Skip to main content
Advice for DesignersBlogging Advice

Three Ways to Write a Design Blog People will Read

By 10/02/2011February 20th, 201723 Comments

I’ve been percolating on this post for a while so to celebrate the launch of my new website, here is my best advice if you are considering starting a design blog or just need some inspiration for yours:


Be Bossy (but in a charming way)

When I make a declarations on my blog for example “Accent tiles are bad,” or “White Kitchens are the be-all and end-all,” or “Gray only works in the company of colour,” I get comments like, “OMG Maria. you talk like having a White Kitchen is a religion,” for example. And well, it’s true, cause I do.


So here’s the thing, that kind of comment would have annoyed me before my brand manager had this conversation with me when I started video blogging (this was after he came over, chained me to my chair and stood there with the camera until he got a video out of me). He said, “Many people who go on the net are looking for the answer. They have a headache. You have the cure. So the more opinionated you are with your design aesthetic, the better. Readers who think their house is the exception to the rule might take issue with your black and white statements and that’s perfectly fine.

If you love white kitchens and are looking for validation that you should choose a painted cabinet over a stained one, you’ll get that here. If you love the look of an espresso kitchen, you’ll keep surfing. No problem, I’m okay with it. You won’t find a post on the beauty of a wood stained kitchen on this blog because I don’t like them.

Define Your Aesthetic as Fast as You Can

It took several years of being in the industry for me to get a sense of what my aesthetic actually was. And it wasn’t until I wrote this blog for almost an entire year that I even really defined what my look was even though now, looking back it would have been obvious to most people.

Working at the store level at Benjamin Moore for four years doing an average of five consultations per week added up to hundreds. It’s why I pretty much think all accent tiles are bad. Because I’d be in my 847th bathroom or kitchen, see yet another bunch of ugly accent tiles which my client hated because they were dated and bossy and I would think, “Why bother in the first place?”


The reason I know this is because I get emails from you in the middle of the night.

And I have been in way too many million dollar homes which you could not pay me to live in, the tiles are so badly coordinated.

Don’t Try to Please Everyone

If you are a new designer and are not sure what your aesthetic is, blogging is a great way to sort that out for yourself.  Blog only about things you love, post only photos you love, and you will start to see a pattern. When I hit a blog with a bunch of random photos that don’t connect to a thought or an opinion, I keep surfing. If you try too hard not to offend anyone, your blog will die a slow death, just like thousands of others out there.

Dining Room

You know the biggest reason it will die? Because you will stop posting.

How do I know this to be true?

Because blogging is hard. What motivates me to continue posting is that my numbers are always growing which means I have an audience. It’s 4 am right now and I’ve been writing this post since 2:45 am because I’ve been awake since 2 am thinking about it. I can’t wait to write my next post because I get to connect with you, my lovelies!

If my readership was small to non-existant, or worse declining, trust me, I would not be laying awake conjuring up ways to make your house more colourful or fabulous at 4 am. I would instead be in my cozy and beautiful bed in a dreamless sleep 🙂

So next time you start writing, put your ‘bossy hat’ on, your readers will thank you!

Download my eBook, It’s All in the Undertones. If you have a computer, you can download my book!

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.

Related posts:

Seven Hot Blogging Tips from Los Angeles

What Makes a Design Blog Interesting

Maria’s Guide to Starting a Design Blog


1 pin


  • Melanie J says:

    This was such a good post, Ive been blogging for a little over a year now. My readership grew quickly without the assistance of hosting giveaways. I then started a 2nd blog focusing on fashion and styling my family of 7 on a budget. Unfortunately my readers didnt follow over. I have a smaller readership on the 2nd one and I think I have turned off some of my original readers, fellow bloggers. But I put my Boss Hat on everyday and continue to blog away.

    Thanks so much for sharing this…

    Lucky 7 Design
    Mama J and Her Fashionistas

  • Great advice Maria. I want my blog to be successful!! My biggest advice to my kids is to be opinionated…Speak your mind….OK….I guess I should listen to my own advice and yours. I get the best response on my blogs that are sassy and tell a story….and also show that I am human and have faults. Again great advice!!!!!

  • Heidi Nyline says:

    Maria, Your best post ever. Love it. Everything you say is true. FInd your passion, write about it, be opinionated and enjoy the ride. I’m so happy to hear I am not the only one up at 4 am thinking about my next article.

  • Barb says:

    I love you Maria!!!!!!!! Thank you for being so honest and generous with your opinions and advice. You are my inspiration and your helpful posts are my motivation to get my act together and start blogging.

  • Madeline says:

    You go girl! I think you’ve hit on it. I don’t go back to those blogs that are just a pretty picture with or without a caption that says nothing. I do want answers and expertise. I do stick the blogs that validate my aesthetic and bloggers that I can learn from.

  • LauraC says:

    Fabulous job on the new site. I look forward to browsing around. Love the colors (of course!).

  • Tara Dillard says:

    I pay attention dear Maria, and your new site is fabulous.

    Thank you for putting the full spectrum of what you do into your blog. Business details & color & etc….

    When I’m asked how to do a blog like mine, my answer is go to Maria Killam. Your template is magic. Letting anyone make it ‘their own’.

    Puppet Barbuda comes onto my blog randomly. Amazingly I have readers asking for more of her, tell me she needs a TV show, should begin lecturing and more. Makes me a bit jealous !

    Not bad for a fictional Landscape Design Critic created because it was hard to give criticism/reviews in my own ‘voice’.

    Ha, Puppet Barbuda has begun her wardrobe, a tutu… so far.

    Thank you for all you do Maria.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

  • ELISE says:

    dear maria,

    your bossiness is one of your finest attributes! i asked my sister once if she read your blog. she said, “oh, the blonde lady who’s like ‘my way or the highway’?” keep it coming. i think you’re awesome.

  • anonymous says:

    Love the changes!

  • Even though I don’t have a white kitchen, I still love to visit here. 🙂

    Congrats on your new site, it looks awesome!!!

  • Barbara says:

    Another great post. It feels great when you start to find your voice, but it takes a while to happen. I keep learning as I go, from women like you. By the way, where are the men designers/bloggers?

  • I think my comment about your fabulous new site lost its way to you! I love everything you’ve done. It looks incredible and was worth every bit of your effort! You continue as my role model!! Sofas & Sage has been fading out for a few reasons, one of them being a need for more focus. I don’t regret letting the blog go, but am very excited about refocusing on the new one. It is a new opportunity and I’m looking forward to it. I have to tell you, all you do continues to inspire me. I love how you go after what you want and put it out there!!

  • Claire says:

    Great post Maria! I especially love the way you talk about how it takes time to write a blog and that you lay awake thinking about it in the wee early hours of the morning. I am not alone! 🙂 Love your new website and blog, looks fantastic.

  • Jbird says:

    Best. Post. EVER.
    Thanks for staying up till 4am for all of us!

  • Maria –

    Your website looks fabulous, of course! Congrats – love the post. I must admit, I’m always concerned I might offend someone (often a friend or family member!) by some of my posts. I need to just get over it! Great advice 🙂


  • Wengue says:

    Hello Maria,

    I have been a long term reader of Colour Me Happy. I appreciate all the work that you have put into your new website. It is obvious that you have consulted pros about promoting your brand image (Maria Killam) as you often cite the necessity to do so regarding your own field.

    However…. from the POV of one small reader…. it’s a bit of an overkill. I have Maria Killam the designer pro pushed in my face when I used to appreciate Maria Killam the Colour enthusiast. Your little photos (part of your brand image I imagine) are THROUGHOUT THE SITE. I can hardly get away from the image to enjoy the contents of your post. Your entire site is so obviously geared towrads marketing yourself and your services that it has lost the “sincere” voice of the person who started her blog because she loves clour and its possibilities and wanted to shout to the world about it.

    I do not mean this as an insult or non constructive criticism. Hey, if this is working for you and your business then god for you! But I miss “Colour me Happy” as simply a blog that made me happy. Good luck in all your endeavours.

  • Ramona says:

    Pretty insightful. Thanks!

    My blog:
    Rachat de credit

  • Thank you for writing this post, Maria. It wasn’t what I was expecting. It was better! You would think that someone who has a blog called ‘The Diva’s Home’ would be more opinionated and I was up last night thinking just that! Watch out world!

  • Nadine says:

    I present my blog the way that I like to see other blogs apart from the fact that I don’t blog enough. I am, without doubt, a pretty pictures blogger (on fashion and decorator blogs). I do, however, occasionally like to read some of those blogs but only a few. For example: I think that you’re amazingly talented and although I don’t always agree with you, I have learnt a lot from you. I dislike reading posts about how I should decorate from someone who’s NOT a professional but I love to hear about their latest purchase or make-over….. better still: I like the before and after shots. Being ‘bossy’ works for you as a professional but a lot of my opinions are controversial and, quite frankly, I didn’t start blogging to argue with people who don’t agree with me when I am obviously right… (and, yes, I’m joking…… kind of). Terrible; I know. 🙂

  • Upscale Downhome says:

    As a newer blogger, I certainly appreciate the advice. Even though I definitely have an opinion, I haven’t been sharing it like I should. Thanks for information and it rings true because I really love your blog. I always learn something from your posts everytime. I love the new website; it looks fabulous! Much continued success and thanks for all your share.

  • Color Symphony says:

    Dear Maria
    I really enjoy reading your blogs whenever I find my time. I am actually new to the world of the Blog and there is one thing I really need your adivce, which is about the using of online images. You may agree with me that there are so many nice pictures out there, we sometimes just can’t resist using them in our own blog / website with our own interpretations. Do you think we should be OK to use them with an included the source link? You are such a pro as a blogger, hope you can help me with that. thank you!

  • Amy says:

    I love this post and I love your Blog, web site and design philosophy. Oh, and I love white kitchens!

  • Nichole says:

    Ok! I’m about to jump into all of your blogging posts tomorrow! It’s time! 😀

Leave a Reply