Tag Archives: interior design

Interior Design: 3 Ways to Successfully Mix n Match Your Existing Furnishings

 

As an interior designer who’s designed or decorated over 1100 homes, I understand how overwhelming it can be for a homeowner to bring together their disparate furnishings to create a beautifully designed interior.  Read on for 3 steps you can take today to created a more finished look.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Horst by Hickory White

1. Repetition – To coordinate mismatched furniture or accessories I recommend tying them together by repeating a color from one piece to onto another like the pillow, rug, and art in this photo that helps unify the furnishings to create a beautiful interior design.  The branches, rug, artwork, and cloth fabrics also provide a welcome contrast to the hard surfaces of the floor, windows, walls, and table.

 

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Photo courtesy of Marge Carson

2. Opposites Attract –  One great way to combine furnishings is by juxtaposing shiny finishes with dull, textural with smooth or formal with casual to give your room life and keep it interesting.   The upholstery, branches, stone formation, and rug contrast beautifully against the hard surface of the tables while the brown pillow on the sofa marries the sofa to the chair.

3. Size (and shape) Matters –  When creating vignettes of accessories in your space whether its for a tabletop or shelves, try to place objects of various heights, sizes, texture, and shapes together to create a cohesive whole like this photo, while keeping taller items at the back for a graduated look.   Pillows, artwork, and blue accessories bring together the color palette, while the yellow vases provide an unexpected pop of color.

Click here to watch one of my recent TV interviews with Gina Bullard on Better Kansas City on KCTV5 about how to create rooms with staying power

http://www.kctv5.com/clip/13418623/home-design-with-staying-power

plus sign up for our weekly interior design and decorating blog here

and become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook here!

Interior Design: How to Use Interior Doors to Enhance Your Design

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

How often do we think of interior doors as design elements?  Probably not much but they can have a big impact on your interior design like the glass french doors in this photo of an Overland Park  home that frames the desk and art beyond.    The glass allows light and a view into the office, while the panes add interest to the interior design.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Haute Living

Or if you’re looking for a more contemporary interior door option, why not consider sliding panel doors that can allow light to penetrate further into your home like this photo above.  The repetition of the horizontal slats create an interesting pattern in this simple clean design.

To learn more about designing with interior doors, click below to read my recent article Beyond Open and Shut:  7 Ways to Use Interior Doors as Decor.  

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/82255678/list/beyond-open-and-shut-7-ways-to-use-interior-doors-as-decor

Plus sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

and become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook here!

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Decorating on a Budget

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Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixels, LLC

Do you ever feel like your room is unfinished or undone?  Do you have all the furniture purchased for your room, but don’t know what to do next and you’re on a modest budget? Here are 3 ways I recommend as an interior designer to inject personality and interest to your space while staying on a reasonable budget.

  1. Add color   Color can be painted on walls, ceilings, furniture or even brought in with decor like this blue candle and pillow in this room.  Color may also be introduced with fabrics on draperies and throws or layered in with a rug.
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Interior Decorating by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixels

2. Inject pattern –  Introduce pattern with fabrics, draperies, or pillows like this photo of a nursery we decorated on a budget as a surprise for parents from Community America Credit Union.  The horizontal stripes of the wall done by the homeowners add dramatic pattern along with the draperies and row of frames we hung with the baby’s initials.

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Interior Decorating by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixels, LLC

 

Karen Mill's blog

Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixels, LLC

3. Layer in texture – Texture can come through rugs or throws like the room here along with pillows and draperies.  Additional texture was added in this room with the small marble tile mosaic inset in the fireplace surround.

In the photo of the nursery, texture was introduced with the pouf, area rug, and fuschia colored pillow.  And in the close up of the tray, texture is added with the shell, rope handle, and tray.

For more tips and photos, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

Or become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook here!

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Creating a Beautiful Basement That Lives Like Upstairs

If you’re thinking about remodeling your basement, consider these 3 tips for creating a beautiful space that doesn’t feel like a typical basement design.

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Bring in the daylight.   When designing your basement, think about ways you can bring natural sunshine further into your space.  One of my favorite tricks?  Use french doors or glass windows going into the interior rooms that allow the sun to penetrate further and keep them open for entertaining to maximize space.

Other ways to bring in the light could include adding an a large daylight or above ground window, enlarging an existing window or by creating a walk up basement from a daylight basement if possible.

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Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29Pixels, LLC

2. Give it importance.  Treat your basement space like you would a main level room.  Use drywall on the ceilings, add drapery panels over small windows to make them feel grand, and create focal points with architecture, color and/or interior design to give the rooms a “wow” feel. I personally prefer lighter wall colors in a basement that’s dark so it doesn’t feel a cave unless its a home theater area or wine cellar.

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Beef up your artificial lighting.  By adding extensive artificial light with wall washers, accent lighting and/or directional strip lights in addition to your standard lighting, you’ll find that your basement feels more like an upstairs living space.

For more basement remodeling ideas and more, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of Living Large, Karen Mills, on Facebook here!

Interior Design: 3 Ways to Warm up Your Contemporary Living Room

Karen Mills

Photo courtesy of Design within Reach

One common complaint I often hear as an interior designer is that contemporary rooms are cold and uninviting.  But these spaces are becoming more popular because of their simple lines and often calming effect.  Below are 3 ways to warm up your contemporary style room.

1. Color not only warms up an interior but can also add drama like this room above where the lime green pillow provides a dramatic contrast against the blue sofa.  The live branches also warm up the room.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Charles

2. Live Elements are wonderful because they add life and energy to a space whether its a plant, flowers, fruit or other element.  As an interior designer, my favorite way to bring life to a space is by introducing flowers, especially exotic ones like orchids that can last for months.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Hickory White

3. Texture can be layered in throughout your room in a variety of ways. Here above the pillows, wall finish, and hanging branch warm up the room nicely along with the warmth of the area rug underneath.  Other creative ways to add texture include wood ceilings/walls, rustic finishes, draperies, and/or furnishings with a textural component.

For more great ideas and photos, sign up up for our weekly interior design blog here

Plus become a fan today of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of Living Large, Karen Mills, on Facebook here.

 

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Creating an Outdoor Space That Feels Like Vacation

Karen Mills' blog

 

When I daydream about the beach, it’s usually one of my favorite vacations like this one on St. John’s island with great views, fabulous restaurants, and wonderful friends.
When you’re planning your own outdoor space, why not recreate one of your favorite vacation spots that you can enjoy in your own backyard whenever the weather permits.   I did and here are my 3 tips accomplishing that.
Tip #1  Create a dedicated space outdoors with the feel of a room – floors and maybe a ceiling or walls.  Then add seating and possibly a table for meals.
Here in this photo above, the floors are tiled and a roof lingers overhead along with pillars that become the walls of the space.
In my own backyard, I designed a pergola to recreate that look but made one that was my own style.  I still mimicked the round pillars at St. John’s and a partial roof overhead for a similar feel. Then I layered in palm trees and tropical flowers to recreate the laid back island vibe.

Karen Mills' blog

2. Select a look or style that reminds you of one of your favorite vacations.  To accomplish that look in my own backyard space, I mixed in found antique metal seating fitted with custom white cushions along with a couple of new wicker chairs to achieve a more collected aesthetic. Then I threw in a weathered old trunk on wheels for a coffee table and placed a tray of shells from diving trips and walks on the beach on top.
Karen Mills' blog
3. Add a specific element that reminds you of your favorite spot.  That element for me was a touch of romance so we added LED lights at the top of the pillars to create a wonderful ambiance at night and accessories in turquoise to remind us of the blue blue ocean.
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Interior Design: How to Make Your Room Live Larger with Acrylic Furniture

If you love acrylic furniture check out the Associated Press article I was recently featured in that’s already made appearances in ABC, The Washington Post, Yahoo and many more titled  Clear Favorite: Acrylics a Versatile Furniture Option .

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills, photography by Nick Schale

Our project in this photo that was part of the Associated Press article shows how acrylic furniture can be used in a room effectively which I also talk about in the interview link above.

 

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Allan Knight furniture

Coffee tables and nesting end tables are one of my favorite pieces to use in a project too, especially in a smaller space like this photo  where they don’t take up room visually but still serve a function.

Karen Mills

Photo courtesy of Century Furniture

Dining rooms like this photo offer another opportunity to include acrylic whether its the table, chairs, or a bar cart.   Here the Century table almost disappears in the room keeping the space light and airy.

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Photo courtesy of Spectrum Limited furniture

For more great tips and photos, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show on Facebook here!

 

 

 

Interior Design: 5 Tips for Injecting Spring into Your Interior

The first day of spring has arrived in the United States and it’s a joyous time for most of us in the colder climates because it marks the end of a season of cold, ice, and snow.

 

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Charles

As I walked through my yard this last weekend I saw green buds appearing everywhere from bushes and trees to perennials.   So of course that motivated me to perform my semi-annual tradition of packing up heavy winter decor and ushering in spring with lighter decor.  If you would like to lighten your interior too, here are 5 tips for injecting spring into your home.

  1. Add life with fresh flowers and seasonal plants like this photo by Jonathan Charles furniture above.  Lighter finishes also help enhance the spring feel of this room along with an infusion of sunlight.
Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills. Photography by 29 Pixels.

2. Add fresh pops of color in pillows and decor like the room above.  The shell and lantern beach inspired decor also add to the warm season feel.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Charles

3. Replace dark heavy items like rugs with lighter options  like shown above or go with a natural rug like a sisal.  If that’s not possible, opt for removing the rug altogether.

Light pillow covers in natural fabrics also add to the appeal along with fresh flowers and light upholstery.  If you don’t have light upholstery, consider adding a slipcover for spring/summer weather like the dining chairs we had slip covered below.

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Circa Lighting

4. Lighten up in the bedroom by replacing heavy dark bedding with light natural fabrics in cotton and consider using sheer drapery panels instead of heavy drapes.

5. Spring Clean  Remove all the extra items that have accumulated over the winter months and do some spring cleaning so your room feels fresh and fabulous.  Now you’re ready for spring!

For more great photos and tips, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here!

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of Living Large, Karen Mills, on Facebook here!

 

Interior Design: 3 Ways to Use a Vessel Sink in Your Bath Design

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Photo courtesy of Link a Sink

Vessel sinks add energy to a bathroom’s interior design because they’re elevated to a place of importance on top of the vanity.  And they add style with their unique shape, color, pattern, finish, or material!

Vessel sinks come in an array of materials from stone or ceramic to glass, metal, wood, and more so the options are endless considering that you can also have an artist create an one of kind piece for you.

So if you’re considering redoing your bathroom to include a vessel sink, here are 5 ways to incorporate them in your bathroom design.

1. To enhance your design   In the photo above, the vessel sink by Link a Sink plays a wonderful supporting role in this dramatic powder room design, keeping the room from getting too busy.  But if you have a more neutral bathroom without much pattern or color, a  vessel with an interesting shape could be the perfect solution.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Signature Hardware

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Copenhagen Sinks

2. To add texture

By adding a rougher finish like this carrara marble sink show above by Signature Hardware to a bathroom full of hard shiny surfaces, you can make it more inviting .

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Kraus

3. To introduce color  

In the photo above this blue vessel sink by Kraus offers an exciting pop of color for neutral bathrooms.   I’m particularly fond of the faucet shown with it designed by a former Mercedes Benz designer to look like an auto stick shift.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Copenhagen Sinks

For more great tips and photos, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook here.

 

Interior Design: 5 Tips for a Budget Kitchen Makeover

 

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

If you want to update your tired old kitchen but don’t want to invest in a full remodel, here are 5 tips for freshening up your kitchen for less.

1. Refurbish your existing kitchen cabinets.   If your cabinets are in good shape and not too dated, sand, repaint and seal them.   In this kitchen above we painted the cabinets different colors, added a mitered (thicker) edge island counter top, and replaced some upper cabinets with live edge shelving to create a more interesting look.

If your cabinet door styles are dated, have them refaced with new doors and fronts.  You can also add glass inserts, replace your dated moldings and add crown molding overhead to completely transform them.   Plus pull out those dated appliance garages housed in the corner.

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Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixels

2. Replace your dated or worn appliances with more updated ones you can find for less in a clearance section or replace appliance fronts only if that updates the look.  In this kitchen above we also painted the cabinets, added a vintage chandelier the homeowner already had for a Hollywood Glam feel along with new light fixtures above the table which she had finished to a more grayed out rustic look.

3. Update your hardware finishes  by replacing pulls or knobs, your sink faucet, and light fixtures.  If you don’t have the budget for new light fixtures, have your old ones spray painted or do it yourself.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Circa lighting

4. Replace your dated counter tops and back splashes ensuring you add under cabinet lighting to show them off.

5. Refurbish your existing floors by refinishing hardwoods or by replacing flooring with stone tile found on clearance and install yourself.  As an interior designer, I’ve used faux wood tile more than once on kitchen remodels to create a cozier rustic feel when wood isn’t an option.

For more great tips and trends subscribe to our weekly interior design blog here!

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills. on Facebook here!