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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Tips for Refreshing Kitchen For Less

Ideas for Bringing Your Kitchen up to Date Without Breaking the Bank

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

If a kitchen remodel isn’t in your future because of either lack of budget or not recouping your investment in your current home, then why not consider what I like to call as an interior designer a KITCHEN REFRESH! Read on for my 5 tips for giving your kitchen a budget friendly makeover below.  

1.Paint both your kitchen cabinets and walls to give your entire space a fresh new look. In this kitchen refresh we repainted darker cabinetry and walls a much lighter version of white to lighten up the space and visually expand it, while also swapping out dark counter tops for light ones.

To save money and not waste perfectly good granite our client re purposed the darker counters to a new basement bar where they were a perfect fit! Then to bring in more light we installed an existing chandelier the client wanted to incorporate and added new mini chandeliers over the eating area where we re purposed a tabletop made out of a door by gray washing it and having slip covers made to hide existing dark leather dining chairs.

Karen MIlls' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2.Replace back splash along with counter tops – After working on over 1200 interior design projects a huge problem we’ve noticed is that homeowners planning a budget kitchen remodel typically omit replacing their back splash. Unfortunately an old back splash screams dated so as an interior designer I recommend to our clients that they replace it at the the same time to create a wow factor when you walk into the room.

In this playful and creative kitchen makeover, we replaced the dark granite with white mitered quartz tops on the island and ran the quartz up the walls behind the cabinetry instead of traditional tile to add drama and interest. We painted the cabinets three different shades of gray, added new mini chandeliers, and replaced a few wall cabinets with live edge shelves to create a fun focal point.

3. Introduce new bar stools  In addition to the new live edge shelves the client in this kitchen purchased contemporary counter stools that really pop against the gray and white color scheme while adding a little warmth with the wood. New stools that contrast against your island or peninsula can completely have a huge impact on your kitchen without a big investment.

Karen Mills' blog
Kitchen refresh by Karen MIlls

4. Replace dated chandeliers or pendant lights – By updating your light fixtures you can make a great impression walking into your kitchen where the fixtures are usually front and center over an island or table like shown here.

To help these new mini chandeliers and the drum shade beyond in the hearth area blend seamlessly with the existing chandelier the client wanted to use in this space, we went with lighter finishes – champagne on the mini chandeliers and silver on the drum shade.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Layer in accent color with accessories, rug, or art –  When styling a space for an interior design project, especially a kitchen, I love to introduce a fun accent color that can be layered in on everything from napkins or a rug to platters and art.  In this photo the client styled their live edge shelves to showcase their beautiful collection of red and turquoise dishes which creates a real showstopper in this kitchen, while also providing storage.

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

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https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/80705354/list/ideas-for-refreshing-your-kitchen-without-remodeling

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 7 Tips for Styling a Beautiful Foyer

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of John Richard furniture

Front entries are the first impression you make on guests so why not create an inviting space.  As an interior designer I tell my clients to think of their entry as an advertisement for their home and what’s to come.  The entry should hold some of their favorite things and introduce the color scheme for their home’s interior design, revealing a little about their personal style.  Read on for 7 simple ways to create a beautiful foyer.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Introduce a Sofa Table or Case piece –  Start with a piece of furniture that fits easily in your entry and ideally can also hold decor.  Examples of case pieces could include a chest like this photo, a curio, sofa table, desk, etc.  In this entry the art brings together the warm neutral lamp, antique chest, and blue vase.
  2.   Freshen Up with Live Flowers or a Plant – The texture of the live plant will balance out the cold surfaces of the floor and walls, bringing the outdoors in.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Layer in Artwork or a Mirror – Introducing artwork can add texture and reveal a bit of your personality. A mirror is not only functional but also makes a style statement and can bounce light around from a lamp placed in front as shown here.

4. Ground Your Entry with a Rug – Layering a rug underneath adds warmth, color, and style to your foyer.

Interior decorating by Karern Mills

5.  Light it up With a Lamp –  Lamps not only provide function and ambiance, but they can introduce more style to a space like this round metal lamp that mimics the circle design in the cabinet along with the colors in the granite top, bowl, vase, and art for a more cohesive look.

John-Richard Collection Sutton Place Sideboard

Photo courtesy of John Richard furniture

6. Replace Your Overhead Lighting Here in this entry shown the colors and style of the chandelier add drama and interest to the overall look of the room while also repeating the color scheme and overall feel.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of John Richard furniture

7. Tell a Color Story – You don’t have to add bright colors to be bold like this entry shown.  The earthy brown of the chest is picked up again on in the painting and bowl while the blue lamp base color reinforces the artwork.

To learn about color options for your foyer, read my Houzz article titled 7 Color Palettes for a Pleasing Entryway  – 

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

and sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

7. Tell a Color Story – You don’t have to be as bold and bright as this entry photo, but every space does have a color scheme even it’s neutral.  The earthy brown of the chest is picked up again on in the painting and bowl while the blue lamp base color reinforces the artwork.

To learn about color options for your foyer, read my Houzz article titled 7 Color Palettes for a Pleasing Entryway  – 

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

plus sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: How to Decorate a Smaller Living Room…

Because I’ve personally had to deal with the challenges of downsizing from a house to a much smaller maintenance free space I wanted to share 3 ideas for visually enlarging your smaller living space.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Lighten up Your Color Palette In this living room we went from dark and heavy furniture and finishes to light and airy. Why? Because lighter colors reflect light instead of soaking it up, creating a lighter room that lives larger. Here we reupholstered the chairs in a light neutral color, installed lighter fireplace tile, painted the walls Shoji White by Sherwin Williams, introduced a lighter rug, and then darkened the floors so the furniture would appear to float in this lovely room just beyond the front door. But if you prefer a darker moody vibe, then as an interior designer I recommend you select wall colors and furniture in a similar darker color that will make the walls disappear.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Select Furnishings That Seem Visually Lighter. In this living space we reupholstered a dark heavy sofa that overpowered this room into a solid light gray color which makes the sofa here work. In addition we lightened up the fabrics on the dark chairs, and layered in a light color rug along with light walls, a lighter ceiling fixture, and fireplace tile. Then finally we purchased lightweight furniture – a coffee table, end table and mirrored cabinet that don’t take up any more space visually.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

2. Add lighting – By placing the large taupe sofa in the sunlight against the taupe gray walls it visually begins to shrink in scale, while the white chairs against the window bounce light around the room. A mirrored cabinet in back and several lamps also add light and life to this space.

Looking for more great ideas that you can implement?  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 or instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 MUST DOS BEFORE A KITCHEN REMODEL

If you’re  considering remodeling your kitchen or even designing a new kitchen, here are my suggestions as an interior designer to consider before signing any contracts or starting construction to avoid costly mistakes.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. First I recommend that you look for design inspiration in interior design magazines or online to get ideas of what you like so  you can effectively communicate your design vision to the team you assemble.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Make a list of items you absolutely must have in your kitchen and another list of things you would like to have.   If you’re not sure, make an ongoing list as you use your kitchen on a daily basis for a couple of weeks.

Karen Mills' blog

3. Hire a kitchen designer to design a kitchen layout and cabinetry that’s both functional and beautifully designed.   An interior designer that specializes in kitchens will also have great resources for contractors/ architects/trades people to help you accomplish your goal, can act as a trusted advisor and/or oversee the design, and will provide help coordinating finishes, assisting with lighting, and giving advice on storage to ensure your kitchen design looks great!

If you can’t afford an interior designer for the whole project, I would recommend hiring a designer for at least a couple of hours to help you create a master plan that makes sense.

Looking for more great kitchen design ideas that you can implement?  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 or instagram  here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Translating Your Fashion Style…

  • July 13, 2018

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I shared this post last summer but just wanted to post again because its a great way to get inspiration for your interior. As an Interior designer clients often tell me they lack inspiration for their room design.  To solve that dilemma we often start by looking at the clothes they love or favorite furnishings.  So if you’re having the same trouble deciding what to use for your home’s inspiration why not start with your closet!

Karen Mills' blog

Model and photographer Haley Johnston

Here is a great example of how to make a fashion statement into an interior statement.

Karen Mills
Styling by Summer Ann of Girlsinmadras.com

Haley’s love of florals comes through in the vase of flowers and fresh spring/summer color scheme of fucshia, green, and blues in the accessories on the table and in the glass cabinet to create a classic southern hospitality style.

To successfully transform your room using a favorite outfit as inspiration start by taking the dress or main part of the outfit and using it (color or pattern/color) as your focal point.  Then begin to layer in other components as additions such as purses, shoes, and accessories while trying to keep the same sense of style.

Karen Mills' blog
Model and photographer Haley Johnston
Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren and Luxury Textures

The  red dress worn by Haley translates easily into this sexy dark and moody entry shown here.  The red artwork, a focal point in the room, repeats the color of her red dress while the black wallpapered walls by Ralph Lauren add to the sophisticated style.

Looking for more great ideas that you can implement?  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 or instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 7 Steps For Creating a Room Design

Like any project that involves money, you need a budget or at least a range before you start. Do some research and bring in the experts  – an interior designer, contractor/builder, and architect  to give an estimated investment.  Then follow these 7 steps to create the room of your dreams!

Master bedroom retreat example
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Decide on a design style or mix of styles that will flow with your architecture and existing furnishings you will be re purposing.   As an interior designer in Kansas City, I always suggest clients select several photos of room designs they like and make sure any spouse or significant other involved agrees. Here in this bedroom we mixed a more contemporary transitional style with a rustic antique look.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

 2. Determine your color scheme ensuring it coordinates with adjoining rooms and any existing furnishings to be used in the interior design.   If you have no idea, take a look in your closet to see what colors you’re drawn too or pull colors out of an inspiration piece such as art, a rug, or fabric. In this living room we selected a white, warm gray, and teal color scheme.

  3. Create a floor plan so you know what fits in your space and the sizes you need.   To do that go online and use space planning software or get an interior design expert to help.

  4.  Set a timetable.   At this point you might want to bring in an expert – interior designer and contractor/builder to review your design plan/timetable because investing in a master plan can help avoid thousands of dollars in costly mistakes and a reasonable timetable helps reduce stress.  

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills. Photo by 29 Pixels, LLC

5. Design and order custom furniture and any built in cabinetry after consulting with your interior designer. At this point all custom designs need to be finalized and ordered .   In addition permits need to be pulled for construction.

6.  Select and order all plumbing, flooring, tile, and general lighting.

7.  Design furnishings

Furnishings may include rugs, window treatments, pillows, bedding or other items.  Also ensure you select art, finishes, and other decor needed. Here custom made pillow enhance the custom sofa and other decor.

For more great ideas 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 long running Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 5 Tips for Creating an Outdoor Oasis

Want to make your outdoor space more beautiful?  Here are 5 ideas for enhancing your outdoor room!

photo to explain point
Photo courtesy of B&B Italia

1. Create a cozy outdoor area for lounging or entertaining by grouping seating in a cozy arrangement. Add end tables, coffee tables, outdoor lamps, and an area rug to make it live like indoors. Here in this outdoor area the seating area is centered around the coffee table to create an inviting place to have conversation.

to explain point
Design by Karen Mills

2. Bring in one of kind vintage items to show off your personality.    In this outdoor porch area, my clients introduced a table base they found along with stone top for the coffee table to create a one of kind space.

Photo courtesy of Gloster

3Layer in different textures to keep the space interesting such as wood, metal, wicker, or plants. Here in this outdoor room a wood roof and decking provide texture along with wicker seating, fabric cushions/pillows, woven rugs and a metal table to create a visually compelling space.

Photo courtesy of Lexington

4. Add a water feature to create ambiance and to reduce outside noise from neighbors or the street with a small bubbler, hanging fountain, or even tabletop fountain. Here in this outdoor a pool beyond provides the water feature that could also include a waterfall or fountains.

shows example
Photo courtesy of Schumacher

5. Add height to your outdoor space.   One of my favorite ways as an interior designer to add height to my client’s outdoor spaces inexpensively starts with tall drapery panels on a pergola or porch or a potted tree that can be brought outside for the season.

For my own outdoor oasis, I designed a beautiful outdoor pergola with grand white Greek columns covered with climbing flowering vines and a curved header between snuggled inside a beautiful berm of trees with thick cushioned seating underneath.

Have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July holiday with your family and friends!

For more great ideas on outdoor living, join 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 or instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Creating a Relaxing Living…

Nothing’s better than coming home to an inviting home where you can relax and unwind. That’s why my focus as an interior designer has always been function first, then beauty. Read on for my three tips on how to create a comfortable living room design of your own.

example of comfortable seating
Interior design by Karen MIlls

1. Comfortable seating.  When selecting a sofa, opt for upholstery cushions that are comfortable for long periods of time. As an interior designer I always tell my clients to also make sure their feet can touch the floor – unless they’re planning to just curl up on the sofa instead, plus remember to ensure the seat depth is right.

Here in this living space, we utilized a custom designed chair to create a cozy nook where our client could entertain or just relax.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Create a Cozy Seating Area for Conversation After coming up with an overall design concept for style/color with your interior design, the next step is to create a floor plan. In the living room make sure you focus on creating intimate conversation areas that draw you into the space like shown here.

By creating an U shaped seating area you give everyone the chance to become part of the conversation. Texture was added with a hand knotted area rug, a stone fireplace, textural fabrics and rough hewn wood furniture while pops of color were introduced through blue vases, pillows, and other decorative items.

example of texture and color
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Layer in texture and color As an interior designer I love adding texture to a boring room because suddenly the space comes to life by just layering in a few additions such as a rug, decor, and drapes like we did here in this great room.

Looking for more great living room ideas that you can implement?  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!

or instagram

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Creating a Restful Retreat…

A good night’s sleep can be difficult enough without adding a room design that’s not relaxing and calm.  Read on for three ways to decorate a bedroom that’s a wonderful space for restful sleep.

master bedroom retreat
Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Starting with a soothing color scheme 

When selecting a color palette that’s soothing opt for muted colors or neutrals when possible. Here in this nationally published master bedroom we decorated the soothing colors draw you in for a good night’s sleep.

Master bedroom retreat example
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Choose bedding in natural washable fabrics that are soothing. Here in this master bedroom we designed we used washable bedding from Europe that only looks great but can stand up to the wear and tear of children or pets. The soothing muted colors and seating enhance the retreat like feel of this space.

master retreat
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Provide seating for getting dressed or just relaxing. In this gorgeous master bedroom we designed we added seating not only at the end of the bed and by the window but also in a nearby sitting area that’s set up just for relaxing. A muted color scheme on the leafy wallpaper, watery area rug, and seating for fabrics enhance the relaxing feel of the space.

For more great ideas on interior decorating 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/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Refreshing Living Room with…

One Day Makeover Tips 

If you haven’t updated your interior for 5 years or more, it may be time for a refresh.  If your budget doesn’t allow you to start completely over, why not opt for a one day makeover instead?

In this photo above our interior design firm reupholstered an existing sofa and chairs to freshen up the space along with refinishing the kitchen table top and updating the room’s finishes including the floor, light fixtures and walls.

If you’re ready to refresh your space, here are my top three tips!

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

1.  Create an inviting floor plan that emphasizes your focal point whether its a fireplace or bed, for example.  If you don’t have a focal point, design one yourself by grouping items together such as a sofa table or chest with a piece of artwork overhead plus a table lamp and/or tabletop decor.

In this room the client started with a favorite piece of art over the mantel and we replaced the fireplace tile along with upholstering the existing chairs and ottoman to create a fabulous new look!

To explain idea
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Shop your entire house for furniture/furnishings you can use in your room.  Keep those items you discover in mind as you start to put together your room, bringing ones you think might work to a staging area nearby.  

In this living area, the client wanted to keep an existing coffee table that had been passed down through her family in the interior design of this living room so we had to ensure we had similar warm hues – the outdoor fireplace beyond, to create a  cohesive feel with the antique table.

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Add a pop of color with accents throughout your room with pillows, art, drapes, decor or an area rug.   Remember, you can repaint or re purpose items to use in your refreshed roomtoo.   In this great room the client wanted to keep the mermaid art over the mantel so we tied in the furnishings to the art by layering in orange and blue pillows along with luxurious blue drapes beyond.

Looking for more great budget friendly decorating ideas that you can implement this summer?  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!

or instagram here!