June 18, 2024


Amazing design, nonpareil

Interior Colour Flow is Easy (Before & After)


When decorating with colour, it can be tricky to create flow from room to room. When I introduced new colours into my main living space I couldn’t ignore the rest of my house. Here’s another look at my living room makeover and a few easy ways you can create colour flow. 

Recently, I shared my brand new living room makeover with Ballard Designs. This time, I’m welcoming you back to share what it looked like before the refresh as well as a few more details about this makeover.

Plus I’m sharing how I created colour flow by repainting my kitchen island to flow with the new colour palette in my living room. Because it’s important that you adapt the new colour palette in adjoining rooms as well – that’s why I focus on making colour choices on Day 2 of my Specify Colour with Confidence workshop.

My sweet (almost 1-year-old) mini golden doodle Lucy greets everyone at the door (below).

Decorating with colour (living room before)

Here’s what my living room looked like before the makeover. I know a few of you were attached to my raspberry drapes (and I love you for it). Looking back, this room really lived up to my own advice to decorate with colours you love to give your room the greatest longevity.

This living room design made me happy for almost 10 years! But change is good, and decorating is what I do. So it gave me so much joy to reinvent this room all over again.


Previously, I had decorated this room around my sunflower yellow English roll arm sofa. This sofa shape is so timeless and versatile, you can’t go wrong. And since yellow is my favourite colour, I was happy to keep it in the palette for this makeover as well.  


How to decorate with accent colours

In this version of my living room, I chose a leafy green and bright raspberry to work with the warm yellow and repeated these colours around the room.

COLOUR TIP: When choosing accent colours for decorating your room, stick to a maximum of two or three accent colours, plus neutrals.

The neutrals in my room were black, white and pale greige, along with wood floors and my wood-stained parsons dining table and end table. In order to make your accent colours look intentional and balanced, you need to follow this simple rule: Repeat each accent colour at least once or twice in small, medium and large doses. 

For my new living room look, I wanted to incorporate the colours from my oversized original peony painting along with my yellow sofa.

Original painting by James Wiens

This is just one of many mood boards I experimented with while coming up with the new living room design. 

living room mood board idea

One of my mood boards


I incorporated a versatile leopard print to pull in the warm yellow tones. Then I sprinkled in emerald green and lavender accents to repeat the colour palette of the artwork for a completely fresh and new look.

AFTER | Diamond Sisal Rug | Loren Coffee Table | Leopard Pillow

When I first moved in, I simply hung this round mirror in the dining room because it came from my last townhouse. I didn’t immediately realize that it kind of disappeared on the back of my dining room wall, but it was there from the very first day I moved in and I didn’t think too much about it.

And truly that wall was the focal point of this entire room on the long view from the entrance.

Dining Room | Living Room | Decorating with Yellow | Table Lamps | Decorating with Black


Then two years ago I added some botanicals on my back wall (below). That was definitely better.


While putting together my collaboration with Ballard Designs, I realized I needed to bring the lavender to the end of the room and work a little harder at making that wall a focal point with the addition of the wall sconces.

That’s what truly took this new room design to the next level, in my opinion.

Candace Skirted Chair | Dining Chair  | Chandelier | Wall Sconce | Emerald table lamp 


Leopard Pillow

Timeless finishes making creating colour flow easy

Before we go into creating flow with your colour palette,  let’s talk about my timeless kitchen. Because this is a good example of what happens when you choose timeless (in the world of white or black) finishes in your kitchen (below).

I’ve painted my kitchen island three times in 10 years. My timeless white finishes gave me the flexibility to make those colour changes without ripping anything out. That’s just one reason why I preach timeless, my lovelies. It’s the smartest way to allow for colour changes into your spaces

Here’s what it looked like just after our home renovation in 2012, which *hooray* ended up on the cover of Style at Home:

Before, just after renovating in 2012

Then, 5 years later when I renovated my bathrooms, I painted my kitchen island kelly green AND added some additional millwork to it. This made it look richer and more like a piece of furniture – just as kitchen islands should.  I also updated my pendant lighting and roman shades as well as added a custom-made millwork hood fan.

These small changes really elevated this kitchen design:

Classic White Kitchen | Decorating with Colour | Kitchen Island Design | Kitchen Eating Area | Black and White Kitchen

Before | Black Pendants | Counter Stools 

This time around, all I had to do was paint the island a rich forest green to create flow and pull in my new living room makeover.

Again my timeless, mostly-white finishes made this colour change an easy one – nothing needed to be ripped out and it still feels new and fresh.


And here’s a quick look at my ever-changing family room. Does anyone else feel like you need to make small changes to the room you spend the most time in? I guess we get tired of looking at the same thing over again. 

Cognac and orange work well together. And, because orange is one of my favourite colours I’ve repeated it in the family room in a few different shades. 


And here’s a glimpse of my new green kitchen island from my family room. So many greens are trending at the moment and this was a fun way to treat my kitchen with a little of it.

And here I am getting some work done with my little sidekick and newest love of my life, Lucy 🙂  Sometimes  I work in my studio, but other times I sit here in the kitchen (below):

My new living room colour palette feels so rich and indulgent. I’m so happy with how it turned out. I still need to infuse the new palette into other rooms of my home, but the living room, dining room and kitchen feel so cohesive. Stay tuned for more updates!

Are you trying to introduce accent colours in your main living space, but struggle with how to pull the colour palette together in the rest of your house? Sign up here for my next workshop.

Related posts:

Maria’s Kitchen Refresh; 5 Years After the First Renovation

My Living Room Makeover with Ballard Designs 

Maria Killam’s House Tour; Here are all the Before and Afters 


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