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About meExterior Colour

How to Use your Wardrobe to find the Perfect Exterior Colour

Looking for exterior colour combinations that aren’t boring? It could be as easy as putting an outfit together. Here’s some inspiration to get you started.

Decorating Den Conference Speaker

Last week I was flown down to New Orleans to lead a breakout room for the annual Decorating Den Conference. 

My sister Anita came with me to take some videos and then we spent the rest of the week shopping and eating the fabulous food.

And,  I snapped many photos of the colourful exteriors in New Orleans!

There were so many charming colour combinations that were unexpected and inspiring.

And it clarified an insight that’s been landing for me lately, especially as I’ve been experimenting with dressing in more colour – putting together an outfit is not all that different from coming up with a pretty colour scheme for your exterior. 

The brand new module I added to my Exterior Masterclass is all about ideas for bypassing neutrals and adding happy colour to your exterior. Not only does it show many of my favourite non-neutral colours for exteriors, but it also helps you determine whether colour is an option for your house and how to get it right.

Outfit-Inspired Exterior Colour Combinations

Great colour for most exteriors is as simple as a good outfit combination.

So if you’re thinking about adding colour to your exterior to get away from the sea of black and white in your neighbourhood, consider looking in your closet for a good colour combination.

Pin on Moda

Suburban Faux pas

Muted pink and greys are so pretty together in fashion and also look amazing here on this building. Better than pink and black which would be harsh with such a soft colour.

Yellow and turquoise are a good colour combination for the beach! 

Bright medium turquoise lovely dress with bright yellow plan coat and red cute pumps | Fashion, Clothes, Outfits


And look at it here looking so much happier than black, grey or beige.

Best Outfits With Yellow Top on Stylevore


Anita and I took a walking tour of the garden district and the tour guide said she called this exterior the butter house. Yellow and green together definitely have a garden feeling.


Kate Middleton

Burgundy and sage greens or purples and sage greens are a more sophisticated complimentary colour scheme that works well for exteriors. 


Violet and coral are such a lovely unexpected colour scheme!

And of course, the southern Haint blue ceilings were everywhere! Notice the columns were different on the upper and lower balconies here.

My sister Anita and I had some fabulous bonding time together on our trip! 

Check out the brand new Module in my Exterior Masterclass available here.

“Helped me a lot with my new “modern prairie” build. I got rid of the stone, even though almost everyone in my mountain town uses it. I tested a lot of colors (online renderings and then actual samples because way up north our colors are more yellow). I ended up with BM HC126 Avon Green on the first level, BM 940 Ancient Oak on the second level and center “tower”, and all the trim.

The windows, foundation cover, and flat roof fascia and soffits are dark bronze, and the pitched roof fascia and soffits match the Ancient Oak. Asphalt roof is the weathered wood you recommended. I live in a very mixed style neighborhood from 1960 but with more recent very modern homes. Everyone is painting their homes black, gray or white now (behind the trend), and newer homes are wood and stone. But I get many many compliments on mine.”

And it’s my birthday tomorrow, Wednesday, June 7. 

This year, I want to ask for the same favour as last year:

Will you leave a comment telling me one thing that my work has helped you do? That would be the best birthday present!

It could be building your dream house, or your dreamy timeless kitchen or bathroom. Or your business experienced a transformation after you completed one of my colour workshops.

This is what makes writing Colour Me Happy worth it!

All I ask is that you be specific, and include actual numbers if that’s appropriate. Share your story.

Thanks in advance — and here’s to the best year yet. Cheers!

PS. My exterior painting is in full swing, see my Instagram stories for updates on how it looks every day.

And there’s still time to register into my last Specify Colour with Confidence Workshop this season, June 21 & 22, 2023.

Related posts:

Two Lessons I Learned

The One Thing you Must Do Before Choosing Exterior Colours

10 Tips to Transform Your Exterior


19 pins


  • Angie Gallegos says:

    You really, REALLY helped me to understand color beginning with the aha! moment I had when reading your dirty vs clean colors blog article a few years back. After that I devoured your blog and purchased your ebooks. And then I felt enough courage to tackle my very first mood board and complete the design for my front porch, which you featured on your blog! I am still so flattered! Thank you Maria! Happy Birthday!

  • Eva says:

    After I started reading your blog, I actually started to decorate. Before that, our living room was a grey sofa to sit on, a little coffee table, an embarassingly small painting hanging on a way too large wall and pink drapes, that did not relate to anything, but that I loved looking at. Zero lamps. Two years later, and it is a lovely combination of pink, hot pink and happy yellow, pretty vignettes and as many lamps as I could think of. We love it. Suddenly I can have guests over without feeling a need to apologize! Thank you, Maria! Happy birthday!

  • Jo says:

    Happy Birthday Maria. I’ve been reading your blog for the past 2-3 years and have purchased the colour wheel and both e-books. Your advice has helped me with many choices. The colour wheel helped me choose the right neutral wall colour to go with my neutral pale violet gray tiled floor, which hah been painted cream by the previous owner. I knew it didn’t work but didn’t understand why until I found you. More importantly I have renovated my bathroom using many of your tips, from using white metro style tiles to having wall lights either side of the mirror. I’m super pleased with how it turned out. Thank you

  • Kim H says:

    Dear Maria. I’m getting married today, on your birthday. 🙂 I can’t encapsulate succinctly just how much your work has helped me. There’s too much to say. But I’m just finishing my first post-TCE room and it’s the first one in the house that lets me breathe freely. I think that says it all. (Thankfully I found you before I started the kitchen.)

  • Limo says:

    Happy birthday! I put in the IKEA kitchen in sage green, walls in light yellow and the floor in larch, that looks red-yellow-brown. Only in the bathroom I have black, because we have railroad tracks at the ceiling. The house is from 1920 and the poor owners used everything they could get. All the walls are yellow and the outside will be yellow too. I avoided any grey, beige and stark white. I know I can buy bold curtains and paint used furniture in any happy colour, because its cheap to redo it. Upstairs I have a lot of wood, soft white floor, muted red and blue furniture. Again no grey, beige, black or stark white. A friend sent me the colour wheel to Germany and I just didnt use any colour of the palette. So I didnt have to worry about undertones 😃 Thank you for your help 🥰

  • Bonita O'Neill says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have followed your blog since almost the beginning. It has taught me not to be afraid of colour both in my clothes, knitting and decorating. I tend to look at undertones a lot.

  • Lesley Brosick says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I just found you a few months ago but-timing is everything! -it was at the beginning of my kitchen renovation.
    Countless times I have replayed the post where you say stick to classic finishes and you will love your kitchen forever!
    And I did it: white subway tile, brushed nickel hardware, marble-style quartz countertops, white cabinets. We are in the home stretch now and adding color to the walls.
    It’s a big expense and scary to choose all the things.
    So, so glad I found you! Thank you.

  • Suzanne Allen says:

    Like other commenters, I’ve followed you for years and have purchased everything you’ve published. During that time, we’ve redecorated three houses, including one total gut renovation. I cannot tell you the the amount of time, money, and angst you’ve saved us, not to mention marital spats! My husband has an excellent intuitive eye for color and strong opinions. In the few instances that we’ve disagreed, I was able to explain why. I have to say he didn’t always back down and when he didn’t, I ended up pleased because he was able to see something that I couldn’t. Thank you for everything you do, Maria, and happy birthday. Love, love, love New Orleans!

  • Ann Dowie says:

    A very Happy Birthday, Maria!

    We are at the tail end of a complete refresh of the 1890s home that we have lived in for the past 40 years and your “10 Finishes That Will Immediately Date Your New Build” appeared in my Instagram feed. I was hooked from the first reel! I moved on to your “Trendy or Timeless” series, followed up by “10 Ways to Screw Up Your Renovation”. We are on the same page in terms of wanting to create a timeless home that we will love forever and I know that finding you was not a coincidence. I immediately signed up for the blog, follow you on all the various platforms, ordered your color wheel and am confidently moving forward in the “green gray” of it all. In my car I keep a sample bag of all of the finishes we have in our home, along with your color wheel, so I don’t leave home without it, it is invaluable.

    Thank you for the gift you have given us all with your candor, knowledge, expertise, generosity and sense of humor. Many, many happy returns 🙂

  • Maryanne says:

    After taking numerous color classes in both undergraduate and graduate school, no class has equaled the simplicity and the ease of comprehension your color concept offers
    From a design stand point it is Brilliant!
    I would recommend it to any designer looking to better understand color and why certain choices are better than others.
    Have a wonderful birthday
    mwhite design

  • Carol H says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!! I found your site during COVID, we were going to work, but could not do anything on the weekends. I wanted to update our kitchen, but ended up updating our entire house top to bottom. You really helped with the “BOSSY” elements in our kitchen/home, like the granite/backsplash/floors etc. From there, it was picking paint colors to go with existing hard surfaces. Your website/instagram helped so much!! It has been an invaluable service. I learned things I never even thought about while painting/decorating our home for the last 28 years. We are now on our exterior, and like you, it’s busy, stone/stucco/etc. I can’t wait to see what colors you picked and how it transforms your beautiful home. Have an amazing birthday!

  • Jodi D says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! You have taught me so much about color and how to use it in my home. Your Instagram posts have helped me understand the color theory and how easily mistakes in decorating can be avoided. I appreciate your kindness and effort to always reach out and answer questions. I think your Instagram posts in bringing decorating from the “past” to “present”, helps those of us who are on a budget decorate our homes. I have bought several of your products and have enjoyed them immensely ❤️

  • Kirsten says:

    After taking your Specifying Color With Confidence course, I immediately knew the real reason my living room bothered me. It was NOT the wall color (which had been about 5 different shades at that point!). The problem was the décor featured nearly all the neutral undertones in your system, none of which related to our bossy brick fireplace.

    Thanks to you, my husband can no longer tease me that the inside of our house is actually getting SMALLER because it’s been painted so many different colors. Thanks, Maria!

  • Jenny Golay says:

    Happy birthday! 3 key things from you that have helped me are: 1) Select a sofa in a color that’s loved 2) select paint color after decor, and 3) use large paint samples that can be moved around. I’m a Gemini, too, and am much more indecisive than you so I still struggle with “pulling it all together” and especially admire your clarity of vision. Many thanks for sharing your creativity and insights in your enthusiastic, relatable, and, yes, colorful way!

  • Donna Thibodeau says:

    When we bought our house, I knew nothing about undertones and put a mix in our bathroom with the beige tub different than the tile and floor. I knew it didn’t look right but lived with it. When I learned about undertones from you and needed a new counter for the vanity, I learned how to get the mixed undertones to relate to each other through the countertop and wall paint colors and accessories. Now the tub is not noticeable and looks intentional. Thank you!

  • Kelly Wiens says:

    Happy day and all the best on this next trip around the sun!
    I found your blog one day and hopped from post to post and realized just how much you have to share! I am a COLOUR person (watercolour artist) – and sometimes need to pull back. But I’m excited to be building our house in SW Ontario in an old neighbourhood. It will have Van Deusen blue siding with a Stuart Gold front door, Chantilly white trim and windows, and a dark shingle roof.
    The single biggest thing I’ve learned is putting together idea boards on google slides. It has allowed me to confirm choices ahead of time, and to find some options I may not have considered before (brass reading lights in our bedroom!). I’m also looking forward to a haint blue ceiling in the living room…

  • Teresa Tomas says:

    Your blog is wonderful. I have learned to go with the classic look for kitchens and baths. During Covid lockdown we updated a oak kitchen where we painted the cabinets white and replaced the countertop with a white faux marble look countertop. I have applied what I have learned from your blog to my personal house and my rentals. Plus, I am more educated about colors.

  • Lisa T says:

    My favorite “Maria” moment was when I chose a clean grout for my new penny tile bathroom floor. The renovated bathroom is light and bright in classic timeless finishes now. But! To make matters even worse, the contractor installed a pink beige threshold next to a yellow beige carpet. The adjoining hall was kilim beige. The temporary fix was to find a clean / dirty bath rug and paint the hall creamy white. This spring, we replaced the carpet and threshold with a light LVP that Maria had written about. Gorgeous! And married well.

  • Trudy says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!
    The colors you recommended for my living/dining rooms, hall and bedroom were perfect. Also, I would have never thought to use green as an accent color but it works! I also learned a lot from your buying online course. Making mood boards really helps. I applied what I’ve learned from you in choosing colors for my patio. The red/tan/black combo complements the brick in my home. Red is not a color I would normally consider. Thank you!❤️

  • Pam Hesse says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I stumbled onto your blog through a friend who follows you. I’m a full time realtor and it has helped me personally and professionally. I haven’t purchased any of your products YET. When I redo my exterior then I will jump all in. I found your blog about 1 month after painting my exterior:(
    I have replaced my master bathroom vanity using your timeless advice, added in more lamps and painted my kitchen cabinets using large color samples. You are a color rock star! It’s refreshing that color is making a comeback! I can’t tell you the amount of yuck grey LVT we have in our market! It’s awful and so expensive to redo. How did that trend gain so much steam????

  • Robin says:

    Happiest Birthday to you Maria. Enjoy your special day surrounded by everything and everyone you love. 💖
    UNDERTONES! You have changed my world and taught me all about the importance of undertones. I see color 🎨 in a whole new way thanks to you. I will neverrr unsee it lol. That may be a blessing or a curse…😂
    Seriously though, I’ve taken your course and loved every minute of it. I should probably take it again. I’m still a work in progress and continue to learn and keep educating myself. It has helped me so very much as a store decorator/designer and I can’t thank you enough. Obviously in my personal life as well. And those of my family and friends. I teach them what you have taught me. And tell them all about you.
    I’ll never forget the pink beige battle that you engrained in our heads 😂. I was a crusader for a bit on that one lol. LOL.
    So many times I say to myself, “Sure wish Maria lived closer…” 😂😘.
    Thank you again for an amazing ride in the world of color.colour.
    – Robin

  • WendyK says:

    I’ve been following you for years, since close to the beginning of your blog, and I cannot even quantify how much I have learned. Besides wanting my home to look its best, I have a number of creative hobbies and there are creative aspects to my (non interior design-related) job as well, so understanding undertones, clean vs. dirty, etc. has had a surprisingly large impact on my work and on ALL of my hobbies! I am much more confident in color choices, even with unusual yet harmonious color combinations, and color has brought me so much joy, especially during the pandemic. Have a very happy birthday, and keep up the great work! We have some major renovations in our future, so you know I will continue to follow your advice.

  • Ellie says:

    It was opening my eyes to undertones in neutrals for me. Suddenly I was seeing why things weren’t looking quite right. And the other thing was your talking about clean and dirty colours. Those two things have helped me create a more visually harmonious home. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention my timeless white kitchen😁

  • Nancy says:

    Maria – Happy Birthday!!

    I’ve learned so
    Much from you .I’ve gotten your white is complicated , your color book and the wheel .
    I’ve followed you for a long time .
    To mention one thing among many I’d have to say … undertones they are sneaky.
    But your wheel and compare compare then compare some more has been a huge life changer for me .
    Thank you for all you’ve taught us !

  • Debra Landy says:

    Have a wonderful birthday Maria! If anyone is still scrolling through these comments, let me cut to the chase: Maria’s class is. The. Best. Investment. You. Can. Make. PERIOD.
    I had a home staging business and choosing wall colors always meant a trip to my friend at the Ben Moore store. It was such a mystery how the rep came up with the right choice. Maria’s class thought me how to do that.
    I’ve taken other color classes that did not compare. I’ve read Maria’s blog almost from the beginning, was there when she started her Instagram page. It continues to be relevant and interesting even though I have retired my business.
    We cheer you on Maria!!

  • Julie says:

    You haven’t practically helped me yet as we are currently renting, but just as soon as we buy a house and can do whatever we want, I will be putting your practices and tips to use. It’s so incredibly inspiring even if you’re trying to find the right white!!

  • Betsy Cornell says:

    I’ve been following you for years and learning so much. While I haven’t picked up a paintbrush for my house, your concept of varied neutrals has helped me so much in my closet. Tan isn’t just tan, but there are pinky tans and yellow tans. Who knew! As a lover of neutrals in my clothing, I’m putting together better outfits because of you. Thanks and happy birthday!

  • Michelle says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Your work has helped me start a fundamentally awesome business that wouldn’t exist without you. I searched for years for the type of information that you give on colors. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with the world. As I tell so many others, what is the use of having a superpower if you can’t teach people how to use it? Keep on sharing!

  • Temima Goldberg Shulman says:

    Dear Maria,
    I have been following you for eight years now. I don’t even know where to begin. I have learnt so much from your course, the e-books, your blogs, and my own e-consults with you.
    You teach in such an accessible and rational way. My design concept and aesthetic has only improved with your generous and insightful sharing.
    I also appreciate your transparency and vulnerability in your messaging and narratives.
    Here’s to great health and many more joyful years!
    Happy birthday!!
    Temima/Mimi Goldberg Shulman

  • Julie Norval says:

    Happy birthday Maria! This year your work has helped me to discern undertones, inspired me to be artistic again and on a practical note, choose classic off white tile backsplash and white dove paint trim which look amazing in my builder’s grade craftsman style home. Thank you for everything.

  • Karen H. says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! 🦋🌼. Ihave been following your blog for years and have purchased a couple of courses. I have learned so much. Your tips on lighting and lamps have really made a difference in my home. Blessings on your day! xo Karen

  • Alina says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!

    I found your blog right in the nick of time for remodeling my kitchen! You helped me pick cabinet colors and tune into my natural sense of what was right- now I know why! I absolutely cannot recommend you enough- so happy to see your success over the last couple of years. And on a very personal note, when you showed your flipper on ig stories, it made me feel so much more confident and proud of mine. I hope you have a wonderful day!!

  • Melissa S says:

    Happy Birthday! Virtually every surface of my home built in 2020 was influenced by your knowledge! From the timeless subway tile and hex tile in our bathrooms, to the green gray paint and trim color….down to the colorful blue exterior with complex cream trim! The exterior module saved us, even in shingle color alone – after fighting my hubby over not wanting the dated gray.
    It’s just so wonderful that you are so willing to share your knowledge so freely and thoughtfully! The blog alone holds a wealth of information. And I want to say thank you!

  • Sherry says:

    Happy birthday Maria! I’m glad you were born. Your advice helped us design a timeless bathroom with white finishes and our dream walnut vanity cabinets. We are eager to decorate with color instead of being restricted to boring towels and rugs if we had chosen a busy tile!

  • Rachel says:

    Happy Birthday!! Of course you’ve helped me understand undertones, and how to choose neutrals based on your existing hard finishes, but what I’m most grateful for is the nudge your advice gave me when my heart wanted colorful sofas. I now have twin raspberry pink sofas and LOVE them.

    I’m thankful for you and the work you do.

  • Vicki Young says:

    My readership of your blog predated you selling your awesome paint samples so I had to pay a pretty penny for interior colors AND paint my boards myself. I even wrote a complimentary note and you posted it as a testimonial that they are invaluable!

    When we did the outside, I was limited to Home Owner Association approved colors, so I again had to paint my own boards but followed your sage advice. My house turned out incredible, thanks to your generous sharing on your blog.

    We needed to repipe the house and I love my Maria suggested color tones so much that I repainted the same green beige tones in most rooms, 12 years later. I just introduced a friend to your blog as well…and now she KNOWS why she chose well.

    Bless you, Maria, for sharing your eyes, heart and soul to the world! Happy BIRTHDAY, Maria!

  • stephanie says:

    I finished you Exterior class – it was so good! I was able to nail our color and understand why it worked! It also guided me in helping me know where I was off in my thinking with color and why! Seeing life through undertones! Now I’m off to figure out my interior! Also bought the color wheel and LOVE IT!

  • Christine McTague says:

    What??? Beige and white have undertones!

  • Jenny E says:

    I have learned so much from your blog. Including why my kitchen countertop and backsplash tile look awful together (besides the fact they were literal both last minute decisions caused by a horrid contractor) – the undertones are completely different. My color wheel made it so obvious! When I redo those items, I will put in white subway tile and know how to pick a countertop that relates to the rest of the room. I should find out the undertone of my cats’ hair and decorate around that. 😉

    I enjoy seeing your readers’ questions and how people work around things they cannot change. I’m absorbing ideas and information and use them when making new purchases. No major redecorating in my future, unfortunately. Thank you, Maria! And happy birthday!

  • Ton says:

    I never could adequately describe why I didn’t like pot lights until I found your posts!! I went through all your references, did a lot more research, and was able to find so many other beautiful alternatives that I am now putting into my renovation. You saved me from adding all these ugly and unnecessary potlights in my home. THANK YOU!!

  • Lorri says:

    Maria, I was thrilled when you said to get upholstery in one’s favorite colors!

    It confirmed a new thought I had.

    Second favorite thing would be the “clean” vs “dirty” color comparison.

  • Lisa says:

    Happy Birthday! I have not taken any classes from you, however I enjoy following you on Instagram. A nugget from you, is that the garage door should match the exterior of the house 🙂

  • Liz says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I’ve always had an eye for color. You gave me the terminology to explain what was right or wrong to people who don’t have that same gift. Thank you for that! And for “boring now equals timeless later,” and even more thanks for “ugly is always on sale.”

  • cyd says:

    Happy birthday, Maria. Your blog has put into words what my brain/eye has been telling me. When decorating and renovating I’ve avoided my well-meaning friends who can’t see undertones. It’s like we’re from different planets. But thanks to you, I can stand firm in what I know. Knowing the “why” is so important.

  • Sandy says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!!!

    Just checked my emails. I have 1369 email correspondence with you. I started to learn from your blog way back in 2012. I had my first color consultation with you the same year for my first kitchen reno and I understood the value that your expertise in color brought to select all of the finishes from cabinets, to flooring, to backsplash tiles and counter tops in order to ensure a timeless design. I took another course on Renovate with Confidence in 2014 that has helped me to confidently select the finishes on a church addition and for the kitchen of my new build. Both of which turned out so beautiful with undertones considered and again timeless designs. Finally, I was able to meet with you and Terreeia and team for formal TCE training in 2017 in Vancouver. This training has enabled me to apply the concepts, keeping me on top of trends and the confidence to explain the why to 7 projects with friends and family so far and again the results were beautiful and timeless. Maria your system just works!!

    Thank you for your generous efforts to introduce us not only to the difficult world of neutrals but also to get excited about colors now. Yayyyy!!

  • Julie S says:

    Re: exteriors, we live in an area with a lot of metal roofs in limited colors. Our home has a newer roof unfortunately in a burgundy color, purplish-brown, ugh! When we re-side soon I think it will have to be toast-brown or medium blue (darker than denim but not fully navy). You showed a burgundy and sage home – someone else in town has the same burgundy roof and painted the stucco sage green but it’s not great- the green looks rather sickly.

  • Danielle Ashley says:

    Maria, I’m just a housewife, homeschool grandma that was going nuts about why my recently white painted un decorated great room was reading green. You posted a comment on another blog which led me to search you out and, after devouring your blog posts, realized that the green was just an early spring seasonal issue that decorating and lamps would resolve. I’ve never decorated anything ever. I now superficially understand undertones (never cared before but should have) and can’t unsee them. I had already purchased my neutral couches and was waiting for them to come in and was tortured by what possible undertones they were going to be when they showed up. I did everything backward including the rug was purchased last. I have since purchased color boards, ebooks, color wheels, online course and now just purchased exterior color consultation. I stress over every purchase and always have buyers remorse even if it works out. Lol. Hubby is a stained wood lover and I have to work around that.
    This summer Hubby wants to remove our stained wood siding and replace with siding we can paint. I panicked and bought the exterior package consult to hopefully get in Maria’s suggestions before cladding and colors are picked for a ranch style home.
    Now just have to clean up around the house before I can send in exterior pics. Lol
    Your explanation of timeless classics speaks to me.

  • Lauren says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! So many of your wise blog posts have helped me, but these 3 come to mind as most valuable:
    1. Buy a sofa in your favorite color (or just, don’t buy the neutral sofa in the showroom)! Boy was that fabulous advice you don’t see ANYWHERE else.
    2. Don’t be seduced by all the wild tile choices 🙂 (Although I did go with a pretty subway tile in blue for my kitchen backsplash, the cabinets are white!)
    3. Go with a pale or medium brown hardwood floor- saw that one just in time a few years back!
    Thanks a million for all the practical advice over the years, Maria. Very happy for your much-deserved success and wishing all the best in the coming year!

  • Joanna Miller says:

    Happy BIRTHday!🎉🎉🎉
    Mine is in 23 days but I’m 2 years older than you. Gen Xers🙌🏽! This is going to be long but stick with me…I will give you an answer at the end. My answer will not be exactly what you’re asking for but I hope it will still be an encouragement to you. I’m not a designer, not building a house or renovating one. I am (slowly) trying to update my 2 grown daughters’ bedrooms. My husband & I have been empty nesters for 4 years. But chronic health problems have kept me from being able to do much. I have chronic pain and Dysautonomia which has a myriad of symptoms. Besides being in pain everyday, I have brain fog, fatigue, memory problems, insomnia and more. I have been ill for10 years. I’ve been working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner since January and have been getting answers to why I’ve had worsening symptoms and I’m starting to have a little improvement!!! But I’m still too ill to work or leave the house much.
    So how has your work helped me?!? You’ve brought joy and laughter into my days! On particularly hard days when I can barely get out of bed, your stories, posts and reels brighten my day! I love color (no gray in our home and very little black🤣) and I love your style! Also, you and I have similar personalities so I totally get you, girl! Every morning I look forward to seeing what Maria is up to, progress on your house, if you’re going to have a funny video and what you’re going to teach your followers! So while your work is meant to help people create homes they love, for at least one person you’re also helping them in a different but very meaningful way. Thank you for all you do and being so accessible to your followers! Love and hugs from Mississippi!💗
    Hope you have a grand day!🥳

  • Laura says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!! Wishing you lots of happiness and love (and total enjoyment of your new home) this year 🙂 Can’t wait to see the finished painting job. I’m sure it’ll look exquisite. You have taught me so much, but the #1 piece of advice is your “timeless” posts and if you do subway tile and hardwood floors in a timeless color, you will never know when the kitchen or bathroom was installed. 2000 or 2023.

  • Pattie Campbell says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! Since I started following you, I look at things in my home, in a whole new way and have some decorating rules that I follow thanks to you. I just did two major bath renovations, a guest bath and a master bath. Because of you, I stuck to classic and timeless choices, even when people were pushing me to look at the fancier tiles, or pick the trendy colored vanity. I’m thrilled with my classic and timeless bathrooms. “Boring now equals timeless later.” What I love most about you is that you’re not afraid to give some rules and opinions. It’s refreshing and very helpful to people like me.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Happy birthday! You share the day with my brother. I discovered your blog in time to avoid a deadly mistake painting my office. I knew I wanted it to be yellow. I had purchased curtains that would set the tone for the decor. I loved Farrow & Ball’s Citron and bought a small pot to try on the wall. Turns out it was ghastly. I then read your post on yellows and was able to select the perfect shade (Benjamin Moore Sweet Cream). Reading all about yellows was an eye opener. Thank you!

  • Karen says:

    A Very Colorful & Happy Birthday to You, Maria! My first exposure to undertones in color was way back in the day when “I had my colors done” to determine my Season. Ever since then, I can’t help but try to determine the undertone of everyone’s skin. For decades, I have applied those principles in my wardrobe. It has made putting outfits together and packing for trips so much easier. Now, thanks to your class and your wonderful Color Wheel, I can apply the principles of undertones and color coordination in my home. Seven years ago, we bought a Tudor home with forest green carpet throughout…which I love, by the way. I am so happy to see green and coordinating colors popping up everywhere these days. You have been a blessing to me and my decorating choices! Thank you.

  • Rory Vanlandingham says:

    Happiest of birthdays to you, Maria! I have followed you since 2010 when I was planning a kitchen remodel. Your classic and timeless aesthetic spoke to my soul. Since then I have taken every course including the 2-day virtual last fall after moving into our new-to-us home and making color choices all over again. Thanks to you, I was able to confidently pick a neutral paint color for multiple connecting rooms that did not clash with the kitchen countertop. I have always done all the painting myself, so it was a huge undertaking and the color needed to be right the first time. 🤪 You’ve saved me money, time, and my sanity!

  • Sheree L says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Hope you have a wonderful day and feel so loved! I’ve been following you for years. Thanks to you, I have a lamp in my kitchen, which I never thought to do, but I love it! I also understand some of the past decorating mistakes I’ve made (clean & dirty issues). And I was able to help my son decorate his Manhattan apartment with color (which we both love)! Our home is becoming more beautiful because of all I’ve learned from you. Thank you, Maria!

  • Amy says:

    Your work and education has changed my life. I first discovered you on Pinterest in about 2018 looking for ideas to update my kitchen. I learned so much from your blog, that by the time I renovated the kitchen in 2020 I found myself wanting to help others as well. I have bought pretty much every course or tool you offer including TCE, both business courses, Exterior Masterclass, Online Shopping, e-books, color boards and every version of your color wheel! In January of 2022 I started my side-business as a color consultant and designer, and I haven’t stopped getting clients. It’s been so fulfilling and fun and it’s great to know what I would do if I ever decide to switch careers completely. Happy birthday Maria and thank you for your generosity in sharing your expertise to inspire others!

  • Jadzia says:

    Happy Birthday! OMG you’ve helped me with so much. I’m a homeowner doing renovations. You’ve given me so much more confidence over the years as I’ve learned about color, undertones, creating design/mood boards, trusting the plan, and so much more. My recent bathroom renovation is my favorite room yet. Now I trust myself a lot more to make the right design decisions. Thank you!

  • Glenetta Roberts says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Reading your blog and ebooks just makes me feel more knowledgeable when I give my clients ( I am a Realtor) advice or my husband ( he is a remodeler).
    Someday when I have time – I am going to take one of your classes!

  • Michelle says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! So nice that you could enjoy your wonderful trip to New Orleans with Anita! You and Anita have the same beautiful smile!

  • Pauline Shorter says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I’ve bought your color wheel and ebooks. It helped so much with understanding the beiges and greige. On your blog someone with similar kitchen colors and taupe flooring asked about a wall color. You suggested White Down from Benjamin Moore. I sampled and painted White Down. Well, I love it!!! I love it!! Thank You!!!

  • Fran W. says:

    Wishing you a very happy birthday and a wonderful year ahead, Maria! Your course helped me understand undertones and how they affect everything in a room. And your paint suggestions for my home improved every space!

  • Robin says:

    Happy Birthday!!! I have learned so many things from you but since you said name one thing – I would say boring now equals timeless later is the biggest lesson. Now I notice all of the things in my house I am sick of looking at are busy. I would have never put that together if you hadn’t called it out like that.

  • Jacque says:

    Happy birthday 🎂
    Your color wheel is so helpful!

  • Linda@ Southampton, Ontario says:

    Happy Birthday fellow Gemini — Maria over the years that I”ve been following your work, I’ve utilized and bought many of your products. Once in a while I get ‘stumped’ and have taken advantage of your knowledge on things I”m not sure of. Most recently, if I can have the paint store add some black to the paint I bought, which I initially deemed as “too beige” for the ship-lap boards to go on white walls on my ‘slipper tub’ surround. You gave me some choices and specifically said that if I added ‘black’ to the BM, Revere Pewter, it would render the green undertones even greener. SAVED!
    So, I have started over and placed the large sample board in the bathroom for a few more days to make sure I wasn’t just over-reacting — in that I was ‘seeing’ more brown than gray in the pre-painted boards. Turns out that with another coat and when completely dried, it absolutely matches the fabric of my bedding (light gray and white) a summer coverlet and white sheets. Because it’s an ensuite, both rooms can be viewed from the other, so I wanted them to echo each other from all viewpoints. You are highly valued in my collection of resources. Thanks for your generosity of sharing your experience, knowledge and good intentions.


    • Linda@ Southampton, Ontario says:

      I meant to add the following — we recently moved into a purple house with acid-green trim. I have eliminated the green for now, until I can save up for an exterior paint job (classic white or a blackish green by BM). I just did not plan to keep the purple, even though it fits right in (intentionally by the original architects) with the lakeside style of our little enclave of like homes (on Lake Huron). I was told that it would grow on me, and my husband replied that “we don’t have that kind of time.”

      Anyway, I want you to know that your current posting that compares fashion (what’s in your closet) with exteriors of homes that reflect certain combinations of colour, illustrated a purple home with a colour (pink/coral?) that I’ve been seriously considering, but on a white exterior. I like this example and am now re-thinking the purple… it sure would save us a lot of money. Hmmmmm… another big thanks for what you do, Maria.. make this birthday a really special one – just because you deserve to celebrate YOU.

  • Rachael B says:

    Happy Birthday! You’ve helped me with several things, but probably the biggest thing is not to pick my paint color first! (Which I was doing.) You recently helped me mix metals in my new bathroom renovation! I chose polished chrome for the wet fixtures, and brushed gold for the mirror and vanity knobs and accents. It looks great, too. Thank you!

    • Linda@ Southampton, Ontario says:

      Oooh I like that idea too.. I’ve been considering mixing metals in my new ensuite and have already purchased the ‘wet’ fixtures but have been considering black matte or un-lacquered brass for the vanity, towel bars/rings, etc. Glad I read this before signing out.. thanks.

  • Suzanne M says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have been following you for several years now, since we moved into our current home. I feel that you have confirmed in words (and images) many thoughts I have always had about undertones. I have always avoided pink beige because it felt wrong with the tones in my homes and your colour wheel helped me to understand why. I chose a green beige greige for most of my walls and haven’t tired of it – would use the same colour again. But the most important thing is “boring now equals timeless later”. I live by this mantra. When choosing my kitchen and bathroom finishes I stuck to this and haven’t regretted anything. I don’t let anyone talk me into anything I’m not comfortable with. We receive many compliments on our home. It’s very calming, suits us, and will be easy to update as time goes by, without a major overhaul. Thank you!

  • Dani says:

    Maria, you have given me so much inspiration and guidance in crafting my color expertise and building my confidence for my customers. You are an multi-dimensional inspiration from your craft to your business to your personality! With unique and helpful insights, you have made color less complicated and helped me so much to be able to confidently and clearly specify color that in ways that are HELPFUL to my clients! You are a gem and we are so incredibly thankful for YOU!

  • Susan S says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! Through the years of reading your blog, the two biggest lessons are how to differentiate undertones easily and dirty vs. clean colors. You’ve also been so generous with your expert knowledge and time in explaining and showing copious examples. Thank you!
    Blessings to you and yours, Maria.

  • Mandy M. says:

    Okay, because it’s your birthday, and I’m feeling generous, you gave me the confidence to launch my interior design company and to specify color like a NINJA! I have never made color mistake because of my own intuitive skills coupled with the confidence in your undertone system, which I have learned from you. Maria, you are a handful (take it a compliment) and you talk A LOT, but it is absolutely okay because you KNOW what you are talking about!!!! Your confidence and success has inspired countless other designers, decorators, stagers and design enthusiasts to take control over their projects and their lives. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Maria Killam!

  • I’m a colour consultant myself, but not for buildings, for people (ie I advise people on clothing) so I am already fascinated by and obsessed with colour! I love reading the way you apply colour principles to a different medium, Maria, and I love reading your articles.

    In particular, reading what you had to say about choosing whites for dark rooms versus rooms with lots of natural light, has been super helpful. I’m part way through a bathroom renovation and I have put your advice on choosing whites to excellent use. I’m very excited with the result.

    Thank you for being as excited about colour as I am and for writing such great articles!

  • Norine says:

    Hap py Birthday, Maria,
    I do not think I can tell you exactly what I learned, but I have been absorbing like a sponge. I have painted a few walls the wrong color in my day. You did a living room color package for me that is still working – seven years later. Boring now, timeless later works for me. Picking carpet before the furniture and wall colors is excellent too. Slow but steady.
    Thanks for all you do.

  • Sue says:

    Happy Birthday.

    All that I have learned from your master class, books, exterior class, blog, etc. I share with my friends and family. It is just great to be able to help them make better choices and have lovelier homes. I even did the interior of a church and it turned out great! Of course I applied all that you have taught me to my newly remodeled home. I nailed it!

    Thank you.

  • Nancy Markon says:

    I believe I was leaving New Orleans just as you arrived. It was my first trip, and I also photographed the happy, colorful home exteriors. Looks like you may have been staying near Canal and Chartres, too. Hope you enjoyed NOLA as much as I did. BTW, if you could use an abstract landscape for your new home, there’s an amazing piece by Noah Desmond called “Ocean Eyes” (48″ x 48″) at the Maison Royale gallery. The gallery owner showed me that when the light in the room dims, it also appears that the sun is setting in the painting! As a color specialist, you’d no doubt appreciate (and possibly be able to explain) how this might have been done. Here’s the link:

  • Tamara Gonzalez says:

    Happy birthday!!!!

    I have been following you from almost the beginning, and you have been so much help to me in two houses. This includes the green and white section of my garden, which is my favorite and the one section I chose myself. .

    Right now I am actually remodeling my kitchen after one the H’s customers offered to do custom cabinets for us. This gentleman is truly a craftsman. I have selected white shaker cabinets, white quartz with some subtle marble graining, white subway tile and medium brown LVT. It’s a tiny kitchen that I will get to do once, so I am keeping it simple. The beautiful range hood will be the focal point. You are an excellent teacher.

    In the process, so many people talked with me about undertones. I wondered if they have been your followers or maybe even your students.

    Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with all of us.

    P.S. The Amish cabinet makers in my area know your name and “blame” you for all of the white painters kitchens they make. 🙂

  • Janet says:

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for being honest and telling us how you came up with the importance of undertones after That Consultation — the one that started it all all. It’s great to be reminded that practice makes perfect…..and we can start where we are now. Your blog has been so informative. All the best with your new home.

  • Terri says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Hope you’ve had a lovely colorful day!
    I found you because my daughter sent me your link about something we had talked about. I was hooked! I was embarking on a second phase remodel after an Addition to our home and had so many decisions to make. I ordered the wheel and both EBooks and the BM neutral paint boards.
    And the flooring ebook.
    Then our grandson was born and we decided to stop remodel before it started and after reading all your blogs, I quickly knew what we needed to do to sell home. We had put so much off because we were going to remodel. I will now be sure we get it done quickly next time and I feel more confident making good decisions because of the information you have shared through the tools I purchased and reading your blogs and especially wonderful is how you replied to my questions and gave me direction when I needed it. Thank you for your guidance and time, sharing your passion with us! You also make it fun!
    Thank you! Wishing you a beautiful year ahead!

  • DiDi says:

    I was in a fog of regret over hardwood floors whose finish looked “wrong.“ I didn’t want to make another mistake.

    That’s when I found your blog.

    I read every entry of your blog that I could, then got your ebook package and your neutral undertones color wheel.

    Now I feel like I’ve got a superpower! I can walk into a paint store or into a furniture store armed with my list of the house’s undertones, your color wheel and your list of neutrals and whites. It’s so freeing to be able to buy and feel confident it will work. And now I love my floors, which are a pale oak.

    The philosophy you espouse, of timeless design, I have very much taken to heart. Thank you for sharing your talent! 💚🌿

  • Alex says:

    The concept of “clean” vs “dirty “ has helped me understand why some combos just don’t work. Thank you for close to 20 years of beautiful blogs and instruction. Wishing you a wonderful birthday and so happy for your phenomenal success and beautiful new home!

  • Mary says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! What a lovely time of year for a bday, and what a trip! New Orleans AND a sister. What could be better!
    Maria, you have given me the nerve to say “No”, that is NOT the colour I want gracing my 140 + year old family duplex! NO, I do NOT want green, grey, and white just because that is what has always been there.
    I want something inviting, not off putting, thank you.
    YOU and your way of explaining/showing how colours work (yes, with their undertones) have given me the ability to say NO.
    Thank you, and may many, many more birthdays come your way.

  • Sheri Bacigalupo says:

    Timeless!!! Getting ready to move to an older home in desperate need of updating. Keeping timeless as my focus for all of my hard surfaces, am much more confident. I will love my home.

  • Anne-Marie says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!
    The idea of bossy surfaces has been extremely helpful to me in general, but specifically in my kitchen. I have oak cabinets, a pink beige floor, and a countertop with mixed undertones. Since our budget is limited, we can’t change all of these. The “bossy” concept allows me to see how the range of design choices varies depending on which surface we change, so we can make the best trade-offs. Thank you!

  • tracy says:

    After ten years of procrastination, because I couldn’t decide what to do with my kitchen cabinets and how to get them to fit in an existing house, I purchased your “fireplace” and “kitchen plus one other room” packages. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. We were able to remodel our downstairs and love the results!

  • Tiffany says:

    Happy Birthday!!
    You gave me the courage to choose my counter top first, to choose a boring tile and a boring counter. I also had the courage to go with Boeing white cabinets! BUT…
    I wish I would have gotten the color wheel earlier though, it would have prevented a nightmare when the painter used the WRONG white paint color to paint the cabinets. It all worked out in the end but if I could have recognized that it was the wrong color by undertone, it could have been caught sooo much sooner and with so much less expense and drama. Especially for my painter! (I was the contractor)
    BUT alls well that ends well, and it ended well because you gave me courage and confidence to go with timless instead of trendy!
    I’m hoping for my birthday I can take the 2 day course in the fall! 😃

  • Happy birthday beautiful! Hope you had an amazing day.

    Your course helped me so much with my interior design business! In school they teach us about colour ‘theory’ which is almost useless as it doesn’t help us to choose colours that really work with existing elements in the room!
    Your course, along with your large color boards and now your color wheel, are absolutely essential to any interior designer or homeowner!!

  • Sue Barnes says:

    Since I purchased your ebooks I have decorated 3 different homes (ours) and used your advice on paint colors for rooms facing east, west, etc. They have all turned out beautifully, and I have avoided making many mistakes because of your advice! Thank you so much!

  • CJ says:

    I remodeled the kitchen in my last home using many of the tips I’ve learned from you. I had an IKEA off white kitchen, and off white subway tiles as the backsplash. I kept getting comments, as I was doing it, that I could get a much prettier backsplash, but I loved the subway tile. I used colour on the walls. Loved that kitchen. Fast forward to moving during the pandemic. We ended up in a home with the “orange oak” solid wood cupboards and a coordinating backsplash. Now retired, I knew I couldn’t afford to update to the extent of the last home. Using your tips, I had the kitchen/family room combo repainted and decorated around what I have. I am very happy with the results. I can now spot a bad undertone combo and mile away. I have a hard time looking at friends’ homes, newly remodeled, and thinking “I wish they knew about undertones”. I am not a decorator, so they wouldn’t have thought to ask.

  • Becky says:

    I’m helping my mom through a “grandma house” apartment/addition build. There’s no way I could do this without all the “Maria would say…” advice that I spout ALL DAY LONG. My biggest rule for her is: you can have a house you love, or you can have all of the things you love… and end up with a house you don’t like. I also tell her her house is the canvas, her décor and personal stuff is the paint. You don’t add a painting to a canvas that already has a painting on it! (AKA Boring now = timeless later.) Thank you for making those rules so easy to understand and pass on, Maria!

  • Anne Skewes says:

    Have used your interior and exterior “paint color choice” service several times. Each time the color was perfect, especially my Florida house that went from being gold/orange to a calming off- white with perfect aqua front door. Or my husband’s dark wood paneled office (cave) that Maria gave me the nerve to paint over for a much lighter, brighter look. Love having someone help me with paint choice because i draw a blank when deciding on color!

  • Pat Langille says:

    Maria, it’s hard to pick just one thing your blog has done for me. You gave me the info I needed to make hundreds of decisions while building our new home, not just colors but also materials. Your post laying out the order of making choices was crucial and gave me courage! People love our home now and say it looks “designed” (thank you for that!). Now I’m helping make choices for a new classroom and office building for our church and was able to guide choices there as well. And advice, I give advice to friends! All because I’ve studied all your content and purchased your whites ebook and color wheel. I’m so happy to come home to my pretty home and I have you to thanks for that! Mwah!

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