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Pantone color of the year: emerald green

By Lindsey M. Roberts,

When Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Institute, chose the color of 2009, the United States was sinking deep into a recession and the bright yellow of Mimosa, it was hoped, would energize and encourage the country. So what’s the right color for an economy that’s hopefully on the mend? Well, emerald green, of course. Conjuring up gems, dollar bills, the ’80s, and the sparkling Emerald City in “The Wizard of Oz,” green is the color of “rejuvenation,” Eiseman says, “something that talks of new life.” (That Eiseman is from the other Emerald City, Seattle, she swears is a coincidence.)

The 2013 color of the year is taking some interior designers by surprise. Color expert Maria Killam, for one, wrote on her blog Colour Me Happy that she thought it would be blue. Washington designer Sally Steponkus also didn’t expect emerald green, as the color is more sophisticated than last year’s fresh, young Tangerine Tango, but she was pleased nonetheless. “Green is happy and fresh and clean and classic,” Steponkus says. “I think it opens a space up.”

In previous years, green might have been used as an accent color only, Eiseman says, but today, homeowners and designers are getting bolder, and might paint an entryway or a niche wall green. Steponkus is considering doing a sunroom in an emerald grasscloth for a current client, but she also thinks a malachite-inspired wallpaper would do well in a powder room. For those of us who might want to try it out before committing to something as bold as a lacquered-green dining room, we’ve rounded up furniture and accent pieces that will make your other furnishings green with envy.

Roberts is a freelance writer.

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