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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Ways to Remodel Smaller Kitchens to…

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 make a kitchen 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

2. Incorporate open shelving or another design element to make cabinetry not appear so overwhelming. In this kitchen partial remodel we ran beautiful white quartz counter tops by Cambria up the wall as a back splash behind the shelving to offset the dark cabinets and lighten the room.

Interior design by Karen Mills – Kansas City

3. Glass front shelves, preferably lit, help open up this kitchen remodel to make it live larger by visually shrinking the cabinetry. Great interior lighting, sunlight, light neutral painted kitchen cabinets, white granite counter tops, and open shelves add to the larger feel.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Blue Color Scheme Options for the…

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 your favorite outfits or jewelry are often the colors that look best.  Read on for three possibilities for a blue color scheme in your living space.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesty of Century Furniture

2. Red, White, and Blue

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. Blue, Warm Gray, Beige, and White

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

Karen Mills' blog example of pattern
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Blue, Orange, White, and Taupe

Inspiration for this color scheme came from the existing mermaid artwork over the mantel.  To bring it all together we started with a light neutral sofa and coffee table, then layered in custom blue draperies and fun toss pillows along with an existing rug to create a cohesive color scheme with the artwork. In addition by using orange and blue together, you create a more energetic vibe since they are opposites on the color wheel.

For more great ideas on design or 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 Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Instagram or Facebook now!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Universal Interior Design: 3 Bath Trends of the Future

How to Design a Timeless Style Bathroom That’s More Functional For All the Stages of Our Lives

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Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Accessible Zero Entry (Curbless) Shower – A truly functional bathroom shower will accommodate everyone in the family no matter what the situation from post surgery to broken bones or aging in place where an assist device might be required such as a wheelchair or similar item.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Ease of Use A bathroom that functions well for everyone whether they’re a small child, someone needing assistance – even if it’s from breaking your leg skiing, or someone wanting to age in place it’s critical for a bathroom to stand the test of time. Here in this bathroom shower we included attractive grab bars that look like towel bars that provide support when needed, an adjustable shower head that will lower to shower a kid, pet, or someone sitting down and clear access to the shower along with a wider entrance (not shown) to the bathroom. (Please note that a swinging glass door can be added to this shower to hold in the heat.)

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Ergonomic – As I was reminded recently when my small grandchild came to visit we need to ensure that all family members can use the bathroom no matter what their size or height. Here the free standing tub allows easy access for taking a bath for the majority of people who might use it because there’s no tub deck blocking access.

Interior design by Karen Mills

Faucets that can turned on without a knob provide easier access to turning on water as shown here. To make a vanity even more accessible we have also designed bathroom vanities that float on the wall so you can roll right under them to get to the sink.

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 for Your Bedroom to Live…

Ideas for Visually Expanding Your Bedroom

Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Choose bedding in a similar color to other finishes. In this tight attic space where our interior design client requested a large bed and nightstands for guests we designed blue green bedding in similar hues to the wall color so the bed would seem to decrease in size even though it took up most of the space. Custom designed shelves and and light fixtures add to the visually larger feel.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

2. Add fabrics and finishes with little or no pattern including bedding, walls, furniture, and flooring. In this bedroom tone on tone bedding, solid furniture finishes, acrylic legs on the bench, mirrored nightstands, and a white bed that bounces light around the room help create the light airy feel.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Layer in some furniture with legs that show. In this bedroom space, we layered in some furniture with legs showing underneath along with vertical striped wallpaper to draw the eye up and make the room feel larger. Light neutral bedding, a bed, and chair bounce more light around the room visually expanding the space.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Tips for Selecting a Sofa That…

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Designer Tricks for Picking a Sofa to Perfectly Fit Your Room and Body Type

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesty of Century Furniture

As an interior designer I realize how little most homeowners know about selecting a sofa that will fit them.  Here are my top 5 secrets to selecting a perfect custom sofa for your home!

  1.  Determine the style and size of sofa needed for your space.  If you have tall ceilings and supersized furnishings, you will need a sofa that’s in proportion to the room’s design and if its a smaller cozier space you need to make sure the sofa doesn’t overpower your space.
Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Century Furniture

2. Make sure you select the right cushioning for your sofa style and your personal preference whether it’s foam and down, all down, allergy free, or a combination of materials on the seat and back of your sofa.

3.  Ensure the sofa fits your body type and height so your feet aren’t dangling above the floor or you aren’t unable to lean back comfortably in the seat because it too deep.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Bernhardt Furniture

4. Select the correct material for your sofa.  If you will be using the sofa  regularly then you will need a higher double rub count for durability and if you have dogs or cats, try to avoid a fabric that can be snagged easily.  Also keep in mind how easily the fabric will clean and if it will go will with your room’s design and other fabrics.

5. Solid or Tone on Tone Sofa Color  As an interior designer, I prefer a solid color or tone on tone sofa because it’s usually one of the biggest items in your room and can seem overpowering if you select a busy pattern or even a color that’s too bold. Of course rules are meant to be broken but only if you are a professional interior designer or have a keen eye to know what works and what doesn’t

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Bernhardt furniture

For more great ideas on selecting furnishings and decorating sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Fall Decorating Using Existing…

Styling by Karen Mills
  1. Mix together unexpected elements to create interest Here I created a one of a kind place setting using items I found around my house – a layer of two chargers and a place mat stacked on top of each other with a fossil napkin ring, berries, and a fashionista type coaster that makes a statement all its own.
Karen Mills' blog
Styling by Karen Mills

2. Repeat an Accent Color to Add Emphasis In this example I used things I had around the house starting with a rustic crate with evergreens and then layered pops of bright color with a beautiful pumpkin and fall foliage along with a couple of real mangoes.

Styling by Karen Mills

3. Create a vignette or grouping of fall decor items on a tray or in a container to give it more importance. Here I used items found in the woods behind my house along with berries and glass vases.

Styling by Karen Mills

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

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Ideas for Luxury Bath Design with…

Luxurious Possibilities 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 master bathroom we designed as part of a remodel, we replaced a solid shower wall with a glass open to enhance the view of the tub when entering the space while also adding a soothing blue wall color 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, we ran an accent wall of tile to the ceiling to not only make the tub pop but also to show off the height of this grand space. A linen bench and rug help soften the room.

Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Make it Personal In this serene master bathroom area 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 Coordinating Mismatched Furnishings in…

Do you have a collection of mismatched furniture that feels unfinished or undone?  Read on for my 3 interior designer tips for creating a cohesive look 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.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of All Modern furniture

3. Layer a rug underneath – Placing a rug underneath your upholstery helps create a cozy grouping of furniture like this living area but it may also pick up colors from one or several pieces of upholstery.  Here the brown chair color is repeated on a pillow accent color and coffee table while the yellow and gray hues in the rug are mimicked again on the sofa and pillows.

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

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 Getting Cozy with Area…

Suggestions 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 room we went with a wool and silk rug that has a luxurious soft texture so it feels great on bare feet or in socks.
rug sizing example
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 wool rug which are washable and comfortable to the touch.

Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Select a rug with a soft hand or texture that feels great underfoot. In this living space we 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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 7 Tips for Creating a Delicious Dining…

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!