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True Colour Expert

The 10-Step Maria Killam Colour Confidence Method™ (#3 is my Favourite)

By 02/26/2014February 4th, 201728 Comments

I’m really excited to announce my new Colour Confidence Method™!

Last week’s Specify Colour with Confidence™ training was the first group to go through this new method with me and here’s what one of the participants had to say about the class:

“Maria’s course was fantastic – I learned a wealth of information from her and knew it would help me in my career as a long-time kitchen designer. What I didn’t expect was to be able to use it immediately with great results! The class ended on Friday, and on Saturday morning I had a consult with a new client. I started to use the steps and language I had learned inside her new Colour Confidence Method and thought to myself, “Listen to me! This is so helpful!” My client easily understood what I was saying and hired me. I knew Maria was great but didn’t realize I would see the cost of her training start to make me money the next day!”  Deb Trembath,

This method is a 10-step process that can be used in any consultation to move the project forward. Most importantly, you can use this method no matter what level you are at in your business – whether you’re a beginner just starting out, or you’re an expert with years of experience. This system works whether you’re helping your clients with renovating, decorating or choosing finishes for a new build.

What makes this method so ground-breaking is that you can map it onto ANY STYLE or ANY SIZE home with ANY BUDGET and walk your client step-by-step, through exactly what needs to be done.


The classroom in February

Here are the steps:

1. C – Clarify your client’s goals

2. O – Organize what’s staying and what’s going

3. N – Navigate the budget

4. F – Focus on creating flow

5. I – Include the principles of classic and timeless

6. D – Determine the boss of the house

7. E – Establish how much colour can do for the space

8. N – Notice and follow the rules for the neutrals, whites and colours

9. C – Create the inspiration

10. E – Ensure your client’s happiness

Here’s why 3. N – Navigate the budget is my favourite. Everyone either knows how much money they have or are prepared to spend on any project. But it’s WHERE you spend it that is so important.

A designer’s job is to use their creativity to be smart in navigating exactly where their clients should put their hard earned dollars.

I recently heard this story by John Assaraf on what it looks like to work with an expert:

Rubiks Cube

 “If you blindfolded a person and gave him a Rubik’s Cube to solve, it could take him up to 6 billion years to do it. If the blindfolded person sat next to a Rubik’s Cube expert who gave only “yes” or “no” answers to every twist of the cube the blindfolded person made, it would take the person less than 2 minutes to do it!”

So many people think, “If I pay a designer to help me, my budget will be that much smaller, because I’ll have to spend some of my hard-earned budget on paying the designer.” What that thinking doesn’t consider is that if your designer is smart and creative, they will simply move your budget around so it looks like you had more to begin with and create beauty at the same time!

Not to mention of course the money you will save by not making mistakes you can’t afford to make in the first place.

Think about it. You were about to install a busy, patterned, expensive and totally trendy backsplash until you hit my blog and read this post ; ) ; ).

And then you changed your mind.

How much money did I save you right then? Enough to buy a lamp or two or some cushions probably which contributes way more to the atmosphere of your house than an accent tile you’ll get bored of soon enough. I’m just sayin’.

Bedroom Suite

On your own, you might spend {fill in your budget here} on a matching set of “meh” bedroom furniture (left above), but a designer could take that same budget, give you a designer bedroom that includes accessories, bedding and lighting too! (right above)

Something to consider next time you think doing it yourself might save you some money.

Here are a few pictures of my fabulous new True Colour Experts™. . .


Jennifer Glynn, Luanne Funk and Cheryl Bloom 

TCE's in Class

Theresa Sheldon-Meyers, Mavis Truscott, Sue Ross, and Janine Arietta


Joanne Dimeff, Robyn Walter, Catherine Kennedy and me on the right

TCE February

(Back row) Theresa Sheldon-Meyers, Cheryl Bloom, Carolyn Robinson, Kim Calabrigo, Luanne Funk, Kathy Bestwick, Sue Ross, Catherine Kennedy, Jennifer Glynn (Front row) Mavis Truscott, Joanne Dimeff, Cheryl McCartney, Janine Arietta, Maria Killam, Deb Trembath, Lynne Russell, Robyn Walter, Lana Gagnon


If you would like to become a True Colour Expert  Register here.

Related posts:

The Enchanting World of Atmosphere

How to Decorate with Throw Pillows; 5 Rules to Follow

What it Takes to be Great

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want and to make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 

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  • Maria, Will you be having another date in Vancouver in the future?

  • Kates says:

    Totally guilty of buying the matchy matchy bed set! I will say that it was the first big purchase my husband and I made as a engaged couple and that was WAY before I found your blog! Now I know better and totally want to redo my bedroom! LOL!

    • Denise says:

      If you still love the style and quality of your bedroom furniture, consider breaking up the matchy-matchy ensemble and switching out some of the pieces like the chest, dresser or nightstands with other rooms in your home — foyer, living room, office or secondary/guest bedrooms. Painting one or more pieces is also an option to tailor them to your other spaces. It’s amazing how you’ll re-appreciate your initial purchase once it’s been creatively repurposed.

  • Gina says:

    Maria, Will you be conducting a Toronto workshop in the fall?

  • Mary says:

    Are there ever any men in your class – I have several friends who have showed interest.??

  • Nancy says:

    Hi Mari!
    Just wondering if you ever come to NY or Connecticut to do your seminars?
    Thank you! I love your taste and blog!

  • Kathrine Davis says:

    Looking forward to seeing the topics for a two day class…and hope you can have it in Toronto!

  • Cathy Z says:

    OK, you couldn’t have planned that group shot any better with you being dead center in hot pink with the rest of the group in darks, love it!

  • Lorrin says:

    Can’t wait for the details on the 2-day workshop!! Thanks for thinking of us!

  • Robin says:

    This is great advice not only for designers, but for clients, too!
    When a client can think in this same pattern, they are prepared to work with the designer who is using the same system.
    Voila – Super Success!

    Thanks for your cheery wisdom!

  • Loribeth says:

    We have a matchy-matchy bed set, but it’s because Jim bought it before he met me! As soon as I find what I’m looking for, I’m going to be replacing the night stands, and painting the rest. I thought about replacing the headboard, but my cat loves sleeping on it. LOL!

    I notice that you’re the only one wearing something bright in the group photo. Was that planned?

    • Maria Killam says:

      No it’s usually because I’m the only one wearing that much colour because it’s my job 🙂

  • “your designer is smart and creative, they will simply move your budget around so it looks like you had more to begin with and create beauty at the same time!”
    This is SO well said, Maria! Can I give you credit and use it?

  • cathy gibson says:

    Great post Maria! I love how this system can create more organization in the thought processes when working with clients. And how it ends with creating happiness! thank you!

  • Michelle In SanFran says:

    Maria, please come to California! The weather is beautiful! Would love to take your seminars and courses, but Toronto is just a wee bit far for me. Love this post and the way it presents such a straightforward reason why we are needed.
    P.S. Terreia will love SF: the food, the sights, it’s inspirational 🙂

    • Maria Killam says:

      I can’t because I’m Canadian. You’ll have to come to one of my Vancouver courses, it’s a short flight. Maria

  • sandyc says:

    Great steps, Maria. Not a professional and will probably never get to take a formal course from you, but I’ve been a student of yours since I started following your blog in 2009 and these 10 steps are what I’ve been learning free of charge, especially this past year. I smile ever time I walk through my home now because of what I’ve learned from you. Graduation for me will be the consult to evaluate what I’ve learned and put into practice and to get your guidance to make some upcoming costly decisions correctly. What a course it’s been and should continue to be. By then, I should be positively beaming.

  • Connie says:

    Kate and Loirbeth, I have a matchy bedroom also. I have no budget left from other remodeling and the bedroom is pretty and functional but so boring and unispired. Can folks offer ideas? Paint the night stands? The other 2 pieces (armoire and dresser with large mirror seem too big to paint) Replace the attached mirror (we love it for it’s size though) Artwork, drapes, spread and pilows are keepers. Please help with ideas that aren’t costly??

    • StagerLinda says:

      Craigslist has everything! Boomers are downsizing like crazy. Bargains galore! Detach your mirror and move it to the far side of your bureau for a more updated look. Balance it with a tall lamp on the opposite end. Shop for Bed-N-A-Bag treatments but ditch the neck roll and other tiny pillows included. Study blogs (Maria’s!) for innovative design ideas. Have fun!

  • Amy says:

    Do you ever come to San Francisco for workshops? Would love to come to one if you did!

  • Sandy says:

    Is the 3 day training targeted for interior designers who is running a business ? I would like to attend the training since I am interested to learn about the techniques for specifying color and recognizing undertones.

  • Cassandra says:

    Are you considering an online training course for those not living in Vancouver?

  • Beth says:

    I vote for anywhere in California, too! We’d be a blast!

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