Color of The Year 2013

Emerald Green Sliding Barn Door – image via

The Color of The Year for 2013 has arrived as the New Year in Color has yet to even begin – which gives us a chance to put our heads together on incorporating the somber yet lush jewel tone of Emerald into our room designs.

Due to its nearly equal distribution of green and blue, Emerald green as a wall paint sucks the light, and reflectivity from any space, visually moving walls in, or diminishing height when applied to ceilings. I would say that about 2% of people would be happy with Emerald Green as the 60% of a 60/30/10 color distribution in a room – but let’s not discount the potential for emerald quite yet.

image via srgambrelcom

Color Solutions begin with understanding – yes,  Pantone 17-5641 emerald is an interior color choice has a lot of mass in terms of visual weight. Yet it’s the parent color shared by Tangerine Tango and Emerald that offers some direction in refining its use. The Colors of the Year for 2012 and 2013 are step siblings, with a common parent color.

Cadmium Yellow image via

Cadmium Yellow, Light is not a reference that will help you at the paint store, but understanding a bit about the hands-on manipulation of color in the fine arts realms can be helpful in translating successful color use into interior applications.

Emerald green is Ultramarine Blue mixed with Cadmium Yellow Light; Tangerine Tango is Cadmium Red with a bit of the same. The presence of bright yellow makes the two colors very at ease with yellow – and for that matter, all secondary (colors resultant from primary parents; red, yellow and blue) and tertiary colors (secondary colors mixed)

as is demonstrated beautifully in the fabric below – I have been lusting after this chair for a few months…(if you are too, just click the link)

It’s not just the color, but the separation of colors that makes a print or color scheme work. I sampled all this color (below) from the chair (above). Without the white back drop and black accent, it this color scheme is child-like – but the addition of white, French style, and black accent take this piece from daycare to urban loft.

chair colors

Designer Tobi Fairley’s take on an Emerald Green table story – image from At Home Magazine

White is not the only color that can be used as a common thread to create a unified color story. Why not Emerald green? You need only adjust the percentage; start by using pillows that feature your target color (in this case, emerald) in the least proportion in the pillow, to avoid a concentrated result.

(Click here to see Pillows at Joss and Main)

Emerald as a unifying element to tie accents together – images via Joss and Main

Once a story line is established, it’s easier to flesh out certain characters in your story because you have created harmony and continuity by establishing a common thread. The resultant look is a happy-chic vibe that doesn’t nail you to one particular style – choices are good!

Transparency is another way to minimize concentration and maintain an airy look even when utilizing large areas of intense base color.

Black Crow Studios owner Tracy Hines beams before her happy canvas wall coverings – image via blackcrowstudio’s blog

I love black crow studios as a color solution for walls! The transparency allows white to ring through all that color and sing its praises without drowning the light conduction in the room design…

image via black crow studios

The use of crisp white wainscoting and moldings sets the stage for transparent color use and neutral grounding.

The scaled back use on a screen (as blow) or an area framed with moldings are effective and beautiful ways of reigning in both color and your budget. Emerald, again as a player in all these color schemes with other bright transparent colors is showcased and uplifted by its fellows.

water color canvas applied to a brilliant paneled room screen – image via black crow studios

Before exhausting white as a solution, it is worth a mention that the use of white or black raise the text book solution of taking a strong color such as emerald, and tempering it with a range of greens.

image via creamylife blog

The addition of white or black as grounding neutral mortar to a grouping an analogous color family scheme always results in a smart, sophisticated and clean design.

table story from

The key to successfully using any color that dampens light (ie, cool deep shades of blues, violets, greens and black) is in short, to break it up.

Oppose light dampening colors with brightening fields of white and / or color. Pushing very strong color to the back and using brighter shades and pattern that step forward functions to distribute color into organized fields, lending flow into your design.

image via Apartment Therapy blog


Just find your comfort zone – if less is more for you, then create a little color shrine that gives you some success with using brighter color. You can expand on this success or happily practice restraint – but don’t let fear exclude you or prevent your expression. Accents, unlike painted walls involve -0- commitment – if they don’t work return them and try again.

emerald vignette via Lonnyny blog

Try some Emerald Green for 2013!

(Click here to get the pear)

Related Articles:

Greens – Pantones and Beyond