Anita’s Pink Beige & Yellow Living Room: Before & After



Since my sister Anita renovated her kitchen almost four years ago and opened up her kitchen to her living room she has schlepped home approximately 11 area rugs.

“Maria, the one I have is a $200 placeholder from Costco and I even broke the cardinal rule and got the pink beige one because I didn’t know what else to do!” She wailed.

“There’s nothing wrong with that, It goes with blue. But it’s a shag. That style of rug looks the best with a modern sofa because it softens the square lines. In your traditional living room, it definitely looks wrong, especially because your walls are yellow beige. Now you have a blue sofa and a beige rug and no yellow yet?  And, can we paint them, by the way? They are so muted, it’s hard to shop off-the-shelf because the colour trends are clean, bright and fresh.”

“NO! I love the yellow walls you chose for me!”

“I know but that was four years ago, before I really understood grey and how great of a backdrop it is for bright colours! Either that or your yellow walls should be brighter”

“No, I’m not painting them, she said.”

Anita's Living Room Before


I asked her why she has two two cream leather chairs that are not an exact match? Also the other 70’s chairs I bought from a garage sale when I was 21 that she has had ever since I upgraded from them many years ago. “The fabric does not go with your drapes at all? And the cushions are so flat? What happened there? You should have ordered them wrapped so they have a crown just like your sofa cushions?” I said.

Anita said, “If you look close, you can see the blue in the stripe, I gave the upholster the old cushions and told him to make them the same and he didn’t And the cream chairs are placeholders until I can figure out what to do for the real ones.”

So I decided it was time for a decorating intervention. The only thing that really worked about the room was the drapery, navy sofa (chosen by me) and the art above the console that Anita chose.

This (above) was what her living room looked like at 2:30 pm yesterday.

Entry view


This is what it looked like (above) at 10:30 pm that same evening. This photo is the closest representation of what the colour actually looks like. It’s BM 240/CC-230 Delaware Putty.

I was even able to tuck the 70’s chairs further away from the drapery fabric as well as turn them from being the first thing you saw (the focal point) when you walked into the room, to some extra seating that you can pull up in a pinch. And the yellow pillows with the brown buttons are a perfect match to the wall colour.

Anita's Living room Before Before

Anita's Living Room After



We found almost everything at HomeSense and a few items at Target, across the street. (Target has only just arrived in Canada a few months ago).

So, approximately $2,500 later. I was magically able to work with her pink beige shag!

Her husband Aaron is an Accountant and they have a good habit of budgeting and writing down everything they spend. When we got home, she told him right away “It’s better this way, like ripping off a bandaid–do it fast!” she laughed.

I don’t think anyone would want the old feeling of the room back! Aaron said the coffee table is his favourite and he loves the nautical feel of the room.

Mantle AfterWhen we arrived at HomeSense, we started with the art we found first that was the perfect watery complement to the piece located above the console Anita purchased a few months ago.

Choosing Pillows

When we got to the back of the store where the cushions are, I plopped down a small rug on the floor that happened to be nearby that was pink beige (the same colour as her shag back home).

You can see her navy blue sofa cushion in the back along with a small piece of her drapery fabric (which I chose for her in the renovation) and the ‘not-so-fabulous’ new striped chair fabric.

Coffee Table

So, we broke the yellow and pink beige rule. Here’s why it works:

1. The coffee table is blue. It visually pulls the blue over to the middle of the room which makes up for the fact that the carpet is a solid. The coffee table is a great, unique find that saves the room from looking like it all came from one store.

2. The two large pillows in pink beige, brown and blue, pull in the carpet and the accent in the room. Coordinating off-the-shelf cushions without one fabric to tie everything together is a challenge but we did it, hooray!

3.  Pink beige is like burlap, so take advantage of those textures and repeat them in the room. Like the Ralph Lauren basket weave lamps on either side of the sofa, and the funky, mis-matched natural and cream coloured candle holders on the mantle. Then I repeated the brown on the coffee table in the tray.

And, of course there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with pink-beige, it’s when it’s chosen without any consideration to how limiting it is with so many other colours that it’s just plain BAD.

Cream Chairs

You almost can’t tell that her two kid-friendly faux leather chairs are not exactly the same.

When I plucked the vase of faux roses off the shelf in the store, that’s when Anita said “But I buy fresh flowers?!”

Yes, but do you reliably have them in your living room every week?


Well then, a tablescape is kind of dead without them.

x bench

It’s so easy to source anything when you Understand Undertones™. See the pink beige X bench? A great score because it even has storage. Here you can get a glimpse of the island in her white kitchen (the island is only brown facing the living/dining room) which–when the room was opened up to the living room during the renovation–created a seating challenge here. Anything that stuck out into the room was in the way of traffic towards the dining room.

Basket for magazines

I tucked a low basket for magazines beside the sofa underneath the funky, distressed end table.

Anita's Living Room

Photos & Interior Design by Maria Killam

And here’s the best picture. Hey, I’m getting better, I could never have taken this shot without my photography course this winter.

Don’t forget, you need lots of cream with pink beige too. That’s how you keep it fresh instead of dull and earthy.

Have a great week everyone! xo Maria

Related posts:

How I Created my System of Understanding Undertones

Why Pink Beige Should be Banished Forever

What Everyone Should know About Beige

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in the door, become a client. On-line or In-person.

To get your exterior colours right, download my How to Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence webinar and get my go-to list of colours.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want and to make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

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leave aREPLY

  1. Don’t like on the stuff on the fireplace wall or mantel. Art works well on it’s own, less is more.


  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Maria you are equally as good with styling, as you are with paint colours! Truly brilliant!
    I second the vote again, for a styling e-book, I’d buy it!!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful “before and after” with us, Maria! I love how you are both realistic with design budgets and try to work with what a “client” already has AND are able to “walk us through” your thinking and reasons for doing things–I think that is what makes your design blog so much more interesting and relevant to me than most of the other design blogs! I am learning so much. I agree with BethB–you should write another book on decorating, staging, accessorizing, etc.!!!

    • Perhaps that is so — some folks reading here have obviously already had that “course” yet others are coming to this blog to continue to learn and be challenged.

      The point Phyllis and others are making — one I agree with — is that Maria shares her thought process behind the choices made (e.g. why X works but Y doesn’t). I’m a very analytical person so her way of describing projects stands out to me from other blogs that don’t share such details. And yes, it’s possible to be both creative and analytical!

  4. Maria, one of your best posts ever! I too love Home Goods for art…the Coffee Table is a huge improvement over the dated -too small oval. I have the same style coffee table (ugh) and have been searching for several yrs for an affordable, simple, parsons style or glass topped w no luck yet. Love the art and the pillows of course. I am a pillow fiend. I make my own and buy at pier1, pottery barn or home goods……would love to see a simple large scale navy/ cream rug though. That would be the cherry on top. Betsy O

  5. The colors you have chosen tie the room together brilliantly. I think that the uplight in the corner might be a better solution for lighting the dead corner and I think that the art above the mantle is too small for the scale. Maybe a beefy frame could be added to the artwork?

  6. It’s all brilliant. You sister must be so happy.

    One quibble – the floor lamp in the corner next to the fireplace is distracting my eyes. I think it’s taking strength away from the table lamp in front of it.

  7. AND, “Home Sense” ROCKS (we have “Home Goods”) with such fantastic “reasonable” selections! Nice work!! franki

  8. Connie Nikiforoff Designs

    I REALLY love the makeover! Everything looks so fresh and new and updated yet still has a style they both love. For me the deal changer was the coffee table because it added so much needed ‘heft’ to the design.

    Now my own thought about mixing beiges: We live on one side of the Missouri River. We used to live on the other. When we moved a couple years ago, there was no snow at that time in the winter. So the numerous trips on the bridge gave me many opportunities to see a myriad of natural neutrals…all displayed by God himself with His wonderful paintbrush!

    And ya know what I learned? I learned that pinky beige/yellowy beige/greenish beige CAN all work together! If figured if God can put the colors together and they look fantastic,we can do it too 😉

    But there’s a secret I learned. If you repeat the varying undertones of beiges in a space, it will work. Example: If you have only one pink beige and all the rest is say yellow beige, you’ll definitely see something “off”.

    So that has saved many a client who cannot repaint or cannot purchase a new sofa. We find other neutrals in the ‘offending’ beige and add more of them in. Voila! Success…although I’ve got a long way to go to get it good as God does :-

  9. Love what you did here! Gives me hope for my pink beige walls. Question: we have pink beige walls that can’t easily be repainted (BM bradstreet beige). I have done the two adjoining rooms in SW blonde (yellowish) and SW silvermist (blueish). We are doing a kitchen remodel with white cabinets. Any whites that do go well with pink beige? Hoping for a whiter white, not too creamy/ivory. Thank you!

  10. Maria,

    This is a great post… thank you so much!! I can’t stop thinking about those beautiful light blue Moroccan curtains. Can someone tell me where to find the fabric?