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The One Thing You Need When Choosing Color For a Room

By 07/03/2018July 7th, 201848 Comments

We arrived home from Italy yesterday at noon and I couldn’t stay up past 4:00 pm and then I slept 12 hours!

San Gimignano, Italy

I’m so happy to be home after being away an entire month! The trip was fabulous, and it was even more amazing to be able to share it with my Mom who arrived for the last 12 days! She has never been to Italy and was enchanted with all of it. I’ll write a post to tell you all about it soon!

This is a guest post by, KariAnne Wood from Thistlewood Farms. KariAnne is the kind of person who instantly makes you feel good just by being around her. Her energy is infectious, she is genuinely enthusiastic about most things and finds joy everywhere!

When you read her blog, her writing is so warm and friendly, you just want to drive right over and sit in her living room with a cup of tea.

I’m so excited to be here I feel like I should start with a cartwheel.

My name is KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms and I’m guest posting this week. If I’ve never been lucky enough to meet you before—here’s a little bit of my story and my house tour and my favorite yard sale find on the planet. I love red lipstick and curly hair and flip flops that sparkle and painting mis-matched furniture and thunderstorms and sweet tea with lime and the 90% off clearance sale aisle.

And this is what my living room looked like before I ever met Maria.

I know, right?


So so.


Not really ready to sit at the popular table for lunch.

Here’s my first decorating attempt. This is me trying to introduce a little neutral. Better than where we started. I liked it.

But still?

The room was fine. But in my heart?

I wanted a little color.

And then?

I met Maria.

We had a consultation online and from the moment I met her, I knew that I knew that I KNEW. She was special. She talked to me about color and showed me that color was there for the taking and that all I had to do was be a little bolder with my design choices.

And that color would meet me halfway.

So I added a blue rug.

I felt bold.

I felt amazing.

I felt all about myself and my new color choices.

And so I went bolder. I added these blue and white striped chairs. I changed out the pillows. I took down the burlap curtains. I added new love seats. I could feel the room laughing and breathing and smiling.

But something still wasn’t right.

I couldn’t figure it out.

And then I attended one of Maria’s live color workshops.


I have never learned so much about color in my entire life. I learned about cool colors and dirty colors and which trim color went with which paint and why sometimes pink beige isn’t your friend. I learned about how to choose a paint color that worked with what I already had. When I walked into the living room after the seminar I saw it with new eyes. I knew what was wrong.


When I switched and added all that blue, the light gray paint color had turned PURPLE.

I know, right?

It’s hard to tell in these pictures, but in real life, I was sitting in a living room with blue and white chairs and a blue and white rug and blue and white pillows with PURPLE walls.

So I repainted the room. And now? It looks like this.

SW Alabaster 7008 (This colour is also available in Maria’s curated large sample boards)



It is even prettier in person.

Here’s one more look at the before and after.

Before Maria

After Maria

Thank you my wonderful, creative, amazing friend Maria.

Thank you for giving me a new perspective on color.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your vision with so many.

Thank you for your friendship.

And thank you for helping me create a space that I love.

PS If you haven’t signed up for one of Maria’s Live Colour Workshops yet—you can sign up here.

And if you have a room that needs colour inspiration, I can help, with my Get Me Started eDesign package here.

In addition to decorating living rooms, I’m an author in my spare time.

Here’s my latest book called the DIY (Decorate It Yourself) Planner. It’s full of sassy decorating advice and DIY’s and tips for creating the home that you love.

You can order a copy for yourself and 10 of your closest friends here.

It’s been wonderful to meet you.

Happy day friends.

Related Posts:

3 Ways to Add More Colours Without Pattern

6 Reasons to Go Bold with Colour (Even if it Terrifies You)

How to Transform A Charcoal Sofa with Colour: Before and After





42 pins


  • Mia says:

    So pretty! I especially love the little stool. Do you mind sharing what fabric that is? It’s stunning.

  • Noni says:

    Wow! How wonderful! What a beautiful transformation. I’m so pleased to meet you and have another fun blog to follow. ?

  • Lucy says:

    Greetings KariAnne and welcome to our group! We are so blessed to have Maria in our lives who has taken our hand and opened our eyes to color!

    I loved to see your journey in making your room look stunning! The thought process was fun to watch and your explanation of why you chose what you did to pull the room together was enlightening. I am sure the rest of your home is just as beautiful! I will certainly buy your book. I have always wanted to write a book on design tips and now there are many out there. Thank you for this post.

    Maria did your luggage ever catch up with you? So much fun following you around Italy but glad you are home safe and sound!

  • Claudia says:

    I’ve never met KariAnne but now I totally want to be her friend! That room is fresh and delightful!

  • Nicole says:

    Oh. My. Gorgeous!!! Love the milk glass in the beautiful arched nook with the midnight blue paint behind to highlight the silhouettes! Everything is so light and airy, it looks like a dream. I love it!

  • Kitty says:

    What a wonderful room, I love every inch of it! Thank you
    KariAnne and Maria for sharing!

  • Lynn Silverthorn says:

    Where did you find the blue stripe chairs they are darling

  • Karen D King says:


  • Kendal says:

    Wonderful post, KariAnne! I, too, enjoyed the step by step thought process you shared.

    I had the pleasure of meeting KariAnne at Maria’s Dallas class. In case you’re wondering, she is THE REAL DEAL. She is just as lovely in person as she “sounds” here on Maria’s blog. In days with limited time, Maria’s and KariAnne’s blogs are the only ones I read regularly; in fact, reading each of them feels like talking with a warm and wise friend.

  • Sylvia Engemoen says:

    KariAnne, I liked what you did with your home. I too like finding bargains, DIY projects. Thanks for sharing.
    Maria, I wish I could be in one of your classes. I have your ebook. You are amazing. Your knowledge about colours and passion for colours is so inspiring. God bless you for sharing that knowledge with us.

  • Tama says:

    Can you tell me where the rug is from?

  • Hannah says:

    Where were the burlap curtains from? I have been looking forever and those are perfect!!

  • Ann says:

    Lovely living room.

  • Donna says:

    Lovely room! So, is “The One Thing You Need When Choosing Color For a Room” Maria’s Live Color Workshop?

    • Jessica says:

      Yeh, I want to know too. KariAnne, you teased us with the title but I’m not really sure I understood the answer. What is the one thing you need?

    • The workshop I attended was the Live Color Workshop. I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH. Seriously. It changed my life.

      Happy day friend!

  • sandi says:

    I love her blog!! She is awesome

  • Linda says:

    A beautiful living room now and one to be proud of KariAnne. The other thing I noticed with the other two “before” colour schemes was the lack of Dark tone in the room. I think all good rooms need to have a balance of light tone, mid tone and dark tone present. A little trick is to squint your eyes while looking at the room and blur everything – a bit like looking at a black and white photo and you will see which tone is missing or out of balance 🙂

  • Barbara says:

    LOVE your new room. Can you share what the old paint color was and the new one?

    • Maria Killam says:

      The old paint colour was existing and the new one was SW Alabaster (it’s on the blog post) Maria

  • Mia says:

    I keep coming back to this post. I am just an enthusiastic reader of Maria’s blog so my design skills are not very polished. So, please excuse my basic question. Do you mind sharing why keeping the original curtains wouldn’t work? I feel like they would go well with all the gold and light wood details in the room. Thanks!

    • Of course! It’s hard to tell in the photo, but they had been there for years and they were faded. I also felt like the room needed some color (thanks Maria) to balance the color on the floor. Maria has several posts on light and dark areas in a room that might help, too!
      Happy decorating Mia!

  • Cindi says:

    It is lovely. I have vowed never to have a light colored sofa again though. I’m curious how Maria would change that room if the sofas were darker. And should they be a dark neutral or dark blue?

  • Becky says:

    Woo-hoo!!! I’ve read Thistlewood Farms off and on for years! I’m so excited to see someone I “know” here on Maria’s blog! And WOW, what a transformation! Adding the blue to your room makes it live! I LOVE it!!! Now I’m more determined than ever to be in Maria’s classes someday. SOMEDAY… Great work, both of you!

  • Annie says:

    I love the room. And I love the way you used cream /ivory loveseats with all the white in the room. Maria says that you can combine white and cream in a room and I think this is a perfect example of how well it works. And it does seem to soften the white and look very very natural.

  • Fran W. says:

    Just lovely. I especially like the navy paint in the back of the bookcases! Maria helped me with some home projects, and I agree with you, she’s amazing!

  • Jena says:

    Gorgeous! And KariAnne that inset with the milk glass collection!!! ???

  • Whoa, this truly transforms the whole room. Great post! I absolutely love the blue touches, maybe I am biases because my favorite colors blue. But truly amazing transformation, love the curtains and rug!

  • Elliott says:

    Wow so gorgeous! I love seeing the transformation step by step. I’m sure a lot of people can relate. It’s inspiring that you continued to push yourself to improve the space, bit by bit. Most people would have probably settled at some point, but your gut told you that it wasn’t complete. Thanks KariAnne for sharing, and I hope to one day take one of Maria’s classes so I can improve my own color perspective as well. Best!

  • Morgana says:

    Lovely! I especially like the dark blue behind your white porcelain collection. It’s such an amazing indigo.

  • Sue Bee says:

    Definitely a beautiful room. Unfortunately, with an old, hairy hound dog I call my sunshine, I definitely can’t have anything that “clean” looking. But I can dream. And look at photos. But I do have one question. I frequently see photos of beautiful rooms but no lamps. What do you do for lighting? I absolutely abhor overhead lighting, but I also like to sit and read, talk…whatever. So? What about lamps? Thanks for any comment. S.

    • Maria Killam says:

      All rooms need lamps and every 3 feet is not too many! Lamps are an accessory though and in the world of styling which is why they are few and far between in most people’s homes. Hope that helps! Maria

  • Sherrill says:

    i really enjoyed the Finland and family home. We went to Finland 5 years ago. Actually had a tour of farmhouse out near a Rock church.
    I was wondering if you might suggest
    A color of Dark blue paint to put in a built in cabinet between kitchen and family room. Have red a
    Karasran rug with every color in it. Had a different idea to go Dark Green but no yellow undertone.
    Reason being I want to use blue and white porcelain in the entire thing. I just cannot choose a tone of blue or green. I understand this was long . Thank you .

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