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Decorating My HomeYellow

Help! I Hate my Yellow Living Room

By 08/01/2010January 13th, 202443 Comments

Update in 2024, find out what I should have done to make my yellow walls work here. (Hint, my walls were naked).

So I decided to paint the room yellow to match my sofa (I got talked out of a linen shade which was my first choice initially). Cloverdale Paint sponsored the paint for this room and I chose 7928 or the closest SW colour is 6673. I was very happy with the paint, it is from their Super Eggshell Acrylic line and barely had any smell even though it is not their lowest VOC paint.

 Photo by Maria Killam
I absolutely loved the colour for half a day until my sofa arrived this afternoon. And now there is too much yellow in the room. So I’m still painting this weekend. It’s now going to the linen shade I originally thought it should be. It shocked me how affected I was by the colour being wrong. It made me wonder how anyone can choose colour without a colourist. At least I immediately know what’s not working and how to fix it and I was STILL upset—trust me! The only way this colour would have worked in the end was if I had the sofa done in this fabulous blue from David Jimenez residence in Palm Springs.
By the way, I found the rug from Pier 1, and I love it.

As you know I was still on the fence about Raspberry but I’ve decided it’s the most fun colour to jazz up the room so I’m doing it. So there it is, white, gray, black, sunshine yellow and raspberry is my colour scheme. I still don’t have any drapes but now that I have the basic colour scheme finalized, it’ll be smooth sailing from here (hopefully). Also the great thing about the dramatic rug is that the broadloom doesn’t look as pink because there is so much contrast.

One more thing, I have a tiny confession. Whenever I have read about other decorators/designers agonizing over their own space I always wondered how that could be possible. Well now I know, I no longer judge even just a little bit. I have all kinds of empathy now!!

This is the patio set that you can see from outside in my old place. I really like that my outdoor furniture coordinates with what is happening inside. I have fallen madly in love with this painting by Bobbie Burgers shown here in her weekend home in the Okanagan, I wrote a post about it here:

I want something fabulous and dramatic for my living room wall just like the one in this bedroom. Unfortunately a piece this big would be around $12,000. Not in my budget. So if anyone has any ideas on where I can get something similar, please let me know! I have received so many wonderful emails with rug options, lighting, since I talked about doing raspberry, I really appreciate all of them, thank you so much!!


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:
Which colour Sofa should you Buy?
Tricks of the Trade from David Jimenez
Here is a Method that Helps keep me Sane during Decorating
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  • ariez says:

    I love your blog where did you purchase your sofa I am in the process of buying furniture for my formal living room.

  • pve design says:

    Love that lemon drop sofa!!
    Did you think of painting your walls blue?
    For the large painting, I have something you may like.
    I will e-mail you the image.

  • Charla says:

    What a wonderful sofa. You might take a stroll around a fabric store for a bright and colorful fabric to frame. I love the whole color scheme.


  • Charlotte's Color Specialist says:

    I'm sure it will be gorgeous when it's done. Isn't it funny though – I can choose color for a clients 4000 sq ft home in less then 2 hrs but it took me 2 weeks to choose my dining room color and I too repainted because I didn't like it. It finally looks good.

    I can't wait to see yours complete.

  • Happy Maggie Foods says:

    Love your color scheme. My gut reaction to the wall color question was maybe linen and yellow painted stripes! (vertical? Horizontal?) it would be bold…

    I also wanted to tell you, I am a designer and, yes, I agonize over every decision for my own home (and often have to redo). I just did my kitchen and spent three weeks in the beginning thinking I had lost all design ability. (Now it's great in the end). I wonder why it's so much harder…

    I love your blog. Thank you for all of your great insights!

    And ooh I just had an idea. Horizontal painted stripes going 2/3 up the wall and keep the yellow at the top…

  • Sally@DivineDistractions says:

    I'm just glad to hear that I'm not the only one! I've been painting this weekend too, and after living in my house for 32 years!!! I finally painted my asymmetrical (1960's) brick fireplace….and I still don't know! I"m thinking I like it, but now I'm wondering if I painted it the right color! It is a mystery why it's so much more difficult to design our own spaces. Good luck to us all!

  • diane@onlinefabricstore says:

    We are designers but we are also human and humans make mistakes. I love your sofa but even before you said it I thought to myself that it might be too much yellow. The linen walls will allow your color scheme to really pop.

    Regarding the artwork, check out Andy Warhol "Flowers" on all It incorporates all your colors, comes in various sizes and has that abstract floral idea going. I hung it above my bed for many, many years and so enjoyed all the colors.

    Cant wait to see the finished space.

  • heather jenkinson says:

    I LOVE THAT SOFA! I have such admiration for anyone who picks a great, bold colour for a sofa. I also admire your honesty – we do get it wrong from time to time and I think it's harder in our own homes. On a personal level, I love combining Yellow with 'Bone' (grey toned beige) and slices of black or even better, charcoal.

    Looking forward to the next update…

  • Houses Gardens People says:

    linen color walls with your gorgeous yellow sofa are going to look great. I know a lot of people who solve large scale art problems by taking a photo to a good photo lab and asking them to enlarge it. Give them your preferred dimensions. They can tell you if the image or negative will be able to be blow up that large without loosing too much resolution. A friend took a 1930s photo of his grandmother when she was young and had it blown up huge, then had it mounted and framed. Cost several hundred dollars for the whole thing. It has a painterly quality to it that's stunning. I had no idea it was an old photo. There are companies that do this on line, too.

  • The-Countrypolitan says:

    I believe the reason why it is so much harder to design one's own home as apposed to a client's home is because we are aware of all the fabulous options available and it is sometimes difficult to pin it down to just one selection…

    Our tastes and interests are usually not as narrowly defined as a client's… and having that broader perspective is what allows us to be able to design across a wide range of styles and tastes to fit and satisfy our client's needs…

    I love the citroen color sofa ~Terri

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Ariez,
    I had it custom made, showed my sofa maker the photo and he copied it.

  • Teresa Hatfield says:

    You have a wonderful gift with color. I love this room!
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)

  • Kelly at Kitchen Sync says:

    Boy, do I know what you mean about agonizing over space!

    I joke all the time that a designer can design anyone's space but it takes a raft of advisers and second-guessing when you're designing your own.

    Of course, it'd be easier if we didn't know exactly how many products and goodies were available to us. Kids in a candy store, that's us.

  • chanteusevca says:

    Maria, your place is looking divine! Love that yellow sofa, the rug and can't wait to see the finished room. Had to show my hubs that even colour experts sometimes have to repaint when the paint colour just doesn't work.

    Check out for some great original artwork at better prices. I've purchased several pieces for our remodeled bath and the in-the-process guest room and have been very happy with the artists I've dealt with there. Or, you can create your own one-of-a-kind piece. That is sometimes fun to do too.

    Thanks for sharing your dilemmas and successes and processes with us. It gives me hope.

  • marty (A Stroll Thru Life) says:

    The room color scheme sounds gorgeous. I can't wait to see the finished product. Love the rug and the sofa, so pretty. For the art, the only really economical suggestion I have is to stretch a fabulous fabric and hang it. There are so many wonderful fabrics out there. Hugs, Marty

  • Ideezine says:


    Linen walls are perfect because linen "breathes." Emotions show up the closer you get to the "heart of the matter" and that's why designers are part designer and part phychologist it's a journey.

    The most valuable skills in life is hearing what is not being said but what is being felt. That's why some clients have a hard time making decisions. Heart language is not easy to discern but valuable to have.

    Enjoy your weekend painting it's all for your greater good!


  • Brillante Home Decor says:

    Many designers hire someone else for their own house, it is so difficult to see with fresh eyes our own space. I agree that yellow on yellow would not work, I love the brave choice of raspberry and I am sure you'll find the perfect tone. Besides you'll be glowing in that room, any pink is great for people's faces (not that you need it…)

  • Anonymous says:

    Something that I am trying after seeing it on the wall at a gallery is a photograph printed on canvas.
    Is there a photo that you love, or maybe several? Printing them on flat canvas, with dowels at the top and bottom give you depth and mood in a way that ordinary photos cannot. Plus, if you don't stretch the canvas over a frame, but leave it flat you get a really unique effect.
    I recommend checking out rene sheret's website (photographer) for some ideas of what it will look like or even some of his art. He does a lot of post-processing on his photos and they look amazing. The price is reasonable too.

  • Anonymous says:

    I know exactly what you experienced! I always encourage my clients to trust their instincts (in all aspects!) yet I agonize over choices for my own home.
    Your space looks amazing – I especially love the area rug and sofa!

  • Transformations says:

    Love what you are doing with your colors! Just wondered if you are familiar with new era? It's a trade resource with amazing artwork and ways to mount them in various sizes. You can even search on pantone colors… Check out – and no, I don't work for them ;-}

  • Amy @MaisonDecor says:

    Hi Maria, I had a hepplewhite ivory diningroom with a chair rail. I decided to paint the bottom half a bright pink and then I painted the top half with a fresher yellow. I had a chair with teh two colors for the head of the table..but you know what? I am sick of the strong color after only 2 months! I just installed beadboard wallpaper over the pink and will have white beadboard (it looks fantastic) with the soft fresh yellow…I thought Iwanted more zest and pop, but realized I just can't live with it.
    Agreed, us designers can't see our own spaces like we can when we work for clients. Not sure what the phenomena is..but it happens pretty much across the boards.

  • Annie Wilcox Designs says:

    Floral scarves are simply gorgeous framed. My grandmother had tons of them but they live at my cousins houses. Oh to get my hands on them.

    I am a fan of the Stonington Gray by ben moore and always want to change my bedroom to it, my big colorist mistake that I have to look at everyday.

  • Mona Thompson says:

    I love all the bold color choices you have made. Agree that the linen will probably be much better. Give your eye a chance to rest and appreciate all the color elsewhere. Sounds like a broken record from the other comments but it's certainly harder to design for ourselves. I always remember your mentor post. I have a mentor that is fabulous and I always go to him on difficult decisions. He came with his crew and worked with me for two days when we moved in our new home recently. It was a blast and turned out fabulous, yet I always question my own ability because I didn't do it all 100% myself. How silly, and these comments only confirm that. Thanks so much for this post! You always seen to strike a chord with me. Mona

  • Renae says:

    When I read the first paragraph and you said you had chosen pain to match your sofa, I thought "oh no" and was relieved when you realized that was too much yellow! The linen will be so much better and you will immediately breathe with relief! Part of being a human being is not being perfect. Like most designers though, perfectionism comes with the territory. I very recently had to have a client repaint what I had chosen originally, (I offered to pay, she refused). Oy.
    Look forward to seeing how it all turns out Maria!

  • Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home says:

    Love your yellow sofa! I agree about the walls making for too much yellow! It can get hard on the eyes. I like the raspberry too. I think it is so hard for designers and decorators to do their own space because we find so many things that we like that it is hard to choose. I t is so much easier to choose for someone else because we don't have as much emotion invested in it.

  • Cindy Sue says:

    Good choice on the linen color for the walls, I think it will make your yellow sofa 'pop' more now. I can't tell by the rug, is it black and white? When I was looking for new curtains for the living room recently I found some nice ones that were neutral, but had the stripes on the side in a different color, how about something close to the linen walls and raspberry for the contrast? I adore what you are doing, the colors are magnificent together, I don't think I would have ever come up with it, can't wait to see everything you're doing! OH, and for the large art piece, have you looked on or, you could always buy a large poster and put it on canvas…

  • Kim@Chattafabulous says:

    I can't tell you how many times I have repainted a room in my own home because it wasn't exactly what I had expected it to be. It bothered me so much I cannot sleep at night until it's "fixed". I feel your pain and I know in the end it will be tdf!

  • Donna says:

    Maria, The sofa, the rug, and the colors are all beautiful! I love your new color scheme..especially the yellow. But I do know that you can easily end up with too much of that color. We quilters know to use it sparingly. :o) Yess..agony..that is just how I would describe it. :o)

    You know, being the frugal type, I would buy some really fabulous fabric or maybe several pieces and cover large wood frames with it…like they do in hotels. I'm, again, astonished at how they use fabric blocks to decorate so beautifully. If I had a more modern style home, I would do it in a heartbeat. Much cheaper than an expensive painting, even if you spent a couple of hundred on really high quality fabric. There is some very artistic fabric out there (online I mean).

    I always think of you when I'm admiring the artwork in hotels. 😮 Thanks so much for letting us share in your decorating journey.

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  • Donna says:

    PS. I meant to mention that I had to drive into town to do my post tonight and to visit your blog. :o) Our internet is down. So the older teens and I spent the evening at Hastings. Wow–I really hate using online photo editors–so slow!

    Have a great week!

  • DesignTies says:

    You've made some wonderful choices Maria… no surprise there! I'm confident that, even with a few glitches along the way ('cause there are always a few), you'll continue making terrific choices for your home!!

  • theLENNOXX says:

    Your sofa looks great, you're so brave for choosing a yellow sofa. But then again I wouldn't expect anything less from a color expert.. =)

    Here are some ideas for you on how to get something similar to the floral painting:

    * Paint it yourself, of commission a friend who knows their way around a paint brush.
    * Go to and buy a similar print and frame it.
    * Here's a print with similar color scheme:

    * Z gallerie has some pretty floral prints on black background, but they are not as big..

    Hope you get your art some way =)

    xox Linda

  • Design Esquire says:

    I love your sofa! Good luck with the re-painting.

  • Melissa @ Veranda Interiors says:

    I am glad you understand now, LOL!

    We are excavating in the next 2 weeks for our next home and I already have anxiety about making the selections. I can do selections for clients in no time, but for myself, it will take weeks and I will drive my suppliers up the wall. Here is hoping Starbucks & Tim Hortons get me through some sticky situations like it did on our last personal build!!

  • Ivy Lane says:

    I loved getting this sneek peek! That barcelona chair….swoon! Can't wait to see the linen shade after getting a glimpse of the yellow… Lookin' good! Love the rug too!

  • Ruthie's Renewed Treasures says:

    Love a black rug, it really grounds a room and makes it look so sophisticated and classy. The patio furniture is amazing, so in love with it. I also LOVE the painting. Thanks for keeping us posted, it's going to be divine!


  • NYCLQ says:

    OMG! THAT RUG! I DIE!! and LOVE David's work! I DIE again!

    😀 Lynda

  • Jemsmom says:

    What if you took pictures of colorful flowers that you love, upload them to photofiddle and have a painted texture done to them? That might work for a lot less than $12,000!!! Your living room is gorgeous. I am no designer, but I do love to do it. I have done many of my neighbors homes and helped them, but I have such a hard time doing my own! And them I am never happy! I am always tweaking!!!

  • FASHION ICE says:

    so pretty!

  • Justine says:

    Love love love the sunshine yellow sofa! It has to just make you happy when you walk in that room!

  • Justine says:

    Love, love, love your sunshine yellow sofa. It has to just make you smile when you walk into that room!

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    I can't believe have to re paint the room. I love yellow. How can one piece of furniture be too much yellow?

  • Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) says:

    I'd LOVE to do a custom painting for your livingroom, Maria!! (: Your biggest fan in Cleveland!!

  • Kate Dunmore says:

    That’s why people choose paint without consulting a colourist. I could have told you the room would be too yellow.

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