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

The Magical Art of Closet Organization: Before & After

Okay I know I’m late to the party on reading this book because I’d heard lots about it for months. It wasn’t until I saw my lovely client Lisa in New York this past Spring that my life started getting magical. The book came up in one of our conversations and Lisa said, “I’ve read it so you are welcome to have it”. Amazon The premise of this book is ... Continue Reading

How to be Smart in a World Filled With Dumb Colour Advice

There’s a conversation out in the colour trend world that colour is moving back to browns and warmer grey tones in the realm of mushroom or driftwood, and cocoas and caramels. First, it’s important for you to understand that colour trends move slowly for people who are not in the industry. So that means brown is not coming back anytime soon. I haven’t specified anything remotely close to brown for any of my clients for years. ... Continue Reading

3 Ways to Add More Colour Without Pattern

When I was in New Jersey leading my Specify Colour with Confidence™ event and the second evening at dinner, I was sitting next to a designer who asked me a question about kitchen valances she was designing for a client. She was having trouble finding a fabric that her client liked. I suggested a solid fabric (below) with contrasting tape or a band of fabric, this way you’ll get two colours without a pattern ... Continue Reading

The Four Best Whites for your Open Plan House

I was recently quoted in Cottage White magazine along with other fabulous colour experts and it’s available in the newsstands now. Here’s my quote: “People seem to agonize over whites more than any other color because once you start comparing whites, that’s where the trouble starts,” says decorator Maria Killam, author of the e-books How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones and White Is Complicated: A Decorator’s ... Continue Reading

How to Save Money (While Renovating) With a Second Opinion

Home Bunch Sometimes I think people get fixated on the wrong things when they’re renovating. They spend wildly here, then get stingy there. Even worse, if you’re doing a renovation on your own without the input of a design professional, you’ll swing back and forth even more. For example, you’ll think the more expensive fireplace insert is important, but then forget about the colour. One client showed me a brochure and the insert they were ... Continue Reading

It’s a Charcoal Tile Intervention (Don’t Miss This One)

Pinterest I’m depressed. My Mom is looking for a cottage trailer up in Vernon (as a second home). It’s 5 hours from here, warmer and dryer in the summer and she already spends a lot of time there. This means less time with my Mom here in the country (where I already moved to be close to her) because she’ll be up there more often. Yesterday morning over our 5:30 AM coffee, ... Continue Reading

How to Make Earthy Tile Look Expensive

True Colour Expert Traci Zeller had a budget to manage for the model house she had been hired to decorate and she had to spread it around strategically to get the biggest bang for the buck. This is what a great designer does best and I talk about it all the time in my events. My favourite part of helping my clients choose a look and feel for their new ... Continue Reading

What Lego Can Teach YOU About Using PayPal

Every Monday my nephews Markus and William (above) come to my home for pizza night. A few weeks ago they arrived with a Playmobile flyer that they had just received in the mail. They already have a Playmobil house and advised me ‘Auntie Designer’ that they needed some furniture to go with it. So I said, let’s look for some to buy on-line and have it shipped to your house. ... Continue Reading

Why a Colourful Sofa is as Timeless as Subway Tile

Madcap Cottage Collection My favourite source for designer fabrics in Vancouver is the Robert Allen showroom. When I arrive to select a palette for a client, there’s always someone available who is dedicated to helping me pull it all together and the best part is they usually have ALL the memo samples–in stock–so I can have them immediately. This way I can easily see what’s working, what’s not and if ... Continue Reading