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Colour in Commercial Hallways: 3 Ways to Get it Right

By 06/06/2015February 21st, 201728 Comments


Taken with my iPhone 6 at Trinity College

My Specify Colour with Confidence™ course was in Toronto this past week, and of course, one of the side effects of participating in one of my colour trainings is realizing that beige will never again be just beige. It’s always either pink beige, green beige, or yellow beige.

Grey will never be just grey ever again. It’s always green grey, blue grey, or violet grey.

And then there are the secondary undertones of beige and grey. Really, there are only nine you’ll ever need to worry about. Period. End of conversation. If you’re tearing your hair out trying to choose from thousands of neutrals, know that it can be SO much easier. if you don’t already have my How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s all in the Undertones e-book, you can download it here.

After my course, you can’t go anywhere without seeing the world in varying shades of colour.

Nothing is truly neutral.

Whenever I’m in the hallways of hotels and apartments, I notice that the neutral undertones mostly don’t coordinate.

My theory on this is that the colours are chosen in a designer’s office, in natural light. Then they get installed where there is zero natural light, which makes the colours look different.


Terreeia and I booked an Airbnb for the first time, and we stayed in this apartment (above) with our host, Caroline Leslie, who was absolutely fabulous!

Before I give you a glimpse of her home, here are my tips if you need to choose colours for an apartment corridor:

1. Choose a dark, patterned carpet that won’t show the dirt.

Hotels know all about this! Their ballrooms are filled with dark patterns that hide all kinds of spills.


2. Paint the door a coordinating, dramatic colour.

If you go this dark, it won’t look like you tried to match the carpet and failed with a lighter, mid-toned, neutral.



3. Choose lighter colours for the walls.

Notice that the undertone of the neutral in this carpet is a green beige. The wainscotting could have all been the same shade of green, but they chose a two-toned effect here using a green grey and a white.

See that wallpaper? Great choice for this corridor. It’s much more durable than paint. Even though it’s more expensive to install, it’ll last much longer.

The light box above each door is also very warm and welcoming.

Overall, this hallway is one of the better ones I’ve seen and that’s why I wanted to share it with you.

And here’s a glimpse of Caroline’s colourful apartment!


Original parquet floors! Her sideboard is very similar to my white one, which was already painted white when I found it on Craigslist.


Photos by Maria Killam

I snapped a photo of the cream piano in her sunroom adjoining the living room. The light was so pretty in here, and I loved the old gnarly jade plant displayed on the top. If you look closely, you can see our hostess wearing a blue shirt in a photo on top of the piano.


This was what breakfast looked like each morning. With different china and gorgeous silver flatware in different patterns as well.


We loved our stay with Caroline, who was a wonderful cook and hostess. If you are a B&B kind of person and need a place to stay in Toronto, you can contact her here.

Her apartment was close to the University and Trinity College, where my course was held this past week.

See the windows above the entry door (below)? That’s where our classroom was located:


Love the old casement windows. Here I am reviewing one of the in-class exercises with the group:

mariatrinity Photo by Terreeia Rauffman

courtyardAnother view of the courtyard


And here’s my wonderful new group of True Colour Experts™!

spring2015toTop left to right: Sue Breadner Guelph, ON; Joanna Colbourne, Milton, ON; Benna Segal, Ottawa, ON; Natasha Kalita, Glencoe, ON; Shari Bernhardt, Medfield, MA; Julia Garden, Lynden, ON; Rachel Segal, Ottawa, ON; Caroline McKay, TO, ON; Michelle Finnamore, TO, ON.

Bottom left to right: Judy Knipe, Pickering, ON; Lorraine Gary, Whitby, ON; Penny Waller, Bowmanville, ON; Maria Killam; Shannon McDonald, Oakville, ON; Noa Simmons, Austin, TX; Paige Kernaghan, Pickering, ON.

Caroline McKay volunteered to support us in the classroom this week, and she was fabulous! And out of all 14 designers and colour enthusiasts who attended, only two were from outside of Ontario.

Having so many locals in a Canadian course is new for me. Obviously, more and more people are talking about this training (hooray!), so I’m considering coming back in the fall instead of skipping it in favour of more courses in America now that I have a US Visa. (Don’t worry, I’m still coming to the US in the fall, too).

Here’s a video testimonial from Michelle Finnamore, a very successful stager and designer here in Toronto! She said she’s been following me for three years, and even though she’s super busy, she knew she’d get her money’s worth doing my course, so she cleared her schedule to be here!

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If you’d like to transform the way you see colour, and become a True Colour Expert Register here. !

It’s my birthday tomorrow, June 7! I’m so happy to be home for the weekend!

xoxo Maria

Related posts:

What it Takes to be Great

The First Mistake a New Colour Consultant will Make Every Time (plus, see me at 4 years old and up with a trip down memory lane for my 42nd birthday)

Is this the Year You’ll Transform your Dirty Little Secret

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