Are you a Victim of your Clients Design Ideas? (For Designers Only)

via House Beautiful (love the perfect boxwood and painted brick) When you’re a new designer, it’s hard to have the answer for every single question. You simply have not seen or experienced every problem yet and EVERY house is different. As a brand new decorator, schlepping my large paint samples from house to house doing colour consultations for Benjamin Moore, my clients asked me ALL KINDS of questions about renovating and decorating ... Continue Reading

Contrasting Kitchen Island: Get YOUR Colour Right

Recently I was consulting with a couple on their new build. They told me they were definitely installing a white kitchen but they wanted a different colour on the island. This is the inspiration picture they showed me: Robert Elliot Homes When I asked what colours they were decorating with in their adjoining great room, they showed me a photo of their existing sofa which was a gold beige colour. Now if they plan on introducing this ... Continue Reading

Are you a Force of Personality?

  TALENT gets you noticed, MAYBE and looks, sure, for a moment. But the only thing that gets you a seat at the table in this town, is FORCE OF PERSONALITY I’m talking about complete and utter confidence in WHO YOU ARE. When you have that, people are drawn to you–they don’t know why–but suddenly they NEED you. And they will turn their lives inside out, to BE with you. But you have to ... Continue Reading

How to Beautifully Update your Persian (Oriental) Rug

Often when I see a Persian or oriental area rug, I think DATED. In fact, I have an Ask Maria post about this very subject where I simply told my reader “This rug will NEVER be amazing”. Well, as I have said many times in this blog (often in the comments) I’m willing to be wrong. Last fall when I held one of my Specify Colour with Confidence workshops in DC, Erika Ward from ... Continue Reading

How to Disappear a White Mistake on Cabinets: Before & After

Styling and photos by Maria Killam Recently my good friend Jan Romanuk told me she’d finished a renovation in downtown Vancouver and asked if I’d like to photograph it for the blog. Since I can never get enough white kitchens on the blog, I happily said yes. Jan’s client had ordered new white cabinets for her kitchen and was dismayed when they were installed and she saw that the white she had selected actually had ... Continue Reading

5 Insider Secrets No One Tells you About Social Media Marketing

Photo by Angie Wolfe Photography Many of you know the story of how I began this blog but I’ll do a recap for this post. I had been reading blogs for about 6 months before I started writing Colour Me Happy over 8 years ago. Business was slow for me at the time and I was tired of the ups and downs of being a self-employed designer. You know what it’s ... Continue Reading

3 Best Ways to Choose a Fresh Paint Colour for your Tuscan House

For a few years now, Terreeia has been talking about renting a place in Palm Springs for the month of January. We live out in the country to be close to my family.  Approximately one hour East of downtown Vancouver. We’re also here because we could buy a house. That’s very hard to do with the housing market in the city. Because we live so close to my Sisters and my Mom, ... Continue Reading

Never Pick a Neutral Without Large Colour Boards: Pssst! They Do it For You!

Every time I hold one of my 3 day colour workshops we take some time in the afternoon on Day 1 and analyze the paint colours in the meeting room we are in and discuss whether the existing colours work or not (they rarely do). We do this so that my new True Colour Experts can see how to work with my large paint samples. The other very important reason ... Continue Reading

Trend Alert: Paint Your Walls and Trim White (or Cream)

Tricia and I have been noticing a trend with trim colours lately in our e-Design consultations. And that is if you have an earthier palette in your house either because you prefer cream over white or you have a Tuscan palette from that trend, AND you are craving a fresher look and feel, it’s hard to do without painting all your trim out white. Because the traditional way of creating contrast between ... Continue Reading

Trendy or Classic? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

Photo by Maria Killam at Maison & Objet When I wrote my trend report from Maison & Objet last week, truthfully, I was kind of depressed that all evidence points towards black as the next trendy neutral after grey. In this case, I hope I’m wrong. It seems that in my 20 year colour career I’ve now seen trend colours go full circle around the wheel.   Understanding Undertones – The Colour ... Continue Reading

How to Fix your White Room (If it Turned Green) Before & After

All summer (okay maybe more than just the summer) Tricia (my Virtual Design Assistant) has been obsessing about her living room and how the green from outside turns her lovely shade of cream, green. She’s sampled a bunch of colours but really she just wants the room to be cream and not green. So I said “Paint it and we’ll post it on the blog, this is a common problem right now ... Continue Reading

Introducing the Understanding Undertones® Colour Wheel

Well, it’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here! My new website is feverishly being designed as we speak and I’m crossing my fingers that we launch by the middle of September. The feedback I received from the first agency I hired to design my new site was “You don’t have a colour wheel that shows your colour system, that’s the first thing you need”. It’s taken a ... Continue Reading

Do you have an Odd Chair in your Habitat? (Well you should)

  I am seriously delayed in posting about Lauren’s book, Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating, she said her publisher sent me one last year but I never received it. So I stopped waiting and bought it myself last weekend. I’ve known Lauren as long as I’ve been writing this blog because we started our blogs around the same time, almost 8 years ago. Lauren and her husband Dave made the ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Do the Undertones in Dark Colours Need to Match?

This latest Ask Maria question is a really good one and here it is: “Hi Maria, After purchasing your How to Choose Paint Colours It’s all in the Undertones book I sort of live in this undertones world now and have a question: Yellow beige sofa paired with yellow beige/cream walls Image via How to Decorate Why do undertones have to match when combining neutrals (ie. example in the book: yellow ... Continue Reading

The Best Way to Display your Keurig or Nespresso Coffee Pods (A Styling Tip)

via Pinterest Since it seems like EVERYONE has a pod coffee machine because it’s the latest and greatest convenience, I thought I’d show you how I styled them last week AFTER a photo shoot. Not to be confused with the image I created for Pinterest and Instagram 😉 😉 First, here is what my clients butlers pantry looked like before it was styled for the shoot: This pantry was designed by my friend Jan Romanuk and built ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Is my Fireplace too Earthy for a White Kitchen?

Rue Magazine Okay so a while ago when I changed the ‘Ask Maria’ questions to ‘Send me your what’s bothering me’, questions, ya’ll pretty much stopped sending them, so obviously that wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever come up with. So please keep sending them to me here. And by the way, when you do, remember to include an image (and clean up the room puleese), it has very little chance ... Continue Reading