Can We Discuss The Pantone Color Of The Year — Emerald Green?

Have you heard?  The Pantone color of the year for 2013 is Emerald, and I’m very anxious to hear what you think about this color. Could you decorate with it? Wear it?

I’ll admit, I never really paid attention to the Pantone Color of the Year until 2010, and that’s because it was Turquoise! One of my favorites! And then in 2011, it was some strange pinkish purple color called Honeysuckle. I was not a fan of that one. And then last year was a wonderful orange with a fancy name…Tangerine Tango.

So ever since 2010, I’ve looked forward to hearing what the next “color of the year” will be. But this year when I saw the swatch, let’s just say I was less than enthused.  In fact, I posted my initial reaction to the color on the A2D Facebook page, and many people seemed to agree with me.

The color that they call Emerald just falls a bit flat for me. What is it about it that I don’t like? I’m a green kind of person. I like just about every shade of green there is. But this one? Nope. There’s just something a little “off” about it. Here’s Pantone’s Emerald next to a photo of The Catherine The Great Emerald Brooch via Christie’s.

the catherine the great emerald brooch via christie's
I think there are two things that make me not like Pantone’s Emerald.  First, that slight touch of blue in it just doesn’t do anything for me.  Second, it’s just not quite deep enough to be a jewel tone, but it’s not light enough to be a pastel. It’s hovering somewhere in between, and it needs to be pushed in one direction or the other.

Here’s a flat comparison of the two.  On the left is the green that I took directly from the emerald pictured above.  On the right is Pantone’s Emerald.

See how blue the one on the right is?  I think that’s what makes me not like it.  It’s a color I’d use to decorate a little girl’s room (mixed with a few other happy candy colors like deep pinks and yellows), but that’s about it.

And yes, I know that emeralds can come in several slightly different shades of green, and lighting makes a huge difference as well.  I’m just trying to pinpoint what it is exactly about that color that makes me involuntarily make a squished-face disgusted look every time I see it.  :)

But while I don’t like that exact hue of green that Pantone calls Emerald, I do really love these greens that are quite similar.  (And the green of the actual emerald pictured above is amazing, in my opinion!  I could certainly decorate with that one!)

Take a look at this beautiful kitchen with a green island from Country Living.

emerald green used in a kitchen with white cabinets

Now that green just seems right to me! It doesn’t have that touch of blue. It’s more of a “pure” green to my eyes. And it’s a touch more saturated. Doesn’t it look amazing in that kitchen?! I could certainly see myself decorating with that color!

I also really love the use of green in this dining room by Kay Douglass, via Veranda.

dining room with emerald green curtains against dark gray walls

Those draperies look so dramatic against the dark gray walls. And again, the green seems to be a bit more saturated…and no hint of blue. I think it’s beautiful!

Now when it comes to adding just one touch of green to a room, Kristin from The Hunted Interior did a beautiful job with her green painted chest of drawers.

green painted chest of drawers

Isn’t that beautifully styled?  The green and black is just as dramatic as the green and dark gray in the dining room above.  I’m really drawn to those dramatic combinations.

This green is also beautiful on a front door.  Take a look at this amazing green front door, which looks perfect paired with the black and white striped awning.  This is the front entry to Sibella Court’s shop called The Society Inc., via Design Sponge.

green front door with black and white awning on the society inc.

So what do you think about Pantone’s pick for the color of the year?  Are you ready to see an onslaught of Emerald green in decorating this year?  Will you try to incorporate it into your home?

And most importantly, what do you think about Pantone’s particular Emerald color?  Do you agree with me that there’s just something “off” about it?

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  1. Kate says


    I agree 100% with you! The Pantone Emeral color seemed “off” to me too. It’s pretty, but not Emerald. I thought it was my monitor. Love your blog and have a great 2013.

  2. says

    I personally LOVE green. Most of the rooms in my house are painted green (some shade or other). My living room is a light khaki green thanks to my husband, although, I wanted a deep, dark green. I have a lot of emerald green in my wardrobe as well. I love nature, so it makes sense that I love green. What I don’t like about Pantone naming ’emerald’ and the color of the year, is that it is everywhere. I sort of liked having green to myself against all of the white, gray, and pastels out there. :)

  3. Donna T. says

    I love your selections and agree that the Pantone emerald is a little to blue for my liking as well. I do think that change can be a good thing and I am willing to keep my options (and my eyes) open:)

    • says

      I’m open to it as well, Donna. Initially I wasn’t at all, but after looking at picture after picture, and seeing some really beautiful room (and clothing) in that color, I’d definitely be willing to use it if the opportunity arises.

    • says

      No green at all? Or just the emerald green? I’m just the opposite…I absolutely love greens. I can’t imagine decorating a room that didn’t have some green in it somewhere! :)

      • says

        Green really is my least favorite color. However, there are some shades that I really do like. I loved that candy apple green that was popular a few years ago and I do like blue greens quite a bit. Some greens that I don’t like on their own seem much nicer when combined with another color (i.e. deep forest green with eggplant purple).

  4. says

    Well when you put it that way… I love all the decor pics with the other emerald you showed. Even though I’m not a green person. I actually like the original hue better, I do love me some blueish greens, but it is NOT emerald! Whatever, I never listen to what is “in” every year, it takes me too long to get used to a color or trend. I’m still completely into turquoise, though, because it’s just such an awesome color!!

  5. says

    I have posted twice on this subject and bought a great emerald green bag in Chicago while visiting over the holidays just because it is the color of the year. Check out my January 2nd blog. I am trying to find all sorts of ways to use it!

    • says

      Very interesting, Gerrie! Do you do that every year? Purchase items just because it’s the color of the year? I never thought about doing that, but it’s an interesting idea to see how you can incorporate the color into your wardrobe or decor each year. It would be a fun challenge, and maybe get me out of my comfort zone and discover new colors that I’d never try otherwise!

  6. says

    I didn’t know there was a “color of the year”.
    And to answer your question – I don’t like that green.
    Can’t see that color being used in any weddings… Imagine a bridesmaid dress?

  7. Andrea says

    I agree with you 100%. For a jewel- it’s not very “jewel toned”… lol Now I worked in a printshop for several years and even one of the standard colors we had was more saturated than this and customers always called it emerald green. Although that was probably because we are just south of the “Emerald City” itself… Colors are weird between digital and actual physical substrate… it’s fascinating. I loved having the PMS swatches at my fingertips- I used to figure out what color I was wearing… lol I still love the story that one of my older gentlemen customers used to tell about the bride who had to match everything and of course the balloons- and threw a fit when the balloons she picked didn’t match exactly after inflation… (Double duh!)

  8. Donnamae says

    Well, add me to the list that agree with you. That color of the year is a bit off…sort of like it’s trying too hard! Course in all honesty, I don’t use colors of the year when they are popular…I’m always off by a few years if I even use them at all! 😉

    • says

      I’m kind of like you, Donnamae. I’m always a little late to the game…by choice. I just don’t like to have what everyone else has. I prefer to be a little different. :)

  9. says

    My friend and I have renamed it to “Jade Green” and suddenly I find it less offensive. Is that weird? Probably. lol I agree with you that it’s too “in the middle”. It’s not quite saturated or desaturated enough, it’s not quite blue or green enough, and it’s not quite dark or light enough. With that said, I’m sure in the right context it’ll be great, and by the end of the year it will have grown on many of us. I already like it more than I did when it was announced last month, and as the other colors I use change around it, I find it fitting better and better. :)

  10. Colleen says

    Not a fan of that particular green. My son picked Shamrock by Sherwin Williams for his bedroom. I thought it would be day-carish, but it looks really good. It is a deep, saturated color. Trim is white, doors are black. It looks elegant.

  11. Chris says

    I would love it IF it was a TRUE emerald. But, even then, I wouldn’t use it as a primary color in home decor, and maybe only for painting, ohhhh say, frames.

  12. says

    I love green Kristi, I’m with you. Pantone’s Emerald Green is not GREEN. I love a deep rich green, almost grass green. I use lots of green in my home along with yellow and orange. I don’t know what kind of color trend that is, but I like it!

  13. says

    I agree with you! I really don’t think the Pantone green is a true Emerald Green. The examples you gave of decorating with a deep green were beautiful. I would use any of them in my décor to add drama and depth.

  14. Diana says

    I thought you might appreciate Maria’s thoughts on it :) I think she is right that the line between Kelley Green and Emerald is a little blurred.

  15. Brenda says

    Kristi, I hung curtains in that same emerald in a polished cotton in 1994. The room was paneled (not a yucky yellow wood tone, a really nice one in a 1950’s ranch we were renting) and the color was a nice foil against the warm satin-finished wood tones. It was All That at the time. Recently I watched National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation and saw that color in similar plaid rod-pocket curtains. I painted the ceiling a ballet slipper pink, believe it or not. You really couldn’t tell it was pink, it just looked clean and warm over head. But in these current applications it just looks too blue to me. I also react that way to bluish reds. I love to wear blue but in decor I like blues like your kitchen cabinets!

    As an aside, I would love to read and participate in a discussion about home decor in movies. It can really tell part of the story. Who doesn’t remember the house in Home Alone? And in the aforementioned National Lampoon movie, the contrast between the two neighbor’s home decor told part of the story. Even the dated decor of the bad boy’s house in Toy Story! Thanks for the fun, I have really enjoyed the past year with your blog!

  16. Stephanie says

    I think it would be pretty in a super high gloss on a VW beetle. But it’s not likely to make it into my decor.

  17. Ella says

    I don’t think I’d noticed how off Pantone’s tone was from what I considered Emerald till your post here. I love true emerald green tones.. I think your right that they “just” missed the mark this year. Emerald was the right rich jewel tone to go with, but their version/vision isn’t quite it. Your examples are spot on of my loves too! I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate that pop of true emerald into our home ever since I started seeing them. I’ve always been a blue & green lover (sky, sea, grass)… I’ve managed to narrow the green to either going in our hall, WC or the future studio hangout (but that’s at least a year or so away). So I guess we’ll see how impatient I become before then to add it in!?!

  18. says

    It interests me that the response to this color, here and elsewhere, has often focused on the name — apparently it isn’t anyone’s idea of an “emerald” green (but it is, I swear, almost exactly the shade of my jade earrings). I wonder if people are liking it better once they away from the expectations that go along with the name?

    It seems as though yellow greens have been popular for a good decade, at least — I remember loathing an awful yellowy chartreuse that was turning up in women’s clothing more than ten years ago. But I’ve loved the saturated herby greens of the last decade. And recently preppy colors like navy and kelly green have been super popular — taking green cooler, away from yellow. So I wonder if getting bluer is the logical next step.

    Meanwhile, I have a dresser to go in the corner of my kitchen that I’d like to paint green, so I’m pondering these various shades. I want to strip the top down to the oak, but keep the body painted — I think I’ll have to see what color the top turns out before I make a decision!

  19. Pam says

    I thought they were saying emerald green not the other color. How did they come up with that color? I loved what you showed us but I don’t like dark gray walls with the green drapes that’s just me. I like that strong color mixed with the whites. I always tilt towards the grays and the blues but a pop of this color in a pillow or a drape would look pretty too if the couch was white. I certainly don’t want to go back to dark greens and pink although that looked pretty at the time I think we need new colors to emerge. I loved the dresser and might do something like that. I also don’t need to use it if I don’t see fit because like anything you really have to like the color and have to live with it. Pam

  20. says

    I really love your version of Emerald much more than the Pantone version. I was swooning over those curtains from Veranda! And….I just bought a gorgeous Vintage suit for a steal today at my boutique where I sell my things. It is in the same gorgeous Emerald color you are showing. I guess I will be all “current” with my vintage suit when I wear it. Except it isn’t the right shade of Emerald. Oh well, I am always a little offbeat anyhow. Thanks for sharing Kristi and Happy New Year. -K

  21. says

    Every time I see their colour Emerald I would adjust my laptop screen thinking the light was hitting it wrong because it looks nothing like Emerald to me. So now I’m glad to see it isn’t my computer, but a colour that doesn’t look Emerald! lol Thanks for clearing that up for me, and no, I don’t like it so I won’t use it.
    Debbie :)

  22. Sue says

    I am totally excited about this color. I’ve been thinking where in my home I could add it. What’s funny is right before Pantone announced last year “Tangerine Orange” I had just painted my daughters room that exact color. Also about a month before “Emerald” was announced I falling in love with that color.

  23. Aida says

    According to Wikipedia, “Emerald, also called emerald green, is a tone of green that is particularly light and bright, with a faint bluish cast. The name derives from the typical appearance of the gemstone emerald.”

  24. Melissa says

    I personally love emerald green! My wedding colors are black and emerald green but your right this version of it is very off putting.

  25. Jayni says

    I was mad when I saw that Pantone had selected this color, because it is close to what I was planning to use for my bedroom, and I always try to avoid trendy colors. I feel like from this point forward, if I use that color, anyone who enters will say, “Oh, she painted this room in 2013!”

    However, since I decorate for ME, I’ll probably use a “close to it” color anyway, BECAUSE I’ve been collecting floral art–all styles, sizes, colors, etc.–for years. I decided a cool background color for all my flowers would be something of a grass green. Now, I just have to budget having the room painted.

  26. Melissa Costello says

    I agree with you the Pantone is not quite the jewel-tone emerald us May babies have come to love and desire! Either way I love a pop of green. Thank you for sharing!

  27. Erin Rose says

    I am new to your blog, and because of this post, I am now your number one fan! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for basically telling me I’m not crazy! I’m a professional blogger, and part of a blog I did last week revolved around the “color of the year”. So it says “emerald green” but I’m actually staring at the color thinking, “Am I missing something?? Or was I taught that emerald green was something it isn’t? What’s going on?” Turns out, I need to trust my instincts more. You are so right – the pantone color has way too much blue to be a true emerald. I personally love BOTH colors. Emerald is a striking color – I’ve always loved it because it’s the color of my birthstone, my alma mater, and I’ve found that I wear it quite well! I never thought of incorporating it in my home – lovely!
    One issue that really disturbs me about Pantone is that they of all people should know better. Now we’ll have a whole bunch of people thinking that emerald green is their color. Perhaps emerald green inspired the color they’ve chosen, but let’s call a spade a spade. It really perturbs me that so-called color experts have misnamed the color of the year. But thanks to your blogs, and the rants of others, hopefully we’ll keep the word out 😉

  28. Kathleen says

    My fav Pantone color of the year was last year. Orange. I love me some orange. Actually, quite a bit of orange. Love your blog Kristi.

  29. says

    Hi Kristi, I stopped by to refresh my memory on the faucets you painted a couple years ago (I’m ready to tackle it), and noticed this post. I thought I’d share – I too loved all of those inspiration photos, and decided on Emerald to paint a buffet for my dining room. When I opened the can of paint I just about changed directions and went with white!! I’m so glad I didn’t I can’t tell you how much I love it! I had it darkened a tad to match Precious Emerald. I think it’s a rich look and gives my room the needed pizazz. In the reveal there are two other ‘Emerald’ makeovers from friends that are equally as interesting.

  30. Faye says

    I prefer colours that are pure, and so I have give a thumbs down for Pantone’s version. An Emerald like all gems, are suppose to have substance, depth, and be true in colour…..

  31. Narvelan Coleman says

    I don’t agree with you at all, simply because Emerald Green has been my favorite color since I was 5 years old. My grandmother was an avid Bible reader, and read to me the scriptures that describe the rainbow over God’s throne as Emerald Green, representing the color of promise. I am now a 65 year old grandmother, and I have been obsessed with Emerald Green, and any shades of green in the vicinity of that hue ever since. It is the color of the year, every year for me, and I am always looking to buy pieces (especially jewelry) to add to my wardrobe every year. I cannot pass anything Emerald Green and not look, study or admire it before moving on.

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