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There is no better way to share my best decorating tricks than to show you how easy it is to transform a space with what’s already there.

Even if you’re working with pieces that might not be your favourite, you can mix a little resourceful creativity along with tried and true styling tips. And I promise, your room will come to life!

Today I’m sharing 13 easy styling ideas that you can use right now – without buying anything new!

the sunflower suite

Another suite makeover

This week, we’re back with another makeover at Wilma’s Transition House for Women & Children. This is the fourth suite I have decorated. As part of this project, I also contributed all the lamps, art and other decor pieces to make each suite feel just like home!

Also, a shout out to my friend Gail (below) and her husband Casey (you might know them from this) who were the project managers. They took on the the huge and overwhelming task of turning this run down place into a shiny new penny.

Along with members of the Rotary Club, who painted all the suites, Gail and Casey worked tirelessly and without a day off for a month to get this place ready for moms and their children! 💛

How to decorate with what you have

The colour scheme for this suite started with the donated brown loveseat (below) and a taupe sofa.  

the sunflower suite before

Mixing in a happy (and free) find!

One Saturday I drove by a warehouse with tables laid out like a garage sale with a free sign. So I stopped by and discovered that this 8 foot, larger-than-life sunflower, so I snapped it up immediately!

Just in case you all think the only art I ever use is from homesense 😏 In this suite we have a mix of original and vintage art!

sunflower mural

What made this piece of art perfect was the middle brown colour of the flower. Adding this art to the wall helped repeat the colour of the brown loveseat.

Repeating colour is a key element of my Colour Balancing Method™ that I teach in my homeowner workshop and designer colour training

The poppy painting on the floor (below) was also picked up from the same spot! 

Want to learn more about the Colour Balancing Method™ and how to make decisions for all your home projects? There are 5 spots left for next week’s Create your Dream Home workshop. Grab your spot here!

Properly installed curtains and drapes have transformative power!

You’ll also notice that the curtain rod has been moved to the right location for installing curtains! I don’t think I can repeat this lesson enough, it’s such a common mistake that people make. See what I mean here

This room also has my favourite trick to making a dark corner feel like a window… Install a vertical lamp (see below).

sunflower suite progress

Did the yellow octopus couple stay in this room? Well you’ll have to watch the video to find out 🙂

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13 Easy Ideas for Styling (you can use right now)

Check out this week’s episode of Colour Rescue here:

I would love your feedback!

Would you help me with an informal poll? 

When we first started this series, we interviewed the homeowners (in this case the first two episodes included interviews with Wilma’s staff) but now I wonder if that’s less important? Do you like that I’m simply walking through the makeover, talking about why I made the choices that I made? Or, do you miss getting to know the homeowners?

I’d love your feedback below. 🙏 Do you love the interviews? Or are you more interested in simply getting the breakdown of what I did in the room?

If you live in the lower mainland and have a room that needs a one day makeover you can apply here.



Related posts:

Colour Rescue Passion Project: Before & After

Passion Project Part 2: Before & After

Colour Rescue: Simple Fixes for your Dated Bathroom

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  • Connie says:

    Have you ever considered showing the results not in a video? Where I live, internet is slow and videos don’t load, but I would like to see the final results.
    Thank you!

    • Lauren says:

      Yes, I’m not sure much is gained in the video format, honestly. I enjoy looking at the photos and having the time to absorb the decor. And I’m here for your expertise, Maria, not really interested in meeting the homeowners, honestly. Thank you!

  • Jen says:

    By showing the homeowners, even just a brief needs/lifestyle blurb, you humanize the “why” behind the design in their own words. Choices are made because of preference and personality not just principles of design. Bring on the people!

  • Laura says:

    Hi Maria, You are such a blessing to Wilma’s Transition Home! Every makeover is so thoughtful. I love seeing the “why” behind your choices.
    I like “meeting” your homeowners when you work with your clients, but really enjoy learning the reasons behind your choices when you do the videos.
    The top photo in this blog post has a long oval or pill-shaped mirror to brighten up that narrow wall. Can you say where you purchased it? It’s perfect for a small space in my home as well! The comment in the video about the cream edged curtains was funny! I do have your ebook on whites!

  • Fran W. says:

    Beautiful job! And what a wonderful gift for these women and children! I’m always more interested in the decorating aspects of your projects although owner/resident interviews are fun too. I love your tip about hanging curtains!

  • Marcia says:

    Great job making the suite feel super homey and welcoming! I love the tip about covering the coffee table ottoman with a coordinating throw if it doesn’t match the rest of the decor.

  • KG says:

    I don’t mind meeting homeowners and briefly hearing their stories but please not too much. I watch to see your process and results. For me less than 10% of homeowner face time is ideal. More than that no. Don’t “HGTV” your channel!

    What I love is that you can design well with both large and very small budgets. It’s as if you see the whole space as your canvas and as an
    artist you can create something of beauty with the materials at hand.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes you get me 🙂 That’s my favourite thing! Doesn’t matter what people have I love the challenge of making it look good! x Maria

  • Christine says:

    I learn so much from these videos on styling because it’s not my strong point. I also appreciate how you use what’s available and make it work, because I’ve never felt good about replacing decor simply because it’s not in the trendy finish or color. BTW, what color is on the walls in this unit? It looks so calming and goes with every decor. Thanks!

  • June from Oregon says:

    Ummmm, What happened to the yellow octopus couple that you mentioned, saying to watch the video to see if you kept them. Did I miss that? Also, I LIKED the gold drapes in the living room as they related nicely to the gold in the sunflower. Great job! Now,,,,about those octopuses (octopi??)

    • Maria Killam says:

      Haha inquiring minds want to know 🙂 well they ended up in a kids room in another suite not in the living room!

  • I love the idea of repeating colors to bring a room together. We inherited 2 multi color green mid century lamps, some new smaller shades and throw pillows with the different shades of green and now they go with the room. I do this a lot when staging a home and the homeowner has colors on walls that they do not want to repaint. Bringing in art and accessories to spread the color around helps. I love these videos and tips, thank you Maria.

  • Ronnie says:

    I love just hearing design choices. And why.
    Not interested in interviews with owners

  • SB says:

    I much just prefer before and after with your thoughts as to WHY, and also prefer photos and sources over video. Thanks for asking!

  • Maisy says:

    I like videos both with the homeowners and without. As mentioned above, a quick interview with them is fine. I enjoy seeing them in the “deer-in-the headlights” stage when Maria starts putting stuff all over the place. Then afterwards you can see the relief they feel when the space turns out great.

    I do watch for process and results, but once in a while an interview with the homeowners adds a relatable touch. Their “before” rooms look familiar!

    I guess it doesn’t matter. I enjoy all the videos! This is my treat to myself on Fridays — taking 15 minutes to read the latest post.

  • angela says:

    so awesome love the idea of helping the community fab and on a budget so very realistic – something lots of us can do
    i dont really want to get to know the people myself as i love the walk thru and why you choose what you choose that is why i follow you

    stay in your lane type thing – but thank you for all you do

    and i know have lamps everywhere LOL even on my kitchen counter 🙂

  • Tracy J. Back says:

    I love watching you walk through and talk about the design choices you made, any dilemmas you had, creative solutions etc. I find that content to have more value than the client interview portion. I also love seeing the behind-the-scenes, work-in-progress videos/photos too! Don’t forget shopping! Starting with the artwork and pulling from there. How you pull the color scheme and theme together is fascinating!! Thanks so much for these videos! They’re very powerful. You’ve given these families a wonderful gift! xo

  • Karen says:

    I am not interested in owner interviews, I am interested in the decorating ideas and showing the befores and afters.

  • Sheree L says:

    I’m more interested in the decorating process and showing the before and after pics. However, if the homeowner has an interesting or unique story, I certainly would mind a short interview segment (or even just a few comments) with them. It is fun to see and hear their reactions to the “after”! Love your content, Maria!

  • ines zagoudakis says:

    I also am not interested in the interviewing segment. Mostly before and after and am happy with photos that I can focus on the changes. thanks.

  • Chantal says:

    I am not a fan of these video .. much preferred reading the blog. I’m over it peace out Maria.

  • Valerie says:

    I’m a fan of these embedded videos because the camera pans around the room instead of static pictures of one wall or section at a time. I used to click back and forth, thinking, “Wait, what’s on the other side of that?” I mostly love your clear explanations of why you chose something and the before and afters, but I also enjoy the human interest of meeting the homeowners. To me, the videos in the blog are a win-win!

  • Jennifer says:

    I would prefer only sketch background info on the homeowners, perhaps a bit more if their situation is unique or heavily influences the design choices. Otherwise most homeowner interviews are very similar….”We don’t know where to start!….My spouse doesn’t like this or that. …..,Wow, our house looks great. We should’ve done this ages ago.” The value add is in Maria’s design process, the whys and of course the before and afters.

    I also miss the blog posts with only photos and a narrative. They allow the reader to absorb the material and test their skills along the way (when Maria would ask what is wrong with a space or what undertone a reader sees etc). It all unfolds at the readers pace.

    However the videos offer a 360 degree view of the spaces and more detail than can be provided in static photos. Some combination of the two methods would be perfect!

    Also would love to see more projects that aren’t completed in 48 hours with a trip to Home Sense. Don’t get me wrong, those transformations are incredible. I love the big box home stores as much or more than anyone. However, I would also like to see designs with some custom elements and a high / low mix. Spaces that are redesigned with some of the homeowners existing pieces and some new. We do see approach this with pasts on Maria’s home, but would love to see more of this from client homes.

    • Sheree L says:

      I love this response, as it echoes my sentiments. Thank you, Jennifer, for your clear explanation :]

    • Maria Killam says:

      Thanks for your comment. Since my business is mostly education, I don’t offer full service design anymore and the eDesign portion of my business gives people a DIY plan. Therefore, when they send me after photos, it’s often hard to post them because I have not styled the project. When I post undecorated or unstyled projects, people judge based on what they see in the photo which is why if you’re following me, what you’ll learn with these colour rescues is how to take your expensive house, if that’s what you have, and style it up. Styling is what’s missing in most expensively decorated homes anyway so this is a gift that will keep on giving for everyone’s home no matter what your budget is. Maria

  • Janet Tuneberg says:

    The home owner’s interviews are not as important as your “this is what I did and why”. Keep beating the drum about curtain placement!

  • Cynthia says:

    I consider myself a Maria groupie😂 So I prefer her explaining the why and how’s of what she has done to an interview with the homeowner. Some interviews are fine but keep Maria the STAR! 😀

  • Angela says:

    Loved the off center focal point in the master bedroom! Beautiful

  • Janelle says:

    Hi Maria,

    I am here mostly for your design process and before and after. As others have said, a small bit about the homeowner is OK insomuch as it impacts the design decisions. With the Wilma House interview, I watched about 2 minutes and then skipped ahead. So not too much of that.

    Another great transformation and I love that it’s for families in transition.

  • Diane says:

    As others have already said – a very minimal introduction to the homeowners is interesting and possibly pertinent, but I’d prefer the vast majority of the content to be your explanation of your choices, and educational information. Video does have some benefits, the 360 degree views, but for the most part I prefer the blog/website over the videos.

  • Dana says:

    Hey Maria!
    You are such a star. The videos you make just get better and better. A brief interview only, is all that’s needed with the homeowners. Ok to skip. Personally, I’m more interested in simply getting the breakdown of what you did in the room. Love that you shop free stuff at the curb. I am running right out to get some of the IKEA Dogwood stems. Cheers!

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