Emerald is color king for March and 2013

The richness of emerald can turn a bedroom

The richness of emerald can turn a bedroom positively regal, as it did at the 2011 Chestnut Manor show house in Upper Brookville, designed by Port Washington designer Keith Baltimore. (Credit: Keith Scott Morton)

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Although there's still a chill in the air, March is the month when everyone's thoughts turn to green. Whether it's that first pop of color coming out of the ground or bright, cheerful St. Patrick's Day decorations, green reminds us that spring is on its way.

This year, the color is getting even more attention, because Pantone has picked emerald as its color of the year for 2013.

"We felt strongly about green to begin with," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explaining why the shade was chosen. "Today, to be called a green industry is a good thing, and the connection of green with sustainability makes people hopeful," she says.

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But the particular shade of emerald was a more nuanced decision. "We know that the citrus greens have already been in play, so it was time for something fresh and new," says Eiseman. "Emerald is such a beautiful color. It's a very balanced green with some warmth and some coolness in it."

Interior designers turn to this hue to add unexpected elegance to a room. "I like using emerald green as an accent, because it's striking and works well with neutral colors," says Jolie Korek, founder and director of Interiors Company in Scarsdale; she has clients on Long Island. "Emerald green is an elegant royal color that has a wonderful history. It brings up thoughts of old aristocracy and royalty."

Naturally, nonprofessionals might find it difficult to incorporate such a bold shade into a home. But emerald doesn't have to be overwhelming. "In a large room, you can keep emerald green as an accessory, like with throw pillows and lamps," says Annemarie DiSalvo, co-founder of DiSalvo Interiors in Carle Place.

You can make even less of a commitment. "I'm not afraid of color, but you can make it removable," says Keith Baltimore, owner of Baltimore Design Group in Port Washington. "If emerald doesn't work for you in five years, instead of redoing a whole room, you just change a pillow." He also recommends using the shade with similar shades to bring out its richness. "You can layer emerald with purple or other jewel tones," he says. "It doesn't have to be all about emerald."

That said, if you've fallen in love with the color, there are ways to make that work, too. "I love emerald for a small room, like a powder room," says DiSalvo. "As long as you have a good light fixture in the room, you can make the color deep and dark. And I'd use a high-gloss paint, so the room looks like a glittering jewel box."

But whether you choose to use a little or a lot, Eiseman encourages homeowners to see this trend as an inspiration rather than a mandate. "I think that people who really are interested in color may be more likely to pick up something emerald now. It's a suggestion that lodges in people's minds. It can freshen up what you have from before that you still like."

Because what is spring about, if not freshening up those cold winter corners? Here are more ideas about how to bring this lush and lively tone into your home.

All about paint

Pantone's official Emerald Green (PANTONE 17-5641) isn't currently available in the United States in paint form, but that hasn't stopped paint companies from coming up with their own interpretations. Below, four richly pigmented options to choose from.

* Sherwin-Williams Emerald Interior Paint in Argyle (SW 6747), $60.99 a gallon: The exterior version of this paint was used to refurbish the 90-year-old Hollywood sign last fall, so it's sure to keep your walls looking fresh for years to come. Available at the Sherwin-Williams Paint Store, Huntington-Long Island, 1985 New York Ave., Huntington Station, 631-424-4520.

* Benjamin Moore Aura Paint in Ming Jade (2043-20), $67.99 a gallon: This paint is not only green-colored but eco-friendly green as well. The low-VOC formula keeps harmful fumes to a minimum. Available at Aboff's Paints & Wallcoverings, 980 Merrick Rd., Baldwin, 516-223-6045, as well as other Aboff's locations in Plainview, Huntington Station, Babylon, Syosset, Hicksville, Commack and Northport.

* Valspar Signature Interior Paint in Tropical Rainforest (6002-10C), $33 a gallon: If you're not sure about the color, worry not. Now through Oct. 7, if you buy this (or any) Valspar Signature Interior Paint at Lowe's, paint your room and decide you don't like it, Valspar will replace the color for free. Available at Lowe's.

* Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior in Festive Green (S-G-470), $31.98-$34.98 a gallon: While this particular shade is the one Behr is marketing as its answer to Pantone's Emerald Green shade, homeowners looking for something more specific can use Behr's free ColorSmart by BEHR mobile app to get any emerald hue they're looking for.

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