Emerald: 2013 Color of the Year

Every December, designers of all creeds impatiently wait for Pantone’s (the world leader in color) announcement of its new color of the year. Whatever color is announced is present in all the fashion and decor of the following year. For 2013, Pantone® chose emerald as its color of the year.

Here’s what the Pantone® press release has to say about emerald:

Photo: Emerald Steps | Uploaded by Pinterest User: Donita Paul via Decorative Communications

Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.”

So, for all you fashion-minded decorators out there, how should you use emerald in your home decor? Here are some suggestions:

Emerald in the Kitchen

What rooms of the house would use emerald at its best? The kitchen, for one, is one of the best places to use shades of green. Thinking of redoing your backsplash with a pretty mosaic (all the rage these days)? Choose one that uses emerald in its color scheme, along with other warm shades of green and yellow.

If you need to add to your dinnerware, emerald is a good color choice. Not only will it make your food look more appetizing, but it will also add a dash of sophistication to your table. Green dinnerware will look great on a white tablecloth, but will work just as well with yellows, grays and even turquoise.

For the more daring, an accent wall in emerald will do wonders for your kitchen or dining room. It will inspire calm and bring back nature to meal times.

Emerald in the Living Room

Emerald can be used in different moods and styles, depending on the colors it’s paired with. To enhance the sophistication of emerald, use it with neutrals like gunmental, pewter and beige. Paint an accent wall in emerald with a grey couch in front of it, along with emerald accessories all over the room.

Emerald can also bring you back to your childhood’s country cottage. Remember that old dark green couch that squeaked every time someone sat on it? Paired with colors such as red and blue, emerald inspires the quiet and “old but loved” feeling of the country cottage. Green, red, blue and yellow are typical colors of the traditional tartan; use this to inspire a decor that gives you a sense of heritage.

As an accent color, emerald works well with brown, burgundy and warm yellow. It adds a daring splash of nature-inspired color to any neutral-based decor.

Emerald in the Bathroom

Another room where green has a great place is the bathroom. Along with shades of blue and gray, emerald will bring a instant touch of freshness and sophistication to the bathroom. Keep the blues muted and mixed with gray, and use emerald as an accent in the backsplash or shower tile, with plants (I love to add one of those small potted bamboos on the counter) or with hand towels. 

Emerald is a great color for your soap tray-glass-toothbrush holder kit. I like to use these accessories to change the mood of my bathroom periodically, without spending a fortune. If you add a shower curtain that uses emerald, you can transform your bathroom for less than $100.

Emerald in the Bedroom

It’s easy to add a dash of emerald in your bedroom, especially if your decor already uses neutrals. Emerald bed linen, a few cushions or even a new coat of emerald paint on your furniture will give your bedroom a dash of sophistication or of nature, depending on your style. A potted plant with dark green leaves or emerald curtains will make any bedroom feel more organic.

If you want to go all in and redecorate, using emerald as a main bedroom color is a great choice if you value calm, healing and renewal. No wonder green is a popular color in hospitals! (Not that we want your bedroom to look like a hospital room.) If you decide to plant your walls in emerald green, keep one of the walls in a neutral beige to avoid the “oppressive forest” feeling. Use colors found in nature, like brown and sand as accents. A few pops of bright colors like pink, blue and yellow will remind you of flowers growing on the forest floor. 

BIG in 2013

Elle Decor’s Editor in Chief breaks down the trends that will define the year ahead. Plus see more design world predictions with Curbed’s Magic 8 Ball.

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Photo: Elle Decor

TREND: Lots of Brass

With its rich gleam and sculptural weight, this metal is experiencing a resurgence. With so many designers looking to the ’70s, it’s inevitable that brass and bronze will show up more – from accessories by Carl Aubock to cocktail tables by Gabriella Crespi to virtually entire rooms by Kelly Wearstler, brass is the metal of the moment.


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Photos (left to right): Brass Staircase, Mikkel Vang | Carl Aubock Brass Bookends, Elle Decor | 1970s Brass Mastercraft Cocktail Table & Burl-wood-and-brass Cabinet, Eric Piasecki

TREND: Green

Pantone named Emerald the Color of the Year for 2013, but we’re seeing all shades of greens and expect more in the future, from bright spring greens to olives, and especially lots of different blue-greens and teal.


Photos (left to right): Stephen Gambrel room, Eric Piasecki | Michael Leva room, Eric Piasecki | Barnaba Fornasetti room, Andrea Ferrari

TREND: Embellished Walls

We expect this trend, already strong, to continue at full strength. The options now are limitless, from simple grass cloths to hand-painted papers to coverings embellished with glass beads and crystals. 

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Photos (left to right): Painted Walls, Simon Upton | Flat Vernacular Wallpapers, Geoffrey Sokol | Schumacher Wallpapers, Björn Wallander


Your grandmother’s tablecloth is now hip. Already big on the runways, lace is showing up in the home collections of Zara and H&M, so you know it’s ready for its close-up. Count on seeing lots more see-through in the months ahead.


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Photos (left to right): Jason Wu/Canvas, Björn Wallander | Chinpracha House, Vincente Wolf

TREND: Beige

A surprise, but it’s showing up more often, and in quieter room settings. The danger here is going corporate bland, but very talented designers are using a variety of shades of cream, off-white, and yes; beige in a variety of textures to create serene settings. This could be the start of a backlash against all the vivid colors and layered rooms we’ve been seeing for the past few years. 


Photos (left to right): Zelenko & Piscuskas home, Miguel Flores-Vianna | Robert Stilin Hamptons House, Anita Sarsidi & William Waldron | Knight & Aponte’s home, Miguel Flores-Vianna