A modern-meets-rustic living room featuring wood-paneled walls and emerald curtains

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
Teal/emerald entryway with a red cabinet and distressed mirror

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, says.
Green and white striped walls

Photo: Aimee Herring

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.
Art Deco green, white and black bathroom

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.
Green bedroom designed by Diane von Furstenburg's team

Photo: Pamu

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.
Lime green bedroom with a wavy striped green headboard and patterned pillows

Photo: Douglas Friedman

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.
White room with green surfboard and other green accessories

Photo: Douglas Friedman

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.
Pale green bathroom with freestanding bathtub, surrounded by potted plants

Photo: Michael Arnaud

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.
Green patterned walls and tented ceiling of a study in Oprah's guest house

Photo: Michael Arnaud

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.
Pale green library at Oprah's home with pink and red carpet

Photo: Björn Wallander

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.
Turquoise bedding with brown accents

Photo: Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

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."
White living room with emerald velvet cornice and pillows

Photo: Aimee Herring

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.

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