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Advice for Homeowners

The Best of Colour me Happy 2009

By 12/26/2009February 10th, 201728 Comments

Here are the top 10 most read posts since I started writing this blog in November 2008. The first one I wrote within two weeks and has remained the #1 most popular post on my blog.

1. White Kitchen Cabinets

This post has also turned into a Dear-Abby-which-white-should-MY-Cabinets-be? There’s lots of free advice in the comments but if you need more help  Click here to email me for rates.

2. The Best Trim Colours—NOT Cloud White

I met a local designer/blogger shortly after writing this post who said, “I was so mad when I read your article because I had just finished painting my townhouse Cloud White from top to bottom”.

So let me say it again, I am not saying Cloud White is a bad colour, it simply should never be used as a go-to colour because there is no such thing as any colour that works in every situation. Will you use it 75% of the time? Yes.

3. What Everyone should Know about Beige

What does a pink and yellow tulip have to do with beige? Read on to find out. You might see something new about beige that you have never seen before.

4. 5 Questions to consider when selecting a new Colour for your Kitchen.

This post got into the Washington Post Blog Watch because it’s a great tutorial on how to pick a colour for your kitchen.

5. Insider Secrets to Testing and Selecting Paint Colours

This post gives an eye-opening look at the process that an expert walks-through when picking colours for your home.

6. A Light Colour will Never Come to Life in a Dark Room

Do you still think that you need a light colour in a dark room? Read this post before you decide.

7. The Right way to Create Flow using Colour

This is a huge dilemma for many a home-owner, and it’s the biggest reason why a colourist is hired in the first place!

Interior by Maria Killam Colour & Design

If your house is already painted, click here to find out if you have created a palette that flows!

8. What Everyone Should know about Gray

Okay, now that you know which undertones are in Beige, read on to see which ones you’ll find in shades of gray!

9. How to Create a Tablescape

This post also got into the Washington Post Blog Watch as it includes some great stylist tips on decorating coffee tables and dressers!

Tablescape by Maria Killam Colour & Design


10. 5 Steps to a Kitchen you will Love

This post examines the dilemma of choosing between painted cabinets or stained. (I actually think it’s better than ‘White Kitchen Cabinets’ but it barely made the top 10!).

And here are some posts that are simply my favourites:


Danger Zone: The first 24 Hours after you Take Possession of your New Home

When you first walk into your empty house [unless it’s brand new] this is what you see:

1) It’s dated.
2) None of it is or would have been your choice in the first place.
3) The colours are [generally] so bad it’s hard to see past them to how great it would look if just the right colours were on the wall. [click on the above link to read the article].

Warning: You are the Colours in your Home

Happiness is. . . Being Uncomfortable [When you pick the wrong colour].

And one of the most important posts that everyone decorating or renovating should read:

Hiring a Designer; Luxury or Necessity

When my installer handed me his invoice of $210.00 for an installation that lasted approximately 1 1/2 hours, I got to thinking; why is it that a home-owner seems to have no real issues with paying for labour? The painter, plumber, electrician, tile layer, carpenter, and so on.

But hiring the DESIGNER or COLOUR CONSULTANT-even if it’s just for a 2 hour consultation-to pull it all together, to make it all beautiful and fabulous, seems to fall into the category of LUXURY? [click on the headline to read the rest].

We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous email consultation packages here.

If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.

*Image sources for photos are found in each listed post.

Related posts:

10 Ways to Save money Now by Creating a Focal Point

10 Things I learned (so far) from my Designer; by a Happy Client

Does your Home have Colour Flow? Take the Toss Cushion test

Atmosphere; The one Thing you Cannot Buy

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  • Red Door Home says:

    Congratulations on a well deserved nomination. Your blog truly is one of the best! Can't wait to look at the top ten posts that I missed.

  • Cindy says:

    My favorite is the one on White kitchens. I am in the middle of a kitchen remodel and the cabinets are going to be a creamy beige with black and beige granite look formica. I could not afford the stone that we really wanted. I hope we are happy with it when it is finished. Congratulations on the nomination, you really deserve it, you have a great blog, it is so informative. Thank you for all of the information. Cindy S.

  • Cindy says:

    Me again, I meant to say that the cabinets are going to be a creamy "white"! Cindy S.

  • Ideezine says:


    You've got my vote! It's been so exciting reading your blog this year.
    I'm a lifelong learner and it's your life's bread and butter as a designer. Technology has helped us along as well, making things happen "faster". look how far you've come since January amazing isn't it?



  • Marlo says:

    I voted! 🙂

    My top two favourites are…

    What Everyone should Know about Beige


    A Light Colour will Never Come to Life in a Dark Room

    I love these two because they have helped me make wiser choices and gave me an understanding of why something works or doesn't work.

    I can always hear your voice, Maria, when I'm looking at beiges or dark rooms. 🙂

  • Bethany Christensen says:

    What a great idea for a post at the end of the year. I loved them all and have learned so much from you. Thank you so much for your fabulous blog!

  • Danica says:

    Congrats on the nomination!

  • Greet says:

    To me there are so many posts that I love ! I think that the post about "beige" was my favorite! I learned a lot of you and I am thinking about what you wrote when I choose and propose colours to my clients!
    So thank you for all of you wonderful posts!

  • Francine Gardner says:

    Congratulations on your well deserved nomination!
    I loved your story on Gray. it is one of my favorite color for Interiors and I use various combinations often. I actually, just repainted my library in a darker shade of gray with deep purple upholstery, it really works well. i also use greys for houses by the sea, it really capture the light and the refelection of the water.

  • Velvet and Linen says:

    I saved all of these posts. I really think you need to write a book, Maria.
    BTW: I voted for you. Sorry for the grammatically incorrect comment on Apartment Therapy. I couldn't figure out how to correct it!


  • Melissa says:

    Wow! Your blog inspires the decorating senses.

  • Design Junkie says:

    Congratulations on the nomination and a year of great posts. Since I personally have dark rooms (painted in deep, complex colours), I most enjoyed the post about dark rooms and pale colours. In selecting colours for others, I've often had to fight the notion that white would open the space. Thanks for a great resource for them to read.

  • Sara @ Russet Street Reno says:

    I couldn't possibly pick a favorite! I love reading all your advice, and have used several of your tips already. Happy Holidays!

  • Nicole says:

    Congrats on your nomination!

    I've just recently started reading your blog, and I'm really looking forward to reading some of your posts that you've highlighted. I really enjoy reading your blog!

  • Mary Ellen (megardengal) says:

    I just came across your blog via the Inspired room. I am going over to read about dark rooms and color- I have a dining room that has horrendous dark blue wallpaper with oriental figures and so want to lighten this room up. Now I am wondering will the room lighten up once I take this down- I sure do hope so!! Looks like there is lots of great tips and advice so I will certainly be back! THank you!


  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    I will be reading all your kitchen posts when we renovate our kitchen. . . It's amazing how much information you have in one year of blog posts.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great piece concerning color flow. Seems that alot of friends have no concept of it. Your blog, which was found this morning, is so interesting. It will keep my whole day occupied. Color is one of my very favorite passions, be it houses, fabric, artwork, etc.

  • Aron says:

    love the tablescape!


    I just found your blog and I'm a fan immediately! I love working with color and I plan on referencing you often! So glad I found your blog.

  • Anne says:

    I love the new Color Stories palate from Benjamin Moore! I want to paint each room in my home one of the book covers colors!

  • sharon martin says:

    My husband and I have built several beautiful resort homes in the mountains with lots of wood beams, posts and wood trim. We are now building a “lakehouse”, overlooking a lake in the mountains and are frankly tired of the “timber” look. This home is modest size 2800 sf. 700 sf of it is in the open loft. Our view is directly to the lake and mountains. It faces north, so the light is low, even though we have large windows and sliders out to the view. We want a clean, bright feel. Floors will be wood and our windows came unfinished pine. We are pondering rich creamy walls, with white trim around richly stained wood doors and windows with off white cabinets and either granite or cement counter tops. Does this combination seem like it would work or too many colors and materials? I couldn’t find any photos or blogs pertaining to this particular combination. Thanks, Sharon Martin

  • Laurie says:

    I am planning on opening up a wall between my living room and kitchen dining. There is oak hardwood and trim throughout the whole house. I will be refinishing the hardwood as part of this project. I love the idea of a creamy white kitchen and my plans are to paint my oak wood cabinets, perhaps in the BM mannequin cream featured in one of your remodels. my question is, do I have to paint the baseboards in the kitchen and the window surrounds this white or can I leave them the oak that coordinates with the floors and all the wood in the adjoining living area?

  • Kim jones says:

    Help! Help! I just installed granite and hate it! We couldn’t make up our minds because I like Whitney cambria and my husband liked granite super white and I hate it! I feel like we have done everything wrong. I put it cherry hardwood everywhere 10 years ago and painted everything Norwich brown. So I wanted to change the cherry cupboards and I painted them cloud white and the bottoms a black brown. The countertops look like cheap laminate and it is way too busy. There is nothing we can do. The kitchen is tiny and the granite was 6 grand and it’s a lot of money to me. We got the cupboards professionally painted and now cloud white, we should never have picked out cherry hardwood cause every grey or white looks pink and the cool white in the granite and the cloud white and all the movement I want to throw up. I feel stuck. I don’t want to do anything. I have had a decorator come over and I didn’t like the advice of the same color backsplash and dark grout and paint revere pewter everywhere. I feel like I am always picking the wrong thing. The granite is awful. It’s too busy. I have 5 paint pod testers and am thinking of moonshine. But it has a green tinge to it. And I don’t like green but at least it doesn’t turn pink. I guess Norwich brown is green but doesn’t look green in our house. Do you have any suggestions other than selling. Haha or ripping out my floor or countertops. Maybe if i put a lot of stuff on the counters. Argh. I like the white and the sparkle knobs. I like all your advice. I would pay for any advice. Please help! My husband and I don’t like each other right now!

  • Trisha says:

    Hi Maria, I purchased your colour undertone guide at the reduced weekend price and it has proved invaluable already! We have bought a house (not moved in yet as builders need to work on it) and working out the finishes was proving a real pain. I am going to put the fabric I purchased on ebay after Christmas and start again. I can see now that the warm pine internal finishes (doors, skirting boards, door frames, stairs) just cannot be ignored, they have a orange tone (although not too bad as they are waxed rather than varnished). Mauves, pinks and bright tones on light grey background is not going to work. I was going to paint the entire house light grey, as its trendy, but actually I don’t even like grey, how sad is that? The floor in living room and garden room is a new rustic oak finish, put down by prior owners before they left and very good quality. I now intend to put that through the rest of house downstairs, hallway, kitchen/diner. At the moment the small kitchen and dining room are separate that is where the builders come in, knocking down the wall in between. We need to install a new kitchen afterwards and have to have choices ready before builders go in – something I have really struggled with. Tell me if this is madly wrong, but I intend now, off white cupboards, dark charcoal/near black worktops (to mirror the finish on tiled floor in utility room (this again was new and very good quality, its also the stand for the wood burning stove in main room). I am going to try to work WITH the orange toned pine and the charcoal slate that cannot be removed and extend the neutral wood floor finish throughout. Does that sound right? The living room is slightly dark and I fancy some moody dark teal accents along with warmer toffee/gingerbread tones (I love those colours). We live in the Scottish Highlands so I fancy warm and cosy with a contemporary twist, not too tartan and touristy though!

  • Jamie says:

    Hi Maria, read you post on curtain rod length, to which brought up a question as to where the bracket should be located. You indicated a 10 to 15 overhang from the side of the window, which completely makes sense and I agree gives the best look. My debate is where to locate the bracket for creating this overhang without the bracket looking unappealing to the eye when looking at it. As it is located so far away from the window frame, especially when hanging them closer to the ceiling when creating that length from a 9 or 10 ft ceiling. The cleaner the look the better for myself. Just wonder your thoughts on the outside bracket placement.


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