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

The Best Way to Choose a Front Door Colour from Palm Springs

How do you choose the colour of your front door? Well if you have a white or cream house (or another pretty neutral shade) without any fixed elements, technically, your options are endless. But are they? The way to create flow from the outside to the inside is to look inside your front door. What are the colours in your entry or your adjoining rooms? That’s where you’ll find your ... Continue Reading

  My favourite part of the decorating process is the kitchen styling part. I love how a vase of flowers, along with some well distributed accent colours, can transform so many interiors into ‘Wow it looks like a magazine’. My sweet freelance writer and editor of both my eBooks Irene Hill, had a main floor that needed some styling magic. Irene and her husband have lived through a very long renovation. As long as I’ve ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Can a Novice Benefit from my Course? Before & After

I often receive emails like this: Hello Maria, I retired a couple of years ago and I have been taking interior design classes at the local community college. I would love to take your color workshop. Do you think this would be beneficial for a novice, Interior Design student? This post covers two questions. What does it look like to get a Room Refresh (after my last post where so ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Is My Living Room Too Beachy?

Jeffrey Bilhuber  When I saw this Ask Maria question, I immediately thought of Jeffrey Bilhuber’s recent spread in House Beautiful Magazine. The answer to your question today lovely reader, is inspired by my favourite decorator. Here’s the question: I recently moved with my husband into our first house!  I have been so excited to make it our own, but I have gotten our living room stuck in a rut!  I ... Continue Reading

How to Successfully Design Around Awkward Structural Elements

Today's guest post is from Claire Jefford, a True Colour Expert and certified interior decorator from Burlington, Ontario. Claire's got an interesting designer solution for those of you dealing with awkward structural elements in your home, like bulkheads in the basement. Want to know what it is? ... Continue Reading

How to Take Charge of Your Bossy Tile

When we walked into our room at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport last May, I declared, “This room was decorated BEFORE the brown trend!” It’s a game I like to play with anyone who will listen everywhere I go. What’s the dead giveaway? The colour of the wood-stained furniture: it was all orange and yellow with no espresso brown in sight. This hotel was built in 1999, so that means this colour scheme ... Continue Reading

4 Ways to Decorate Around Your Charcoal Sofa

Today's post is about decorating with charcoal, really important to know since it's such a popular neutral right now! If you have a charcoal sofa (just like during the brown trend, when most neutral-loving shoppers purchased a brown one) it's time for me to help you bring this colour to life. Why? ... Continue Reading

The Very Best Way to Choose Your Main Neutral

Lynda was moving into this pretty little house in a new subdivision: She needed some help with a new colour scheme and was stuck on wall colours. One on-line consultation with me and she had a plan. Lynda had some existing furniture and artwork she wanted to work with, and she sent me a glimpse of her last house (below). She was not afraid of colour! Lynda’s previous home  This was the ... Continue Reading

My Take on Pantone’s 2015 Colour of the Year: Marsala

My Mom knew the colour of the year before I did. About a week ago, I saw her knitting a scarf, and I said “Mom, that’s such an old, dated colour, are you really going to knit a scarf in that colour?” “Well, I found this yarn and decided it would be fun to make one, she said.” My mother doesn’t even like red. So I’ve decided that if you’re ... Continue Reading

Nova Scotia is Red & White

Today we’ve driven almost entirely around the North side of the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island. These were the muskoka chairs sitting outside the B&B we stayed at in Maitland. I love that so many people have one chair of each colour. This is the main house that was built in 1859. The wood flooring was installed by shipbuilders and is approximately 2″ thick. The house was moved back into ... Continue Reading

Decorating with Red: Before & After

Paula from Salad in a Jar hired me in April for an on-line consultation to help with colours and decorating updates on her house. Two hours later, she had a plan and three months later, here is the fabulous result! This is what she said: “Thank-you again for helping me a few months ago. You gave me a lot of confidence which made the whole project a lot more fun! I’m thrilled with ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: I Can’t Find the Perfect Area Rug

This readers question is such a great example of a lesson we can all learn from because I think we can get a little too used to looking at our own stuff and stop seeing it objectively. The answer here is not an inexpensive fix, but if you want to move forward, start counting colours in your space. Sometimes, there’s just too many and that’s why you can’t find that elusive carpet to pull ... Continue Reading

Exterior Trim: White is Nautical; Yellow is Heritage

Getting your white right on the exterior and interior of your house is critical. For a blue or red house, it’s the difference between your house looking nautical or heritage.   Red with White Trim   Red with Yellow Trim Blue with White Trim Blue with yellow beige trim That’s my tip of the day! Off to enjoy my weekend, have a great one! x Maria Related posts: 5 Best ... Continue Reading

Remember when I told you about the room I designed for Elizabeth’s 40th Birthday present from her husband? Well it’s almost done and her party was this past weekend. So I’m going to show it to you. This is Elizabeth and her husband Bill Jacobs. The guy who understands that a Happy Wife is a Happy Life. My sister was totally radiant last night! I loved her new fabulous navy ... Continue Reading

When to Choose Low over High while Decorating

  We are going with Turquoise + Red My sister Elizabeth is turning 40 in July and for her birthday she wants the family room painted and re-decorated. Her kids are almost four and six, they have not bought any new furniture since they got married and had kids. The living room furniture currently has her husband Bill’s 16 year old black leather sofa, a black leather recliner, a black ... Continue Reading