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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: The 3 Secrets to Monochromatic Living Room…

Custom design by interior designer Karen Mills – Overland Park
  1. Choose One Color Hue – When an interior designer says the word hue, we are referring to a color family such as blue, white, or black, for example. By focusing on one color like the white we selected for this family room area, you can make a huge impact. Here the white colors vary from walls and trim to finishes, furniture, and floor coverings.

2Use a softer variation of color hue on upholstery or walls. In this lobby living area space, a darker color of pumpkin grounds the floor, while lighter upholstery fabrics and tile on pillars repeat the color scheme

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Courtesy of Kravet

3Layer in multiple textures.  Textured finishes in fabrics, flooring, wall and furniture can make or break a great interior design. Here in this taupe living room texture has been introduced on pillows, draperies, wallpaper, throws, upholstery, and rugs to create an interesting room that’s inviting but not overdone.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Tips for Selecting the Best Sofa

As an interior designer I realize how little most homeowners know about selecting a sofa that will fit them so here are my top 5 secrets to selecting a perfect custom sofa for your home!

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Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Determine the style and size of sofa needed.  If you have tall ceilings and supersized furnishings, you will need a sofa that’s in proportion to the room’s height. In contrast if it’s a smaller space you need to make sure the sofa height doesn’t overpower your room and will fit by measuring your space ahead with room to walk around.

2. Ensure the sofa is high quality. As an interior designer I recommend looking for three things:

  • a kiln dried hardwood frame that has joints that have been dowelled, screwed, and glued with reinforcements at corners.
  • eight-way hand-tied springs or at least sinus spring construction
  • cushion filling that’s high density foam, down wrapped high density foam or all down.

Please note that if you have a bench style sofa (one seat cushion) you will want a firmer cushion fill so the seat doesn’t lose its shape. If you want to sink down into the sofa and don’t mind the daily care of fluffing your cushions then down fill could be the right option. As an interior designer though, I usually prefer down wrapped foam cushions that look nice on the exterior but still have long term comfort.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3.  Make sure sofa fits your body type and height so your feet aren’t dangling above the floor or you aren’t unable to lean back comfortably in the seat because it too deep.

4. Select the quality fabric meant for upholstery.  If you will be using the sofa regularly then you will need a higher double rub count for durability and if you have cats or dogs, avoid fabrics that can be snagged easily.  Also keep in mind how easily the fabric will clean.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Use the best type of pattern.   As an interior designer, I usually recommend a solid color or tone on tone fabric (pattern is all the same color) because a sofa usually dominates your room and often can be overpowering or date quickly with a pattern that’s too bold, trendy, or busy.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips to Creating a Comfortable Inviting…

Ideas for Making Your Living Room More Cozy

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills.

1. Comfortable seating.  As an interior designer I always recommend selecting upholstery that’s high quality with cushions that will comfortable to sit in for hours while ensuring your feet are able to touch the floor and the seat depth is right for you. Here we designed this seating area with high quality custom furniture that’s comfortable and inviting. 3 Tips for a Budget Living Room Makeover

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Overland Park interior design by Karen Mills

2. Create a Cozy Conversation Area When an interior designer puts together a floor plan for a living area, they should focus on designing intimate seating areas like this one shown to create a relaxing comfortable space. Adding an area rug underneath helps define the space and pillows enhance the feel. 3 Big Design Mistakes We Make in Living Rooms

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Layer in texture  Texture can be added with fabrics, soft window treatments, decor, rugs, or art. In this intimate living area drapes, pillows, and a throw bring texture into the space along with a fabric ottoman, tray, and artwork.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for a Budget Living Room…

Interior design by Karen Mills

Do you ever feel like your room is blah or unfinished but don’t want to spend a fortune to finish it? Read on for my 3 tips as an interior designer to add a little life to your interior design.

  1. Add Color   Color can be painted on walls and ceilings or introduced with art, furniture or decor like this existing blue painting the client already had. A blue vase enhances the painting while providing an additional punch of color to our interior design client’s entry. Color may also be introduced with fabrics, draperies, rugs, or decor. 5 Easy Steps to Space Planning Your Living Room
Karen Mills' blog example of pattern
Interior decorating by Karen MIlls

2. Inject pattern –  Introduce pattern with draperies or pillows like this photo of a living room. The artwork, drapes, pillows, and flowers also add a pop of color to this dramatic space. Tips for Giving Living Room a One Day Makeover

Karen Mills' blog texture example
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

3. Layer in Texture – In this living room, albeit an outdoor one, texture was layered in with flowers, branches, wood trays, and cloth napkin decor. Additional texture in this space includes wicker chairs, a wrought iron table base, a wrought iron bench base, and a stone fireplace.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Making Your Bedroom Look…

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Interior design by Karen Mills featured by Design Icons book
  1. Choose bedding in a similar color to other finishes or lighter.  In this master bedroom design, we opted for white airy bedding that bounces more light around the room while also nicely offsetting the dreamy light blue green wallpaper, hand knotted wool rug, and other reupholstered furnishings . In contrast you can also opt for darker bedding and walls to help the boundaries of the room disappear.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Layer in some furniture that feels visually lighter. In this bedroom space, we layered in some furniture with legs showing underneath along with a lighter wood bed, and light fabric on the chair to make the room feel larger. Light neutral bedding, a bed, light painted walls and a light chair bounce more light around the room also visually expanding the space.

Karen Mills' blog

2. Add fabrics and finishes with little or no pattern including bedding, walls, furniture, and flooring. In this bedroom the homeowner used tone on tone bedding, a white upholstered bed, an acrylic bench with invisible legs, and mirrored nightstands to help visually expand her bedroom.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Creating Rustic Glam Design…

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As an interior designer I’ve noticed a huge trend over the past several years towards creating simple spaces that are a wonderful mix of rustic and glamour.  Here are my 3 tips for creating your own style of rustic glam.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills
  1. Introduce weathered furniture/furnishings

Weathered style furnishings could include anything from antique/vintage brand new furniture in weathered finishes and styles that remind you of a farmhouse look.

In this great room a rustic wood coffee table and wire bin end table on wheels were introduced along with the casual cotton covered sofa and chair.

Karen Mills' blog
From dark to light

2. Add touches of white

By juxtaposing the white chairs in the eating area against the rustic table finish and shimmery light fixtures, a wonderful symphony is created that undulates between masculine and feminine in this relaxing space.

The family room beyond continues the rustic glam theme with its beach elements on the coffee table contrasting nicely against the tufted sofa and gold mirror beyond which feel more glamorous.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating Mills/Photography by 29Pixels, LLC

3. Layer in a glamorous element

In this kitchen area matching mini chandeliers provides the perfect glam touch to this older kitchen with updated finishes.  The rustic table juxtaposes nicely against the marble in the kitchen to create just the right amount of tension.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

The Home of the Future

An Interior Designer’s Tips for Building a Home That Can Adapt to Changing Needs

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Homeowners are looking for a home of the future that’s not only functional and healthy, but also flexible and inviting whether its a home office (or two) for work/school, a gym, coffee shop, entertainment area (home theater), or a place to vacation at home. Read on for my interior designer tips on how to make your home easily adapt to your future needs.

When you’re designing a new home consider first how to create a clean healthy environment. Some options to consider include:

– a floor plan with a mudroom/laundry area and shower just inside the garage door where family members can get cleaned up before entering the rest of the house

– a high quality air purifying system that removes toxins including viruses and bacteria

Karen Mills' blog

– bathrooms with all tiled walls and ceilings that can be hosed down when needed.

– a floor plan that allows great cross ventilation of fresh outdoor air and for sunlight to penetrate further into the home.

Click now to continue reading our City Lifestyle article here.

For more great ideas 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 
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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: A Historic Kansas City Kitchen Remodel

Are you dreaming of a kitchen like the after but your reality is the before?

BEFORE                                                                   

AFTER

As I toured this historic high rise condo on the plaza in Kansas City for the first time as an interior designer, the reality of the situation was bleak.  The condo hadn’t been updated for years and the maze of tiny crooked rooms  made it difficult to imagine the beautiful open kitchen it could be.  

maid’s room

To start I knew we had to enlarge the kitchen so we took over the tiny adjacent maid’s room shown above to gain a few more feet, knocking out that wall.

Our end goal was a large open inviting kitchen full of natural daylight that was classic like this historic high rise located in the famous Country Club Plaza so to start we tore down the existing entrance wall to open the kitchen up to the existing dining room and  resized the mismatched windows in each room to be more consistent. 

We also relocated the adjoining dining room to the over sized living area and made the former dining room a hearth area that opened into the kitchen.

To make the rooms feel more expansive but also timeless, we tore out the flooring in the kitchen and wove in new wood floors to match the existing wood flooring elsewhere.

Next we began to lay out a floor plan that included a gorgeous custom island along with designing custom flush mount European style cabinetry that was also functional and a lighting plan that would make the room pop.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29Pixel Studios, LLC

On the right we designed a beautiful custom stove hood with lit glass cabinetry and large drawers underneath to hold pots and pans.  Plus we took the beveled subway tile to the ceiling to add height and drama to the space.

In the back we designed a pantry area that disguised the crooked structural wall and added doors that opened to reveal a coffee station and appliance storage along with additional glass lit cabinetry.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

On the left we created a bar area with a wine cooler, additional sink, and storage along with lit glass front cabinetry to hold glassware.

Karen Mills' blog

And on the island we added a thick mitered top to give the beautiful Cambria marble style top even more importance!

The result – a large open living/work space that lives large and is also functional.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 8 Ingredients of Timeless Design

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Interior design by Karen Mills featured in Architecture Today Interior Design book

 So if you would like to avoid trendy decorating and have a more enduring design too, here is an informative article I wrote for Houzz .  (Click link below to read)

8 Rooms with Staying Power

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid with Your…

Karen Mills' blog
Design by Karen Mills

One of our biggest fears as a homeowner is that we will make a costly mistake when remodeling, especially one that could cost thousands of dollars. Read on for 3 HUGE MISTAKES I see repeated over and over as an interior designer who specializes in bathroom remodels

  1. Poor Layout – One of the biggest keys when space planning your bathroom is to ensure it functions well for you. Not only do you need adequate space to move around and access what’s needed without bumping into things but you also want a beautiful bathroom that invites you in for a bathing experience. Here in this gorgeous custom bathroom, we added glass shower walls to make the space feel larger and lighter, while also creating a focal point beyond with a free standing tub and beautiful chandelier with plenty of space to maneuver around.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Too Trendy – Even though I love timeless spaces, I have to admit its fun to add a trendy element that’s new. But I only recommend adding a trendy finish if it either enhances the design and if its easily replaced without much expense like a back splash, wall paint, or light fixture.

In this lovely spa bathroom remodel not only did we open up the closed off spaces in this tiny master bathroom in a historic high rise, but we also went with a classic marble finish to create a more timeless look that could last for years instead of adding trendy accent tile that often dates a bathroom quickly.

Karen Mills' blog
Design by Karen Mills

3. Wrong Finishes – Wrong finishes can be anything from the wrong color, size, or pattern to how all the finishes (cabinetry, paint, tile, light fixtures, etc) come together to create a cohesive whole. The biggest problem I see as an interior designer are the homeowners who chose to do it themselves, but don’t have an eye for design. The final result? Thousands of dollars of investment in what may be beautiful cabinetry, tile, and lighting that just doesn’t play well together.

Here in this calming bathroom we selected finishes that were classic and simple in style to create a calm inviting space that will appeal for years to come.

For more great ideas and photos on bathroom remodels/design or custom design, 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 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!