You know what color we’re loving right now? Emerald green. It’s a beautiful shade of green—one that complements neutrals and other colors alike and manages to add a sense of luxury and glamour to any room it’s in. (Though it can also add to a tropical look as well!)
And in 2022, this color is making its way into the interior design trend landscape. Etsy is even predicting that it will be the “it” color for 2022! So today, we’re digging into this beautiful color, looking back at iconic emerald green moments in design history, and exploring tips for decorating with emerald green!
What color is emerald green, exactly?
Emerald green is a bright blue-green named after the precious gemstone, which gets its distinctive color from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium. Named after a gem? No wonder this color often finds its way into glam room designs.
Famous Examples of Emerald Green in Design History
Emerald green has been part of some pretty iconic moments in design history. Read on for a few of our favorite examples of decorating with emerald green.
The Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz
Perhaps what first comes to mind is the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. (We even made a room design in homage to the Emerald City a few years back as part of our Wizard of Oz-inspired room designs!)
In the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, along with the rest of the books in the Oz series, author L. Frank Baum describes the city as being built of green glass, emeralds, and other jewels. The city is where the great and powerful wizard of Oz lives, and everyone who lives in the city is made to wear green-tinted glasses, so that emerald green is everywhere they look.
Fun fact: Scholars who interpret The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a political allegory see the Emerald City as a metaphor for Washington, D.C., and unsecured “greenback” paper money.
There is also a movie reimagining of the Wizard of Oz, called The Wiz (where Diana Ross stars as Dorothy in an all-black cast), and the Emerald City sequence is pretty iconic. The nearly seven-minute song and dance is aglow in emerald green—until the great and powerful Oz turns everything red, and then gold. Beyond the use of color throughout the scene, it also serves as a cornerstone of the disco era.
Emerald Green Banker’s Lamps
You’ve probably seen a banker’s lamp at some point, whether in someone’s home or in an academic setting. This style of lamp features a brass base and an emerald green shade. A type of task light, it’s often used as a desk lamp, in library reading rooms, and even sometimes on pianos—and, of course, in banks. These iconic lamps came onto the scene in the early 1900s, created by New York engineer Harrison D. McFaddin. He dubbed his lamps “Emeralites” (a “clever” combination of the words emerald and light). As these lamps grew in popularity, many imitations hit the market.
The rounded shades and green hue were meant to eliminate glare, reduce eye strain, and improve the quality of light for those working long hours. While there’s no modern-day proof of this being true, green is psychologically considered to be a soothing color—so perhaps in some way, an Emeralite lamp would encourage a sense of calm and focus!
Art Deco Design Era
Emerald green was a prominent color during the Art Deco movement. This Art Deco design era took place in the 1920s, when the U.S. economy was booming—so lavish and bright colors were used to celebrate the prosperity of the times. Hence, the emerald green!
But emerald green wasn’t just popular in architecture and interior design. During this time, radium paint started being used in housewares like clocks and wristwatches, allowing the numbers and hands to glow green so they could be easily used in the dark. Unfortunately, this led to widespread radium poisoning, especially among the factory workers who produced these watches and clocks.
Paramount Theater in Oakland
The Paramount Theater in Oakland, Calif., was built in the 1920s and features that quintessential 20s Art Deco style. The high, vast ceiling in the lobby is a mosaic made of emerald green and gold pieces. It’s a stunning work of art—but time took its toll. So, in the 1970s it was restored to its former glory. Today, this theater is known as one of the most flamboyant and important Art Deco theaters in the United States.
The Beverly Hills Hotel Banana Leaf Wallpaper
The banana leaf wallpaper that’s in the Beverly Hills Hotel bar was designed by Lucile Stockwell, and was inspired by her trips to tropical locations. This pattern, called Martinique, was introduced to CW Stockwell’s 1942 collection, “Wallpaper Is Art,” and this pattern was installed in the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1949, under the direction of designer Don Loper. It was here that the Martiniuqe pattern became iconic.
The Greenbrier Hotel
Iconic American designer Dorothy Draper designed and styled the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. Using bright colors and oversized patterns throughout the hotel, she gave the space a lavish and elegant facelift. She used emerald green throughout the hotel, inspired by the lush green landscape surrounding the resort.
Pantone Color of the Year
Emerald green has had some shining moments in more recent history too! Emerald green was Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year, chosen for the way this color can enhance a sense of balance, harmony, and well-being.
Emerald Green Decor Ideas
Since emerald green is such a bold color, it might feel intimidating to incorporate it into your home’s decor. But it’s easier than you might think to create emerald green room color schemes! You just have to pair it with the right pieces and colors. Read on for our 9 favorite emerald green decor ideas and style combinations!
An Emerald Green Velvet Sofa with Leopard-Print Pillows
Because emerald green is such a decadent color, we love it when it’s applied to velvet fabric—whether on a pillow, duvet cover, sofa, or chair. If you want to make a big statement with emerald green, your best bet is a sofa. Emerald green pairs well with leopard print—so an emerald green velvet sofa would look amazing with leopard print throw pillows. It adds a glam feel with the animal print and the rich tones of this shade of green. And, while a green sofa might seem like a big commitment to the color, emerald green is a timeless color that always seems to be in fashion.
Emerald Green Walls with Burl Wood Furniture
Emerald green walls act as a rich and vibrant backdrop to burl wood furniture, since burl is naturally ornamental. This combination draws inspiration from the Art Deco era and creates a classic look. Emerald paint is another big commitment to the color, but you could always opt for a green accent wall instead of a whole room of emerald green if you want a smaller dose of it.
Emerald Green Armchairs with Black and White Wallpaper
Emerald green pops against black and white—which is why we love the idea of emerald green armchairs against a graphic black and whtie wallpaper backdrop. Emerald green armchairs (finished in the luxe velvet we mentioned earlier) is a great way to bring this color into your home in a smaller but still impactful way. Plus, this combo adds a fun dose of drama to any home!
Emerald Green Pillows on a Leather Sofa
Looking for easy ways to add color to a room? Try some colorful throw pillows. We’re big fans of the way emerald green pillows can add a pop of color to a space—and we especially love to see them paired with a leather sofa. Leather sofas are timeless pieces of furniture, so adding pops of emerald on the sofa brings a touch of drama and bold color. Throw pillows are a great way to introduce emerald into an existing design and try out this trendy color.
An Emerald Green Bed with Pink Decor
Pink and green is a fun, playful color palette that works with a variety of styles, from mid-century to boho and glam. This bedroom is a great example of a fun and eclectic take on a green and pink color scheme, with the emerald green bed (and ceiling!) beautifully complementing the pink accents throughout. When combined in room decor, emerald green adds a grounding effect and the pink adds a youthful and playful vibe.
Emerald Green Dining Chairs with a Marble Dining Table
If you want to up the glam factor in your dining room, turn to elegant colors and materials. Emerald green dining chairs (especially when they’re velvet) add a luxurious touch to a dining room. And there’s no better table to pair them with than a marble dining table. The combination of the two creates quite the sophisticated and glam look.
Emerald Green and Purple Color Palette
Emerald green is in the jewel tone color family—and it pairs beautifully with other jewel tones. We particularly love the combination of purple and emerald green, which feels very luxe and royal. This is a great color palette if you love saturated colors and want to go all-out with jewel tone decor.
Emerald Green Walls and White Accents
Looking for some green bedroom ideas? We love the look of emerald green walls against white furniture and bedding. The boldness of deep green walls adds a sense of glamour to a room, which is both contrasted and balanced by white furniture and decor. This is a timeless combo (and happens to look great with the burl wood furniture we mentioned earlier, too!)
Emerald Green Walls and Warm Wood Floors
Wondering how to match your wall color to your wood floors? If you have warm tones in your wood flooring, emerald green is a perfect match. It’s a great way to add a bold pop of color in a tone that compliments your flooring. Neutral trim, wainscotting, and even chairs, help balance out the boldness if a full room of emerald paint feels like too much of a statement.
Want some help incorporating emerald green into your home’s decor?