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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Ways to Create a Rustic Glam…

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.

For more great ideas and photos on design styles, 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: 3 Tips for Selecting Quality Outdoor Upholstery

How to Choose Your Outdoor Furniture Wisely

As Memorial Day is drawing near some of you are contemplating an investment in quality outdoor upholstery where you can spend the days outdoors relaxing with family or friends.   Here are my 3 tips as an interior designer for selecting outdoor furniture that will be a good investment.

Photo courtesy of B&B Italia

  1. Functional Furniture – Comfort is my top priority when selecting outdoor upholstery so make sure you try sitting on the furniture for at least 20 minutes to ensure it’s comfortable and fits your body type – seating height and depth plus arm location and overall size. Thicker cushions and sizes are also critical when purchasing because the furniture may too large for your space if you haven’t measured ahead. Here in this outdoor space by B&B Italia furniture the furniture is amply spaced apart providing comfortable seating.
Interior design by Karen Mills
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. A color that will stand the test of time I think we as consumers are naturally drawn to our favorite colors and often purchase based on that fact alone but when you’re investing in a quality piece(s) of outdoor furniture you might want to consider longevity of a frame when selecting colors that aren’t neutral.

Of course if a particular color is part of who you are and always has been, then it may not matter.  For me as an interior designer, my favorite color is usually what we are designing that day or week.  That’s why neutral seating frames and/or cushions like shown on this porch are often best because pillows and other accessories can create a fresh new look without a big investment.

Photo courtesy of Schumacher

3. Design Style

Style, a key factor in selecting furniture, plays a huge role outside because the furnishings must not only coordinate with the exterior of the home and the view beyond but also relate to the adjacent rooms inside.

In this outdoor space the white furniture and cushion color help marry the contemporary fabric with the more traditional Greek pillars to create a more cohesive feel.

For more great ideas and photos on outdoor design and furniture, 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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Biggest Mistakes We Make in the…

Karen Mills' blog
Design by Karen Mills

As homeowner one of our biggest fears when remodeling is that we will make a mistake, especially one that could cost thousands of dollars. Read on for 3 common mistakes I notice as an interior designer that homeowners often make in their bathroom remodels.

  1. Poor Layout – One of the biggest keys when space planning your bathroom is to ensure its functional. 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 to experience it. 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 as an interior designer I admit that I love timeless spaces, 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 gorgeous bathroom remodel not only did we open up the closed off spaces in this room, but we also went with a classic marble finish to create a more timeless look that could last for 30 years or more instead of adding accent tile that often dates a bathroom more quickly than anything else.

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 work well together.

Here in the 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 or interior 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 
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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Transforming Room From Blah…

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Circa Lighting

Does your interior feel “blah” or boring even though its filled with furniture? Often the reason a space looks unfinished is because rooms either lack the key ingredients to make them come alive or the key ingredients aren’t placed in a way that creates harmony and variety.  So here are my 3 tips to transforming your interior ordinary to extraordinary!

1. A Color Story – The first thing usually missing is color and I don’t necessarily mean bold color, just a lack of cohesive color throughout.  In this bedroom design even though the grayed out blue hue isn’t dramatic by placing it on the headboard, bedding, bench, and drapes it creates a calm and quiet color story for the person who will sleep there.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Kravet furniture

In contrast this dramatic living space by Kravet above shows how you can create drama in a room by using bolder colors like the warm reds  used throughout to draw your eye around the room along with the blue that plays a supporting role and nice contrast in the interior design.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Charles furniture

2. Accent lighting – Having ample accent lighting in a space makes it more inviting and interesting. And as a general rule,  you need at least three or more lamps in every living space to add ambiance to your interior design.

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Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills. Photography by 29 Pixels.

3. Groupings of large accessories – Most people buy smaller accessories which when grouped together often creates a feeling of clutter, adding tension to your space instead of ambiance to your overall interior design.  Instead strive for a balance of accessory sizes with more emphasis on large than small. And when placing items together think about taller placed behind wider or grouping like items together like these ocean items placed on the tray here.

Another key to successfully accessorizing includes selecting colors, styles, and textures that will enhance your design and grouping accessories together to create vignettes or points of interest throughout your space. For example when I’m adding the final touches to a project as an interior designer, I often mix not only sizes of accessories but also textures which gives the vignette or grouping a more interesting mix.

For more great ideas on how to transform your interiors from boring to fabulous sign up for our 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!

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Biggest Mistakes We Make in Basement…

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Not taking advantage of natural daylight – In this recent basement design we situated the bar area in a spot surrounded by natural light to make the space feel like the main level of the home. To further enhance the light airy feel we designed the bar with white counter tops and lighter paint colors to bounce more light around the room.

Karen Mills' blog

2. Not hiding the telltale signs of a basement living space. –When finishing your basement ensure that you hide all ledges, duct work, and niches or anything else that screams basement. Here in this space we added wood flooring, artificial light, and and accent lighting to give this basement a first floor feel.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Lack of adequate artificial light – As an interior designer I can’t emphasize enough the importance of artificial lighting. Here we started with general can lights, added task lighting over the island, and then topped it off with accent lighting inside the shelves and under the cabinets to create a wow factor.

For more great ideas and photos on basement interior design or remodels, 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: 5 Hottest Product Trends for Kitchen Design/Remodels…

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. White Quartz Counter tops – Even though darker kitchens are making appearances across the U.S. and especially on the coasts, white quartz counters still dominate with interior design clients as the most popular material here in the United States. As an interior designer I’ve worked with over 1200 clients and believe wholeheartedly the reason for this appeal is because white reflected back onto our skin makes us look and feel younger. White also feels fresh after years of darker colors plus marble style patterns are classic and timeless.

Here in this kitchen the island counter has been designed with a mitered edge (thick) which is another huge kitchen remodel trend that gives a more luxurious feel and wow factor.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

2. Counter Depth Refrigerator Here in this kitchen space a counter depth fridge creates a wider walkway through the kitchen to the garage and other rooms behind. Other trendy features include reflective tile back splash, and lit glass cabinets.

3. Touch Faucet – Touch faucets are gaining popularity because you only need to touch the faucet with a part of your body to activate or deactivate the flow of water at a preset temperature.

4. Steam Convection Oven – Who doesn’t love an oven that can cook food in half the time at a lower temperature plus keep foods moister and brown bread.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

5. LED lighting

For more great ideas and photos on kitchen design or kitchen remodels, 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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Questions to Ask Remodeler Before You…

What to Consider Before Using a Contractor Besides Cost

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen MIlls
  1. What qualifications/experience do you have with my type of project and can you provide references? For example ask if the contractor belongs to NARI, National Association of Remodelers or HBA, Home Building Association.

2. Can your insurance company mail a current copy of your insurance policy(s) before we sign the contract? Contractors should have liability insurance to cover any damage to your property and workman’s comp for anyone working on your home to protect you if they get hurt on the job.

3. How do you charge? Normally remodelers give a bid/estimate of total amount for project minus any unseen issues or simply charge for time (hourly) and materials (products). If you want to buy materials yourself and just pay the contractor for your time, make sure they offer that option and that you can put a limit on the hours billed so project doesn’t get out of hand.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills Zero entry shower

4. Can you complete work within my requirements and may I have a timeline/schedule of construction beforehand?

5. Will you provide a signed contract with scope of work to be done and warranty?

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen MIlls

For more great ideas on remodeling or interior 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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Selecting the Perfect Color

Helpful Hints for Selecting Paint Color

Color, the biggest issue faced by homeowners starting an interior design or interior decorating project is often an overwhelming task so I’ve broken it down into three manageable steps for you today.

  1. View colors on a white background – First and foremost, when selecting colors, make sure that you’re viewing colors on a white background to get a true sense of the colors before placing them on a wall.   Don’t wear colors that might reflect back on those paint colors while you’re making selections because red, for example, could reflect back on another color giving it a green cast.
Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Kravet

2. Make color selections during daylight – Consider natural light along with artificial light in the room. 

For trim and ceiling paint colors, look to the lightest end of your paint strip for possibilities along with whites. 

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Paint large swatches of your paint selection on a backed poster board – All too often I walk in as an interior designer and see clients who’ve painted a light neutral over another color on the wall and the original color is bleeding through or distorting the hue. Once you have the board painted, place against a neutral white background view during both daylight and after dark to ensure you still like it.

 If you don’t know where to start with color, pull inspiration from a favorite item like artwork, a rug, fabric, jewelry or even nature and let the fun begin!


For more great tips on color and how to use it become of fan of our weekly interior design blog here


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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Sprucing up Your Outdoor…

How to Take You Outdoor Room from Blah to Beautiful

Karen Mills' blog
Courtesy of Lexington Furniture

Who doesn’t love this time of year – warmer weather, food on the grill, and great parties outdoors!  But when it comes to outdoor gathering often our outdoor space need a little sprucing up. Here are 3 tips for adding a little pizzazz to your outdoor room.

1. Add a pop of color with pillows

Here in this photo from Lexington Furniture sunny yellow pillows enhance the yellow chair cushion color to create a wow factor in this neutral spac.e

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Layer in textural decor

Texture in a space is critical – it softens the hard surfaces and creates interest.  In this photo the large blue green vase on the hearth adds a pop of color while the branches inside add texture along with the orange flower and napkins.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

3. Make it Personal

When you’re decorating or designing a space its important to add your own personal touches that show off your personality. On this covered porch the homeowner had a painting done on wood and picked up an iron table base to give this outdoor room a one of kind look.

Karen Mills'blog
Decorating by Karen Mills

The same holds true for this outdoor patio space where a vintage trunk on wheels has been re purposed as a coffee table.   Other personal touches on this patio include a vintage candelabra and wrought iron table that was handmade.  To see more about this patio design, click on the TV segment below

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

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Ways to Make Your Living Room…

If you’re like me you’re ready for warmer weather and cheerful colors.  Here are 3 ways to make your room feel lighter and happier.

Karen MIlls' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

1. Add bold pops of spring color

One of the easiest ways to add spring hues begin with bright colored pillows. Other simple ideas could include removing dark heavy drapes, adding white cotton slipcovers to your upholstery, or replacing a heavy darker rug with a sisal one.

In this room bold patterned pillows create a dramatic contrast against the white sofa and custom blue green drapes beyond while the red orange flowers and artwork add to the tropical look.

Karen Mills' blog

2. Introduce fresh flowers and/or plants

Nothing says spring like a bouquet of fresh flowers, a beautiful orchid or live plants. Here in this outdoor living room the orange flowers pick up the color in the napkins, creating a cheerful spring look.

Karen Mills' design blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Swap out dark furnishings for lighter ones when possible

If you have a lighter area rug like the one pictured here that you can swap out for a darker one, the entire room can be transformed from winter to spring.  White coral and a rope glass lantern with a blue candle enhance the spring/summer feel along with the light airy pillows and fresh plant beyond.

For more great ideas on interior 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 Facebook here!