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Colour in Fashion

Does your Hair Colour influence the Colours you Love?

By 08/14/2010January 26th, 201761 Comments

The other day a reader called me from Calgary, interested in learning more about my on-line consulting services. She was worried that I don’t like pinky beige and asked if I could really help her choose the right colours based on that. She said whenever a blonde designer shows up at her door she gets yellow based colours and that’s not what she wants. So she got me to wondering, does our hair colour influence the colours we love?

Here’s when I think bias gets in the way. A lot of designers are very afraid of specifying colour for the walls. How do I know this? I’ve talked to so many of you and prior to my crash course in colour consulting (over 1,000 calls in 4 years) I was afraid every time I specified a colour. I would lay awake at night, worried that it would be bad and my client would hate it. Then when I started to understand how to choose colour accurately and saw enough of it on the walls, my fear went away. It’s like anything, once you do enough of it, your confidence increases.

Source (Anyway, I adore pink and yellow together)

It’s why I think designers should not have any problem hiring a colour expert to help with wall colour.
In my last True Colour Expert Workshop, one of the designers in the course told me that in the beginning of her career she worked with a designer that would always use BM Muslin. No matter what her client wanted it would always come back to Muslin. It’s why there’s so much white and beige in the magazines. It’s just easier than colour (although if you’ve been reading this blog you know beige is not that easy either). When you go for colour, you need to know that you might paint a room or two twice because the way the light hits the colour causes it to do something different than you thought.

So if a designer is comfortable with a small, very limited range of colours—usually ones they like—that’s when it becomes difficult to choose colours outside the range. I have seen them all so if you like pinky beige, I can still choose the right pink for you. Besides, there really aren’t any bad colours in the world, just bad colour combinations.


But now I’m curious. What is your hair colour and your favourite colour? Do blondes really gravitate to yellow just because it’s their hair colour? Please do tell.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in,contact me for on-line or in-person decorating and colour.

Related posts:
What everyone should Know about Beige
Why you can’t afford Not to Hire a Colour Expert
Should you pay for a room to be re-painted if You chose the Colour?
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  • Pamela Kesling says:

    I'm a brunette, and my preferred colors change all the time, but I'm currently obsessed with yellow. I love a cheery yellow and green combination.

  • Cherie says:

    I'm a redhead. I am drawn to colors of blue, green, clear reds, orange, yellow, browns, greys, black. Not sure if those are typical redhead colors or not.

  • Does the opinion count if my blond comes via a bottle? 🙂 I don't think it matters what color your hair is. My favorite color to wear is orange, but I don't have anything orange in my own home. I suspect a designer who decorates mostly within her own comfort color zone does, in fact, need a color consultant. And, I know of a good one!!

  • Vanessa@decor happy says:

    Maria – you write the most interesting/creative posts! I have dark brown hair and gravitate towards blue/green/gray for my own home and away from anything remotely beige. For client's homes, it's whatever works in their space and light, keeping in mind their preferences. So true that some designers specify the same colours over and over. I know of one that always chooses red for a dining room.

  • Kathysue says:

    Interesting thought! Hmmmm??? I am a blonde and I do go towards yellow base colors. My home is in yellows,greens, whites, black and white with touches of watermelon pink(can't live with a blue base pink, the mauve era just about did me in)When picking a color for a client I show them several swatches of the same color but with different bases and see which they gravitate towards before attempting to pick a wall color. I agree totally with what you said, there are no bad colors just bad combinations. Color marries to it surroundings and can totally change. It fascinates me how a color is so different from on wall to the next, love it!!! Great post as always. Love your blog,Kathysue

  • Ideezine says:


    Several factors influence the best color selections for a room and I doubt that hair color is one of them.
    The rooms: sunlight, climate/temperatures outside, style of furniture, use for the room are what assists color selection and flow of rooms in a home. Then there's the client's comfort zone or preferences of color.


  • Marina says:

    Hi Maria 🙂
    I'm a redhead and I LOVE turquoise (blue undertones, and depth of color), bright orange, blues (almost any), grays, bright red, lime green. I love sunny yellow and lavender, but don't like beige, purple and brown.

  • Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home says:

    I can see where hair color would dictate what colors a person chooses. If you are choosing the colors of the clothes you wear based on what looks good on you, wouldn't you want your home to reflect those colors too?

    I just changed my hair color so I have no idea if I would choose based on that. But I do know that when i choose for someone else, I find out what they like and go from there. I don't live in their house so it wouldn't be fair to use my favorite colors! 🙂

  • Grace @ Sense and Simplicity says:

    I'm a brunette and adore blues, blue-grays, and blue-greens.

  • RLG says:

    I don't know what my natural color is b/c I haven't seen it in over a decade. But my colorist swears it's a "mousy brown." Whatever, right?

    The only reason I've decided my favorite paint color is BM Early Morning Mist is b/c I get tired and bored seeing color on the walls. I'd rather change up pillows and accessories. It's cheaper than hiring my painter. (Last time I asked him to repaint a room for me, he refused! LOL) Fun post, Maria. xoxo

  • seanymph says:

    I have auburn hair and I love purple. Its my fav color. But I use bits of it around not alot. Altho I am currently contemplating painting my kitchen a dusty eggplant right now. Its a big room with a high ceiling but is filled with cabinets so theres not alot of wall space. But theres a ton of space above the cabinets which I plan to fill with some art and my blue and white porcelains.

    But I love blues and pinks and creamy whites too and other rooms reflect this. Not so sure my hair color has much to do with it but it would be interesting to see if it does.

  • Andrea says:

    I'm a brunette and I also gravitate toward blues, greens and grays more than other colors. I could see it being tied to what colors you feel the most comfortable wearing. I don't look very good in most shades of yellow (brunette + very pale skin), so I've never gotten comfortable with the color and have a hard time knowing what shades I like for decorating.

  • Denise says:

    I have grey hair and love pale pinks, pale and medium blues, blue-greys and blue-greens, pale terracotta, silvery lilac, a yellow I call Dijon cream sauce, dark browns like bronze, dark blue-greys and eggplant.

  • Gigi says:

    Hmm, I don't know about that. I'm a green-eyed brunette who looks best in rich, cool colors yet I like to decorate my home in warm tones, colors that I love but would never choose for my own clothing.

  • Space by Eliana Tomas says:

    "there really aren’t any bad colours in the world, just bad colour combinations" – this is so true Maria. Couldn't agree more. Colour is the essence of life, is the background of ourselves and the spaces we live in, whether offices or homes (and i wish offices would be more colourful too).

    I've light brown hair, which i love, but i must say ginger is my favourite hair colour. Every time i see a ginger person, whether a child or adult, i want to talk to them, just talk.

  • Space by Eliana Tomas says:

    oh, forgot to say, blue is my fav colour. love it. love to be surrounded by blue

  • Kerrisdale Design Inc says:

    Very interesting Maria. I haven't ever thought about this in terms of hair colour, but I've for a long time believed that people gravitate towards colours for their home that they look good in….IE. people naturally pick colours for their homes that they would for dressing themselves. Though I think oranges, yellows. etc are beautiful, I would never use them in my home. They aren't ME, and I think its because I would never wear these colours, I'd look ghastly. My home {and my clients often, as they usually come to me for a particular design style unique to me}, is a reflection of the ways I would dress, colours included.

    PS I'm a brunette for the record!

  • Elecat says:

    I don't think it's so much your hair colour that determines the colours that we gravitate toward but it may contribute because I think that most people are attracted to colours that suit us. The colours that I wear, that suit my skin tone (and hair colour) etc are generally the colours that I like. Hence my house is grey with splashes of bright bold colours. However, this is not always the case as I've painted my girls rooms a bright pastel green (beanshoot) which I ……. umm.. I was about to say I wouldn't wear but I DO have a few tops in that colour so I've proven my point. lol! 🙂

  • gardenwalkgardentalk says:

    Hum… your post made me really wonder. Colors I gravitate to for my wardrobe and home furnishings are usually cool colors, but it certainly does not leave out those bold reds, oranges and yellows for others. I love color. BTW, I do landscape design, so bright colors are great. Being a brunette of deep dark cocoa,I guess I could go in any direction. But did you consider eye color? My eyes are blue, skin pale and guess what… my favorite color is blue. My own garden is blue, white and yellow. Go figure.


    My hair was jet black and my favorite wall color is BM Straw ~ a beautiful yellow.

    Now my hair is gray – highlighted with darker colors and I still love BM Straw for my wall color.


  • DH says:

    I'm a blonde and I avoid wearing pinks because it reminds me too much of Barbie!
    I did write a post in my blog a few months back about my sudden attraction to yellow. Check it out!

  • StylishHeather says:

    Interesting post!

    I'm a redhead and I love orange and rust – maybe you're onto something 🙂

  • Cindy @ Chalk it Up! says:

    I'm a blond and as I look around my livingroom I see lots of yellow. And I will be changing the color soon to a warm beige. However, I'll be painting my bedroom too and it will almost definitely be a dark blue/green-gray. but I do think I gravitate toward the warm side of the color wheel. I'm trying to go cool but it's not easy:)
    Great post!

  • Bluezette says:

    I'm a brunette with pale skin and green-brown hazel eyes. I dislike orange, brown, beige, reds with any hint of orange and yellows that are golden. I like all blues, greens that aren't too yellow, all purples, lemon yellow, pure white, black and cool grays.

    I "had my colors done" in the '80s, and 95% of my wardrobe was already in my recommended colors. I do think it's all influenced by hair color.

  • Lazy Gardens says:

    Auburn hair, grey eyes …

    I wouldn't use a color in my decor that I wouldn't wear, which leads to my aversion to a huge chunk of the color wheel in the olive-green, muddy ochre, and baby-poop brown ranges. In clothing they make me look like I have hepatitis. As furnishings they can't do much better.

    It's an old system, but one that works: "Color Me Beautiful" by Carole Jackson has a color classification that works for most people.

  • Brenda says:

    Would love to see the stats on this afterward!
    I'm a med. to dark brown [grey hairs not included…they tend to be new-damn!] and use paint in a variety of shades in my house….a rich green-yellow shade, brown walls with gold baseboards and a brown,blue,gold plaid wallpaper on one wall, creamy vanilla, rich red, brownish beiges, and two shades of a goldy/yellow on walls in basement family room. Not as scary as it sounds though!!

  • Michelle says:

    Great topic! There are 2 types of blondes. Maria is a "spring" blonde with yellow undertones to her skin. She looks great in colors with a warm undertone. She probably looks great in peach. I am a "summer" blonde with a cool undertone to my skin, and I look terrible in peach and great in cool pink. I gravitate to the colors in my house that I would look good wearing, and it looks like Maria does the same thing. I think it may be easier to work with a designer who loves the same colors that you do, but not necessary. And I loved Maria's post where she talked about the need to have both warm and cool colors in a room. It is boring to only have warm, or only have cool.

  • Michelle says:

    One more thing – thank you Maria for mentioning that you may have to paint one or two rooms twice. I just got finished painting my entire downstairs. It was mostly Edgecomb gray, with Smokey Taupe in the master suite and Indian River as a darker color in a few rooms. I found 2 problems. In the living room where there is a lot of light pouring on the walls, I see the green undertone to Edgecomb gray a lot. I am considering painting this a darker color, but Smokey taupe would be too dark. The other problem is that Smokey taupe looks pinkish in the master bathroom because of the tile that has yellow undertones. I had thought that Smokey taupe was gray enough with no pink undertone, but alas it definitely has one with a yellowish tile. This tile was in the house when I bought it. But overall I am happy with the results, although I may repaint 2 rooms

  • Rebecca says:

    I am a blond with a bit of help (high lights). I bought a pair of yellow capris on sale for 7 dollars a couple months ago – I have yet to wear them. Just not really me. Yellow is not my favorite color in either clothing or home.
    Give me blue in our home. Every room has some blue color. Our bedroom has blue carpet that is 20 years old and I am still not tired of it.
    As for my closet – there is black, blue, gray, red, brown, navy, tan, white, gold, silver and blue jeans. No true yellow or baby pink. A bit of green and a soft orange have slipped in along with one raspberry jacket. I look awful in yellow and yellow tone beige.
    The question was so blondes really gravitate to yellow. MY answer is no – not this one. Interesting question.

  • Beth @ Beyond White says:

    I got a call from someone who asked what color my hair was! She said she was from India and had dark skin, and her two blonde interior designers didn't get her. They'd gone matchy and pulled out pink from her marble foyer floors for her living room. Maybe they were more comfortable with pale colors too? Not taking her cultural associations with color or her personal taste into consideration was the problem. (IACC taught me that.) A few rich colors and warm neutrals like AF340 Oat Straw were the fix.

  • Beth @ Beyond White says:

    Forgot – hair color (now) is light brown covering gray, favorite colors (now) are orange and (forever) turquoises/teals/aquas… No bright orange walls but I carry an orange tote.

  • DL says:

    I'm blonde (born that way and now accentuate it with highlights as I age:-) When I was young, my mother told me yellow was not a good color on me, so I've never worn it. I also never cared for it in my own home decorating.

    I now realize, however, there is more than one color yellow, that, yes, I can wear certain yellows if they're the right shade. And certain yellows – wheat, for one – are now also finding their way into my home.

    As for decorating with the same colors you look good in: my sister once repainted a wall even though she liked the color. However, she felt she didn't look good in photos with that wall in the background.

  • Jane says:

    Interesting question…
    I am a natural blonde…as I look around my home, I see lots of colors…greens,whites, BM straw, etc. But I just noticed, all the colors have yellow undertones. Hmmmm…
    The only room that does not is a blue room, and I do not like the color. It's being changed as soon as I have the time to paint.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Michelle,
    Both times I've had my 'colours' done I've been told I was a summer. One even took me shopping and I ended up with a horrible pink top that I tried to wear but always hated. Another dusty pink jacket that truly annoys me to this day but it's a work-out thing so I wear it. I finally threw those ideas out the window and just started wearing colours that I love and the brights really work for me. So who knows about Spring vs. Summer?
    Maybe they just didn't know what they were doing and I really am a spring?

    Thanks for all these great comments, It's so interesting to read them.

  • AB HOME Interiors says:

    I love orange, green, and aqua. I thought maybe it was due to the current trends. However, I looked back at projects when I was in school….there they were. And ,y logo and company colors have aqua and orange too!

  • Michelle says:

    Maria, I think you are right – you are a Spring. I've been studying the season color thing for 25 years and can pretty much peg everyone correctly. I've looked at the photos you've posted of yourself with various outfits and do think you are a Spring and look beautiful in those colors. And you prefer those colors in decorating too, even though you are a professional and can decorate in any color scheme.

  • Amy @MaisonDecor says:

    Well, I am blonde and my walls are yellow. I admit I just repainted from a beigey yellow to a fresher buttey yellow! I am now loving sea glass blue some walls are gonna be getting splashed with that. Never thought my hair dictated what colors I specified for my clients, and I don't believe I do that when at work. But at home, my preference is for yellow!

  • Dale at Hospitality Re-Defined says:

    I would never have thought about a correlation between hair colour and the colour choices that we make. Interesting….

  • Jen @ Bloggers Abode says:

    Hmmmmm…Well, I'm a brunette currently with gray roots. With paint, fabric, etc. I'm NOT big on the browns but do love the greys! Maybe you're onto something here Missy. 😉

  • "Yeah, that works..!" says:

    Never occurred to me to make that kind of connection outside of personal wardrobe choices…..hhhmmmm

  • Laura Trevey says:

    What a fun and interesting idea!!
    I have dark brown hair color and I do gravitate towards rich bold colors over the pastels…

    xoxo Laura

  • DL says:

    This is an interesting thread, which leads to a question (maybe one for another topic). People have mentioned asking what color hair a designer has before hiring them, or what is the designer's favorite color. The customer is concerned the designer won't share his/her tastes in color.

    Does a designer work with color, and do so correctly, even if it's not her favorite? Does a designer adapt her color suggestions according to the style of the house and the tastes of the homeowner? I'm assuming Maria does this, right?

    For example, my house is a 1917 Arts & Craft, with natural woodwork. I wouldn't be able to use the same shades of bright that someone with painted woodwork can use.

    How would I choose a designer?

  • Donna says:

    Hi Maria, My hair color is brown and I love autumn colors. I think it is possible that we all might care more for colors that are part of our natural palette, be it winter, summer, spring or fall. I've always felt odd that I don't always decorate in colors that 'go with what I wear.' I worried that maybe I should.

    Sorry I haven't been by lately. If you have seen my blog recently, I'm painting and renovating like crazy..but sadly, not on my own house, but my father's. There is no internet service at his place so I don't get lots of computer time. I've come back to my aunt's exhausted pretty much every day. We'll be home this Wednesday night.


  • Tricia says:

    Interesting question. I have done three whole house rehabs and changed the decor many times in the 33 years I have lived in this house. Not once have I used yellow anywhere. I have used the mustard version if that qualifies. Yes, I'm a brunette although there is some gray in the mix now. It's not that I don't like the yellow I see used in the design photos, I just don't gravitate to it for myself. Now I have a reason. It's because I'[m not a blonde.

  • Belinda says:

    Never thought about it like this. I am natural blond and my favorite color is purple. Yellow is actually my least favorite color. I do like gray, green, and blue in the right tones. Looks like I gravitate toward cool colors. But I never wear purple clothes or gray, hmm. Don't wear yellow at all. I do like darker pink color clothing but nothing in my home is that color.


  • Sussi says:

    I'm blond and I love a creamy yellow.
    No, I don't use the color on my wall
    but I'm drawn to it as a background color in fabric.

  • Red River Interiors says:

    Interesting post..good comments too. I do lots of color consults and love doing them. I was recently called back on a job I did a year ago. I'm happy to know the colors I'd chosen then were beautiful.I didn't remember what I recommended but my friend, the drapery fabricator, said the client loved the colors and wanted me back to do color for the rest of the house.I had used shades of soft gray/green in a mid-tone. To continue the house I chose mid tone base neutrals for the family room and library to punctuate red fabrics….Like anything once you're taught and gain experience with color selection,the better you become at it…Fay

  • Caroline says:

    Hmm…my hair is dark brownish red and my favourite colours normally side with the warmer colours like burnt orange. I loved this post because it made me think of how I realized that my husband looks great in our living room because his ginger hair, blue eyes and pale skin go with the color scheme. It''s now truly 'his room.'

    In general though I think people look great in clothes that go with their hair colour. People always give me an odd look when I tell them I love an outfit because it goes so well with their hair and skin tone. Must be the former makeup artist, once fashion design major in me 🙂…love this post!

  • chanteusevca says:

    That's an intriguing idea that our hair color may affect the colors we are drawn to for our homes. I have dark brown hair with some red and caramel tones in it naturally, (and a little gray naturally if I tell the truth! lol) with dark brown eyes and fairly pale skin. But I am not drawn to dark brown on my walls or sofas or anywhere else for that matter other than dark wood flooring and a few other pieces of furniture. I love turquoise and various other shades of blue, reds, yellows, oranges and some bright greens. Maybe it has more to do with the colors we look best wearing? I love wearing neutrals with pops of bright colors. And I guess that's what is about to happen in our house with our remodel/redecorating. We're going with dark floors, white sofas and pops of bright colors for accents. Bascially the colors that I would wear and feel confident and beautiful wearing I want in my home now. It's been an interesting discovery for me to realize this. However, I am still struggling with wall color because I crave the colors Maria specifies when there is more natural light available in rooms. So right now we are working to achieve more light in certain rooms so I can use the colors I want. Crazy, I know! But I'm determined!

  • LiveLikeYou says:

    Hair color is one of the main deciding factors when it comes to clothing. I think people's hair color and skin tone definitely affects the color they choose for their walls. Never thought of it before-but that's a keen observation!

  • Anne Lubner Designs says:

    My hair is dark brown but my favorite color in my own home is fresh yellow. I seriously love all colors except for mustardy yellow and the only colors I never wear are yellow and green.

  • Jennifer, Inside Out Colour and Design says:

    That's too funny. I don't think I could say the colours I choose relate to my hair colour. I have lots of different colours in my house and lots of different colours on my clients' walls. And I don't match their walls to their hair colour either. I could never understand how any designer could operate if they didn't have an excellent understanding of colour and how it reacts in different situations and combinations. That's why I had to do both Colour Consulting and Interior Designing qualifications together, not one or the other. They go hand in hand. Colour consultants rule!!!!

  • Aurora Vanderbosch says:

    What an intriguing idea! I'm a coppery redhead with green eyes and white skin with pink and blue undertones…and my favorite color is hands down, a deep, forest green with a hint of blue in it. In terms of color palettes, I'm drawn to jewel tones–I can't abide pastels or light colors, and I loathe, to the depths of my soul, reds and oranges, with yellows coming in pretty high on the "ooo, gross!" list, too.

    I've always consciously chosen to decorate in colors that flatter me–so I always go for cooler colors. As a portrait photographer, I know that clients will almost always choose images that are warmer, over cooler images–but I have to force myself to keep my images warm, due to my strong "cool" bias. (And unless I make a conscious effort, green will almost always wind up in my images. Just can't help it! ;))

  • Susan says:

    I don't think hair color affects our favorite colors. I am blonde and have always loved the bright bold colors and the deep rich greens and burgundys. I have worked on expanding my color palate over the past few years but my favorites still stand.

  • Michelle says:

    I always found that it was more skin tone – meaning that if I wouldn't wear it chances are it wouldn't make it on my wall or in my decor. I've had to work hard to embrace anything with a yellow undertone or warm tones – it has never been that I don't like them I just have always tended to gravitate to cool tones…kind of a subconscious thing – lol

  • Nicole Hough says:

    Interesting thought! I'm s brunette and I gravitate towards warm greys, orange and reds and warm browns and blues. Not so much towards greens and yellows- in fact my Feng shui consultatnt told me to stay away from greens bc they will make me naseous and they really kind of do unless they are on the bluer side. I guess I should have asked her what made her say that. Maybe it was my hair color!

  • Nikole says:

    I'm a brunette and purple is my favorite color but, I love to decorate my home in deep reds, browns with accents of turquoise and greens.

  • Nichole@40daysof says:

    This is SO interesting. I'm a brunette with natural red highlights. Red has been my favorite color for a long time. But green and blue are running a very close second right now. And I do have two very large yellow rooms, too. I didn't actually pick the yellows, but they were two that I didn't change when we moved in because I actually liked them.

    Also, even though I love red, I've never had red walls.

  • Laurie says:

    Very interesting.

    I am a blond,and I have really never liked the color yellow until very recently. I love blues in all forms and love red and white as well.

    I am guessing that hair and complexion have a role in colors you wear and gravitate towards.

  • Kathryn says:

    Yes!!! People always laughed when I told people my favourite colour was green because it brought out the red in my hair.

  • proudgrits11 says:

    How funny!!! And interesting! I thought about this….and I'm a brunette with brown eyes and fair skin. I can be "cool" OR "warm" so I get to play with colors! I get compliments when wearing green, turquoise, hot pink, blue and even brown–all colors I love to decorate with, too!! Funny, I love many different color schemes–probably because I've been able to "wear" all the different color schemes, too!
    VERY insightful!

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