Decorating your home can be a big undertaking, especially if you want to create a space that’s both open and inviting, as well as calm and relaxing. Oftentimes, these different desires tend to conflict— especially when it comes to design—because softer colors often evoke peaceful vibes and bright colors create a sense of energy.
Emerald green is favored by designers and home dwellers alike, not only because of its versatility and ability to complement many colors, designs, and decor, but also because the color can create a home that’s simultaneously warm, soothing, and inviting. And emerald green just happens to be Etsy's Color of the Year.
Whether you’re looking to create a plant haven, an inviting space for family and social gatherings, or a home that evokes calm and peace, emerald green is a must-have. Here are some suggestions from designers on pretty ways to design with emerald green and why you should consider adding it (if you haven’t already).
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Start With a Small Highlight
If you’re embracing this color for the first time, interior design expert, Richard Petrie of Thomas Sanderson, shares that the best thing to do is to start small—a statement wall, a bold decor item, or even a rug.
“Emerald green works beautifully as a paint colour for any room of your home,” he says. “If you’re not feeling so brave, even just as a statement wall. The deep shade of green works particularly well with natural wood tones and monochrome patterns to create a stylish appearance.”
He also encourages green furniture and accessories or opting for something unexpected to make a more striking statement.
“[Go] for an emerald green lampshade in your bedroom, or an emerald green throw in the living room for a sophisticated and premium look,” he says.
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Complement With Browns and Blues
If you’re looking for a more relaxing feel, then using emerald green with other dark colors create a space with depth and richness.
"We love working with Emerald Green colorways on our projects,” says Mark Lavender of M. Lavender Interiors. “We use a lot of bold colors in our designs and emerald green is a go-to. We love the way this color brings the outdoors into the home. It is a great complement with blues and browns and brings a richness to a space from the feeling of being in the woods during the day to high drama in the evening.”
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Go All In
While some design experts encourage taking this color in stride and going slow, others, like Kim Armstrong of Kim Armstrong Interior Design, feel the opposite: if you’re going to design with emerald green—undoubtedly a statement color—then it’s best to go all in on it.
"Emerald Green rooms are all the rage right now! Dark, moody, cozy, mysterious, rich, luxury are terms to describe this emerging trend,” Armstrong says. “The key to successfully creating this ambiance with this regal color is to go all in, and when I mean all in, I mean use this color everywhere.”
She recommends creating drama by painting multiple surfaces—doors, walls, trim, and even the ceiling in some cases, too.
“You don’t have to just stop with paint,” she says. “Adding a plush sofa in emerald green still isn’t too much! I love offsetting this with leopard print pillows, and rich jewel tone velvet fabrics, antique brass accents, and dark moody oil paintings. Rich mahogany wood antiques, add a collected over time feel.”
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Use a Neutral Base
If you’re not quite ready to go all in, then interior designer Maggie Clarke of Maggie Clarke Interiors recommends using neutral shades and pieces to center the color as opposed to making it the central focus.
“[I recommend] using a neutral base for big items like the sofa, rug, and accompanying chairs,” she says. “To make a big punch, throw in some emerald velvet armchairs. You can repeat this color throughout the room with throw pillows and accessories (like this vase). The room still reads neutral, but definitely not boring!”Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Use Emerald in Place of Black
Another option for starting small is to use emerald green as a darker shade and/or a replacement for black. Sarah Barnard of Sarah Barnard Design, explains:
“I love using emerald green as a ‘neutral’ substitute for black,” she says. “Deep greens pair amazingly with warm whites, teals, and pinks, making grandma's favorite jewel tone fresh and modern once again.”
She also encourages bringing in elements from the natural world, for example, plants or other earthy green shades, to create a connected feel throughout the space.
“Emerald green is a classic color that inspires a visual connection to the outdoors,” she says. “Unlike the sages and celadons of season's past, emerald green isn't shy or understated; it's rich, saturated, and unapologetically fabulous.”
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Create a Layered Effect
One of the most powerful ways to decorate with emerald green is to bring it intentionally into the space through layering. “I try to mix emerald green with other green hues to create an expertly layered effect,” says Megan Dufresne, Principal Designer at MC Design. “In this way, the emerald green pops, but does not feel out of place or overpowering.”
In a home bar or lounge area, for example, she uses a layered effect to create a warm and inviting feel. “[I bring in] a lighter, muted green on the cabinetry to pair with the bold emerald hue of the mohair upholstery,” she says.