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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 8 Steps to a Successful Design Project

The Interior Designer’s Guideline to Walking Through a Residential Project

Like any project that involves money, you need a budget or range before you start.
Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Decide on an interior design style or mix of styles that will flow with your architecture and existing furnishings. . Start by selecting several photos of room designs you like and make sure any spouse or significant other involved agrees. In this room the clients requested that we incorporated their family heirlooms into this glamour meets rustic living room.

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. For this entry we began with an existing piece of art, pulling out the colors in other decor items.

rug sizing example
Interior design by Karen Mills

  3. Create a floor plan so you know what fits in your space and the sizes you need.   To do that hire a trained interior designer or go online and use space planning software. In this great room we began by creating a floor plan with size ranges for each piece of furniture so we knew which furniture would work in this space.

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 4.  Set a timetable.   At this point you might want to bring in an expert to review your design plan/timetable because investing a few dollars for a master plan and viable timetable can help avoid thousands of dollars in costly mistakes or huge delays.  

Karen Mills' rug sizing example
Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Design and order custom furniture and any built in cabinetry after consulting with your interior designer or tradespeople if you’re managing the project yourself. At this point all custom interior design needs to be finalized and ordered like this Lee custom sofa shown here.   In addition permits need to be pulled for construction.

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

7.Design custom draperies, bedding, rugs, wall/floor/ceiling finishes or pillows needed along with choosing hard window coverings, light fixtures, and any ready made furnishings.  Place orders.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills as featured in Architecture Today Interior Design and Design Icons books

8. Purchase artwork, hardware pulls, lamps, and all other furnishings needed. In this more traditional dining room with an existing table, chairs, and buffet we sourced an original abstract painting, a metal sculpture, a Schonbek crystal chandelier, modern flower vase, and more to give the room a more curated collected look.

Ready to get started? Give us a call at 913.764.5915 to request a Design Guide or to discuss your project now.

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our blog here!

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

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: Backsplash Trends 2019

What’s New & Next for Kitchen & Bath Back splashes

Walker Zanger tiles from Virginia Tile

Since I specialize as an interior designer with remodels, especially bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, I’m in tile showrooms constantly always looking for what’s new and next in tile. Of course personal style still dominates as a huge trend but read on for some of the other new trends I’ve been noticing for the past couple of years that are still trending into next year.

1. Go Bold or Go Home – The tiles shown may look small but they are actually closer to 10″ square. Big contrasts like the gold border on the black tile are another trend along with mixing up sizes.

3D Walker Zanger Tiles from Virginia Tile

2. 3D Designs including Graphic Patterns – Three dimensional designs may have been around for a few years but they’ve gotten bolder, especially with a solid tone on tone color. We’re also getting more options in shapes giving homeowners and interior designers an opportunity to play with the tiles like puzzle pieces to create one of a kind designs like this triangle shape shown here.

3D Tiles from Virginia Tile
Walker Zanger Tile

You may have noticed how much I love this graphic 3D design here and that’s because it adds so much style and interest without overpowering the room. Will be sharing a recent kitchen remodel project completed with this tile in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

3D Yosemite Tiles courtesy of M&S Distribution
Yosemite Glass Tile from M&S Distribution

3. Organic Tile Designs – Don’t know about you but I never tire of design that relates to what I see in nature, especially this fabulous large glass tile panel that reminds me of ocean waves rolling in.

Tiles from M&S Distribution

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our blog here!

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

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: How to Show Off Your Color Personality

Ever wonder what your favorite color says about you and how to use it to showcase your personality?

As an interior designer and color expert, I can tell you that’s not always an easy task because it takes years of experience to learn how colors colors can impact a room in different lighting situations..  No wonder painting is currently listed as the most common home improvement project since countless homeowners waste money having their spaces repainted after selecting a color or combination that doesn’t work.

So here’s some insight on your color’s meaning that may help and ideas for using it in your home.

Karen Mills' blog

If you love red like I do you most likely live life to the fullest with spontaneity and excitement like this little girl pictured in a red Halloween costume.  But what does a red interior say to others?  The color, associated with blood, raises your blood pressure and grabs your attention!  So if you don’t want to go completely red, try using it as an accent color to make your space a little more vibrant.

Karen Mills' blog

Blue, however, exudes stability and calm, making it a perfect color for bedrooms where you need to unwind.  Lovers of this color tend to be dependable, responsible citizens who do the right thing.

Karen Mills' blog

Yellow, like a ray of sunshine on a fall day portrays warmth and optimism in a room, making it perfect for a kitchen or a sunny living area, and fans of this color are often optimistic people with a positive encouraging attitude.

Green, the color of nature exudes calmness and warmth, which makes it a good color for bedrooms or spaces where you need a more relaxed feel.  And fans of this color are usually warm, kind, and charitable.

Karen Mills' blog

Purple fans, often a more complex and creative type of individual, are fascinating individuals but sometimes may seem mysterious or dark to others who don’t understand their creativity.

Orange, the color of hunger and vibrancy fits perfectly into that dining room or kitchen area where you need some life.  And if you’re an orange lover, you probably show the same vibrant spirit as the color with your enthusiastic zest for life.

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our blog here!

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

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 Decorating: 3 Ways to Inject Fall Orange into…

Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Introduce orange artwork into your interior design. In this living room we layered in an abstract painting that brings a jolt of color to these neutral walls along with a custom jungle print stool that reveal a little bit about the personalities that dwell here.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Add orange decor for a pop of color. In this entry an original artist’s vase and flowers ramp up the color quotient along with a vibrant orange area rug and original Mattini painting.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Layer in an area rug or pillows with orange In this stunning dining room we found the perfect blue and orange rug to ground the space while lightening up the existing dark furniture. An original orange painting, flowers, and chair covers in orange enhance the fall feel.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

If you want just a pop of orange without a big commitment then orange pillows like these shown here might be just the perfect solution. An orange sphere reinforces the orange theme.

Karen Mills' blog

Other options might include pumpkins, leaves, or fruit like shown here.

For more great ideas on color and design sign up for our weekly 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  Instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Decorating Your Living Room…

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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 space.

  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 pillows.
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.

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.

For more design how to 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 Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook  and Instagram now!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: How to Determine Correct Area Rug Size…

rug sizing example
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Best Living Room Rug Size – When sizing or calculating the ideal size for an area rug for your living room, try to find a rug that lays underneath ALL of your furniture in the room. But if you want to show off more floor or save money, you can also buy an area rug where only the front feet of your upholstered furniture sits on top of the area rug like shown here.
Karen Mills' rug sizing example
Interior design by Karen Mills

The last option and definitely least preferred by the interior design and rug community is to place a smaller rug in front of your sofa but not under the feet. Please note however, that this example is a larger rug that would actually work under the feet of the sofa and chairs nearby (not shown).

Karen Mills' blog rug example
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Best Bedroom Rug Size – Interior design clients often have a difficult time understanding this concept but a bedroom area rug should be large enough that it can be laid perpendicular under your bed just up to the edge of the nightstands without sliding under them and still have a few feet showing at the bottom of the bed like shown.

Karen Mills' blog rug example
Interior Design by Karen Mills

3. Best Dining Room Rug Size – As an interior designer I often see rugs that are just too small under the dining room table. Calculating this rug size can be tricky because you want two feet on each side of the table for room to slide back the chairs, but also need to ensure the final rug size fits into your space like the one shown here.

For more design 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 Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook  and Instagram now!

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

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

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!