What Do You Think of the World’s Ugliest Color?

There is so much animosity around the “world’s ugliest color” (opaque couché, also known as Pantone 448 C), but is it really that bad? Could it actually work in the right setting with the right accessories? When it comes to color, I try to keep an open mind. In my opinion, when used the right way, you can use any color to make a statement. It’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I still advise against this color for home staging, but if this color appeals to you, then it could be a great color to incorporate into your interior design.

About the Color

Opaque couché, also known as the "world's ugliest color" (Pantone 448 C)

Opaque couché is a shade of olive green. The Sherwin-Williams version of the color is Enduring Bronze. Opaque couché may have started off as an innocent shade. However, after the Australian government selected it as the most unappealing shade to place on cigarette cartons, things went downhill for this color. Dirty, tar, and death, are just a few words that have been used to describe it.

It’s All About Context

The perception of color isn’t only about the color itself; what’s around it matters, too. I agree that the “world’s ugliest color” can look pretty grim paired with deathly health warnings. Yet pairing it with the right colors can tone down those feelings of death and harm.

Bedroom painted in the world's ugliest color, opaque couché

With the right colors, opaque couché as an olive green can actually appear classy and sophisticated. For instance, mixing opaque couché with medium browns and oaks can achieve this effect. In contrast, pairing the color with other layers of green can make the color appear more serene.

Start with Accents

If you just want to experiment with this color at first, accents are a good place to start. You can paint a small accent wall. This will create a bold focal point. However, stay away from painting too many walls this color since the color doesn’t reflect much light. If you choose to paint your walls this color, do it in a room that has a lot of windows and gets a lot of natural light.

Bedroom with accents in the world's ugliest color, opaque couché

Besides an accent wall, you can add in a small area rug or a couple of throw pillows into your living room. A green accent chair or two is a great way to add in the color without going all out. In your bedroom, you could try an olive green headboard. This color can add a calming touch to a room that is predominantly neutral.

Use Colors and Textures that Complement

Opaque couché pairs well with other earth tone colors. Mix it with other greens like light sage and chartreuse to make your space feel connected to nature. Place some real or faux plants to add texture and dimension. Bamboo and rattan are also great natural textures that pair well with opaque couché.

Another color that opaque couché looks great with is royal purple. It can help the olive green look classy and less drab. Reds like wines and burgundies have the same effect. Opaque couché also looks great with medium to deep blues like navy. Try pairing it with this year’s Color of The Year, Classic Blue. To add warmth to your space, pair it with burnt oranges or warm rusts.

Moroccan style bedroom painted in Enduring Bronze, the Sherwin-Williams version of the world's ugliest color

In the end, it doesn’t matter if a color is a popular favorite or not. If you like it and can find a way to make it work in your home, then go for it! You’re the one who will be living with it, after all. It’s important that you create a space that fits your personal tastes, preferences, and personality. 

Check out this home tour to see how Finnish shoe designer Minna incorporates her fun and whimsical personality into her home design »

So what do you think of the “world’s ugliest color”? Can you see past its reputation? Would you try it in your home? I would love to hear your thoughts.