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You finally got to purchase a fresh new sofa, you’re so excited to see it in your room! And then your heart sinks, because although you love it. It looks off.

In fact, the whole room suddenly looks not quite right. NOW WHAT??

Arianna Belle

I recently received this note:

 Maria, I found you after making an expensive upholstery color choice for my new sofa. I’m wondering if I should reupholster it. Before I found you in your world of undertones, I was unable to articulate what the problem was with the new sofa in the room, other than to say it looks gray and brown during the day.

Now I know that many of the undertones in the room are orange based, which I love, but unfortunately the new sofa has taupe undertones. We don’t want to paint the walls right now. They’re painted Benjamin Moore, Devon Creme. And so I’m assuming I need to find an orange beige fabric for the sofa. Is that correct?

Help! I don’t want to make any more expensive mistakes.

Wrong undertone sofa

Click here to see my Colour Rescue solutions for this room over on YouTube!


What’s holding you back?

I’ve been in many, many homes over my 25 year career where people are hanging on to their old and dated rugs because they were really expensive back in the day. But carpet prices have become a lot less precious. 

Now that we can buy them online, it’s a lot easier and more accessible. The traditional looking carpet with lots of heavy black is weighing this room down so that the fresh new sofa and creamy pale walls can not lift.

So if you’re working really hard to make an old “expensive” rug work it’s highly likely that it’s holding you hostage.

I want to give you permission to take a few minutes to imagine what your room could look like if you changed out the rug.

Have a little fun and create a mood board! You’ll learn how easy this is in my Shop Online course.

Because so often you’re working much to hard to make something work that’s just not working.

And it’s much more important to create a room that fills you with joy!

That said, there are ways to work with heavier formal antique rugs as True Colour Expert Erika Ward shows us in this post, 

Read more: How to Beautifully Update your Persian (Oriental) Rug

I created a couple beautiful mood boards for this room, so pop over to the video to see how much fun I had!

Hint: there is an undertone conflict between the wall colour and the sofa, can you tell what it is?

It’s sooo easy to go wrong if you don’t know how to identify the subtle undertone shifts of neutrals! 


Neutrals aren’t Neutral

The whole concept of a “neutral” is supposed to be that “it goes with everything” RIGHT??

You probably know from a similar experience that’s simply not the case. Neutrals can be anything but- well, neutral.

And it’s important to know when COLOUR is the better solution.

What everyone Should Know About Taupe

And throughout the grey trend, the go-to neutral was taupe, because it’s cooler than beige, and warmer than grey. And now, since trends are warming up again from stark black and white, taupe is back before it even left the room.

Home Bunch

What everyone Should Know about Beige

And beige is definitely and officially back. Which means that choosing colour and furnishings just got a lot more complicated than choosing black or white for everything.

Beige Kitchen Cabinet Colour

Prairie Interiors

Not that choosing white was ever as simple as it seems

I think aside from everyone wanting FRESH the reason the white trend took over (HGTV aside) is that it seems simple. Just like black seems like the obvious choice. The truth is, those who know, know that the perfect white is sometimes not even technically white.

This fall I want to give you everything I know about colour

It’s time to say good bye to expensive colour mistakes for good. Sign up today to save your spot in my fall Expert Colour & Design Training. This fall WE’RE BACK IN PERSON! 

Sign up for early bird access to my two live in person dates VANCOUVER and DALLAS. Since we’re together we can continue our conversation by having an evening visit after class!

And I can’t wait to meet you!! We’ll talk about all things colour and decorating. In two days I’ll basically hand you my 25 years plus of experience simply packaged into an easy to learn and use system.

And if you’ve been dreaming about creating a new business in colour, there has NEVER been a better time. Social media provides a platform to reach more potential clients than ever before.

My course is exactly what you need to get started. And you’ll have deeply discounted access to the best colour tools as well as my Business of Colour and Business of eDesign courses to jump start your new career!

Sign up here for all live in person and virtual live dates!

See you this Fall!


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  • LToro says:

    If your rug doesn’t appeal to you anymore and want to take out of the house, please consider donating or selling. We have enough stuff at the landfill as it is ,right now. Well made stuff deserve a second chance at life at someone else’s house, that will love it and enjoy it. Same with everything else.

  • Mineral says:

    Hi Maria, I always love all your ideas. And I totally love your picks where basically everything in the room is new except the paint color. But even the other option seems pretty pricy. If she doesn’t have that much money to spend what would you think of either finding a new lighter rug with the other chair colors in it to unify the room and then throw pillows and to make the sofa work a large throw covering much of it? If even the rug is too expensive to replace bringing in some more black might help?

  • Stevie Regal says:

    The video was a great help in visualizing some possible changes.

    One problem is if you don’t have a ton of money to buy all new furniture and a new rug, then you probably have to repaint? And if the room actually connects to other rooms then the painting becomes a huge project. I wonder if the woman could just get rid of the dated chairs (as you suggested), try to find new rug in coordinating colors, and add pillows? Maybe that would minimize the sofa/paint clash?

    I had problems like that in a bedroom. Finally realized I could swap some of my area rugs around, get rid of the mismatched rug (charities would not take a used rug so I spent a day cutting it up), replaced lamps and pillows, and everything worked well enough. I found a closeout 8×10 rug for $62 I knew would bring the bedding and paint together. No budget to speak of but the result was a heck of a lot better. Of course, this was not the expensive problem a living room brings.

    But I still had to repaint several rooms to get past an early poor paint choice (ha).

    • Sandy says:

      How odd that charities would not take a used rug. I’ve bought rugs at antique malls, thrift stores, and garage sales. Perhaps others looking for a place to re-home rugs rather than send them to the landfill might want to see if an antique dealer, thrift store, or neighborhood garage sale might be an option.

  • Glor says:

    I donated a very high quality Persian rug that no longer fit my new space to a church conference center. They were thrilled with the donation and it was a tax write off for me plus I love knowing that my rug is at a special place with personal history.


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