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The Best of Colour Me Happy 2019

Happy holiday week everyone! Last year for Christmas, Terreeia bought us meet and greet tickets to see Michelle Obama in Vancouver (in March) during her book tour, it was one of the highlights of my year!

When you were standing in the room, waiting to meet her, it was clear there was a star nearby, her presence was amazing and she was fabulous!

Here are my best posts of this past year! I’d also love it if you’d let me know which posts you’d like to see in 2019. What are your burning questions? Post them in the comments below!

Ask Maria: How Soon will my Farmhouse Look Dated?

This is a question I get asked a lot. Read on to find the best question to ask yourself before you choose tile or anything that is expensive to take out later.


Updated Painted Cherry Kitchen via eDesign; Before & After

Are you painting your kitchen this year? Make sure you check out our Colour Design services via eDesign to make sure you’re happy with the result. Like the kitchen in this house below.


Are Black Shower Doors the Best Choice For Your New Bathroom?

With black being the default colour for every single faucet and fixture in bathrooms these days, read on to make sure the details of YOUR bathroom are a little less predictable.

White and Cream; The New Trend Taking Over Your Neighbourhood

As I travelled all over the country this past Spring, leading my Specify Colour with Confidence Workshops I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming ‘If the house is a new build, it’s white, cream or black’ taking over neighbourhoods.


More Time Does Not Always Equal More Magical Colour Advice

Ever wondered how much time I spend on your eDesign project? This post answers that question.

What Everyone Should Know About Black

Since black is the new default neutral, make sure you know what you’re doing before you simply close your eyes and say BLACK one more time, when you have to make a choice for your renovation or new build.


A Townhouse in Finland Makes Tuscan Look Fresh; Before & After

I can’t help it, if I’m anywhere, and I see a way to make any space better, I get to work. Like my cousins townhouse where my Mom and I visited this July in Finland.

Maria Killam’s Understanding Undertones Colour Wheel Now Available!

Did you get a copy of my free colour wheel this past year? If you missed the announcement in August, you can still get one here. Just pay shipping and handling.

Don’t forget to customize your wheel (as the printing process is never 100% accurate) with the colour chips you use. This way, once you place it on your tile, fabric, or whatever you’re trying to match, you can easily see which colours you need to test to make sure you’ve chosen the right colour.

Get your free colour wheel here.


What IKEA Knows About Black Kitchens (That You Don’t)

I know, I’m still talking about black (and this conversation is far from dead). That’s because it’s my job to teach you how to get it right. So before you simply choose black for your new kitchen, read this post.

Could a Scandinavian Eat-In Kitchen be for You? Yay or Nay

This is my lovely Aunt’s–so charming–kitchen in Finland. Look at that view where you could sit and chop vegetables. There were no islands in any of the private homes we visited during our three week trip and I realized it seemed to be the go-to North American way to design a kitchen.

This post received almost 100 comments and I loved that it gave my readers a new way to think about their kitchen design.


Inside my Nephew’s Bachelor Pad Makeover: Before & After

My nephew who lives in Calgary received a makeover that I posted on the blog in September. Don’t miss the before photos from this post.

This post proves that you don’t need a lot of money to create a space that fills you with joy when you walk into the room.


Is Blogging Dead? 11 Ways to Make Money from your Blog

Ever wondered if it was too late to start a blog? The answer is DEFINITELY NOT. Read on to find out why.

Let me know what posts you’d like to see in 2020!

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  • Nancy says:

    Maria – oh lucky you love Michelle Obama and boy do I miss them …
    Thanks for another year of your blogs .
    What a blessing you are and that you
    Have been .
    Thank you looking forward to 2020 .
    Happy New year to you and your family .

  • gary says:

    You are doing so well with your color designing enterprise, keep it to that and stay out of politics past and present and you will continue to succeed.

    The USA is politically polarized and references made to the other will offend the other.

    Keep it simple!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Since I’m not an American, I don’t consider posting a photo of Michelle Obama as a political statement. Also, I don’t understand why people are not allowed to be different? Why is it so offensive? I would love to know. Thanks for your comment, now I understand why two people so far felt the need to actually post “How do I unsubscribe” as a comment, that’s never happened before.

  • Sara Mattes says:

    Love this blog…would like to see another post regarding how complicated white is, with all its undertones!
    (I have purchased all your ebooks and they are VERY helpful-many thanks)

  • Ruth says:

    My bathroom designer wants to cover the long wall in my bathroom with wainscoting instead of tile. It’s certainly cost effective and could be painted with a washable sheen. Is this a bad idea?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Only if it doesn’t work with the style of your home/bathroom. Otherwise, I don’t see why not? Hope that helps, Maria

  • Kerri says:

    How do I unsubscribe?

    Thank you.

  • Bonita says:

    Thanks Maria for another year of such interesting and informative posts. All the best in 2020 to you and Tarreeia.
    Post idea: I live in a basic studio apartment. I replaced the greige paint with Simply White. Ways to add drama?

  • Robin Mansfield says:

    What if you don’t have an inspiration or a inspiration piece for a room? Where do you start? Is Eliminating colors and styles one way to start? Use a bedroom as an example please.

  • Liz in Oregon says:

    What a treat to meet Michelle! I’ve never forgotten how she encouraged her family to deal with harsh criticism: “When they go low, we go high.” Words to live by.

    As for 2020 posts? Surprise me! 🙂 I enjoy and learn something from each one.

  • Anneli says:

    I discovered your blog this year, I don´t know how I managed to live without it for so long :). I love reading your blog and it´s so nice to read about things that I can relate too, like “How to bring a Charcoal sofa to Life”.

    I bought a canvas from my masseur a couple of months ago, Ikea´s (old) Premiar Ocean Waves Hawaii picture and I don´t understand why it is so hard to make it stylish on the wall. It´s a colourfull canvas but looks really pale on the wall. I have googled it and every picture out there is kind of disappointing too.

  • Donna T says:

    My suggestion for an article on what color to paint cabinets with speckled granite like St. Celia that was perfect with the oak wood cabinets that now need a lift. All kitchens shown have very light or white surfaces. We can’t afford to replace it.

  • Kd says:

    Donna T, check out this blogger kitchen update with similar granite. Perfect color for it!

  • Therese Vermette says:

    I would like to see some problem solving for specific purchases such as how to select a coffee table for your space. You would need then to address style shape and dimensions. Also give some thought to exploring splurge and save where you explain where to spend most and what you can save on Lastly I have followed you and even did a consult with you once. I have the classic and timeless down pat in the infrastructure. Now I Need more confidence on how and where to introduce colour in furnishings so as to not get bored or tired of same. How to Start down a road with options would be something you could explore.

  • L Chandler says:

    Maria – You are fabulous in all that you do with color and interior design. The blog posts about Terreeia, your Mom, sisters, and nephews are wonderful to read and allow readers like me to get to know you in a more personal way. I understand completely that this is your blog and you can write whatever you want, but please understand not everyone feels the way you do about Michelle Obama.

  • T says:

    How do I unsubscribe?

  • Mary B says:

    Wow — meeting Michelle Obama would be the highlight of my year, too! Thanks for all your hard work and great ideas, Maria. Wishing you and Terreeia and your family a very happy and healthy 2020.

  • Gery Souza says:

    Dear Maria, I have followed your blog for at least four years and still learn so much. Your tips on color trends, styling, and before and afters are great. I learned so much from your bathroom makeovers, and from Tricia and other guest writers too. I also appreciated the post on the “New Look of Wood Kitchens.”

    I am preparing to redo the surfaces, mirrors, lights and fixtures in two bathrooms in the next year or so, so anything on bathrooms would be great, including anything new on the best white bathrooms, and the best cream bathrooms. Thank you, and happy new year to you and your family.

  • Mel says:

    I would love to see a post on interior trim–paint colors and styles. Is white the classic choice? Is taupe trim a trend that will fade out? Are the black and charcoal interior doors a fad? What I love about you is your belief in a timeless look. While I like a lot of these newer trends, for me, your timeless aesthetic is the way to go! Would look forward to hearing you advice. Best to you and family for 2020!

  • Abby says:

    My big house project for 2020 is whether on not to paint our exterior brick when we do our attached garage addition this spring/summer. I’ve been researching for months and I am almost convinced…now to work on my husband!

  • Paige says:


    There were so many great posts but one that resonated with me was the transformation of your nephew’s home! I find myself going back to it again and again.

    The best part of 2019 for me was attending the Orlando Colour Workshop and meeting you, Terreeia, and so many talented and strong (like Michelle Obama) women! Check out the Super Soul Sunday Oprah Winfrey show with Michelle O.

    I would love to see a post on creating vignettes (is that the correct word?) for bookshelves, coffee tables, sofa consoles, etc.

    Wishing you, Terreeia, and your families a happy, safe, and prosperous 2020! Thank you for all you do and letting us be a part of it! -Paige

  • Carol says:

    I dont get it either why people are not allowed to have different opinions on various subjects and
    not be criticized for them. But Gary is definitly right about America being polarized about the
    Presidents. Tho enough people supported the Obama’s that they got elected into office for 2 terms.
    I will continue to read your blog because you give great color advice I dont want to miss out on no matter which first lady you happen to take a picture with.

  • Hayley says:

    My burning question is which undertone should I chose if I’m starting from scratch? I’ve got your understand undertones books and just like you said everywhere I go I know see clashing undertones!

    But all your advice seems to be look at your fixed elements (stone, worktops, carpets that aren’t going to be replaced) and chose whichever undertones will work with the ones you have.

    But what if you’re starting from scratch? We are completely renovating our house so I’m choosing everything: carpets, kitchen, wall colour. Is it just a case of personal preference or are some undertones “better” than others (ie easier to work with, look better with more colours, less likely to trip up the amateur?).

    Thanks so much for your blog! I truly didn’t know what I didn’t know until I stumbled across you and your undertones!


    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Haley, If you’re renovating why are you doing this without any professional help? You’re spending thousands and thousands of dollars and you have no idea what you’re doing? I recommend my eDesign to give you a plan. Otherwise, mistakes are just waiting to happen given it’s impossible to accidentally get this right. How do I know this? Because most renovations are bad, all you have to do is start searching for a new house. There’s no such thing as ‘the perfect undertone’. If I give you a ‘greige’ in the realm of ‘green grey’ which would be BM grey mist or classic grey, which is often found in a marble looking quartz countertop, what if you end up with a taupe countertop? There’s lots of quartz with taupe undertones too. That means the ‘undertone’ of your walls should have been taupe not green? Not to mention all the other decisions that will snowball from the countertop choice. Here’s the package you need:
      Hope that helps! Have a space that fills you with happiness not regret! That’s my best advice. Maria

  • Vanessa says:

    I think it’s lovely that you met Michelle! And thanks for all the clarity you put out into the color world, I haven’t quite gotten all of it yet, but it has helped me shift my ideas and to be more critical of my own choices.

  • Susan says:

    Dear Maria,

    I love to binge read your blogs while I am on holiday, so this post is most welcome and I have truly enjoyed reading all you have written that I have missed when I am buried in marking essays.
    As for what I would like to see more of: New Traditionalism. Tricia wrote about it in 2018. As I love colour and pattern, I am very interested in what is going on now.
    As for wainscotting in the bathroom (Ruth), we have it in our powder room and it can bubble up if too much water drips on it, because most now is made from particle board. We had to sand down one bit and repaint.

  • Marina says:

    Hi Maria,

    I love your blog and read your ideas hoping that one day I will be able to use them.
    What I am looking for in inerior and exterior design – is closeness to nature in a sence that the house and the furniture should resemble the nature. For example, stony walls with moss on them, just like in a cave…
    Same goes for the pools and waterfalls… And I just adore glass walls and floors.
    I will be extremely happy if you could prepare your posts keeping my suggestions in mind!

    I wish you hundreds of successful projects this year!!!
    Happy New Year to your family and your team, Maria!!! ????????????

  • Julie says:

    Good morning Maria and Happy New Year! I am just now getting a chance to respond as it has been a busy week:-) I love love love your blog! I found you about two years ago when I was researching kitchen remodels. You were highly recommended by two other highly rated design bloggers. Ya’ll (I’m from TN and ya’ll IS a word, haha) were my entry into the world of the BEST design and decor principles. Your focus on color undertones has been a lifesaver. I bought all your books, worth every cent and my home SHOWS it! I have read through most of your best blogs (dumb designers with conflicting undertones and fighting finishes was my first and I was hooked), but I still haven’t read everything. And that’s the plan. So, I am not sure what I would most like to see in future blogs as I am still reading through your categories. I really agree with another writer that asks for more bathroom focused info. I love anything having to do with displaying collections and art in all sorts of palettes. I’ll think more on it and get back to you. And no worries and no walking on egg-shells when you tell us about your life. You didn’t do anything wrong or politicize anything. Sorry you got an up close and personal view of how tense it really is south of your border. It’s so puzzling to folks from other countries, even our closest Canadian neighbors. We got some “stuff” to work out down here:-). You just keep being you!! Your writing and experience brings me happiness!

  • Holly says:

    For upcoming blogposts, I’d be interested in knowing your opinion about all these 70’s design styles I see popping up again. I grew up in the 1970’s and have bad memories of 70’s (and 80’s) decor so I don’t plan on incorporating them, just interested in your thoughts. Is it like fashion.. if you wore the trend the first time, sit this one out?
    Also, I agree with Gary to keep political references to a minimum. Love Michelle Obama, but in this day & age, one has to tip toe lightly thru the political landscape.

  • Bailey says:


    I feel like I am starting to see aqua/sea foam colors everywhere. It’s mostly with interior decorating stuff, but there was even a house down the street from us that painted their exterior a soft bluish green (it does look very fresh and pretty!). Do you think this color is a new trend that will last awhile? Thanks!

  • Elie says:

    Maria, you’re gorgeous. Happy Holidays! Thank you for all your amazing lessons! Still I’m pretty bad student so I reread your blog post ” How to be smart in a a world of dumb designers”. Great post BTW. What would your advice be if I like Mark D Sikes’ taste and Miles Redd’s, would you write them and ask about rates for consulting? Dumb question, I know but I really like to know your opinion.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Why not if you’re serious about hiring either one? Sounds like a good plan to to me! Maria

  • Hayley says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks so much for replying to my question!

    The honest answer to why I am renovating without professional help is that I can’t find anyone halfway decent.

    I’m in the UK and using a professional service such as interior designers isn’t the norm here. Or “lawn services” or having people put up Christmas lights on your house. It’s just a different culture.

    There are some interior designers though they seem to be the preserve of the very wealthy. Hear me out – it’s not the cost I object to! As you say I’m spending a lot of money and I want it done right, and I am happy to pay people properly for their work. The problem is the style interior designers here seem to go for is so flashy. You know those people / rooms that want to scream “I have money”? That’s what they seem to design for.

    If you google “interior designer Cheshire” (my county) the links you get are to garages (yes literal garages filled with super cars), swimming pools (exceptionally rare in the north of England!) and, when you finally find someone doing “family homes”, lots of pictures of “done” rooms sporting clashing undertones! Sadly I’m serious. The only people doing modest homes seem to be “self-taught” amateurs who have a bit of a passion for interiors and whose family said, “You should become an interior designer!”

    It’s not a licensed profession here. Anyone can do it. I’ve never heard of a university course for interior design. I’m sure they exist somewhere, but it’s not a recognised “subject” if you know what I mean, so as far as I’m aware there’s no proper training out there. Hence, I suppose, the amateur results one finds for interior designers in Cheshire on google.

    I didn’t realise you offered a whole house service! Thanks so much for the link. My concern (which perhaps you can allay?) is how you can assess finishes from afar when cameras / websites / monitors are notoriously unreliable. For example if I send you links to wood floors I like you can’t order an actual sample and hold it against my kitchen cabinet, you know? Do I order samples and take photos? Are they accurate enough? Anyway, I will read more about the renovation package and hopefully you have time to reply to this at some point.

    Thanks again for responding, and for your blog!

    Finally, as a non-American I too am confused by people unfollowing your blog due to a picture of Michelle Obama. Surely regardless of your political affiliation a foreigner admiring a former first-lady is a compliment? It would be a source of pride for me if any non-Brit professed to adore a member of our royal family (the kind of equivalent, since Michelle was married to the Head of State and the partners of politicians have no formal role here in the UK).

  • Hayley says:

    One last reply because I’ve realised that in commenting about the offensiveness of one thing, I may have inadvertently offended you (and others!). Instead of “non-brit” I should have said “non-commonwealth citizen”. For she is your Queen too. I wonder if Prince Philip is so divisive?! And my apologies x


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