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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Hot Kitchen Trends for 2021

What to Consider Before Remodeling Your Kitchen From an Interior Designer’s Point of View

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Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Cabinetry colors trends ranging from timeless white and light stained wood to a dark painted color like shown in this kitchen bar area where we contrasted iron ore painted cabinetry on the exterior with a light warm stained wood on the interior of the glass upper cabinets to make it more interesting and dramatic. Contrasting colors on the wall cabinetry and island also add to the fresh new look.

2. Upgraded plumbing, accessories, or hidden storage ranging from touchless faucets and cutting boards or racks offered as an add on to kitchen sinks to built in coffee makers and cabinetry storage options are becoming increasingly important as we spend more time in the kitchen.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Restaurant like amenities that make being at home more enjoyable may include a built in coffee bar like the one tucked away in the gray cabinetry we designed at back of this kitchen or a wine bar similar to the one shown on the left that includes everything you need to serve wine from a temperature controlled wine fridge to glass fronted storage for wine glasses and hidden storage for everything else.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

Other popular restaurant like amenities that I’ve noticed as an interior designer include a dedicated baking area like this one in the back niche of the kitchen we designed for our interior design client to create delicious creations for her family and friends.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Steps to Space Planning Your Living…

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Interior design by Karen Mills

Do you ever feel frustrated or lost when it comes to deciding how to place your furniture in the living room? Read on for my tips as an interior designer on how to space plan your room to be both functional and appealing.

  1. Make it Functional – The first question I ask interior design clients who want our firm to space plan their living room is how they will use the room and what they need in the room to accomplish that. For example how much seating do you need daily? And if you entertain often how many people do you need to accommodate? Other questions to ask yourself is what else do you want to do in the living room? If you’re reading a book you will need a lamp nearby and if you’re eating or drinking, tabletops will be critical for placing glasses or plates down. In this great room we designed, a coffee table and sofa table provide surfaces to place items on while a nearby end table holds a much needed lamp.
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2. Determine Your Focal Point – In this outdoor living room the focal point is the fireplace we placed front and center in the design of the porch, but if you don’t have a fireplace or great outdoor view, you can create one with a vignette. A vignette is a grouping of furnishings created to make a focal point such as a table, artwork, and lamp arranged together.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Place your sofa or largest upholstery (seating) facing your focal point to give it more emphasis or importance.  Here in this great room design we placed the sofa facing the fireplace because it’s the focal point and your eye naturally goes to where the largest piece of upholstery is facing. Two more pairs of chairs flank the sofa, adding more emphasis and a cozy atmosphere, while the rug we layered underneath creates a cohesive pulled together look.

Karen Mills' blog

4. Make your furniture arrangement inviting and cozy, but not crowded. In this living room the sofa is facing a focal point, the view out the window. A round ottoman helps create a more spacious feel while the chairs are angled to mimic the shape of the ottoman while still being a part of the intimate seating arrangement that makes the space planning a success.

3. Place your sofa or largest upholstery (seating) facing your focal point to give it more emphasis or importance.  Here in this great room design we placed the sofa facing the fireplace because it’s the focal point and your eye naturally goes to where the largest piece of upholstery is facing. Two more pairs of chairs flank the sofa, adding more emphasis and a cozy atmosphere, while the rug we layered underneath creates a cohesive pulled together look.

4. Make your furniture arrangement inviting and cozy, but not crowded. In this living room the sofa is facing a focal point, the view out the window. A round ottoman helps create a more spacious feel while the chairs are angled to mimic the shape of the ottoman while still be part of the intimate seating arrangement that makes the space planning a success.

5. Layer in tables and an area rug underneath. Tables are critical in your room both for holding lamps to provide ample lighting and for placing glasses, plates, or other items in your possession. In this hearth living space we remodeled, we faced the sofa towards the fireplace or focal point. Then we flanked matching chairs on each side of the fireplace to further emphasize the it as the focal point. Next we layered in functional tables and a comfortable rug underneath to bring the furnishings into a cozy grouping.

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 Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook or Instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 4 Tips for a Kitchen Refresh

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.  

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Interior design by Karen MIlls

1.Paint both your kitchen cabinets and walls to give your entire space a fresh new look. In this kitchen refresh the dated stained cabinetry and dark walls were painted much lighter white colors that bounced light across the room, making it appear larger. Dark counter tops were also replaced 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 loved and added new mini chandeliers over the eating area where we had the door repurposed as a tabletop painted and slip covered the existing dark leather dining chairs. The transformation was amazing!

Karen MIlls' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2.Replace your dated back splash along with counter tops – After working on over 1300 interior design projects we’ve realized that most homeowners planning a budget kitchen remodel typically omit replacing their back splash. Unfortunately an old back splash instantly reveals just how old the kitchen is and that’s why as an interior designer I recommend replacing it at the the same time.

In this playful and creative Leawood kitchen makeover, we replaced the dark granite counter with white mitered (thick) quartz counters on the island and ran the same quartz up the walls behind the cabinetry instead of traditional backsplash tile to add drama and interest. Then we painted the existing cabinets three different shades of gray, added new mini chandeliers, and tore down a few upper wall cabinets so we could layer in live edge shelves to create a fun focal point.

3. Introduce new counter or 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 tone. New stools that contrast against your island or peninsula can have a huge impact on your kitchen without a big investment.

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 in this Overland Park kitchen the client wanted to use in this space, we went with lighter finishes – champagne on the mini chandeliers and silver on the drum shade.

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 Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook or Instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Creating a Cohesive Look…

Do you have a collection of upholstered furniture pieces that feel unfinished or undone?  Read on for my 3 interior designer tips for creating a finished feel in your room.

Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Repetition – To coordinate two pieces of mismatched upholstery, unify both pieces by repeating a color from one piece to onto another with a pillow or throw.  Here the blue green color of the ottoman was repeated in the pattern on the pillows, while the artwork brings everything together including the gray velvet sofa in the foreground and the new tile on the fireplace.

2. Introduce a new design element  – A piece of artwork overhead or nearby accessories  with both colors can also serve as a way to bring two different colors of upholstery together effectively.  Here in this family room the blue center of the pillow is repeated in the blue candle nearby while the white seashell picks up the white upholstery.

When creating vignettes of accessories in your space whether its for a tabletop or shelves, try to place objects of various heights, sizes, texture, and shapes together to create a cohesive whole.  Normally placing the taller narrower items at back with shorter wider items at the front works best.

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Photo courtesy of Curated Kravet

3. Layer a rug underneath –  In this living room the striped area rug underneath brings together the white sectional and brown chair plus ottomans to create a cohesive feel.

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 on Facebook or Instagram here.

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 8 Steps to Designing Your Space



The Interior Designer’s Guideline to Working 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.

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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 Decorating: 3 Ways to Cozy up Your Bedroom

Often we take sleep for granted until we start to have problems with concentration, alertness, or our overall ability to function well. Then good sleep becomes more of a priority. Read on for 3 ways to create a nest like atmosphere in your bedroom that’s conducive to better sleep.

Interior design by Karen Mills featured in international book titled Architecture Today Interior Design
  1. Simpler Bedding and Patterns As an interior designer in Kansas City I’ve used simple tone on tone patterns and texture in bedrooms for years in everything from fabulous washable linens from Italy to textured velvet or sheared fabrics like we’ve seen recently in fashion wear. Here in this Overland Park bedroom Italian bedding from Terrasi Home on the Plaza in simpler patterns, textural finishes and clutter free space create a stress free environment where we can unwind and relax.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills featured in international book titled Architecture Today Interior Design

2. Cozy Beds  Beds that envelope us will continue to be popular whether its are a four poster bed, an upholstered bed like this guest room in Mission Hills, or a fabulous combination of both. In this guest room calming colors and patterns, low lighting, and clean lined furnishings enhance the overall feel, creating a beautiful interior design.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills featured international book titled Design Icons

In this bedroom we designed a four poster bed creates a cozy feel
while the wallpaper, area rug, upholstered bench, and simpler fabrics on the chairs beyond enhance the relaxed inviting feel of this beautifully designed master bedroom in Mission Hills.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Curated Kravet


3. Textured Walls  Painted accent walls have been a craze for years but wrapping the whole room in textural walls are becoming more popular. In this interior design space featured by Curated Kravet an upholstered bed, area rug, bench, throw, and bedding add to the cocoon feel created by the gorgeous textural walls enveloping the space.

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

For more information on how to get better sleep and create a healthier environment, learn more at SLEEP BETTER LIVE BETTER now!

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large interior design show, Karen Mills, on 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 7 Tips for a Delicious Dining Room…

Karen Mills' blog rug example
Interior Design by Karen Mills

1. Select Your Personal Design Style –  If  you have no idea what style you are start by finding inspiration photos online or in print.  Then notate your favorite elements from each room to get a sense of your style.

Using existing furniture, we added personality to this room by introducing a stunning crystal chandelier by Schonbek along with an original abstract painting and sculpture, hand knotted rug, custom seat covers, and wallpaper.

Karen Mills
Styling by Summer Ann of Girlsinmadras.com

2. Pick  a Color Scheme –  Most of us don’t spend much time in a dining room so have fun in here and pick colors you love.  Bolder colors can go on decor, rugs, chairs, or even walls but if you like to change up your style often, you might consider neutral walls and floors that give more flexibility when you want to change your color scheme.

3. Add Dining Table and Seating –  The dining room table and chairs along with the items directly behind them are the focal point of your room.   Begin by determining how many people you need to seat and ensuring you have room for the table you want.  Plus remember that your chairs don’t need to match your table, just enhance them.

If you opt for a dramatically styled table, then consider simpler style chairs and backdrop.  Or if you go with a simpler style table, you might bring in drama with a wall covering or beautiful buffet with art above.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

4. Consider Including Additional Furniture –  The majority of dining rooms benefit from functional storage furniture like a buffet and curio cabinets or an antique armoire like shown in this photo, but remember sofa tables, tea carts, and other furnishings can also enhance your room and provide handy surfaces for lamps, platters, trays, or display.

 5. Introduce a Dramatic Element – A bold element can range from a gorgeous piece of art and beautiful buffet to a stunning light fixture over a painting or interesting chair backs and wallpaper like shown here.

Photo courtesy of Kravet

6. Layer in Texture  – Adding texture softens all the hard surfaces of the table, chairs, buffets, and hard flooring.   Texture can be introduced with an area rug, drapes, fresh flowers, and live trees/plants like shown here in this beautiful space.

7.  Add lighting –  Table lamps on a buffet or sofa table look beautiful behind a dining table along with a stunning chandelier and/or sconces on the wall behind. In this dining room courtesy of Kravet, the over sized chandelier commands attention, while the sconces on the right enhance the overall lighting and design scheme.

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 Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook or Instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips to Live Larger with a…

An Interior Designer’s Perspective on How to Make Your Kitchen Remodel Appear Bigger

As an interior designer who specializes in kitchen remodels, I often get called on to design a kitchen to live larger. Read on for my 3 expert tips on how to do just that.

Interior design by Karen Mills – Kansas City
  1. Paint cabinets white or a light neutral color to reflect light around the room so the kitchen appears larger and cabinets seem to disappear. In this kitchen remodel natural light and interior lighting also give the room a larger feel.
Interior design by Karen Mills – Leawood

2Incorporate open shelving or another design element to minimize cabinetry. In this kitchen refresh we not only tore up some upper cabinetry and replaced it with live wood shelves, but we also replaced the countertops with a beautiful white quartz counter that we ran up the wall as a back splash behind the shelving to offset the dark cabinets and lighten the room. Airy mini chandeliers also lighten the look and make the kitchen seem larger.

Interior design by Karen Mills – Kansas City

3Glass lit front cabinets and open shelving open up the upper half of the kitchen to help it live larger. Interior lighting, sunlight, and light neutral painted kitchen cabinets add to the larger feel.

For more great ideas on design or interior decorating sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Free Standing Tub Ideas for a…

Dreamy Options for Soaking Tubs

Ever dream of soaking in a fabulous free standing tub without a care in the world? Read on for wonderful design possibilities for your bathroom

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Enhance your tub as a focal point with a fabulous chandelier. In this stunning Lenexa master bathroom we designed as part of a remodel, we replaced a solid wall with a glass wall to enhance the view of the tub when entering the space, while also adding a soothing blue wall color beyond and rustic flooring underneath to enhance the relaxing vibe.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Add an accent wall behind your tub to add interest. For this master bathroom remodel we did in Overland Park, we ran an accent wall of tile to the ceiling to make the tub pop and show off the grand height of this room. A linen bench and rug help soften the space.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen MIlls

3. Make it Personal In this serene Leawood master bathroom the clients wanted a refuge from their hectic workday so we created a personal spa for them with a wall of candles, teak accessories, white towels, and best of all – a photo of them on the beach.

For more great ideas and photos, sign up for our weekly interior design and decorating 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 Selecting a Cozy Rug…

An Interior Designer’s Ideas for Creating a More Inviting Feel in Your Living Space Using Area Rugs

Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Create a cozy seating area for conversation. In this room we introduced a rug that not only adds another layer of texture but also nice contrast to this darker space, picking up some of the daylight beyond. To further enhance the coziness of this interior design we went with a wool and silk rug that has a luxurious soft texture so it feels great on bare feet or in socks. Tips for Selecting the Correct Size of Area Rug
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Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Layer an area rug under the furniture (or at least the feet) of your seating area. Placement of the rug under your furniture in a cozy arrangement draws onlookers into the space for a closer look like shown here where we used a high quality hand knotted wool rug that is both washable and comfortable to walk on. 3 Tips for Creating a More Inviting Living Room

Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Select a rug with a soft hand or texture that feels great underfoot. In this living space our interior design firm layered in a super lush long shag area rug where you can dig in your toes and snuggle up for conversation, reading, or just watching a movie.

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 Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook or Instagram here!