Whether it’s used as a bright accent or muted neutral, expect the color green to sprout up in interiors this year. Here are tips on how to work with the versatile hue

Green is the new black. Pantone named emerald green as its 2013 color of the year, and Sherwin-Williams touts aloe as its color of the year. Whether it’s bold, striking emerald or fresh, misty aloe, green in all shades is the color of the moment in interiors.

Today you can’t go anywhere without seeing green — literally. Green is absolutely everywhere. So let’s explore this beautiful color and how it can work in your space.


The color green symbolizes nature. It’s considered the most restful color, combining the cheerfulness of yellow and the freshness of blue. It can represent anything from tranquility to prosperity and of course, even jealousy. When it comes to decorating, it’s often used to calm and center and can be used in just about any room. But as Pantone is predicting, green can be used to invigorate as well.

When I was recently at Las Vegas Market, green was featured in lots of showrooms and vignettes. A look that I really love is layers of green with white and natural wood. From vibrant watercress to bright green apple, layering your greens with the freshness and contrast of white creates a space that is current and refreshing.

Natural wood introduces and reinforces the healing element in a room, and also makes it feel very up to date. In a space like this I would limit blacks and harsh tones, and opt for accents of white, glass and natural wood.

Another style I love is the opposite of what I just mentioned — intense greens paired with whites and blacks and pops of a secondary accent color like yellow. This is a really fresh look that also feels strong and modern.

Lighter greens can be used as neutral colors. A watered-down, muted green could easily take the place of a beige. If this is what you’re going for, you can use it on all four walls and it would not only not be too strong, it would be more understated than throwing color on one accent wall.


For a peaceful, relaxing setting in either a home or office, you could incorporate your brown pieces of furniture with white trim and some deeper layers of green.

I love using blazing apple green as an accent color because it’s fun and lively. It evokes a lot of energy and can make a kitchen instantly fresh. Be sure to have some green apples around to tie in with this color!

Finally, in decorating, you can also go green with mosses, succulents, other live plants or fresh flowers in vases. I always love displaying a single cut leaf in a vase with water to add a breath of life and color to any table. The side benefit? The leaves I’ve done this with usually end up sprouting roots and becoming a lasting pop of freshness. Now that’s really going green!”

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. She recently opened reStyle Hawaii, an affordable, style-conscious consignment warehouse with upholstering and repurposing services at 420 Keawe St. To find out more, go to www.cathyleestyle.com.