12 Ways to Enliven Your Home with Green
Decorating with this color—whether it's the softest hint of celery or the deepest, most dramatic shade of emerald—instantly transforms a room into a rich, lush oasis (even if it's the broom closet!).
Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel, Tino Zervudachi: A Portfolio
Emerald is Pantone's 2013 color of the year
, and for good reason—it's commanding yet understated enough that it won't overpower the room. "Symbolically, emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today's complex world," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.
Designer Tino Zervudachi
makes the grassy color a focal point of this living room, pairing it with other inspired-by-nature elements like a stone mantle and wood-paneled walls. Modern touches—a round mirror, a puzzle-like coffee table—contrast with the rustic materials.
Photo courtesy of Pointed Leaf Press
Photo: James Leland Day, Decorate Workshop (Chronicle, 2012)
Walls that look emerald or teal—depending on the light—create a jewel-box effect that makes this small space feel like a tucked-away treasure. "While there may be many things in this nook, a sense of organization is accomplished by grouping them together by object or function," Holly Becker, author of Decorate Workshop
Bright greens can be an instant mood lifter, but they can also be a little, well, Kermit the Frog–ish. If you're afraid the color will be too intense for your room, try painting only the bottom third of the wall. For a fun flourish, outline a doorway—or just the top third of it, like this entryway—as well.
Photo: Jean Randazzo, Vintage Remix (Abrams, 2012)
Pale green can transform a sterile white bathroom. The trick to incorporating color is to keep the accents crisp, not flowery. Otherwise it can feel like a minty-fresh throwback to the chintz-and-mauve days of the early '90s. Art deco touches, like the patterned shower curtain and diamond tile trim, or a warm, neutral palette (think white, tan or silver accents) strike just the right balance.
Soft sage and celery greens create a relaxing backdrop for the bedroom. The colors are muted enough that you can get extra playful with your bedding, like the floral-patterned duvet and embroidered pillows Diane von Furstenberg
's team selected. Framed photos not really your style? Try vinyl wall art as a finishing touch—if you don't like it, you can just peel it off later.
It's hard to resist smiling when you enter a room that pairs bright green walls with punchy, vintage-inspired prints, like this wavy-lined headboard and fish-patterned pillow. To match the freshness of the design, decorators Andre Walker and David Simmons
recommend keeping a vase of colorful peonies or hydrangeas in the room.
Offset plain white walls with an eye-catching print, like the leaf pattern on these curtains. If you're going for more of an island look, designer Mario Buatta suggests mixing in a few accessories in pale blues, fiery oranges and bright reds.
A bubble bath sounds so enticing...until you realize you're staring at the toilet. Create a more spa-like atmosphere with an arrangement of your favorite potted plants. Pale celery wallpaper from Farrow & Ball
and a watercolor painting by Pamela Glasscock
tie everything together, so you can relax—and not worry that the grout needs scrubbing.
Think pattern-on-pattern can't be done? Don't tell Oprah. The soft, aged feel of the green-and-cream fabric is just tame enough to cover the walls, sofa and curtains of her guesthouse in a way that's dramatic, not dizzying. The key to getting a polished look that isn't too busy lies in using complementary details, like furniture in a certain style—all classic, for example—or using shades of a particular color.
The faintest shade of green can almost work as a neutral, particularly when paired with its opposite on the color wheel: red. In Oprah's library
, barely there pistachio walls play up the bold pink and scarlet carpet. It's inviting but muted—like a library should be.
The easiest way to enliven your bedroom? Change out the comforter. "Turquoise brings excitement to a neutral," Eiseman says. "It's a jolt of energy."
A few bold accessories can punch up the drama in a room, particularly when you play with new textures. An emerald velvet pillow and matching cornice are a lush, enriching counterpoint to the sleek wooden floors and sculptures in this study.
Next: Create your dream kitchen for less than you'd think