Ask Maria: Help! I Just Had My First REAL Colour Consultation

I recently received this question from a new colour consultant: “Maria, I need some advice, this encounter was a doozy: I had previewed the house with my realtor friend before the buyer closed, so I already was familiar with the ‘boss’ of the living room — a rock fireplace with a mostly gold undertone. And, because of some other factors in the connecting dining room, I was prepared to offer a solution of Seashell (BM-OC 120) to ... Continue Reading

How Black is your House?

Remember how much black there was in home decor in the 80’s? Entertainment centers, dining tables and chairs, black leather sofas and black shiny coffee tables. It was too much. Now that black is here again along with greys and whites, it’s a good idea to notice that black should be an accent. Used well, it highlights what’s around it, too much and it becomes heavy and masculine.  {via pinterest} ... Continue Reading

How to Coordinate Coffee & Accent Tables like a Designer

Ever noticed that designers usually don’t buy matching sets of three coffee tables? One of the comments I heard a lot when we toured showrooms at High Point at Market (by the salesperson giving us the tour) last Fall was “This is all too much together of course, but individually, just fabulous”.  {Pottery Barn Coffee table Cube and End Table} The worst is when the big box ‘Get a free TV with ... Continue Reading

3 Ways to Use Fresh to Sell Design

  Hi everyone, I want to share a little tip about what your clients are really looking for (even though they might not even know it yet). Occasionally I receive comments or emails like this: “We aren’t ALL interested in introducing fresh into our homes, Maria!” “Please don’t exclude those of us who still prefer warm, earthy colours.”  “Puh-leese, write some posts on what to do with all the orangey/yellow wood trim ... Continue Reading

How to Choose Paint Colours that Work with Your Lighting

I recently received this question from Shelley, asking how useful it would be to custom mix a paint colour to get it right with the light in her home. “I’ve recently used BM Manchester Tan in a pantry that has a large fluorescent light fixture, and it looks lovely — right at the happy intersection of warm and cool. But in our front entry and hallway (which are criminally devoid of any shred of ... Continue Reading

Maria’s Favourite Trends from Fall 2014 High Point Market

I love attending High Point Market each season, now that I’ve decided that’s where you’ll find me every Spring and Fall even though it takes me an entire day to get all the way to the Southeast from the Northwest. From left to right {Maria Killam, Kara Cox, Lisa Mende, Traci Zeller and Chrissi Shields}   I’m actually giving up two other annual conferences I attend each year, because I find ... Continue Reading

Deconstructing Whites for Interiors

{via pinterest} Deconstructing Whites for Interiors is what I’ll be speaking about at this upcoming market at the Lunch and Learn on Sunday, October 19th at the Zaar Design Center in High Point. I will be giving the audience a sneak peek of my upcoming eBook, White is Complicated: A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White. Discover the five essential categories of whites and which one is right for walls, ceilings, cabinets, trim and woodwork. {via pinterest} Never ... Continue Reading

Two Reasons to ALWAYS Keep Learning

In the last year, I have been travelling and spending a lot of time in hotel ballrooms learning how to take my business and website to the next level. Finding the right guru to get you there is not an easy task, let me tell you! I’m always the ONLY colour expert/decorator in a room of around 700 people. However, after a few false starts and stops I am now on ... Continue Reading

How to Make Standard vs. Custom Colour Choices

Have you noticed that you can listen to a salesperson list all the features and benefits of a product all day and all night, but if you don’t know what colour to buy. . . ? You hesitate. You fret. You lose sleep at night. And unless you are in a position where you’re forced to make decisions, like choosing finishes for a new build, you’ll quite often, just walk away ... Continue Reading

Should You Install Gray Wood Floors?

The first day of my Specify Colour with Confidence™ Training is my favourite. It’s when all the participants of my courses have their biggest transformation about understanding colour and undertones. But before they experience this transformation, I set up the entire three days of training with a conversation about magic, about selling the right colour, about selling classic and timeless and about creating a look and a feel. About what they need ... Continue Reading

How NOT to Choose Paint Colours (But Everybody Does It)

  This post is also an “Ask Maria” question. So here it is: “I have painted my family room with BM Clay Beige except the focal fireplace wall which I selected SW Exclusive Plum (6263).  I am happy with those colors.  I personally like colors that make you feel lifted, happy, and free, especially with punch of a nice color(s) here and there.  So, this new trend that is coming ... Continue Reading

Got Inspiration? 10 Steps to Create the Rest of the Room

A reader recently asked me if this piece of art (below) could be used as a jumping off point for a colour scheme in a living/dining/kitchen area. First. This is exactly what y’all should be doing. Most people think: “Once I get the wall colour nailed down, I’ll be able to breathe,” but as I’ve said — numerous times before — doing it that way is backwards. Can it be done? Yes. But you’ll find ... Continue Reading

Renovate with Confidence – Focus on Finishes On Demand Training with Maria Killam

When I was a brand new designer, it scared me to choose tiles. There were so many of them. Thousands of clients and years later, I realized that 80% of tiles, shouldn’t even be in the store. Most of them are bad and ugly, it’s the pretty tile that I want to teach you to see. It’s such a permanent decision! It’s an even bigger decision to suddenly rip out your tiles if you’ve ... Continue Reading

The Best Mattress for Eliminating Back Pain (Get Mine)

Maria’s Master Bedroom We have a new mattress. Every time I wake up at night, I’m immediately present to how comfortable I am. When I think about going to bed in the evening, I look forward to the experience of laying down on our new mattress. After I’ve been gardening all day, this mattress (seriously) heals my back at night. When I talked about our old (3 years!) innerspring mattress in February I was ... Continue Reading

Can you have White Cabinets with Espresso Hardwood Floors?

I was on google recently, and three times in a row, with different searches, this post kept showing up right at the top: How to completely mess up your kitchen remodel: a step-by-step tutorial. This is the kitchen she coveted This DIY blogger named Kelly is a great writer and so entertaining. She generously shared her mistakes so that others could avoid making the same ones. Under ‘Huge Mistake #1″ here is ... Continue Reading

When Colour Theory is Literally Dangerous

Image via Barbara Barry (A pretty combination of green-grays and yellow-beige) When Irene and I were working on my White is Complicated eBook. We got to a section and she said “You need to explain that more thoroughly, people are literalists”. And she’s right. When we’re learning anything, we’re literal. That’s why in every profession and especially design and colour you need to know the rules first before you can break them. ... Continue Reading