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True Colour Expert

What’s your Favourite Colour—your Secret’s Safe with me

By 06/25/2010February 10th, 201753 Comments

My second True Colour Expert Workshop is happening right now and the best part about teaching is that I (or more importantly you) always learn from my participants too!


The discussion we were having today was about working with clients when they have an empty palette and starting from scratch. I mentioned that I’ve noticed my clients are reluctant to tell me what their favourite colours are on the phone (prior to my arrival). When I’m in your house it’s different because I have colours in front of me that we are talking about, but on the phone—not so much.

One of my very talented and creative participants [Elaine from Brooklyn] is attending to expand her knowledge of colour so that she can pull her space together with more confidence and she made a very interesting point.

She said as a consumer, the reason why she would not want to divulge her favourite colour is because if she were to say ‘blue’ then she’d worry that the designer would give her blue for the walls and she doesn’t necessarily want blue walls. So she worries that it will limit the choices the designer would present.


And/or you start thinking about all the colours in the world that would be options and you think ‘How can I narrow them down to just one?’

That was an ‘aha’ moment for me because until she said that, it didn’t occur to me that a client might think it limits me (which it doesn’t of course). So I thought I’d ask ya’ll if you find yourself in the same place? Would you be worried about the same thing? I’d love to hear your opinion!

By the way, I have set September’s date. If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! 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 e-design consultation packages here.

Related posts:

Happiness is. . . Having the Courage to Grab your Dream

Which Paint Colours are the Most Timeless?

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

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  • Sally@DivineDistractions says:

    I don't have any problem telling someone my fav color, but then, I'm a designer, so I have a new fav color at least twice a week. I think that's one of the reasons it's hard to design and decorate my own space….so many loves….so few spaces! I'm in an orange mode these days. I am usually drawn to warm over cool colors.

  • Jane says:

    Favorite color? What day is it?
    I love so many colors…separately and together. It truly depends on my moods, the weather, the season…and so much more. That's why I try to use neutrals for the BIG things like walls and upholstered furniture. Then I change it up with pillows, throws, paintings, rugs, etc. My husband teased me…that I change things around whenever he leaves town. (and he travels a lot!)
    Jane (artfully graced)

  • Nicole in Seattle'ish says:

    I could never narrow it down to just one color! I love so many colors in so many different ways… which is why I had to hire you to help me make some decisions =) Whenever my son, who is in kindergarten, draws a picture of me I am always wearing a rainbow-colored dress because he says I love every color!

  • details and Design says:

    Duxbury Gray….this week. I love this Ben Moore color and is a shade many people would not choose off paint chips.

  • chanteusevca says:

    I adore every color as long as it's not drab or pinky beige! Some days I love and need vibrant volors and other days I want and need more quiet and ethereal colors. As far as favorites, I tend to go back to various shades of turquoise and reds and corals.

  • traci zeller designs says:

    If I had to pick just one, it would have to be Benjamin Moore's Woodlawn Blue. I painted my dining room
    that color 7 years ago, and I still adore it!!!

  • kimma says:

    I whole heartedly agree with your student. My favourite colour has always been yellow, but with caveats. IE: it doesn't suit my skin tone so I almost never wear it. I would feel a bit the same about using it in large quantities around my home. However, I'd love some yellow accents.

  • Dana Lynn says:

    I completely agree with your student! If you asked me that I would answer "Green" immediately but I would DEFINITELY follow it up with "but, I don't want to live in a green house." It would make me nervous that everything the designer was going to bring would have green in it. In my home though the only things that are green are the houseplants and I like it that way.

  • Dirty Dolly Design says:

    Hi Maria,
    I remember when my now grown up daughter was asked "What's Mummy's favourite colour?" She answered, "Mummy doesn't have a favourite colour, she loves them all just the same." She was right, but it is interesting to observe the hues you are drawn to and how they change over the years. As a young woman I needed to be enveloped in warm colours, now I'm older I crave the refreshing splash of a cooler palette. (Super charged with a little hot pink of course.)

  • aimee says:

    I love green! I have no probelem telling anyone that. My livingroom is all pretty neutral, except for my green accents. The green I used is the same as Pottery Barn's Chive Green Textured Solid Pillow Covers. I have those and some cream colored pillows on my PB Square Upholstered sofa in Pewter. I also have a huge vase of the same color. I'm wanting to add more to it, but I'm thinking I'll wait until my husband and I purchase our first home in the next few months to wee what I'm going to be working with.

    I'm also hoping I can get blue to work in some other rooms in the new house. Guess I'll just have to wait and see!

  • aimee says:

    to see* – oye 🙂


    My favorite color for as long as I remember has been (the right shade of) lime green.

    But I would want to have more question:

    What is your favorite color?

    What is your favorite color for walls?

    What is your favorite color for accents?

    What color makes you most happy?


    I am sure you already ask all these questions, but was thinking people might be nervous to only answer just "what is your favorite color?"

    Happy teaching! (your the best)

  • Debra Phillips says:

    green, in all shades but would not want a primary green palette.

    have you ever considered taking your courses on the road? i would love to host you here in chicago and we could easily have 16, or more

  • Karena says:

    Maria, ths is interesting because as soon as saw your first image Iit confirmed that from a young woman I have loved blues especailly cobalt blue.

    My tastes change from time to time and am loving yellows and terracotaas right now, with cream, white and blue. My art is inspired by colors in fabrics, and design.

    Art by Karena

  • Anonymous says:

    I do like and appreciate most all colors, but in my own home I feel I can't go wrong with a combination of bright, fresh, green, blue and white, and would have no problem answering to any designer who asked me. As long as my rooms have these three colors in them, I am a happy camper!

  • Amy @MaisonDecor says:

    I could have answered easily one year ago. The color I have used in many homes in the main living area is Ben Moore Hepplewhite Ivory. It is still a great color…it reads yellow, but is a dirtied down yellow. Now I am using a fresher yellow, Weston Flax. Currently I am on the hunt right now for a color in my office and I want a cream color with pink undertones to play up a soft romantic antique look…any suggestions?

  • Anonymous says:

    It depends on the shadow…
    I prefer some greens, some oranges, some neutrals, but I hate some greens, some oranges, some neutrals… sorry!
    I prefer to say what coulour I don't like.
    I hope your clients are no so indecisive!


  • Designwali says:

    this month….BM classic grey.

    Do you ever think you'll do a online colours workshop for us folks who don't live in BC? I'd sign up in a heartbeat!

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, that is exactly what my strategy would be when hiring a consultant—I don't want the designer to show up with a limited palette of jade in her hand just because I said I like that color on the phone. If I go through the expense of hiring a color consultant, I want her fresh eyes on my house with an open mind, and I want to know the process of elimination/logic for choosing the color she concludes with, and I want to be there the whole step of the way. It makes me feel like my money was well-spent.

  • marlis says:

    For me it's easier to say I don't like this color or that color. For me a favorite color depends on that for which it's intended use is. Bedroom? sages, Living room – neutrals with pops of red/sage/black. Right now my kitchen is yellow and i don't particularly love yellow, but i love my kitchen. I ditto the earlier comment about an online class. i'd jump at it!

  • Anonymous says:

    I concur with your student. My favorite colors are not necessarily the colors that look good on me, and therefore not the colors that I'd want to be surrounded by, nor are they necessarily the colors that best work with the architecture of the house or amount of light the room receives. Therefore, it's easier to say what colors I hate, under the reasoning that even if they worked with the architecture and light, I still wouldn't want to be surrounded by them. -EM

  • rouge says:


  • Kim@Chattafabulous says:

    I adore all colors! What I love the most is great combinations of color – so fun to see how one color can totally elevate another!

  • Moxie Maley says:

    I love yellow! And hints of turquoise can really brighten a space too! Great blog – glad to be your newest follower 🙂

  • Melissa @ Veranda Interiors says:

    Pratt & Lambert Lambswool, it has been a favorite for a few years now. Our current kitchen & trim throughout our home are that color and I just adore it. Will the next home have it again? I doubt it, but I have had a great love affair with it for awhile.

  • Gigi says:

    Mine is red, hands down. And, no, I would not be afraid to tell you that right up front! I manage to get a bit of red in every room.

  • rainbowlens says:

    My favorite color has always been purple. I'm buying a house this year and am intimidated at all the decorating options.

    Then I imagine different purple accents (warm and cool) with greige walls and I start to get excited.

    I also love jewel tones of any color for accents.


  • says:

    I've been secretly loving Benjamin Moore's "In Your Eyes" for a while now. I love the color and the name instantly reminds me of John Cusack in Say Anything. Great post!

  • MrsDoodlepunk says:

    Since I finished my bedroom last week, my favorite color is green. Specifically, BM "Appalachian Trail". It is just perfect in that room, which doesn't have a lot of natural light.

  • Anonymous says:

    Different uses, different favorites. Besides, it's very personal! Reminds me of someone asking me how much I weigh! I gotta know you MUCH better…hahaha!

  • Bev says:

    Have you ever seen the design show with Thom Felicia called Dress Your Nest? He creates a room based off a person's favorite outfit ensemble, drawing inspiration from everything – jewelry, pattern, texture, colors of clothes. I often think about what I would wear for Thom to design a room around and I can never decide. I cannot pick a favorite color. Ever. Just as I cannot pick a favorite outfit.

    I make it a point not to wear black, except maybe for accents to my wardrobe. My reason for this is that most women will wear black automatically, so why would I want to blend in? So if you opened my closet you would see it infused with color, which is why I can never choose that darn outfit that Thom could design my room around. (haha, as if this is actually a possibility.) I have different favorites from day to day and a lot of it is based on my mood. I love wearing white, but would I want to live in a white room? Not sure. Though I've always dreamed of having a white sofa, but with a toddler, this is just not gonna happen any time soon.

    I also find myself to be so indecisive and wonder what could I live in day to day that wouldn't tire me, so long answer to get this, but yes, I would feel it might limit the designer if I named my favorite color.

  • pve design says:

    My most favorite color has to do with a "memory" of opening a doll that I wanted for Christmas, she had a lime green and aqua dress and I thought she looked so hip and mod compared to the other dolls with high heels and colored lips. Her feet were flat and her legs were long and she had short hair. I love colors that have a mod-ish slant with lots of white or neutrals….like the ocean or the mountains….

  • Tricia says:

    I would not divulge a "favorite color" prior to seeing what the expert saw for my home because I wouldn't want to miss out on something I could love and don't even know it yet. However, I would be willing to hint at a few things, like blue is not a favorite of mine but I would entertain some blue in the some shades. Or, that I'm not a neutral kind of gal but I still love taupes and rich browns and I realize the eyes need a place to rest between color and pattern. I think it might be more helpful to ask, "Is there a color or colors you dislike?" This usually gets a quick response.

  • Jeannine 520 says:

    I feel the same way. My favorite colors are navy, black and charcoal but I think I want to avoid those in my interiors. I've been working on my office now for over 6 months and I still can't pick a wall color. I don't know where to start as I'm not really a big fan of color and I'm afraid of ending up with more grey walls and having it look cold. I'd much rather have someone give me options and then pick from the suggestions rather than steer a colorist in a certain direction.

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    Blue, blue and more blue. Have a good workshop weekend!

  • mustang says:

    Wow, great question. I do somewhat agree with Glenda – I like different colors for different applications. Having said that, my favorite color ranges from turquoise to robin's egg blue to sky blue. Then comes orange. Then comes yellow.

    If you ever want to come to Austin, Texas, please let me know.

  • mustang says:

    Oh, I forgot – I also LOVE white.

  • rb says:

    My favorite color is a plummy earthy purple, but I rarely wear it or decorate with it.

  • Kat says:

    Well, I guess if I had to specify one would be purple. I look around and notice that I have tiny bits of purple in just about every room. It really goes with a lot of colors. Love it with green.

    I don't wear much of it either, I think I have one purple blouse that I really love.

  • Laurie - Little Blue Chairs says:

    I would have to pick between blue, white and red, but I don't like them all together. I love the simplicity and elegance of white and someday will get my white garden. I love light blues and usually end up buying all my clothes in blue. But I could not live without red.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, Iam a colour consultant from Australia and come across this all the time… People never want to tell me what they like or have in mind, thinking that i would them limit my options… im always trying to ask questions to get a feel for their likes and dislikes to give them what they want.. we are there to help them put together a scheme that works with what they have and like..i persoanlly like a clean neutral pallete as i change my accent colours frequently, but thats just me! ive had people stop others fom talking so that they dont 'give anything away' and ask what would you do.. frustrating! By the way i follow your blog all the time and think that you are fantastic and always have posts that i can relate to 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I too wouldn't want to tell a designer my favorite color over the phone as I too would think it would limit them to a certain color group. I would rather they come meet me and see my home and then decide from there. I think it might almost be better to ask what colors you don't like. I do not like blue or grey in my home yet I like to wear those colors. I don't really have a favorite color if I did it would be purple. I don't have it in my home but I do wear a lot of it.

  • Ideezine says:


    Favorite colors are every color I investigate. The more I learn about it and break it down the more I enjoy it as a new favorite. Just like ice cream!


  • Vicki says:

    Yes, you need a online course for us unfortunate ones who are too far away from you! Keep us posted (pun intended!)

  • Elizabeth Brown says:


  • N C says:

    Yes and no. I can relate to what your student said as that has happened recently to me–the room painted blue after telling the decorator it was my favorite color. It was acutally a nice shade of blue, not like the above picture (sorry)! I have never really cared for blue walls, but I wanted to keep an open mind about the color choice. After looking at it for several days, I decided it just didn't feel right and had it repainted a neutral, warmer color–SW Moderate White. So in answer to your question, yes, I still would like a designer to know my favorite color, plus the colors I do not care for. No, I don't think it would limit most designers, as this decorator did choose several other colors for the house.

  • Nichole@40daysof says:

    Red, but green and especially blue have been gaining in the last couple of years. I didn't even realize about the blue until I recently counted the number of blue rooms in my house.

  • Jürgen says:

    Hello Maria, my blog is one year old. Good reason to celebrate birthday. I organize a raffle, I would be glad if you would choose an object, which is then raffled among all participants. All are invited. Regards Jürgen.

  • Jan's camera says:

    I am always drawn to the color turquoise. All shades of turquoise. Can't get enough.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have indeed been hesitant to tell my designer my favorite colors for the reason you mention. When you're just meeting a designer, you're terribly afraid what you say will be taken quite literally and you'll end up with some Trading Spaces horror, no matter how nice their portfolio.

  • Donna says:

    Hi Maria! I'm so glad to finally get back to visiting your blog. I love grandbabies..but I love reading your posts too. :o) I was so exhausted every night that I could barely must effort to even look at the computer. Now that's tired! Yes they were very fun…but they have lots of energy!

    I'm Oh so glad that you asked this question! I would be very nervous about answering that question if I thought you would gear all your color advice in that direction. But it makes me wonder that if you asked that question, you might be wanting to get a feel for their style in the answer? When someone says they like lime green..I would immediately assume they like bold designs…like that Zebra fabric our square dance club chose for the demo.

    If they say white..I immediately picture someone whose style would be more miminimalist. Tan or rust would make me thing of someone who likes earthy or arts and crafts style.

    Here's my quandry, I feel torn between my love of Americana colours like Navy, burgandy, brown, and cream (which frankly I'm getting tired of) and the light airy springy look of pale green, white, wheat or pine gold,…like a beach house.

    I want something new which is why I pulled out the bright colors from the livingroom and left the browns and creams (and navy which I can't avoid.) At least it was more subdued.

    I don't want to be limited by color or by accessories or styles I've already adopted. That's why folks like us call you. We hope you can think of something new.

    But I think we have to learn to trust to a decorator's experience. You need a starting point and one color is enough to open a whole palette of coordinating colors, I would think. :o)

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  • Grace @ Sense and Simplicity says:

    I'm late weighing in on this one, but yes I would worry about this. Mind you I wouldn't mind blue walls as blue walls are divine.

  • Dana says:

    I think there is something to be said about color combinations. I'm not particularly fond of purple but pair it with the right green and you might have something. Same with orange. I could never imagine painting something orange but seeing in a palette with blues might just win me over.

    I think that besides green (even my wedding ring is a green sapphire) everything is pretty equal in my mind. It's when you start pairing the colors together that I get excited.

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