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.

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.

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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 
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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

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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
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 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

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: The 3 Secrets to Monochromatic Living Room…

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 white colors vary from walls and trim to finishes, furniture, and floor coverings.

2Use a 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

photo example
Courtesy of Kravet

3Layer in multiple textures.  Textured finishes in fabrics, flooring, wall and furniture can make or break a great interior design. Here in this taupe living room texture has been introduced on pillows, draperies, wallpaper, throws, upholstery, and rugs to create an interesting room that’s inviting but not overdone.

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: 5 Tips for Selecting the Best Sofa

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

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Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Determine the style and size of sofa needed.  If you have tall ceilings and supersized furnishings, you will need a sofa that’s in proportion to the room’s height. In contrast if it’s a smaller space you need to make sure the sofa height doesn’t overpower your room and will fit by measuring your space ahead with room to walk around.

2. Ensure the sofa is high quality. As an interior designer I recommend looking for three things:

  • a kiln dried hardwood frame that has joints that have been dowelled, screwed, and glued with reinforcements at corners.
  • eight-way hand-tied springs or at least sinus spring construction
  • cushion filling that’s high density foam, down wrapped high density foam or all down.

Please note that if you have a bench style sofa (one seat cushion) you will want a firmer cushion fill so the seat doesn’t lose its shape. If you want to sink down into the sofa and don’t mind the daily care of fluffing your cushions then down fill could be the right option. As an interior designer though, I usually prefer down wrapped foam cushions that look nice on the exterior but still have long term comfort.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3.  Make sure 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.

4. Select the quality fabric meant for upholstery.  If you will be using the sofa regularly then you will need a higher double rub count for durability and if you have cats or dogs, avoid fabrics that can be snagged easily.  Also keep in mind how easily the fabric will clean.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Use the best type of pattern.   As an interior designer, I usually recommend a solid color or tone on tone fabric (pattern is all the same color) because a sofa usually dominates your room and often can be overpowering or date quickly with a pattern that’s too bold, trendy, or busy.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips to Creating a Comfortable Inviting…

Ideas for Making Your Living Room More Cozy

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills.

1. Comfortable seating.  As an interior designer I always recommend selecting upholstery that’s high quality with cushions that will comfortable to sit in for hours while ensuring your feet are able to touch the floor and the seat depth is right for you. Here we designed this seating area with high quality custom furniture that’s comfortable and inviting. 3 Tips for a Budget Living Room Makeover

rug sizing example
Overland Park interior design by Karen Mills

2. Create a Cozy Conversation Area When an interior designer puts together a floor plan for a living area, they should focus on designing intimate seating areas like this one shown to create a relaxing comfortable space. Adding an area rug underneath helps define the space and pillows enhance the feel. 3 Big Design Mistakes We Make in Living Rooms

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Layer in texture  Texture can be added with fabrics, soft window treatments, decor, rugs, or art. In this intimate living area drapes, pillows, and a throw bring texture into the space along with a fabric ottoman, tray, and artwork.

Looking for more great ideas that you can implement?  Sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for a Budget Living Room…

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 interior design.

  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 decor. 5 Easy Steps to Space Planning Your Living Room
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. Tips for Giving Living Room a One Day Makeover

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!