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Here’s what happens when I don’t follow my own advice when shopping online for home decor. And, some easy online shopping tips so this doesn’t happen to you too!

My mom’s new sunroom reveal is coming soon — I’m still waiting for the grasses I planted around the perimeter of her sunroom to grow tall before I get photos taken.

See these silver Miscanthus grasses growing on the left side of my studio? They grow that tall every year and wave in the wind. I have them cut down in February when they get trashed from blowing around all winter but I love them!

It’ll be fun to watch them blowing around from my mom’s sunroom.

Anyhoo. . .the sun slants into her sunroom at certain times of the day and we decided we needed a moveable screen, and it had to be seven feet tall. . . most standard screen heights are only six feet tall, so I had no choice but to order the screen online. The screen shipped directly from North Carolina, so its long journey all the way to Vancouver, Canada, cost almost as much as the divider itself. 

Let’s see where I went wrong, shall we?

I searched online and found this one (below) It also came in red, black, white, cream, brown and dark beige.  I decided that ‘dark beige’ was the closest to the ‘wicker’ colour I decided would look the best.

Dark beige

The other “easy” colour option for the screen was white. But the sunroom already had so much white in it, I decided the screen should be the same colour as the natural wicker colour of my mom’s chairs. 


One Kings Lane

I did NOT place my screen image of the privacy screen beside her existing wicker chairs, I just looked at the available options and WILLED it to be right.

Did you catch that?

I treated this screen like a blind date.

The best part of a blind date is imagining who this person could be.  They are perfect in every way possible UNTIL you actually meet.

MRW I'm on a blind date with someone who is just....just...not someone I would date...and try to have a convo. - GIF on Imgur

How many of you have experienced this?

It’s the same for online shopping. You hold all the colours in your head (instead of comparing them on a screen or in-person). You press the BUY NOW button, cross your fingers, and think positive thoughts until that dang item arrives and you discover it’s JUST WRONG.

And that’s what happened to me that day.

I WANTED the colour to MAGICALLY be the SAME as the wicker chair so I didn’t take any time at all to follow MY OWN ADVICE  to know for sure.

When I told Terreeia, she replied, “There’s a really good course you should do called HOW TO SHOP ONLINE WITH COLOUR CONFIDENCE.”

Eek GIFs | Tenor

Until this screen arrived, I hadn’t spent any time analyzing the undertone of the chair. It looked very neutral in the room UNTIL the divider arrived (in the wrong undertone) and I placed it in the room:

Yes, this is yellow beige (screen) AND pink beige (chair) together. However, the ONLY neutral screen that would have worked here would be the one that MATCHES the undertones already in the room. This one clearly did not.

This is what I should have done:


And if I had, it would have looked like this:


Shall we add up what this mistake cost?

The cost of this divider is $250 plus tax.

Plus $200 for shipping. 

The total cost of this online shopping mistake is $450.

I’m keeping it now because it would cost the same to ship back PLUS a 15% restocking fee.

Luckily, my mom offered a solution. Upstairs in the living room, she’s placed a guest bed on the other side of the room that tucks into a window alcove. She has often wanted a screen there so her guests can have some privacy. In that room, the yellow beige colour will work.

Doesn’t $99 seem like a real bargain now? How much money will you waste going forward without this knowledge?

Learn all my tips and tricks for ensuring that the colour you want actually arrives on your doorstep in 3 modules that you can watch at your convenience AND join the Killam Colour Academy Facebook Community to find other people who are just as obsessed with getting colour right as you!

Get it here.

PS. I frequently get asked, “Is this training covered in the live Specify Colour with Confidence workshop? The answer is NO — this is brand new, original content that you won’t find anywhere else. And when you follow the steps in this workshop, you won’t have to go through what I just did!

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  • Barbara says:

    Why didn’t you order a screen from Wayfair, with shipping included?

  • E says:

    Love this post. The only thing I’d add is, I don’t trust my computer monitor’s settings to correctly show undertones at all. Nor do I trust online photographs in general. So, even if you’d compared what was on your screen to what was on your mom’s sun porch, I have zero confidence that what you saw was what you’d get. Online shopping is always going to be risky.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Unless you have a really old and bad computer, this system will work! Try it and you’ll see. Maria

  • Mary says:

    I am sorry for your costly error! Would you be able to spray paint the screen ? Liked the post !

  • Susan S says:

    Although it’s new, you could spray paint it any color you want!

  • Norma Fournier says:

    I’d love to see the ill-fated screen placed in its new home in your mom’s living room around the guest bed there!! :).

  • Alex says:

    Paint it navy blue to match her lampshade and pillows.

  • Maryann says:

    Maybe you could paint the screen a pale green the color that is in the pillow. Sometimes what you think is a mistake could turn into something you love with a little modification.

  • PursuitofPerfect says:

    I like the color of the screen – it looks beautiful against the outdoors and the carpet. How about painting the chair since pink-beige isn’t such a terrific color.

    • Maria Killam says:

      The chair looked completely neutral (as neutrals can look) until the new neutral arrived that clashed with it. There’s lots of pink beige wicker, it doesn’t bother me. Maria

  • Linda Gail Trammel says:

    My thoughts were to paint it. The cream would look very good with the chair. That’s what I would try. I love to paint things …except rooms! lol That’s too big a project for me. Or maybe you can find one the right color on line some place else. Good luck! Can’t wait to see the grasses pictures.

  • Patti says:

    Maria, “cover” the frame with hanging fabric panels on each section. Can be picture frame or simply weigh down the base and use decorative hanger for top. It is a way to repeat another colour in the room or more of the cushion fabric….. cheaper than sending back or hurting your heart when you look at it!

  • Lisa Proctor says:

    I would make a fabric slipcover for it. If anyone in your family has basic sewing skills, it would not be hard to make something pretty. Of course there would be the expense of the fabric (and the online hunt for it) but an inexpensive linen-look fabric plus some ribbons to tie it on would be fairly inexpensive and pretty!

  • kim1 says:

    I’d try to paint it either green to match the landscape and fade into the backdrop, or navy to match the pillows. I’ve already completed your new Online Shopping Course and it is fantastic! Very helpful.

  • Mary says:

    Please forgive me, I’m still learning your system. But, aren’t pink beige and yellow beige not supposed to go together?

    • Maria Killam says:

      That’s exactly right. I’m showing the MISTAKE that I made, not to be confused with that the screen is staying 🙂 Maria

  • Lauren Tyson says:

    Great story. I couldn’t help but notice many of your readers suggested solutions like painting the screen. I guess they didn’t see the part of your post that said:

    “Luckily, my mom offered a solution. Upstairs in the living room, she’s placed a guest bed on the other side of the room that tucks into a window alcove. She has often wanted a screen there so her guests can have some privacy. In that room, the yellow beige colour will work.”

    Happy ending to your story, which is always nice!

  • Liz says:

    I too, thought about painting it but a word of warning should you choose to do that. It’s was beyond toxic. Several years ago I spray painted four Martha Stewart patio chairs ( absolutely the best patio chairs I ever purchased, soooo comfy) from honey brown to dark brown in our garage with a large fan gently blowing outward. Took 5 days, two coats, looked fabulous! Even wearing a mask, I’m not sure I could attempt again. If possible and not windy (early morning, one of the better times for least amount of wind) maybe best doing these larger jobs completely outside. You will still need to wear a mask (p95) put down a tarp and keep vehicles up wind. I was very pleased with the result but a lot of work to get fabulous!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes now there would be this layer of paint that would still be hard to cover a woven natural material which is what it is. Maria

  • Sandy says:

    Hahaha! Loved the analogy of your wicker screen being like a blind date! I remember those well, and because of this, I’m signing up for your “Shop On Line With Color Confidence” course. No more “Mr Wrong” showing up on my doorstep in a box! LOL!

  • Patricia Justice says:

    Hi Maria,

    I would have gotten a can of spray paint! lol
    Btw, where did you get the screen from, please? We are purchasing a beach condo and need something that for nighttime kind of keeps the lighting out of the loft area as we will be using that for the “bedroom” for extras (children, others, etc.). I live in NC. Do you mind sharing where it came from? I love that it’s lightweight, and it might be right around the corner from me! Thanks

    • DeniseGK says:

      I searched “dark beige 3 panel room divider” and got results that look exactly like this, including the right alternate color options and height. It’s made by ORIENTAL Furniture Company (yes, the all caps is in their real name) and sold at “Stylight US H&L”, although when you go anywhere on their website that is a product page, you get redirected to I’m sure you could find it other places, too.

  • Nikki says:

    Hi Maria!

    Can’t wait to see the sunroom!!

  • Stacy says:

    I would either make a fabric cover for it or spray paint it. I can fix nearly anything with those 2 options. Some gauzy fabric would actually be quite beautiful as a cover and you don’t even have to sew. There is fabulous spray glue (modge podge) that would work on the edges, and then you can staple the top and bottom into place. While I can sew, I have cheated a time or two and just stapled fabric and no one was the wiser.

  • claire larece says:

    Hi Maria,

    Iv’e been following your blog through email and I would like to say that I find nothing wrong with this pic you have yellow hues all around you with the trees and the grass you purchased plus the pillow and the rug. To me I I don’t think you need to match at all as long as your accommodating the room if you find quite off then by all means change it, but as I said you don’t you have a beautiful and you went eclectically with the choice of wood.

  • Linda says:

    I would paint the screen with spray paint the correct color.

    • mrsben says:

      Agree and if terrible at spray painting like I am; a roller with a high pile would do the job. (i.e.: Often used on textured ceilings/walls etc.)
      Footnote: Years ago did such on a number of folding rattan screens (transformed from natural to white) that were used for my daughter’s wedding reception which were purchased by the venue afterwards, as I had no personal need for them. -Brenda-

  • Carolyn says:

    Hey Maria, did you look into solar shades? They block out the sun and still allow the view. There’s many degrees of openness available in the weave.


  • Lena says:

    What a lovely space!

    Paint the screen AND the wicker chair a fun color – maybe a bright Kelly green?


  • Diane G says:

    How great that you found another place to use the screen. Your mom’s guests will appreciate the privacy and you “made lemonade out of lemons!”
    Love both natural colors..just not together!

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