Expert Colour Training

Understanding Undertones™ - This board is a great way to train your eye in distinguishing complex neutrals. Some of these interiors work and some don't, but…
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Do you feel confident about choosing neutrals for your home – and not just wall colour, but coordinating finishes like floors, countertops or tile? There are so many things to handle at once, but the trickiest part will be selecting the perfect, timeless colour scheme. You’re going to second-guess every choice you’ll make without the right guidance.
The real reason your wall colour looks green is because it has a GREEN undertone. If you want it to relate perfectly to the tile, you’ll need a grey with a BLUE undertone. What you are seeing when the light is bright and direct is the true colour. Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray is a green grey. And when the space is brightly lit, that’s when you can see that the floor is blue grey and the walls are green grey.
I received a distressed note from a reader recently that I wanted to share with you all because when your paint colour looks wrong, the light continues to be your favourite scapegoat. Despite feeling like I sound like a broken record, I’ll say it again for the folks in the back: It’s hardly ever the light that turned your paint colour against you. Here's the real reason your wall colour looks wrong.

Understanding Undertones

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My system for UNDERSTANDING UNDERTONES®️ gives you a more powerful and practical way to describe neutrals when choosing hard finishes, soft furnishings or paint colours.
If you are building a new house, you may be wondering which stone is right for your exterior. Choosing exterior stone for a new house is all about the undertones.
Two Steps to Choosing the Right White Tile #subwaytile #whitetile #kitchentile

Neutral Colour Wheel

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It costs exactly the same to paint the wrong colour as it does to paint the right colour. So, why not learn how to choose the right colour and get my go-to list of tried and proven paint colours for any room.
And what about the all-grey room with the LVP that’s looking comparatively yellow? It’s true that these taupe-y grey floors will never be as neutral as a timeless hardwood floor. And, of course, if they looked more like natural wood, we would not need them to match the walls.
What do you think? Take a look. Keep in mind, it would be better if the artificial lighting was not shining on it. So I took one look at this table and said it was taupe, and since taupe was the pink beige of the grey trend because it was cooler than all the beiges and warmer than the greys.

Neutral Undertones in Paint

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This reader had just installed a similar shade of LVP in her basement. Her new grey sofa was sitting in the room and she was super annoyed that this grey flooring had a slight yellow undertone.And why was she suddenly noticing that undertone?
When you have a tool that helps you see the nuances of undertones, getting colour right feels kinda like magic. Because choosing colour with the help of my large painted colour boards is so much easier, they practically do it for you. They are truly one of the most important tools for selecting colour — whether you are a professional or a homeowner.

Large Painted Colour Boards

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And how do you get a cream that looks richer and more complex (meaning there’s more varied pigment in the colour)? Well you choose the very palest of beiges to get there. Complex creams are the palest of beiges and the perfect paint colour for a fresh look to flatter your beige finishes.
Cream is the answer when you want or need a warmer look, but you still want light and bright. Like when you want to create a fresher look in a room that has earthy beige, brown and gold finishes. Or your “white” furnishings are really cream (this is almost the rule, not the exception).
Just as greyed whites (aka greiges) are more versatile for walls than starker whites, creams that have some complexity of pigment (aka complex creams) are softer and more flexible than cleaner creams that read mostly pale yellow.

Complex Creams

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So, do you know the difference between white, off white, cream, greige, or complex cream? More importantly, do you know which one of these neutral colours is the right choice for your space? Here are some pale greige paint colours in Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. I often refer to greige as a greyed white, but they read very pale, almost white.
Paint Greige Trim
Greige Trim Colour


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Do you know the critical difference between choosing white for walls and choosing white for trim and cabinets? If you are building or renovating this book will help you choose the right white.
Greige and Complex Cream Paint Colours
When to Break the Rules Around Choosing White (or Cream) | Maria Killam


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A New Build Conversation about Exterior Stone (It's all in the Undertones)
A New Build Conversation about Exterior Stone (It's all in the Undertones)
How well do you know the 9 undertones in Maria's System for Specifying Colour?

True Colour Experts ™

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Understanding Undertones: Pink Beige Island looks dirty compared to creamy cabinetry
Pink beige walls

Clean + Dirty Colours

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A good rule of thumb for decorating with pink beige in your home is to avoid yellow beige, orange beige or gold beige. And, unless it’s a very light pink beige, avoid combining pink beige with cleaner, brighter colours.
Now that beige is trending again, it’s time to revisit the pink beige undertone because we’re about to see more of it. And that’s ok, if it’s paired correctly with other finishes and colours in your home. Here is some additional guidance for working with pink beige.
If you have pink beige finishes in your home it’s MUCH more preferable to try to work with the pink undertone in the best paint colours and finishes – that is, those with subtle, creamy pink beige undertones – than it is to try to ignore the pink beige and switch over to taupe or green beige. Switching to beige or taupe undertones does not tone it down, but rather it usually highlights your pink beige finishes even more.

Pink Beige Undertones

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Currently we’re specifying more orange beige complex creams like the one in my living room and primary bathroom. In my living room this secondary shade of beige relates to my orange-yellow sofa and my sisal area rug!
Sneak Peek – Introducing my New Colour Wheel
Orange beige - Cognac

Orange Beige Undertones

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Two Steps to Choosing the Right White Tile
This pale beige dining space feels fresh warm and sophisticated. Which beige undertone do you see? -- We still have a few FREE colour wheels left if you'd like a handy guide to use to help you identify the 9 neutral undertones when shopping and choosing paint colours. . . #beige #diningroom #paintcolour #paintcolours #diningroominspo #beigepalette #diningroomgoals #diningroomdecor #beigeaesthetic #diningroomdesign #diningroomtable #beigeinterior #diningroomstyle

Yellow Beige Undertones

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Gold Beige Undertones

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decor spring entryways6 Spring Decorating Ideas for Entryways HomeSpirations
Paces Valley — Holt Interiors

Green Beige Undertones

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Tired of guessing or trying to rely on your colour memory? Now you can take my system of Understanding Undertones® with you. The new colour wheel is a complete reference key of perfect, accurate examples of all 9 undertones in a portable format you can take anywhere. And, here are the best green grey paint colours in Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams
Green grey, black, brown, gold
Green Grey

Green Grey Undertones

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Upper East Side Three Bedroom — Ariel Okin
Check out the ceiling moulding treatment & paint job! An Elegant English Country Home - The Glam Pad

Blue Grey Undertones

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In Real Life: A Formal Dining Room Sherwin-Williams Beguiling Mauve SW 6269
Violet Grey
Tons of quirky inspiration in this whimsical bohemian New York apt

Violet Grey Undertones

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Farmhouse & Country Kitchen Tile Ideas
Bria Hammel Interiors
The Right Way to Use my Colourwheel to Identify Undertones

Taupe Undertones

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If you�re really going to install black floors, please know they will show EVERYTHING! See this bathroom below�it�s been photoshopped to look that perfect
The new trend is to paint both your walls and trim white (or cream). Before you run out and buy just any white paint colour for your room, you need to consider contrast and be ready to repeat white in your decor. Here’s how to choose the right white or cream for your walls and trim.
How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Kitchen Mistakes | Maria Killam

Decorating with Black

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a bedroom with blue walls and white bedding in the center, along with two lamps on either side of the bed
The Best Paint Colours for Your Oak and Maple Cabinetry -
The Best Paint Colours for Your Oak and Maple Cabinetry | Maria Killam | True Colour Expert | Decorator
a potted plant sitting on top of a wooden table next to a window and mirror
Outdoor Vignette on my Patio: Before & After - Maria Killam
Outdoor Vignette on my Patio: Before & After | Maria Killam
a kitchen filled with lots of counter top space
The Best Way to Add a Peninsula to your Kitchen -
The Best Way to Add a Peninsula to your Kitchen | Maria Killam
the two best neutral undertones for walls to wall carpet are green, beige, and grey
4 Steps to Choosing the Perfect Wall to Wall Carpet Colour
4 Steps to Choosing the Perfect Wall to Wall Carpet Colour
a white house with the words white or cream exterior color trend
White or Cream Exterior House Colour Trend
White or Cream houses are popping up everywhere. Here are my thoughts on the white trend and the black trend, from a true colour expert.
the best neutral paint colours and how to choose the right one for your home decor
The Best Neutral Paint Colours (and how to choose the right one) | Understanding Undertones
And with that, and the help of the most indispensable tool, my collections of large painted colour boards – which includes the best neutral paint colours – you will go from novice to confident, colour savvy in no time! Because… lean in close… I’m going to tell you the KEY and the most useful insight that makes my system work:In order to identify and choose colour (and neutrals) accurately, you need to COMPARE.
a white house with black trim and the words, what everyone should know about black
Black Windows and White or Cream Home Exteriors
On more traditional exteriors, black accents can make a modern statement. Most often, we�re seeing black windows and accents on white houses.
a living room with two couches and a coffee table
23 Decorating Secrets (only an interior designer will tell you) | Decorating Advice
Most clients come into our store with no idea of what they need and so often they buy a coffee table or end tables that is not the right size for their other living room furniture. Unfortunately, most then just choose to live for years with their mistake. The truth is that no salesperson will tell you to go home and measure, and then come back so they can help you find the right piece. They aren’t confident you’ll actually come back!
a white toilet sitting in a bathroom next to a walk in shower and black tiled walls
How to decorate with Black Tile
Do's & Don'ts for Decorating with Black Tile | Maria Killam | True Colour Expert | Decorator
the 9 neutral undertones you should know to use in your makeup routine and how they work
9 Neutral Undertones in Paint Colours
In my system for Understanding Undertones, there are basically 9 primary neutral undertones in the world. And no matter where you go, they are the same.
a large house with lots of windows and garages on the front, side and top
Exterior Home Consultation
Exterior Consultation with Orange Brick & Stone, Before & After | Maria Killam
four white plates with different labels on them sitting on a counter top next to each other
How to choose white tile
Two Steps to Choosing the Right White Tile - Maria Killam - The True Colour Expert
a brick pathway with trees and flowers in the background, leading to a gated area
How to Choose the Right Windows for a Brick Exterior: Before and After
How to Choose the Right Windows for a Brick Exterior: Before and After
a living room filled with furniture and flowers on top of a white table in front of a mirror
How to create a vignette.
This year, during the week between Christmas and New Years, I completely refreshed every single vignette in my home. After all the Christmas decor comes down, you’re probably looking at your empty tables and mantels and wanting to do the same thing. So, I thought I would share my new fireplace mantel vignette and some of my tips for creating a well-styled and happy vignette in your home too.
a bedroom with blue walls and white bedding in the center, along with two lamps on either side of the bed
The Best Paint Colours for Your Oak and Maple Cabinetry -
The Best Paint Colours for Your Oak and Maple Cabinetry | Maria Killam | True Colour Expert | Decorator