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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Huge Mistakes We Make in the…

An Interior Designer’s Tips for Making Your Dining Room More Appealing

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills as featured in Architecture Today Interior Design and Design Icons books
  1. Lack of emphasis  Creating a focal point with your table in the dining room gives you the opportunity to create a dramatic look, perfect for a dinner table or family gathering. Here in this Mission Hills dining room our interior design firm began with an existing table and buffet along with selecting a fabulous hand knotted wool rug. Then we took the design to another whole level but introducing more contemporary elements from the stunning Swarovoski crystal chandelier that compels you to take a closer look to the bold abstract art beyond, contemporary sculpture, and rich leather squares on the wall.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills as featured in Architecture Today Interior Design book

2.  Cold uninviting space –  One of the most common issues I see as an interior designer are dining rooms filled with all hard shiny surfaces such as crystal, glass, or ceramic along with hard flooring like wood or tile and no art on the walls. To solve this dilemna try warming up your dining space with lots of texture. Here in this Overland Park room the client requested we use their heirlooms – a table and armoire, along with leather chairs. To warm up this cold stark space, we introduced a piece of gnarled wood, two beautiful blue vases that look handmade, a custom cloth runner, and a thick hand knotted wool area rug underneath.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Looks Unfinished  When we walk into an interior design client’s home one of the first things we often see is an undone dining room or area. To enhance this space and make it more updated, I recommend adding color or texture like this dining area next to the existing kitchen. In this dining area we refinished a door in a soft neutral gray, replace the dark dated light fixture with two light airy ones, repainted the dark walls white, covered existing leather chairs with custom slipcovers, and add an interesting centerpiece plus a cheerful piece of blue art that reflected our client’s love of the ocean.

For more inspiration, 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 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Big Mistakes We Make in the…

If you’re thinking about remodeling or designing a new home, read on to learn about some of the biggest mistakes people make when designing a kitchen.

Karen Mills' blog
  1. Work Area Not Functional – Creating a functional layout is the first step to kitchen design that works whether you’re designing for a new home or doing a kitchen remodel. Here in this interior design client’s kitchen a work area with the stove, refrigerator, and sink in an accessible triangle and distance reduces the number of steps required when cooking and easy access.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Wasting Potential Storage – Countless storage options exist so there’s no reason to waste space in the kitchen especially with the adaptive kitchen storage units that make drawers and cabinets more functional from trash pullouts to roll out shelves. Here in this fabulous historic Walnuts condo where space is at a premium, we added pegged drawers under the stove for pots/lids, hidden pop open storage under the island. and used the extra space we gained straightening out a crooked back wall to create a coffee bar and pantry area that’s also draws you into the space.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design and remodel by Karen Mills

3. Work Area Too Crowded- As an interior designer I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve walked into a home that didn’t have enough work space. Even though the recommended distance between an island and wall cabinetry is at least 42-48″ usually I find that the minimum required distance of 36″ is often the reality of existing kitchens, resulting in a space that’s too cramped and not functional. Other issues I often encounter with interior design clients are kitchens where drawers or refrigerator doors can’t open to function correctly.

Here in this kitchen we widened the walking area and made sure counter space was provided where needed whether to set down groceries or items from the dishwasher or room to simply bake a pie.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

4. Lack of right lighting –  If your new kitchen doesn’t have a mix of general, task, and accent lighting, it will tend to be a little lackluster in appeal and probably function. Here in this kitchen design, I created a kitchen with can lights for general lighting, added puck lights tucked away inside the glass cabinets for accent lighting and interest, plus introduced mini chandeliers over the island that not only provide accent lighting but also task lighting for working in the kitchen.

Karen Mills' blog
Kitchen refresh by Karen Mills

5. Not bringing in a professional –  Hiring a professional kitchen designer with experience who creates kitchens and bathrooms for a living can help you avoid costly mistakes, free up your time, and create the space of your dreams, while ensuring your space is functional. In this kitchen refresh where we reused most of the existing cabinetry, we were able to introduce new elements that created a wow factor – bigger airy light fixtures open shelving, counters that continued up the wall, a mitered edge island counter top, and bold cabinetry colors, to create a fresh new look showed off our client’s creative spirit while ensuring the space would well for them.

For more inspiration, 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 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Original Art

After traveling the world in search of the perfect artwork to tell a client’s story in an interior design project I’ve learned a few things about selecting original artwork to fit the needs and personality of our clients. Read on for my tips and tricks to getting started with collecting your own original paintings or adding to your collection.

Original artwork available through Karen Mills
  1. Figure out what style(s) of artwork speak to you visually and emotionally. This depiction of a woman or figure would be an impressionist style because of its ethereal feel. To get a sense of what you love select three or more paintings and look for common factors like landscapes, abstract or figures.
Original art by well known artists available through Karen Mills

This colorful painting would be classified as a bold color abstract.

2. Select colors that you love which also gives onlookers a hint about your personality.

Orginal art by well known artists available through Karen Mills
Art available through Karen Mills

This painting tells the dramatic story of the parting of the sea with the hand of God hovering above.

3. Coordinate the paintings in your home or office to not only enhance your interior design but also to not compete with each other.

Artwork available through Karen Mills

This bold artwork depicts a more modern version of a landscape scene.

For more inspiration, ideas, and photos, sign up for our popular weekly interior design blog here with subscribers in over 130 countries.

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

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

3 Tips for Refreshing Your Living Room for Less

Tips for Updating Your Living Space with Budget Savvy Ideas

If you haven’t updated your living room 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 or refresh instead with a local interior designer or decorator? Read on for my top 3 tips for updating your space for less.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

1.  Create an inviting floor plan that emphasizes your main feature whether its a fireplace, a view outside or another prominent feature.  If you don’t have a focal point, design one yourself by grouping furnishings together like a sofa table or chest with a piece of artwork overhead and a table lamp and/or tabletop decor.

In this room our interior design client started with a favorite piece of art over the mantel to emphasize the focal point and we helped them select a new fireplace tile, chair fabric for existing chairs and a new ottoman to support the color scheme in the art.

Karen Mills' blog

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.

As an interior designer I often re purpose items to make them work in a space such as this family room where we reupholstered the sofa and chairs along with layering in a new rug, repainting the walls, adding a new light fixture, tables, and decor.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Add a pop of color with accents throughout your room ‘s interior design with pillows, art, drapes, decor or an area rug.   Remember, you can repaint or re purpose items to use in your refreshed room also.

For example, a chest could repainted and moved to your entry, used as a focal point in a living space, or even placed behind a sofa.  Ottomans can be upholstered and tucked under a sofa table for extra seating, used as a coffee table or pulled up to a comfy chair.

In this fabulous ocean blue living room, our interior design firm began with existing mermaid art as inspiration, then introduced bold blue and orange pillows along with custom blue drapes.

Looking for more great budget friendly decorating ideas?  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: You Know You Need to Hire a…

How to Avoid Costly Mistakes with Your Interior Design, Decorating, or Remodeling/New Build Project

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After completing over 1200 interior design and decorating projects as an interior designer I’ve learned a thing or two about how people think and at what point they usually call for help, which is often too late. So today I’m going to reveal those times when you definitely need to hire an interior designer to avoid costly mistakes, have regret, or end up with an interior design that’s either not functional, ugly or both. Read on for my 7 tips for knowing when it’s time to hire an interior design firm for your project.

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  1. You know you need to hire an interior designer when you’re on the verge of divorce from fighting about about your project. You may laugh at this reason why but I have to tell you that our interior design firm gets called on frequently to quietly settle disputes while also helping clients come up with a plan that works for everyone.
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2. You know you need an interior designer when you’re about to make a large furniture purchase you will regret the rest of your life. Interior design firms not only help you design your interior but they also help you avoid costly mistakes by ensuring the furniture purchased is better quality, functional, and a good fit for your body type unless throw away furniture is what you want.

a. poor quality – Most people mistakenly believe that because a furniture store is expensive or popular that they have quality furniture not realizing that often much of the company’s investment goes towards advertising instead. Interior design firms check not only the quality of the frames of upholstered furniture but also ensure the fabric will hold up in your space.

b. wrong size – Can’t tell you how many times clients have asked me to resolve their space planning dilemma when its too late because the furniture they just purchased doesn’t fit into the room or through a doorway like the basement.

c. doesn’t fit – Have you ever purchased a sofa or chair only to find out too late that it doesn’t fit your body type or its uncomfortable? Unfortunately that’s one of the most common mistakes I see clients make that interior designers help you avoid.

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3. You know you need to hire an interior designer when the bad color choice(s) you made are still on the walls. Interior design firms use their expertise and experience with color to help you make better color choices that flow with your designed interior overall.

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4. You know you need to hire an interior designer when you are second guessing your decor selections in the middle of a project like a remodel, new build, or decorating project.

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5. You know you need an interior designer when you know what you like but have no idea how to put the interior design project together

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6. You know you need an interior designer when your space hasn’t been updated for 15-30 years because you can’t make a decision. That’s what interior design firms call analysis paralysis and it simply means you need a professional to help guide you through the process.

For more inspiration, ideas, and photos, sign up for our popular weekly interior design blog here with subscribers in over 130 countries.

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

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Biggest Mistakes We Make in the…

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Lack of a Focal Point – Often as an interior designer I walk into a bedroom to discover a stark cold space that has no focus. Your bed is the focal point of the bedroom and the area you want to emphasize.

Here in this beautiful inviting bedroom we enhanced the existing poster bed with crisp white bedding, a gorgeous calming textural leaf wallpaper, and a warm hand knotted wool rug.

blog photo
Photo courtesy of Kravet

2. Uninviting – Often a bedroom becomes a dumping ground for everything we need to put away or even worse our home office space so to begin remove everything that’s not bedroom related.

In this space by Kravet, simple timeless bedding, a cozy bed that envelopes you and simple furnishings help create an inviting space.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Too Cluttered or Crowded – In this smaller attic bedroom we didn’t want the room to feel crowded or cluttered with the king size mattress the clients needed so we designed a bed that didn’t overwhelm the room. Floating tables we designed along with light fixtures we adapted to hover over the tables gives a more open airy feel to the space.

Looking for more great bedroom design or decorating ideas?  Sign up for our weekly interior design blog here,

Karen Mills' blog

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Biggest Mistakes We Make in the…

Interior design by Karen Mills featured in two international books
  1. Unwelcoming  –  If you want your guests to feel welcome then its important to create an inviting interior design like this entry where you are greeted by natural light, soothing colors, interesting patterns and textured materials like the pillows, throw, and branches.
Interior Design by Karen Mills

2. Zero Personality – As an interior designer I can’t repeat enough the importance of showcasing your personal style in the foyer. The entry has become the most important area in your home because it gives people an idea of your personality and taste. In this foyer we showcased the clients’ love of animal prints on this traditional custom designed stool while also pairing it with abstract art to reveal their unique style and great taste.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills featured in Architecture Today Interior Design book

3. Lack of Intrigue   I always tell our interior design clients to think of their foyer as the advertisement for their home because your entry should give visitors a glimpse into what’s coming next from colors and style to personal mementos like this entry where we began with a family heirloom piece and dressed it up with a beautiful landscape painting, vase, and lamp that gives you a preview of the color scheme and what’s next.

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

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

And for more foyer inspiration, click here to read my Houzz interior design article on Color Palettes for Pleasing Entryway

or my budget tips titled Refresh Foyer for Less

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Big Design Mistakes We Make in…

rug sizing example
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Lack of a Focal Point    Often the best area to emphasize in a living space is the fireplace or great view outside but if you don’t have those options, create a vignette (grouping) of furniture/accessories that will grab your attention. Then group your upholstery around the focal point to emphasize it. Here in this living room the stone fireplace acts as a focal point for the seating area.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2.  Purchasing Over Sized Upholstery Or Too Many Pieces  Have you ever decided you wanted to buy a new living room grouping but didn’t bother creating a floor plan or measuring the space first? Suddenly your furniture arrives and the furniture takes up so much real estate you can barely walk through or don’t have room? As an interior designer I can’t tell you how many frantic calls I’ve received from homeowners requesting help with their space planning only to discover the wrong furniture was already purchased and they want me to fix it which we know is impossible. In this living room, the right size furniture was used and strategically placed to not only enhance the focal point (fireplace) but also leave ample room for someone to pass through.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

3.  Selecting The Wrong Wall Color   After working on 1200+ interior design projects I see this mistake happen more than any other. We might want to blame a decorating network like HGTV or DIY for making us believe that picking paint colors is easy but I think its because the general public doesn’t realize how much a color can change when it goes from a tiny paint swatch to an interior or in different lighting situations. In this great room we selected the paint color during day that not only coordinated with the finishes and furniture but also played well with other rooms in view.

For more inspiration, 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 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Creating a Cozy 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 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 will gain popularity again this year. 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 Design: 3 Tips for Designing a Monochromatic Living…

Custom design by interior designer Karen Mills – Overland Park
  1. Choose One Color Hue – When an interior designer says the word hue, we are referring to a color family such as blue, white, or black, for example. By focusing on one color like the white we selected for this family room area, you can make a huge impact. Here the whites vary from walls and trim to finishes, furniture, and floor coverings.

2. Use softer variation of color hue on upholstery or walls. In this lobby living area space, a darker color of pumpkin grounds the floor, while lighter upholstery fabrics and tile on pillars repeat the color scheme

Karen Mills' blog
Custom Design by interior designer Karen Mills – Mission Hills

3. Layer in multiple textures. Even though we created custom upholstery in a solid neutral brown, the soothing gray blue green color scheme selected still makes a strong statement while evoking a calming vibe. A darker contemporary wool rug we designed grounds the room, while the custom pillows and throws we created enhance the monochromatic hue along with blue walls beyond.

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

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