Keen on green

Make your home glow like a jewel with emerald

schandler@newsobserver.comJanuary 18, 2013 

  • Choose a color Before you commit: • Grab a stack of paint chips from the store. Fan them out at home and weed out the ones that don’t appeal to you. • Stand at a mirror and hold paint chips near your face. Some don’t complement skin tones. • Buy a sample can and paint a test board. Move it around the room at different times of day to make sure you’ll like it in that space.

It’s not hard to conjure up a vision of Emerald, Pantone’s pick for 2013 Color of the Year.

It’s all around us in summer, dressing up the trees in a hue that sparkles against a blue sky. The gemstone for which it’s named never goes out of style at jewelry stores. It even impressed Scarlett O’Hara: “Who can forget the velvet curtain dress in ‘Gone With the Wind’?” asks Sandy Galloway, an antiques dealer and former wardrobe consultant in Raleigh.

Emerald is a color that’s easy to find and easy to love. But it’s not always easy to incorporate such a bold color into your home décor. So we asked interior decorators, color experts and other members of the N&O Design Team to give us some ideas for bringing this gem of a color down to earth.


Kimberley Bell, Kimberley Bell Interiors, Cary

919-271-6144

“Numerologists are saying this is the ‘Year of Change,’ so change up your decor with emerald, a shade that brings the freshness of green into your home.”

• Update a wingback or club chair by upholstering or slipcovering in an emerald ikat fabric. It’ll keep you current with the “global” trend but with lasting appeal that is classic.

• Place a solid or banded rug in your entryway or as an area rug to warm up an area as you kick off your shoes.

• Want to ease into it? Try pillows and throws or utilize colored glassware, candlesticks and picture frames to bring emerald into your home.

Barbara Clare, Chroma 7, Chapel Hill

chroma7.com or 919-937-7265

“The color emerald offers us the harmonious mix of warm, yellow green and cool blue. It evokes the elegant, magical brilliance of emerald gemstones and the soothing lushness of spruce woodlands, clover fields and deep cool waters. In home décor, emerald adds a rich, grounding tone.”

• If you have dark wood floors or dark wood paneling, you can bring the spruce woodlands indoors by painting your walls emerald. It complements the dark wood tones and brightens the walls.

• Love the look of clover fields? Try emerald carpeting. Pair it with a neutral wall color to set off the drama of emerald. You’ll want to walk barefoot in this room!

• As an accessory, emerald glasses add a festive note, and for a dramatic table setting, pair emerald plates with linens in last year’s Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango.


Kate Nisbet, Kate Nisbet Designs, Raleigh

katenisbetdesigns.com or 919-792-8103

“A very timeless and classic color, radiant emerald symbolizes sophisticated luxury infused with a sense of clarity, renewal, harmony and rejuvenation.”

• To stay on trend without going overboard, infuse your home with emerald accents. A fresh pair of pillows, a new throw tossed on your sofa or a dramatic lamp on a buffet are budget-friendly ideas to rejuvenate your space.

• Emerald green is one of the richest, most abundant colors found in nature, so why not bring the outdoors in? Try placing an orchid in an emerald container, or bring in a succulent arrangement or a terrarium with emerald green moss.

• If committing to a bold color in a large way seems intimidating, dip one toe in first: DIY with a little paint! Surprise the eye with a painted accent table or paint the sometimes-forgotten back of bookshelves to create a backdrop for your curated collection of books and objects.

Sandy Galloway, antiques dealer and former wardrobe consultant, Raleigh

919-741-8145

“Emerald is a more livable and less tiring of a color than the Pantone colors of recent years or the popular citrus greens.”

• Emerald mixes well with black, white, gold and even the popular aqua blues.

• An easy way to introduce emerald to your home decor would be to paint one wall, maybe behind a bed, or use it for accent pieces, such as pillows, trays or malachite candle sticks. It even looks good as drapes since it relates to the green colors outside the window.


Leigh Blow and Meredith Watson, Moonlight Interior and Redesign, Raleigh

moonlightdsgnonline.com or 919-821-2355

“Emerald is a sparkling and familiar color found in nature, inspiring optimism and health.”

• Paint your front door a high-gloss emerald; since it is a familiar color found in nature, it blends well with most all other colors.

• Paint or wallpaper an accent wall inside in emerald.

• Take an old dresser, bedside table or sideboard and make it an art accent piece by refinishing it in cheerful and grounding emerald.

• Show it off on the inside of a bookcase, on dining chair seats, as a lovely lamp base or textured pillows.


Allan Chapman, Allan Chapman Interiors, Charlotte

404-964-4161

“The color emerald green exudes elegance and sophistication, rich in its layers and endless variations.”

• Upholster your sofa in this rich emerald color in a cotton velvet. It will create a wonderful backdrop for pillows in lighter silks and linens.

• Paint your study, library, den or dining room in glossy emerald paint. For a dramatic effect, accessorize with metallic accents such as gold picture frames, sconces or a vibrant chandelier.

• Update an otherwise neutral room with emerald window treatments in solid silk. Simple, pleated panels hung from a gilded rod will add instant glamour.

• Accessorize with pops of emerald. Try a pair of emerald green porcelain lamps, or malachite green picture frames, boxes and carved figurines.

Chandler: 919-829-4830

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