Choosing Paint Colours Shouldn’t Be Scary

I am big stickler for investing in one’s business. When you find helpful tools or attend seminars and events that can propel you forward, it allows you to enhance the skills you already have. This makes you better at what you do, thus providing clients with a better quality of service and overall experience.

Toronto Client's bathroom painted Snowfall White by BM. Photo by Stephani Buchman.
My Toronto Client’s bathroom in Snowfall White by BM. Featured in Maria Killam’s White Is Complicated Book.  Photo by Stephani Buchman.

In the business of Interior Design and Decorating, understanding colour is essential.  When I attended my college course to obtain my Interior Decorating certificate, there was a colour theory class that was mandatory to take as part of the program curriculum.

While it was helpful in explaining how to use a colour wheel and recognise various colour schemes, it wasn’t enough to give me the confidence I needed to specify paint colours for clients.

True Colour Expert Maria Killam and I in Toronto, 2012.
True Colour Expert Maria Killam and I in Toronto, 2012, at my first True Colour Expert training course.

In 2011, the year I started my Interior Decorating business, it was my very first client who introduced me to a blog that changed my life.

The blog was called Colour Me Happy.  The content provided on this blog was truly addictive, full of so much useful information pertaining to choosing colours and identifying undertones. I would binge read from post to post for hours and felt like I had struck gold!

By now, it’s highly likely that you know the True Colour Guru behind this extremely popular blog. She is (my now good friend) the one and only, Maria Killam.

Maria Killam Specify Colour with Confidence course 2018
Maria Killam Specify Colour with Confidence course 2018. How cute is she?!

Attending Maria’s course in 2012 was one of the best investments that I ever made in my business.  Almost overnight -and I’m not even kidding –  I went from having the colour consultation being one of the scariest parts of my job, to being one of my most favourite things to do for clients!

Of course, having Maria’s large painted boards also helps in a big way.  If you are either a homeowner or design professional who has her boards, you know how valuable they are when looking at and specifying paint colour, to make sure you get it right the FIRST time, EVERY time.

My colour confidence is to the point now where creating video content for my YouTube channel and on my IGTV videos on Instagram, about paint colour reviews and how to choose colour, excites me almost more than interior decorating does. To teach and share what I’ve learned is exhilarating and fun for me. I have Maria to thank for that.

IGTV Video Episode #13, Disclaimer: Paint Colour Selections. You can watch it here.

Earlier this year, I decided to attend Maria’s course for the second time while on a trip to New York.  I wanted to see how the course had changed – and to be totally transparent, I was also excited to see Maria again and many of my designer friends who were also attending the Specify Colour with Confidence Course in Long Island. 🙂

I contacted Maria ahead of time and asked her if she would be willing to sit down with me for a first ever interview of this kind with the True Colour Expert herself.

I wanted to get a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into her course and find out more about why she feels so strongly about this being ‘the course’ that people need to take in order to better understand & confidently specify colour.

Maria said yes, YAY!  I couldn’t be more excited to share this exclusive interview with you here today. Click below to see the full interview.

When people ask me if the course is worth taking, my answer without a doubt, is yes.

Maria’s 3 day course is about more than just colour. She does helpful hands on exercises on how to read undertones; shares her process for E-design; provides insight on how to style a space and much more.

Maria is a big believer that loving your home is all about ‘the look and the feel’ when you put it together. Paint alone cannot transform a space.

For the record, this is not a sponsored post.

Even if it was, there isn’t anything I’m saying here that I don’t 100% believe. This is THE NAKED TRUTH!

Specify Colour with Confidence Course 2018 Long Island, NY.
Specify Colour with Confidence Course 2018 Long Island, NY.

Have you taken Maria’s colour class yet or have you been following her blog and are still considering it?  Comment below, ask a question and Maria or I will be happy to respond.

Never miss a video where I share colour and decorating tips every other week.  Click here to subscribe to my Claire Jefford YouTube channel and hit the bell to the right of the red button to make sure you always get notified when I publish a new video.

My next video is all about Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy and is released Wednesday October 10th.  Don’t miss it!

Hale Navy colour review release date: October 10th.

Perfect for Pinning!

As I love creating graphics and because they are necessary to drive people back to my site from platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, here are three that I designed specifically for this blog post. Which one is your favourite?

Follow me on Pinterest here


Pinterest graphic number 2 for testing


Hang out with me on Instagram, click here

Want to get your paint colours right the FIRST time for your next project?  Contact me here and let’s do this!

How To Create a Gallery Wall In Your Home

Wall gallery displays in Interior Decor have become a popular way to dress up the walls in your home.  To ensure you get this focal wall just right, I’m sharing a few guidelines with you that I like to follow.

You want to make sure that your hard efforts of creating a gallery wall in your own home will pay off to give you your desired look, especially before putting holes in that wall!

You’ll also see:

  • My rules to follow for creating a gallery wall in your home
  • What to consider when choosing your wall art and your frames
  • How I created a simple (& inexpensive!) gallery wall as a focal point in my own home
  • A foyer & dining room of two different client projects using their photos to personalize the space
  • 3D renderings to allow clients to visualize my ideas for these accent walls within their home

    Are you ready? LET’S DO THIS!


If you know me, you know I like to plan, so this is very important.

My rule is that there should be at least one commonality throughout the entire gallery wall, one element tying it all together. The first thing you need to do is:


For my client’s front entryway (below) in their home in Hamilton, Ontario, we decided to go with the theme of family photos. We wanted to convey through the images in the gallery, that was is tight knit family with a home full of love and fun!  The framed images were from their wedding and trips that they had taken together over the years.


Gallery Wall of personal photos
Gallery Wall of personal photos.

Similar Frames or Mat Colours

In my own living room in Burlington Ontario, I have a feature wall with IKEA frames that are all the same medium toned wood colour. I also made my own border within the mats to frame each photograph. To keep continuity and flow, I chose to paint them the same as the wall colour, Flint by Benjamin Moore.

Each of our ‘Nature’ themed photos have a little bit of yellow in the image.

Shown below is a wall design that I did in my own basement many years ago. All the mat colours are the same, but you can see that I decided to go with different frames, different in both style and in size.

Photos from our travels, before kids and before we moved back to Canada from England.

Take Your Measurements

Now wait. Don’t put your hammer to the nails just yet!

Before you put a hole in the wall, you’ll need to measure the wall space where your wall art will live. Let’s say it’s going above your sofa. You typically don’t want to exceed the width of the sofa. Also, be sure to place the bottom of the frames  within 6″ – 12″ above the top of the sofa.

As with anything, there are some exceptions to this rule. However, for the purpose of this post, let’s stick to that way of thinking.

Below in my daughter Elise’s room.  Notice how the items on the wall do not extend past her bed?


Photo of this interior decorating project by Stephani Buchman Photography.

To measure it all out, I do one of two things:

I either use my 3D program and map it all out like you can see in the rendering below. This way I can show clients exactly how I intend to set up their gallery wall display and get my client’s approval for the layout.

The other option is to map it all out on the floor. Use a measuring tape and play around with the arrangement by moving your decorative pieces around until you get the look you want.

Tip: Take photos of proposed layouts before adjusting items to try another look.  This way you don’t need to worry about remembering each possibility! (Hey, we aren’t getting any younger, right?!)

I like to start by placing the biggest piece first, unless all the photos are the same size.

You’ll also want to consider if you (or your client) is someone who likes things to be symmetrical or if you are a bit more ‘loosey goosey’ and like the quirkiness of an asymmetrical design.

Symmetrical layout of my clients framed photographs in their industrial dining room we designed.

Keep each piece of wall art close enough together so they’re relating to one another.  At the same time, allow for some breathing space so each item can be appreciated when looking at the final design, just as we did above in our clients very cool dining room

What I love about so many gallery walls, is not only are they a great way to display artwork, but these feature walls are a great opportunity to make your space more personal.  That’s really what great interior design for a home is all about.

Just like my tagline states, “Love where you live, live a better life.”

When you surround yourself with personal and sentimental items, that’s when you really make your house, a home.

Plus, you’re going to be excited to show off your beautifully decorated home with those who mean the most to you.  A win-win for sure!

If you want help designing a gallery wall, I’d be happy to help.  Contact me here.

Now it’s your turn to share your tips with us.  Comment below to let us know if you have a Gallery Wall of Art in your home.


To Design a Smart & Sexy Kitchen, You Need This

We want our kitchens to look sleek, sexy and classic right?  Of course! But it’s also imperative that they do what we need them to do in terms of functionality. It’s like when we meet someone who we are attracted to. Initially it may be their looks that entice us, but if there’s nothing between the ears and the personality is flat, then what’s the point?

Fortunately, when it comes to appliances, Thermador has very thoughtfully considered both.  

Read moreTo Design a Smart & Sexy Kitchen, You Need This

What Detail is Often Overlooked in Interior Design?

Earlier this month I headed to KBIS – Kitchen and Bath Industry Show – in Orlando for Blog Tour 2017!  It was an all expenses paid trip hosted by the lovely Veroinkia Miller of Modenus.

The purpose of the tours are to connect interior designer professionals from all across North America with vendors of the show so we can learn about their products and share them with you.

Read moreWhat Detail is Often Overlooked in Interior Design?

An Ugly Duckling Transformed!

It’s November already!?! Donald Trump is the new US President?!  Christmas is just around the corner?!!  I know, I’ve been AWOL for the last little while and so much has been happening in this world!

Let’s escape for a few minutes to see this latest transformation that I recently had photographed.  If you like a good before and after, you’re going to love this.  

Read moreAn Ugly Duckling Transformed!

Avoid DIY Disasters – It’s Easier Than You Think

No matter what the task, project or goal, it’s no secret that when you have a plan in place you are more likely to succeed.  If you want to lose weight & you choose to just ‘wing it’, chances are you’re going to fail.

If you want to try making a different meal, but don’t have a recipe or know what the ingredients are, it’s probably going to be disaster. So why would anyone

Read moreAvoid DIY Disasters – It’s Easier Than You Think

Why Renovations Go Over Budget

Home Renovations can go over budget for a variety of reasons and this can make it very frustrating for many home owners to plan a renovation.  I lay much of the blame on networks such as HGTV which provide only ‘half truths’ to it’s audience about the projects they do.  Creating drama and good entertainment overrules educating viewers on the details of a renovation which can be deceiving & confusing for home owners.  But there’s also another reason…

Read moreWhy Renovations Go Over Budget