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Originally published Friday, January 25, 2013 at 8:00 PM

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Interior Design: Pantone Moves On to Greener Pastures

Special to The Washington Post

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When Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Institute, chose the color of 2009, the U.S. was sinking into a recession and the bright yellow of Mimosa, it was hoped, would energize and encourage the country.

So what’s the right color for an economy that’s hopefully on the mend? Well, emerald green, of course.

Conjuring up gems, dollar bills, the ’80s, and the sparkling Emerald City in “The Wizard of Oz,” green is the color of “rejuvenation,” Eiseman says, “something that talks of new life.” (That Eiseman is from the other Emerald City, Seattle, she swears is a coincidence.)

The 2013 color of the year is taking some interior designers by surprise. Color expert Maria Killam, for one, wrote on her blog Colour Me Happy that she thought it would be blue.

Washington designer Sally Steponkus also didn’t expect emerald green, as the color is more sophisticated than last year’s fresh, young Tangerine Tango, but she was pleased nonetheless. “Green is happy and fresh and clean and classic,” Steponkus says. “I think it opens a space up.”

In previous years, green might have been used as an accent color only, Eiseman says, but today, homeowners and designers are getting bolder, and might paint an entryway or a niche wall green.

For those of us who might want to try it out before committing to something as bold as a lacquered-green dining room, some suggestions for furniture and accent pieces that will make your other furnishings green with envy:

• For the daring among us, an emerald sofa is the ticket to this year’s color trend. Room & Board’s new Murphy Sofa comes in a rich green (they call it “Vance”) which makes its Art Deco-inspired curves seem especially elegant. $1,300 at

• Green connotes “balance and harmony and clarity,” Eiseman says. An eight-drawer green dresser could be just the thing to bring order to a kid’s room. $1,400,

• If you already have some green in a room, don’t be afraid to keep it and add emerald. “Different shades of the same color are more complementary than we think,” Steponkus says. A green ceramic stool ($89.99 at and citron accents, for example, would make a good pairing.

• Thank goodness for throw pillows, which allow homeowners and designers to switch out trends with the season. Jonathan Adler’s green, wool zebra pillow is an easy way to make an instant update. $115 at

• In a neutral room, a bold tea kettle or Dutch oven such as Lodge Manufacturing’s Enamel Dutch oven can declare a kitchen on trend. $79.95,

• For a subtle touch, try new glass dresser knobs in melon. $6,

• Dishware has always been a way to capture trends. Zara Home’s Cora Tumbler is a retro throwback to the ’30s, both in its green color and in its knobby milk glass texture. $4.90 at