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True Colour ExpertUnderstanding Undertones

Rules for Colors

By 07/09/2013August 15th, 201835 Comments

Rules for Colours

Well I’m kicking off the first day of my Learn How to Specify Colour for Interiors Summer School tomorrow (Wednesday) with my Rules for Whites, Rules for Neutrals and Rules for Colour. Then we’ll jump right in to learning the 7 basic principles and questions I always have in my back pocket at every consultation. This is my first webinar so if you are far, far away and can’t attend my Colour Training seminars in person, this is the next closest thing! Training you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Next week will be a step-by-step to choosing colour in every area of your home, what to paint and what can’t be painted.

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the colour rules:

No more than three colours in an interior or what look will you have?

Rules for Combining Colours

Via Pinterest

Why a bohemian living room of course. Nothing wrong with this much colour if you can handle it! Mom, what do you think? My mom loves colour, it’s no surprise that she has a colour expert for a daughter ; )

Rules for Choosing Colours

Via Pinterest

When choosing colour palettes for your clients, do you have to coordinate undertones like you do with neutrals? Find out this month! Don’t worry, if you can’t make it or missed the a week or two and still want to register we’ll send you the recording, you’ll get it anyway, it’ll help you do your homework!

Sign up here.

Can you handle this much color?

See you tomorrow! xo Maria

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

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.

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

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 

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  • mimi says:

    No, Maria, I could not handle that much color- I really think I must have a moody personality because I am drawn to moody colors- too many bright ones feel like too bright a light in my face!


  • BillP says:

    This is a bit off topic, but interesting to learn that Pottery Barn and West Elm have now partnered with Sherwin Williams in the US, dropping the previous partnership with Benjamin Moore.

    • KJ says:

      I would bet the decision is strictly related to $$$ … he who pays the most gets the partnership.

    • Carol in FLA says:

      Having had a strong background in corporate sales and marketing before becoming a professional interior designer — Yes, it is always about the M word – money. Who will hand over the biggest check! There is always a hidden agenda so don’t take these marketing partnerships too seriously.

  • Kathy says:

    I really wish I could have joined in on the webinar class but extensive travel this month made it impossible. My dream is come to Canada and take the whole color class!

  • pve says:

    I love the images you have shared. While that may be too much color for me to embrace daily, it’s fun. I like the “3” color rule. I actually could live in all white.

  • Janet says:

    I am more like your mom – I like lots and lots of color- from where I am sitting I can see hot pink, apple green, tulip yellow, periwinkle, aqua and purple and it makes me happy : )

  • Donna Frasca says:

    Wow that is a lot of color! Perhaps if the colors were more subtle it would work? Guess they’ll find out at your course! Have fun Maria 🙂

  • mrsben says:

    ‘Different strokes for different folks’. With that said, a little too psychedelic for my taste. ☺

  • Cyndia Montgomery says:

    I absolutely can handle that much color; in fact I do in almost every room of my home. I hate neutrals.

    • Carol in FLA says:

      I too have a love affair with color! Love that room and the one above it also. Maybe it’s all about where you live too. It would be perfect in the sunny South.

  • Nancy says:

    Maria, does that three include the white/neutral walls or just 3 accents? Must it be the same 3 for all rooms or no more than 3 in any one room.?
    Thank you,

    ps love your posts.

  • Franki says:

    Color is my happy friend. franki

  • Kim says:

    I love a lot of different colors in art, side chair fabric, accessories, and a piece or two of painted furniture, but with soft white walls, white linen drapes, and a white linen sofa as the perfect background. The white works as relief for the colors.

  • Cat says:

    I love colour – but not jarring colour. I appreciate it in doses but not huge doses. The world is a busy place and when one comes home – I personally appreciate a retreat of calmness. I do like to add colour for interest but generally I change those colours from time to time. Even bold statements gets tiresome. I believe a time and place for them – just not all the time or everywhere. Had a friend who had colours like this everywhere in her house – it was a retreat just to leave her house (and I love bold!)

  • Debbie says:

    Step outside and look around, color is all around us. Life is color. We don’t live in a neutral world.

  • teresa says:

    While I don’t live with this much colour, I really like these rooms. They’re happy rooms and really express a confidence and creativity. I would imagine either an artist or someone involved with the arts living there. The white walls help reign it in and it’s obviously professionally done. The average person might not get it right which is probably why the beige room predominates. CTD

  • Missi says:

    I like color. The first room appeals to me more so than the second. I grew up in a “pick a beige, choose the lightest color on the strip and cut it in half” house, so when we got married and bought our house, we did each room in an off white. I was miserable in blah rooms for a couple years until I convinced my husband we had to repaint every room about 5 years ago. Dad still doesn’t like our burnt orange living room, and nearly passed out when we painted the basement dark purple and dark gray, but we love it. (with those dark colors on the walls we don’t have a riot of color in furnishings etc, however) Our kitchen and daughters room are coming up soon and I’m going to break down and ask for your help then.

  • Maureen Adamson says:

    I do love the bright colours individually, but find it’s overwhelming when they are all mixed together. It feels as if I went to the candy shop, couldn’t decide, so took one of each. That strategy has never ended well for me. I prefer the look of brightly coloured accents against a neutral background. To me, the colours look prettier and it’s more comfortable that way.

  • SandyCGC says:

    I’d be uncomfortable in either room for more than a few minutes. I love color though not this many colors at a time, but worse, both rooms look as though one just unloaded the car from a huge shopping trip to Home Goods and hadn’t had time to unpack and put away (especially my fav green “bag” sitting beside the couch in the first pix.) My eyes don’t know where to go, so my body doesn’t know where to sit. Fun rooms, of course – bohemian always is – but not for me to live with.

  • tara dillard says:

    Younger, I ran from expert rules.

    Older, I run to expert rules.

    One thing did not change, I love breaking rules.

    Running to the expert rules guarantees a quicker beloved result.

    I pay attention to you dear Maria !

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  • Amy says:

    I think the two rooms are awesome…for the person who lives there…if it is their authentic self. If the rooms go with the entire home’s architecture which in turn matches the person’s lifestyle and personality then it works.

    Sometimes I think it is about finding your true self. As I grow older I find I like more color and more whimsy. I also have two children (8 &9) so it fits their life too…the house contains controlled fun and color and it fits exactly where we are during this phase in our life.

  • nancy says:

    Although these rooms are FUN at first glance, I think long term they are chaotic. I would not be able to relax. The outside world is frantic enough therefore I like my home to be a sanctuary.

  • Wyn says:

    I like the second! It’s so energetic and cheerful. I wouldn’t want to have every room buzzing that hard, but I do want to have some colour everywhere in my home. I would just play with the balance of soft colours and neutrals versus saturated and bright colours, and the main hues, according to the purpose of the room. But I’m not going to make any all-neutral rooms except as an exercise to develop my design skills.

  • LeeAnn Cheeley says:

    I love lots of color! I have cathedral ceilings & have 6 different colors on all the walls & bump-outs in my “great” living room, kitchen, dining room & office room (all open to one another): 2 Shades of green, bright yellow, deep periwinkle, torquoise, deep blue & purple! I also have a very busy Karastan carpet & I think it all works, possibly because the carpet has all these colors in it. I’ve lived with it for 9 years & still like it. Now I am replacing my horrible pickled maple kitchen cabinets with bamboo & topping it with my original black granite (volga blue). Then I will repaint all my colors in order to sell my house to someone who might not love this as much as I do!

  • I could visit a room like the ones you’ve shown….but never live in one with that much color. I’m a “two or three colors to a room” person and a lot of people might think my rooms are ‘boring’. To me rooms with less color create a place for our minds (and our eyes) to rest after long days. Of course if your days are boring, then go for the gold and get lots of color to enliven your life! Whoo hoooo! We’re all so different as individuals. Thank goodness we can break all the rules in our own homes 🙂 What I truly find interesting is how members of the same family have such divergent likes/dislikes, having grown up in the same household. Wondering how that happens truly fascinates me 🙂

  • Amanda says:

    I love neutrals- mainly white with a little black. They make me feel calm and peaceful among my sea of 4 children with the messes they make.
    I suppose they are the color. 😉

  • megeranski says:

    Have noticed, after reading your blog for years, that colors HAVE to have same level of ‘clean vs. dirty’.

    if that is lined up, every color goes with every other or any color.

    Three colors in a room seems sort of sing-songy, but is no doubt a perfect place to start and perfect rule of thumb. And probably add more with caution.

  • Martha says:

    I love color, but too many colors in a room just says chaos to me. I like to look at a room and have the whole thing make visual sense at first glance. Otherwise it’s like going to a bargain basement sale. If you like to hunt for a treasure that’s wonderful, but I don’t want to hunt for them when I enter a room.

  • Clara says:

    I’ve been trying to look up how to do a Boho look for ages, but all the Pinterest and Google images searches just turn up endless Coachella style rooms in white and brown with high contrast in all the ways I don’t like.

    Apparently the Boho look of my dreams is harmonious and low contrast in most ways but just uses way more colors than is standard. I find it very soothing to have lots of muted colors all around, but I hate too much shine or an overabundance of sharp shapes.

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