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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Ways to Decorate Your Outdoor Area…

If you’re ready to get outside and enjoy the weather here are 3 tips for setting up your outdoor porch, pergola, or open seating area to enjoy for months to come.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Lexington Furniture

1. Create a Comfortable Seating Area 

High quality seating and a  “L” or “U” shaped configuration like this outdoor room by Lexington Furniture help create a comfortable and inviting outdoor space.  Here the yellow chair color repeats again on the sofa pillows while the patterned pillows on both upholstered pieces add to the cohesive look.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Lexington Furniture

2.  Introduce Fun Accessories

Some of my favorite accessories are bold pillows, live flowers or plants, and trays for the outdoors like shown in this photo.

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Photo courtesy of Braxton Culler

3.  Layer in an Area Rug to Create a Cozy Grouping

Placing an area rug underneath a seating area helps define the space and make it feel more like the indoors like this outdoor room.  Interesting accessories in turquoise add to the finished look along with the pillows and tray on the table.

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 Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook here

and if you have a porch to decorate, check out my latest article on Houzz titled Get Your Porch Ready for Spring Sitting below

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/95204125/list/get-your-porch-ready-for-spring-sitting

Karen Mills' blog

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Kitchen Trends for 2018

Whether you’re designing a new kitchen or simply doing a kitchen remodel it’s important to know what kitchen trends in your city.  As an interior designer I’m consulting with 2-4 homeowners weekly on kitchen design or remodels and here’s  what I see as the biggest kitchen trends for 2018 so far.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Transitional Style with Rustic Glam

Transitional style translates to cleaner lines and less pattern overall, creating a calmer feel like this kitchen.  Rustic touches might come through in textures like the live edge shelves we did in the kitchen in the following kitchen or other rough textures and glamorous elements that might show up in light fixtures and marble style counters like this kitchen.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Quartz Countertops

Granite countertops have been popular for year but as an interior designer I’m noticing a huge trend towards quartz countertops and I believe its because homeowners are craving calmer environments.  In this kitchen we not only covered the island and perimeter cabinets in quartz but also ran the quartz up the wall to create a dramatic feel.

 

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Storage

Even interior design clients on a tight budget usually opt for at least one storage/waste option to help their new kitchen feel less cluttered whether its a cabinet to hide appliances and have a coffee station like the gray cabinetry at the back of this kitchen we designed or pull out racks for spices.

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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 5 Keys to Profitability When Staging Home…

You only get one chance to make a great first impression when selling a home for resale because buyers are visual and often lack imagination. So where do you start? Besides a thorough cleaning, basic repairs and removing clutter (usually 50%+) I recommend focusing on five target areas to make a home more appealing to buyers.

Karen Mills' blog

1. Curb Appeal – The majority of buyers won’t leave their car if the house lacks curb appeal. Stand outside and take an objective look at your house ensuring your yard is manicured and the entry inviting including a freshly painted door, welcoming doormat and perhaps a pot of flowers, weather permitting.

Karen Mills' blog
Styling by Karen Mills

2. Inside Foyer – As a state certified staging for resale instructor and interior designer I always tell homeowners to think of their entry as an advertisement for what’s to come in their home.  Start by creating a wonderful ambiance with an inviting entry rug, nice looking furnishings, a table lamp, and a neutral wall color.

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Styling by Karen Mills

3. Living/Dining Room – Arrange your rooms to emphasize your focal point such as a fireplace or view outside, while  adding pops of color with accessories such as pillows or throws to draw your eye through the space and create interest, while removing personal items such as photos that make it clear its not the buyers home.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

4. Kitchen – Clear the counter tops except for a couple of large vignettes of accessories, clean the kitchen thoroughly, and add a dab of vanilla extract on your light bulbs to give the sense that something just came out of the oven.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Master Suite – Set the stage for an inviting retreat in the bedroom that includes organized closets and clutter free floors/tops. Create an inviting bed with light colored washable bedding in simplistic patterns, add a seating area, if possible, and create a spa feel in the bath with thick white towels.

Karen Mills
Photo courtesy of Bernhardt

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 Design: 3 Tips for Designing a Restful Bedroom

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 place to sleep.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Circa

1. Starting with a soothing color scheme 

When selecting a color palette that’s soothing opt for muted colors or neutrals.  In this bedroom by Circa furniture, the grayed out blues of the bedding, bench fabric, and drapes help calm down the room while also adding a touch of color to the gray walls and white rug.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Choose bedding in natural washable fabrics that are soothing

In this bedroom, we selected washable Italian sourced bedding, wallpaper and furnishings in muted colors with minimum pattern to keep the room’s interior design from getting too busy.  I love washable bedding because it cleans up easily when children or pets make a mess to reduce the worry.

Here the blue of the accent pillows on the bed repeat again on the chair’s pillow while the warmth of the bed’s wood is picked up again by the chair and carpet.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Century Furniture

3. Provide an inviting seating for getting dressed or just relaxing

In this room by Century seating abounds from the large tufted ottoman and bench to the chairs for sitting and reading.  The neutral color palette creates a soothing feel while the plants add life and color.

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 Color Scheme Options for Your Living…

One of the biggest questions I get asked as an interior designer is what color scheme to use in decorating or designing a space.  If you’re not sure what color is best, trying shopping your closet for inspiration because often your favorite outfits or jewelry are the colors that look best.  Read on for three possibilities for your living space.

Karen Mills' blog

1. Blue and Orange 

Here in this photo I snapped before the rug was placed to tie everything together, we incorporated cool turquoise pillows to calm down the bold pops of orange along with introducing pillows with both colors to lessen the impact.

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Interior decorating by Karen Mills

This living room is another example of how to decorate with blue and orange.  Our inspiration for the color scheme came from the existing water blue and orange artwork over the mantel.  To bring it all together we started with a light neutral sofa and coffee, then layered in custom blue draperies and fun toss pillows to create a cohesive color scheme with the artwork.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesty of Century Furniture

2. Blue and Red

In this living space blue and red has been used quite effectively to create a little drama.  By starting with a neutral base of white and blue gray that’s more relaxing, red decor – tables, pillow patterns, and accents, can be added without overpowering the space.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

3. Taupe gray and beige

When you have a room that already has bold patterns and color in its finishes like this one, you might want to introduce lighter neutral colors with little or no pattern.  Here we introduced lighter upholstery and an area rug with interesting textures and less pattern to create a calming effect.

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!

and check out our latest interior design article on Houzz here

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/97946595/list/redecorating-lite-6-quick-updates-to-liven-up-your-living-spaces/

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Dining Room Paint Color Palettes

Since we don’t spend much time in dining rooms it’s a great opportunity to show off our personality and design something dramatic or even quirky.  Here are 5 fun color palettes to inspire you to refresh your dining space.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Schumacher

1. Black and White – This classic color combination always looks great not only because o the the stark contrast between dark and light, but also because you can pair almost any color with it like the yellow flowers here.

The wallpaper by Schumacher creates a wow factor in this space and draws your eye up to the ceiling to show off the height of the room.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Lillian August furniture

2. Blue

Blue, one of my favorite colors for dining room, especially navy, pair nicely with several colors including the fuchsia shown in this dining room.  By repeating different shades of blue on both the wrap around settee and wall, you can create a more interesting color scheme.  The fuchsia hue of the chair and pillow repeat again on the rug to create a cohesive feel.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Lillian White for Hickory furniture

3. Green 

Even though you don’t often seen green used in the dining room, I love how the green takes a back seat to the furnishings in creamy white and blue to help soften this bold shade of green.  Here in this photo artwork provides the inspiration for the color scheme of blue and green.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Hickory White furniture

Here’s another example of how to incorporate green into your dining room.  In this photo the yellow green in the art is repeated again on the chairs and reinforced by the green decor on the table.

 

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Kravet

4. White/Neutral

If you love white like I do, why not paint your walls an interesting shade of white or light neutral along with white furnishings to create a fresh feel.  Then you can either leave the room white or layer in an accent color or two to change the look as the mood hits you.

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

 

Karen Mills' blog
Photo by Spectrum Limited

5. Color Explosion

If you can’t decide on one accent color you like because you love so many why not keep a neutral wall color and introduce two or three accent colors that you love to create a space that reflects your artistic side like this photo by Spectrum Limited chairs.  To create this same look, keep the furnishings simpler also like these clear Lucite chairs to create your dramatic dining room.

Of course orange and purple can also be colorful options for dining rooms along with more neutrals colors as shown here.

For more great ideas on dining room design or other topics 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

Design Dilemma: How to Layer Heirloom Antiques into a…

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

When these Kansas City area clients purchased a brand new home that was already finished, they were excited to start over with new furniture too except for a few family heirloom pieces that had sentimental meaning.   So they called on our interior design firm who had worked with them before to solve their design dilemma.

First they needed to incorporate an antique coffee table into the interior design of this spacious living area so we placed the table front and center to create a wonderful conversation piece and cohesive look with the outdoor fireplace beyond.

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

As we placed key heirloom pieces the homeowners wanted to incorporate, we had to ensure the pieces complemented the interior design overall because the main living area was an open concept.

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

The armoire in the dining area was another existing piece that needed to be incorporated so we placed it behind a rustic style table with two existing end chairs that reflected an era gone by.

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

The entry chest, initially one of the biggest dilemmas because of it’s orange speckles, fell into place beautifully once we placed an existing piece of artwork that picked up the same colors as the chest.  To finish off the look we added a more contemporary lamp and vase that mimicked colors in the painting to create a wow factor in the foyer.

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

The master bedroom suite was also finished in warm gray colors so by repeating the orange wood hues of family heirlooms around the room along with designing simple custom bedding, the room complemented the antique pieces instead of competing.  A rustic bed and benches also help reinforce the timeworn feel of this space, making it more inviting and serene.

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

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

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 Design: 3 Ways to Design Smaller Kitchens to…

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

   1. Open up kitchen to rest of the house

In this kitchen we took out the wall to the former dining room and the wall to the maid’s quarters on the opposite end to create a space that lives large and even has enough room for a sit down island.  Once the walls were removed we matched the wood floors of the dining (now hearth) in the kitchen which also visually expands the kitchen so it lives larger.

2. Use lighter colors on walls and cabinetry

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

By selecting colors that are similar in hue and lighter in color, this kitchen becomes more cohesive and ultimately feels larger because the lighter colors bounce light around the room.

 

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

In this kitchen by designing a lighter white/gray color palette including the table/chairs, back splash and wall color, the room seems to visually expand also as light is reflected throughout.

  3. Add great lighting 

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

Great lighting can make or break a room, especially a kitchen.  Here in this kitchen we not only added great under cabinet lighting, beautiful chandeliers, extensive general lighting. and lit glass cabinetry but we also coordinated the lighting to be the same color temperature so it flowed together beautifully.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

Here’s another example of a smaller kitchen where we layered lighting to create a wonderful ambiance and a happy place to spend cooking or entertaining.

For more great ideas on kitchen design or other topics 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 Ways to Refresh Your Living Room…

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29Pixel Studios, LLC
  1. Add Pops of Color with Pillows 

By simply injecting a couple of new pillow and or throws in the room you can create interest in your room and another layer of design.    The blue drapes in this room also add to the room’s design along with the artwork over the mantel.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of All Modern

 

2. Introduce art and/or accessories

Art and accessories are like the jewelry for a dress – they can make or break it.   In this photo, the art colors are repeated in pillows, and accessories.

Karen Mills' blog

  3. Add Texture

Texture is key to good interior design because it adds warmth to the cold surfaces of walls, ceilings, and often flooring.  One of my favorite ways to introduce texture is with a beautiful area rug that also helps connect your upholstery into a cozy grouping.

For more great information on how to finish your living space, read my Houzz article here.

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/query/6-questions-to-ask-if-living-room-feels-unfinished

and to keep up with the latest trends, 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 Design: 3 Ways for Small Bathrooms to Live…

 

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

If you’re tired of your cramped small bathroom and considering remodeling here are 3 tips to help your refinished bathroom live larger!

1.  Monochromatic color scheme –  One of my favorite tricks to make a small bathroom look bigger begins with using one color on all the walls, furniture, floors, and decor such as bright white to give it a fresh clean look and bounce existing light around the room like the photo above.

 

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Interior design by Karen Mills

2.  Reflective surfaces –  To visually enlarge your small bathroom, use mirrors to reflect light and a shower of glass surfaces to give your space a light airy feel like we did in the shower above.

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

Adding legs to your vanity like the one above also makes your room feel larger.

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

3.  Increase your floor space – Start by swapping out an existing vanity cabinet for a floating vanity/sink or pedestal style sink (see photo below) or swapping your swinging door for pocket doors or barn doors like the bathroom we completed above.

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

You can also install your toilet tank in the wall along with more shallow sink vanities or use a floating vanity like above.

 

For more fabulous bathroom interior design tips, sign up for our blog here

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