I’m currently experimenting with making the switch from vim to emacs + evil mode, and ran into a problem where the solarized-light/dark themes look like garbage in urxvt on Arch linux. I have my urxvt configured for solarized-light in my Xresources, and it looks fine in vim. Apparently to get things to work right in terminal emacs you need to set your TERM to xterm:
TERM=xterm-256color emacs -nw
Or just export it in your .bashrc or .zshrc:
Oh, and also, the colors are inverted, so if you want solarized-light, you need to set your theme to solarized-dark. I don’t know why.
I found this info here: https://github.com/sellout/emacs-color-theme-solarized/issues/62