255
CMYK 0, 100, 0, 0

What Is the Opposite of Green in CMY?

Textured wooden background with green and violet peeling paint.

Artists or designers who are working with printed or painted color may find CMY or CMYK color models advantageous. CMY (standing for Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow) or CMYK (adding in black ink) are the inks that most printers use. Likewise, manufacturers typically base paint off CMY.

As you may recall, people perceive colors through light. However, the CMY color model works very differently than the RGB color model. Rather than starting from a black base, the CMY starts from a pure white, or full light, base (a white canvas or white paper). As a subtractive color model, adding color subtracts the light from the paper and creates darker and darker hues. Likewise, you can mix certain colors to achieve a range of colors. If you were to print or mix all colored paints together, you would achieve dark brown or black.

Since the CMY color wheel is simply the reverse of the RGB color wheel, you will see similar opposites. However, they will look darker than the RGB model. As such, you will see the opposite to green is still magenta in CMY, although a darker shade. Likewise, the tertiary colors of chartreuse and turquoise will see darker violet and raspberry colors, respectively. Since they are slightly different, it is important to use the CMY model with prints and paints. If you use RGB, your colors will not show up the way you intend them to.

Hex #FF00FF
RGB 255, 0, 255
CMYK 0, 100, 0, 0

What Is the Opposite of Green in RYB?

A red and green pepper isolated on white background.

When you are a beginner in color theory, a makeup artist, a fashion designer, or a hair colorist, the RYB (standing for Red, Yellow, and Blue) color model is ideal. It uses the typical three primary colors. Like the CMY model, it is subtractive. In this way, it begins with pure white or light and adds color, effectively subtracting light from the canvas.

Since this color model and wheel goes back to basics, this is where you can see the complementary of green being red in RYB. You will also see cyan right next to green as a tertiary color, opposing red-orange. On the other side, you will find yellow-green or chartreuse, opposing magenta.

Hex #FF0000
RGB 255, 0, 0
CMYK 0, 100, 100, 0

What are the Opposites to Different Green Hues?

When looking at fully filled-out color wheels, you can see primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Tertiary and secondary colors are mixing gradually in greater amounts with the next primary color on the wheel, yet still contain certain amounts of the first color.

For example, look at the RGB color wheel. You will see the primary color is green and one of the tertiary colors is chartreuse with equal parts green and yellow. On this side, the secondary color is yellow. The other tertiary color is turquoise, a combination of green and cyan. On this side, the secondary color is cyan.

Accordingly, the range of hues encompassing “green” goes from yellow to cyan. When addressing what the opposite of green is, it is beneficial to understand the opposite of each of these prominent hues.

What Is the Opposite of Chartreuse?

A chartreuse wall with a violet door.

Chartreuse is an equal mix of yellow and green, directly next to green on the color wheel. It gets its name from the light green, yellow-tinged drink. You may see variations of this color; a vibrant version may be a bright lime green while a darker version may be an avocado green. The opposite color is Violet, which is a bright red-blue.

Hex #7FFF00
RGB 127, 255, 0
CMYK 50, 0, 100, 0

Hex #8000FF
RGB 128, 0, 255
CMYK 50, 100, 0, 0

What Is the Opposite of Turquoise?

Fresh raspberries spilling out of a wicker basket onto turquoise surface.

People often use turquoise and cyan synonymously, but they are two different colors. Actually, turquoise is a combination of green and cyan. Typically, artists use turquoise to represent calm, serenity, and openness. The opposite of turquoise is Desire.

Hex #40E0D0
RGB 64, 224, 208
CMYK 71, 0, 7, 12

Hex #E04050
RGB 224, 64, 80
CMYK 0, 71, 64, 12

What Is the Opposite of Cyan?

Red chairs on the beach next to turquoise water.

Cyan is a secondary color to green. As such, you will find equal green pigment and blue pigment in cyan inks and paints. It appears as an incredibly vibrant turquoise, similar to those seen in Caribbean lagoons. The complementary color of this bright color is Red.

Hex #00FFFF
RGB 0, 255, 255
CMYK 100, 0, 0, 0

Hex #FF0000
RGB 255, 0, 0
CMYK 0, 100, 100, 0

What Is the Opposite of Yellow?

Abstract blue and yellow color paper geometry composition background.

Yellow is the other secondary color to green. Correspondingly, you will find equal green pigment and red pigment. In some color models, such as CMY and RYB, it is a primary color. However, in RGB, yellow is not a primary color. Often, artists use yellow to depict vibrance, warmth, or joy. Its complementary color is Blue.

Hex #FFFF00
RGB 255, 255, 0
CMYK 0, 0, 100, 0

Hex #0000FF
RGB 0, 0, 255
CMYK 100, 100, 0, 0

How Does Light Affect Green and the Opposite?

If you are an artist or designer of any kind, it is beneficial to pay attention to other factors when selecting greens and their opposites. Specifically, the element that may matter the most is light.

As you may gather from the discussion on color models and wheels, people perceive colors through light. When there is more light in a color, it is more vibrant. When there is less light, it is more subdued or dark. This is why people can view different shades and tints of green, and process them differently.

The way light plays with color may affect the correct opposite choice for green in more ways than one. First, it plays a major role in your hue of green directly affecting its opposite. Second, once you create the color whether its ink, paint, dye, or fabric, overhead lights affect the presentation. Since this is the case, it is wise to create swatches and see how light in a room affects the colors. You may wish to choose an opposite based on that display, rather than the digital presentation.

How to Use Greens and Their Opposite Colors

Orange roses in front of turquoise wall.

Now that you have a thorough understanding of greens and their opposites, it is time to utilize that knowledge to your advantage. But first, you should know that green represents harmony and health. It’s a relaxing color that gives people hope and balance in their lives. Remember this when you use green colors in your designs.

There are several ways you can use green and red, magenta, or reddish-orange in your artistic ventures.

There are two main ways you can use green and red hues. The first way is to use them as complementary colors. When designing a room, creating an outfit, painting walls, and putting together a makeup look, this technique comes in handy. For instance, you can pair turquoise and reddish-orange together to create a calming, yet engaging, room that stimulates conversation. However, you can also use pops of turquoise in a fully red-orange outfit to make the turquoise truly stand out. Either scenario is aesthetically-pleasing to the human eye; this is because photoreceptors in the eye can process the amount of light in each color simultaneously.

The second way you can use opposites is to fade out a certain prominent color or neutralize it. Most commonly, this is the best practice for painters, hair colorists, and makeup artists. You may wish to pull a certain pigment out of a paint or diminish its vibrancy. For instance, you may wish your green paint had a touch less yellow tinge. In this case, you can add more blue. Likewise, if you need to take a chlorine-induced green tinge out of your blonde hair, you should counteract it with a red or orange toner.

How to Find the Correct Opposite to Green

Whether you are using opposite colors alongside one another or using them to neutralize, it is important to take into account the exact color of green and retrieve its precise opposite. As each color uses a specific combination of secondary colors, even a slight inaccuracy can throw off your intended result.

As this is true for most inks and paints, there are highly sophisticated tools in place to help you determine your hues of green and red. RGB and CMYK models are available in digital formats, allowing you to select very specific codes. Then, you can use an inverter to find the specific opposite code. Excellent options include Color InverterColor Code Inverter, and Pine Tools. Likewise, for paints, specialized paint analysis software can analyze paint colors to determine their particular color compositions. In this way, you can determine the exact complementary color combinations to create paints. For other contexts, such as makeup or hair color theory, you may get away with using the standard RYB color wheel. Although for more precise results, you may also find CMY helpful.

Moving Forward with Green

A couch and wall with complementary colors in interior design.

After reading this article, you have a thorough understanding of how opposite and complementary colors work, what the opposite of various hues of green are, how you can utilize greens and reds, and how to find the precise opposite to a specific hue of green. Now, you can put your knowledge to the test and try your hand at using greens and complementaries in your artistic ventures. You can choose to design a living space with chartreuse and violet, or create an attention-grabbing advertisement with turquoise and red-orange, or change the hue of your green paint to be more turquoise. No matter what your choice is, you should be able to pull it off with ease now.