The color khaki may conjure up images of African safaris and chinos, but where did the color come from? We hope to share some ideas on where the khaki color came from and discover the colors that go with khaki. So, you can see just how to use it for interior design.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Color Is Khaki?
- 2 Shades of Khaki Color
- 3 Khaki Color: A Brief History
- 4 Meaning of the Khaki Color
- 5 The Color Khaki in Art and Design
- 6 The Khaki Color and Design
- 7 Using Khaki for Interior Design
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
What Color Is Khaki?
The color can be described as a shade of brown or tan, which also has a slight yellowish undertone to it. The earthy tan color does not appear on a traditional color wheel. The color wheel is a representation of all the colors including the primary, and secondary, and the various shades and tints in-between. The color can be created by a combination of brown, yellow as well as white.
This combination forms the natural khaki color, which is also a neutral tone.
The khaki color chart below displays a khaki color with its hexadecimal color code, which makes it possible for you to find the exact color online. The RGB values and CMYK values are also included, which are helpful if you want to use the color on a webpage or for printing respectively. These numbers all change as the hue of color changes. This particular Khaki color is the web color that matches the color described in the Dictionary of Color, the standard for colors before computers.
|Khaki Shade||Khaki Hex Code||CMYK Khaki Color Code (%)||RGB Khaki Color Code||Khaki Color|
|Khaki||#f0e68c||0, 10, 26, 24||195, 176, 145|
Shades of Khaki Color
The khaki color is a blend of colors, so there are numerous tones and shades of this color that exist. The various versions of khaki can include the lighter, almost beige to the darker, green varieties of khaki. Let us see what shades are available, along with their khaki color chart.
Khaki is a classic light olive or tan color, versatile and timeless. It’s perfect for creating a neutral, earthy base in fashion or interior design. Tip: Pair with blues or greens for a natural, outdoorsy feel.
RGB: 240, 230, 140
CMYK: 0.0, 0.04, 0.39, 0.06
Dark Khaki is a deeper, more muted version of classic khaki, offering a sense of sophistication and depth. Ideal for professional attire or as an accent in a study or home office.
RGB: 153, 136, 119
CMYK: 0.0, 0.07, 0.13, 0.4
Vintage Khaki has a muted, aged appearance, perfect for creating a retro or rustic look. It’s great in vintage-inspired fashion or in interior spaces with an antique theme.
RGB: 154, 145, 134
CMYK: 0.0, 0.04, 0.08, 0.4
True Khaki is a balanced, medium tan, embodying the classic khaki look. Ideal for versatile clothing items like trousers or jackets, or for creating a neutral backdrop in home decor.
RGB: 184, 174, 152
CMYK: 0.0, 0.04, 0.13, 0.28
British Khaki is a variation of khaki with a slightly more brownish tone, sophisticated and refined. Perfect for formal wear or for adding a touch of elegance to living spaces.
RGB: 188, 175, 151
CMYK: 0.0, 0.05, 0.15, 0.26
Khaki #2 is a slightly lighter and more beige version of traditional khaki. It’s great for summery clothing or for brightening up a room while maintaining an earthy feel.
RGB: 195, 176, 145
CMYK: 0.0, 0.07, 0.2, 0.24
Indian Khaki is a warm, sandy variation of khaki, evoking the feel of desert landscapes. Ideal for creating a warm, inviting atmosphere in both fashion and home interiors.
RGB: 211, 176, 156
CMYK: 0.0, 0.14, 0.22, 0.17
Desert Khaki is a pale, dusty tan, reminiscent of desert sands. Perfect for creating a calm, neutral setting, especially in minimalist or contemporary designs.
RGB: 214, 205, 183
CMYK: 0.0, 0.04, 0.12, 0.16
Bright Khaki is a lighter, more vibrant version of khaki, fresh and lively. It’s great for casual wear or for adding a touch of brightness to a neutral color scheme.
RGB: 241, 231, 140
CMYK: 0.0, 0.04, 0.4, 0.05
Orange Bright Khaki
Orange Bright Khaki is a khaki shade with a hint of orange, giving it a warm, sunny feel. Ideal for lively, energetic spaces or for adding a cheerful touch to casual wear.
RGB: 251, 228, 175
CMYK: 0.0, 0.09, 0.3, 0.02
Pastel Khaki is a soft, subdued khaki, gentle and soothing. Perfect for creating a light, airy atmosphere, especially in spring and summer-themed decor.
RGB: 218, 212, 182
CMYK: 0.0, 0.03, 0.17, 0.15
Khaki Rose is a unique blend of khaki with a touch of rose, offering a warm, inviting hue. Great for adding a subtle, romantic touch to a space or in floral-themed fashion.
RGB: 197, 144, 142
CMYK: 0.0, 0.27, 0.28, 0.23
Pale Khaki is a light, almost neutral tan, versatile and easy on the eyes. It’s ideal for creating a soft, understated look in both fashion and interior design.
RGB: 191, 175, 146
CMYK: 0.0, 0.08, 0.24, 0.25
Matte Khaki is a flat, muted khaki, offering a modern and sophisticated feel. Perfect for contemporary fashion or for adding a chic, understated touch to home decor.
RGB: 170, 156, 112
CMYK: 0.0, 0.08, 0.34, 0.33
Police Khaki is a darker, more utilitarian version of khaki, often associated with police uniforms. It’s great for creating a sense of authority and practicality in clothing or in themed decor.
RGB: 163, 143, 88
CMYK: 0.0, 0.12, 0.46, 0.36
Khaki Gray is a blend of khaki and gray, offering a cool, subdued hue. Ideal for professional attire or modern interiors where a neutral yet stylish color is needed.
RGB: 114, 95, 60
CMYK: 0.0, 0.17, 0.47, 0.55
Cool Khaki is a lighter, more grayish version of khaki, fresh and modern. Perfect for summer clothing or for creating a light, contemporary feel in interior spaces.
RGB: 212, 207, 169
CMYK: 0.0, 0.02, 0.2, 0.17
Khaki Green is a greenish variant of khaki, evoking a natural, earthy feel. Great for outdoor clothing or for bringing a touch of nature into home decor, especially when paired with wooden elements.
RGB: 114, 134, 57
CMYK: 0.15, 0.0, 0.57, 0.47
Khaki Color: A Brief History
Khaki has its origins in the army and has been used in uniforms as it is helpful as camouflage in the desert or dusty regions. It was first used as a color in the mid-19th century, due to its use as a military uniform.
The word itself is from Urdu, which means soil-color, and this originally comes from Persian.
Over the years, khaki has been used by a large number of armies for their uniforms and other types of equipment. This dust-colored shade provides excellent camouflage in places where there is a lot of sand and dust, like desert regions. The color has also changed slightly from having a yellow undertone to something with more of a green undertone, known as olive drab.
|Khaki Shade||Khaki Hex Code||CMYK Khaki Color Code (%)||RGB Khaki Color Code||Khaki Color|
|Khaki||#c3b091||0, 10, 26, 24||195, 176, 145|
|Olive Drab||#6b8e23||25, 0, 75, 44||107, 142, 35|
The khaki color was originally worn by the Corps of Guilds, a regiment that was stationed in Lahore, in Pakistan or what was known as British India when Henry Lawrence was stationed there as the agent to the Governor-General. The local inhabitants or British-Indian army usually wore their native attire, which blended more into the landscape than the original British uniforms. The British uniforms were then adapted and changed when the khaki uniform was introduced in 1848. This particular uniform was then worn by both Indian as well as British soldiers that served in that area.
The khaki uniform was officially worn by soldiers in 1868 when there was an expedition o Ethiopia. This then became the normal uniform for all soldiers stationed abroad in 1897. The color khaki then fully replaced the red uniform. The uniform was a common sight in the Second Boer war, where the British soldiers became known as the “khakis”.
Eventually, the khaki color was taken up by the American army during the Spanish-American war that took place in the late 19th century. Eventually, the marines as well as the navy also began wearing the color due to its camouflaging and natural color. The color has changed slightly, and a similar shade has been adopted by many, known as olive drab, which you can see in the table above. This particular shade of khaki was the main color used during both World Wars.
This is where the khaki trousers became popular, which were made from chino cloth twill. Today, we use the term for khaki pants like chinos or khakis, however, the chinos can now be any color and is more a style of clothing.
Meaning of the Khaki Color
|Aspect||Khaki Color Associations|
|Symbols||Stability, Reliability, Practicality, Earthiness|
|Effects||Grounding, Harmonizing, Subdued, Comforting|
|Color Psychology||Often associated with trust, safety, and a sense of balance|
|Positive||Versatility, Timelessness, Natural, Unpretentious|
|Negative||Can be seen as dull, conservative, or associated with military connotations|
The khaki color can be defined as natural color and may be seen as being impartial. Since it was worn as a uniform color in the army, it also symbolizes authority and can be seen as quite a serious color. The color is also associated with safety as well as trust. However, it does also have a sense of warmth and comfort due to its affinity with nature. The olive drab, on the other hand, is more of a cooler version.
As for the personality associated with khaki, it describes a reserved person that does not want to stand out, is more introverted, and enjoys a sense of order. Again, its association with the army can bring in traits of dutifulness and respect for authority. Since the color khaki is associated with nature, it is similar to brown and green, which all have similar traits.
This also means a personality that enjoys being outdoors and loves doing outdoor activities like hiking and camping.
The Color Khaki in Art and Design
You might not take as much notice of the khaki color every day as you do of red, blue, or green, but it does have its place in all forms of design from fashion, art, web design, and interior design.
First, let us see how you can mix acrylic paints to form a khaki color.
Creating the Color Khaki With Acrylic Paints
Khaki is a brownish color that has a yellowish undertone and can be made by mixing some complementary colors. A basic brown can be created, and then lightened by adding white to create a khaki tone.
What complementary colors would be best to create khaki? The ideal brown can be created by blending orange and blue. Remember to create your own color palette as you experiment with blending colors, as this will help you in the future if you wish to create the same color. Take some orange paint place it onto a mixing palette, and next to this add some blue.
Then take tiny amounts of blue and add them to the orange. The blue will darken the orange and slowly turn it brown. Once you have reached a brown color, you can then add in small amounts of white until you have your khaki color.
You can also blend red and green, which will make a darker shade of brown. You will need a little more white to create a khaki color. You can also try creating a khaki color using purple and red. These two colors will make a muddier type of brown and will also need quite a bit of white to reach a khaki or more of a light tan color.
You could also use brown paint from the tube, or consider an ochre or raw umber, to which you can add white to achieve a khaki color.
The Khaki Color and Design
The khaki color has been used for many years as a favorite color in fashion. As long as you do not make a combination of gray or other shades of khaki and gray, this will make a rather boring color combination for an outfit. So, pairing it with the right colors to create a balanced look is important.
Khaki can be used in both casual as well as formal outfits, the khaki pants being an example of something more casual. However, the color khaki can also be any other clothing item and does not have to only be for pants. When it comes to online marketing, color plays an important role.
Since khaki is neutral and you have various shades, the lighter shades offer a more versatile option. Khaki is pleasant on the eye and is a color that is not too bold or overbearing.
There are different shades of khaki, so you can easily pick one that suits you best.
Using Khaki for Interior Design
Khaki is considered a sophisticated neutral color that works well as a background color and provides a natural look to a space that can be kept for many years without changing the look. The lighter or paler shades of khaki work well in rooms with more natural light, which helps to bring more warmth and brightness into a room.
These colors are perfect for larger living areas and even to bring some warmth into a bedroom. The deeper green or gray khaki colors can be used in most rooms.
The khaki color can be used with a range of other colors to create more contrast within a room. The color is perfect for creating a relaxing or calming and welcoming atmosphere. Adding natural elements like wicker, and stone and using wood can also enhance the natural look. When you have a neutral background, like khaki, you can add color by various means. Keep it simple, for example, a couch, rug, or throw can always add a pop of color.
Now that you know a little more about the khaki color and what khaki color combinations you can use, you can try them for yourself. Whether it is a light or dark khaki color, you have the option of choosing the color you want. You no longer have to stick to a single color choice.
Take a look at our khaki color webstory here!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Color Is Khaki?
The khaki color can be described as being a light brown that has a yellowish undertone. The pale color is considered a bit darker than beige and is a softer color than tan. The color was originally based on the uniforms of the British army in the 19th century.
Are There Colors That Go With Khaki?
Khaki is a neutral color and can work with almost any color, but does work best with other neutrals like white, beige, tan, and black. The color khaki also works well with shades of blue and green colors.
Are There Shades of Khaki?
Like all colors, there is a variety of tones and shades of khaki. Khaki is not a single color, and you can get anything from a lighter to a darker shade. The original khaki for the military uniforms was brown with a yellowish undertone, however, this changed to a slightly darker version that has a more greenish undertone and is known as olive drab.
In 2005, Charlene completed her Wellness Diplomas in Therapeutic Aromatherapy and Reflexology from the International School of Reflexology and Meridian Therapy. She worked for a company offering corporate wellness programs for a couple of years, before opening up her own therapy practice. It was in 2015 that a friend, who was a digital marketer, asked her to join her company as a content creator, and this is where she found her excitement for writing.
Since joining the content writing world, she has gained a lot of experience over the years writing on a diverse selection of topics, from beauty, health, wellness, travel, and more. Due to various circumstances, she had to close her therapy practice and is now a full-time freelance writer. Being a creative person, she could not pass up the opportunity to contribute to the Art in Context team, where is was in her element, writing about a variety of art and craft topics. Contributing articles for over three years now, her knowledge in this area has grown, and she has gotten to explore her creativity and improve her research and writing skills.
Charlene Lewis has been working for artincontext.org since the relaunch in 2020. She is an experienced writer and mainly focuses on the topics of color theory, painting and drawing.
Cite this Article
Charlene, Lewis, “Khaki Color – 18 Shades of Khaki and How to Use Them.” Art in Context. June 27, 2022. URL: https://artincontext.org/khaki-color/
Lewis, C. (2022, 27 June). Khaki Color – 18 Shades of Khaki and How to Use Them. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/khaki-color/