Interior Design/Interior Decorating

7 Tips for Refreshing Your Kitchen Without a Full…

Tips for Refreshing Your Kitchen For Less

kitchen example
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Reface or repaint your cabinetry – When your kitchen is refaced the contractor replaces just your kitchen door and drawer fronts, plus adds panels over the cabinetry for a fresh new look while leaving the insides intact. In this kitchen our client opted to repaint their wall cabinetry to give it a fresh new look. Our interior design firm also helped them remove existing cabinetry and layer in shelves, along with adding new counter/backsplash material and new light fixtures.

2. Upgrade Your Countertops  By upgrading the countertops in this kitchen we were able to give it a fresher lighter look overall. A mitered (thicker) island counter and wall counters that continue up the wall behind live edge shelving add to the dramatic look.

Karen Mills' blog

3. Update your backsplash In this completely renovated kitchen we replaced a dated backsplash with new beveled white subway tile to lighten up the space and bounce light throughout.

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4. Install new hanging light fixtures such as pendants, chandeliers, or sconces along with layering in undercabinet and inside cabinet lighting as shown here in this kitchen remodel we did. By adding work and accent lighting to your general lighting overhead you can create an ambiance that’s warm and inviting like this kitchen shown. Lit glass upper cabinets add to the ambiance.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Replace pulls and/or knobs on your cabinetry. New pulls in this renovated kitchen stand out, adding to the fresh new look.

Karen Mills' blog

6. Paint your walls. In this kitchen we not only painted the dark walls and cabinetry white, but also redid the wood floors, replaced the backsplash, upgraded the counters, replaced the light fixtures over the table and slipcovered the chairs to create a more updated look.

7. Add a small island – with wheels ideally or a bar height table for more work space in the center of your kitchen, if needed. If you don’t have room for a permanent island and need more work space, a tiny island on wheels to hold your extra items might be just what you need. And when not in use, you can roll it off to the side out of your way.

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

And if you feel someone you know could benefit from this helpful information, pass it on!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: How to Dress Your Living Room Shelves

Three Tips for Effectively Styling Shelves in Your Living Areas

Interior design by Karen MIlls
  1. Space plan your shelf layout. As you can see in this luxurious living room the furniture is placed in the room so it’s well balanced in the space with the bigger sofa flanked by smaller chairs to create a cohesive whole. On the shelves objects of similar shapes and sizes are balanced on each side of the shelving unit.
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Create cohesiveness with color. In this family room we used the color scheme from the rug – orange, blue green, and tan on the shelves using both existing client decor and new introductions to create a unifying design on the shelves that brings the whole room together.

Interior styling by Karen Mills

3. Create vignettes (groupings). For this clients’ shelves, we layered in existing decor and photo frames for family photos, while introducing some pottery in the same color scheme and greenery to add texture.

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our semi-monthly design blog. 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! And if you feel someone you know could benefit from this helpful information, please pass it on!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

THE DECORATING PRO MEMBERSHIP

Helping interior design lovers avoid costly mistakes, save time, and reduce stress by teaching them how to decorate like a pro. 

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This may come as a bit of a shock but after years of being asked by clients and realtors to teach design/staging we finally said “YES!”

Dreaming about designing your space like a pro?  Considering a career in decorating or staging? Come join us today as an exclusive Founding Member in this exciting journey to make our homes more beautiful and a safer place to live as we donate a portion of our profits to help rescue trafficked children. 

We have limited spots available for our Founding Members with early access to our training materials and a low-price guarantee for life so don’t miss out!

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our semi-monthly design blog. 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! And if you feel someone you know could benefit from this helpful information, please pass it on!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 5 Tips for Dressing a Sofa with…

How to Decorate Your Sofa with Pillows

photo of sofa with pillows
Interior design by Karen Mills

  1. Start by pulling your pillow colors from your room’s color palette. In this room the colors are black, white, shades of blue, and a warm red.
  2. Using your sofa fabric as a reference point, look for pillow fabrics that contrast against your sofa color for a dramatic look like shown here.
  3. When coordinating pillow fabrics ensure you mix in different textures as shown on the solid turquoise pillow.
example of contrasting pillow colors
Interior design by Karen MIlls


4. Layer larger pillows (usually 22″ or larger minimum) in back and smaller pillows in front (usually around 20″) as shown on this sofa. In this more calming color scheme, the blue pillows on top create a texture variance from the base pillow by introducing a layer of sparkle texture over the base fabric. 3 Tips for Creating a Finished Look

Interior design by Karen Mills

5. When selecting a mix of pillow fabrics ensure you mix smaller and larger patterns and/or a mix of pattern styles like shown here with the large stripe base pillows and blue pillows in a stylized floral pattern that’s small in size or scale.

Designer Tip: Always use down inserts for your pillow covers so you can punch down the top middle of each pillow to give it a finished look and help it stay in place.

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our 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! And if you feel someone you know could benefit from this helpful information, please pass it on!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: Tips for Incorporating Your Favorite Color

What Your Favorite Hue Says About You and How to Use in Your Space

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Room courtesy of Curated Kravet

Did you know that your favorite color gives experts insight into your personality type? As an interior designer who’s worked on over 1300 project, I can usually get an immediate sense of someone’s personal style by looking at their outfit or by walking through their home.

Everyone experiences color in different ways. So, as we progress through life, we each end up with our own unique color story based on our experiences.  Lea Eiseman, the world’s leading color expert and a regular guest on my former design show Living Large, shared why that’s true in one of her renowned color books, “…much of color knowledge is based on instinctive responses, cultural conditioning, and those aspects of color that we seem to absorb without much conscious thought.”

Read on to gain insight about your favorite color, what it says about you, and ideas for injecting that color into your home’s interior.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Kravet

RED

If you love red like I do, you likely possess a passion and intensity that others don’t possess for living life to the fullest. You’re exciting, daring, and spontaneous, with an inner drive to excel in everything you touch.  The color red, associated with blood, instantly raises your blood pressure and grabs your attention.  So, remember when creating a new interior design that a little bit goes a long way in a room as demonstrated in this all-red room that demands your attention. Alternately, soft pink lovers tend to be charming, peace loving, and romantic types who carry some traits that are similar to the red and bright pink personality.

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

BLUE

An extension of sky and water, blue exudes stability and calm making it a perfect color for bedrooms or other areas where you want to unwind and relax. Lovers of this color tend to be dependable, responsible citizens who do the right thing. No wonder blue still remains the favorite color of men! In this entryway, a watery blue landscape painting sets the tone for the rest of the living area while the blue vase reinforces this gorgeous accent color.  

YELLOW

Yellow like a ray of sunshine portrays warmth, cheerfulness, and optimism making it a wonderful hue for a cheery kitchen, sunny living area, or any interior lacking sunshine and warmth. Huge fans of yellow are optimistic, warm, and playful, while also being inquisitive and encouraging to others.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

Interior design by Karen Mills featured in Design Icons book

ORANGE

As an orange lover, you have an enthusiastic zest for life, outgoing personality, sense of humor, bright outlook, and longing for adventure. Orange, the color of hunger, fits seamlessly into a dining area or kitchen where hungry people often come. But that’s not all as you can see in this foyer where we sourced a Mattini painting, pulling out the orange hue as as an accent color on our custom designed rug, original ceramic art piece, and flowers, while also repeating a golden hue from the art on the wool rug and handmade chevron wallpaper to add more interest.

Interior design by Karen Mills featured in Design Icons book

GREEN

Green, the color of nature, exudes calmness and warmth, making it a perfect color for calming bedrooms or interiors when a more relaxed vibe is wanted.  Enthusiastic fans of green are usually warm, kind, and charitable people who like to give back to their communities. Green fans also bring stability and loyalty as additional attributes. Here in this stunning foyer featured in the international Design Icons book, that we designed, the blue green plates with branches overlaid on the white shelves were repeated to create a dramatic pattern, but also created a calming entry into this third floor foyer aptly named The Flat after our client’s London home.

PURPLE

A complex and creative type of individual, purple lovers are fascinating observant individuals who often have a generous spirit and artistic flair. Purple, the favorite color of most children, also has a mysterious air about it making it popular with artists or creatives too. In interiors purple usually works best as a light or a very dark almost neutral hue wall color or as an accent in any shade.

Interior Design by Karen Mills featured in Architecture Today Interior Design Book

BROWN

Brown personalities tend to be down to earth, stable, and in harmony with life around them, while still appreciating quality. Brown lovers like to keep things simple, secure, and peaceful, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t cosmopolitan. Brown hues work great for your interior if you’re looking to create a grounded space that’s also cozy and inviting whether its a living room, dining room, den, or even a bedroom. Beige, a lighter version of brown speaks of someone who is warm, reliable, and doesn’t often rock the boat. As a light neutral this color can be introduced almost anywhere including combining it with gray for a cool/warm color combination. Here in this stunning rustic great room featured in the international book Architecture Today Interior Design, that we designedwarm browns wrap around the room like a big hug, creating a welcoming feel. While in contrast calming blue hues on the area rug and pillows, help balanced out the color, adding a soothing feel.

White

Did you know that white is the sum of all other colors combined? Isn’t that amazing? As an interior designer I love that white can do so much in a room’s interior design from creating more contrast and bouncing light around a room to visually expanding it.  But white also represents innocence, cleanliness, and purity which is why lovers of the white color often have clean fresh organized spaces with a pure aesthetic. In this hearth area we darkened the floors to contrast against the white walls and trim we introduced to create more drama. Then we continued to lighten up the interior by recovering heavy dark fabrics on the upholstery with lighter ones, slip covering the dark leather dining chairs, layering in pillows with white backgrounds, updating the fireplace with a white/gray marble tile, and adding a kitchen table that had been whitewashed a lighter color.

Gray

Gray personalities seem content, cool, and collected, often preferring to stay out of the limelight.  Instead, they opt for safety, security, and practicality. That’s why I believe as an interior designer that gray color schemes have become so popular at home for years because this color creates a calm respite from the outside world and works well in almost every room. In this gorgeous high rise master bathroom we designed, the gray in the Italian marble style tile repeats again on the custom designed vanity and walls. White quartz counters, square knobs and a tiled wall enhance the look of this small but stunning space.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

BLACK

Did you know that black is completely void of color?  But as we know the black suit signifies power, sophistication and status in the business world.  Black hue aficionados also seem confident in their ability to hold a conversation, clever in their communication abilities, and make security a top priority in their lives.

Black is a wonderful color for interiors, especially when combined with white and can used throughout your interior from living, dining, and powder rooms to home theaters, or on doors/trim to create a dramatic look. Here in this bar area, the stunning black cabinetry steals the show with its dramatic color juxtaposed against the warm wood interiors and lit glass cabinetry.

But what if your favorite color is a combination of two different colors? Then you likely have some personality traits from both colors.

To summarize, colors whether worn or used in your interior reveal insight into your personality and life story. And when you utilize your favorite color in your home it can bring back wonderful memories that cradle you in comfort whether it’s on the walls, ceilings, floors or furnishings.

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our 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! And if you feel someone you know could benefit from this helpful information, please pass it on!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Ways to Use the 60/30/10 Color…

example of color rule
Interior design by Karen Mills

As an interior designer I normally recommend selecting 3-4 colors maximum (mainly neutrals) with at one color for accessories unless you want all one color – monochromatic.

1. When choosing colors for your room try using the 60/30/10 rule – 60% of your primary color -usually a lighter neutral, 30% of your secondary color and 10% of a third accent color – often in accessories or art. How to show off your color personality

In this foyer the 60% color would be white – walls, trim, chairs, and rug, while the 30% color would be charcoal – the oversized sofa, and the blue ottoman/accessories would be the 10%, creating a cohesive look.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Make sure your adjacent room colors (or any other rooms in view of the room you are decorating) flow together for a pleasing overall look. For example, in the office beyond the blue accent color from the accessories in the hearth and kitchen is repeated in the art and accessory in the office. 3 Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint Color

In this kitchen and hearth area, we kept the same light wall color in both rooms to keep the house feeling lighter and airy, while repeating the secondary gray color and the blue accent color in both spaces.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Keep most of your accent color on accessories or a chair, repeating the accent color throughout the floor in each room to create a harmonious design.

In this small grouping shown here the 60% color would be the white, the 30% color would be the light brown, and the 10% would be blue, creating an inviting space.

If you’re looking for more custom interior design, decorating, or remodeling 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: Tips for Selecting the Correct Size Rug…

Guidelines for Purchase the Right Size Area Rug for Your Living, Dining, and Bedrooms

rug example
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Living Room Rug Size – When selecting the right size rug for your living room, look for a rug that will hold all your furniture, but if that isn’t in the budget then ensure the feet of your upholstery sit on top of your rug at a minimum like shown here.  That’s important because a smaller rug or one that doesn’t sit up the feet of your upholstery will feel disconnected as though it’s just floating in your room.  Ideal sizes for living room rugs usually start at 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 sizes.

  3 Tips for Getting Cozy with Area Rugs

Karen Mills' blog rug example
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Best Bedroom Rug Size – Interior design clients often have difficulty with understanding the concept of flipping an area rug the other direction when placing it under a bed but why that direction is so effective is because it allows the bedside tables to be included so they feel like a part of the focal point, making a more powerful statement.   When placing your rug under the bed lay it perpendicular to your bed ending right at the edge of the nightstands but not under them.  That placement will allow a few feet of the rug to still show beyond the base of your rug like shown.  Ideal rug size for a king size bed would be 9 x 12.

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 to allow room for sliding back the chairs from the table, but you 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! If you feel someone you know could benefit from this helpful information, pass it on.

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Enduring Design Trends

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Interior Design by Karen Mills

  Post pandemic life at home has changed dramatically for most people around the world both inside and outside with work/life balance issues and the ability to destress becoming even more important.  Read on for what this interior designer believes is here to stay.  

  1. EMPHASIS ON OUTDOOR ROOMS – Having the ability to go outside and just relax is key to our mental and physical well-being.  Not only does nature have the ability to create a calming effect on us emotionally, but it’s good for our physical health to get a little sunshine and Vitamin D every day, if only for a few minutes.  So why not create an amazing outdoor room like this screened in porch shown here with a heated floor and fans to enjoy almost year-round or even just a small space outside your home with a chair or two and table to just relax.
  2. ADAPTABLE INTERIORS – Making the most of each space is crucial now that we find ourselves often living and working in the same space.   When I was in the thriving metropolis of Istanbul years ago, the biggest difference I noticed about the interiors was what I call “Transformer Furniture”.   Sofas had hidden storage under the cushions and transformed into beds when needed as did chairs.  Everything had a functional purpose including screened in porches where clothes were hung to dry besides providing a space to enjoy the outdoors. Here in the United States, we need to shift our thinking to create more adaptable spaces or rooms also.  Using French or barn doors to close off part of the living room for an office, home theatre, or library gives you more options as situations change in your household.  Other ways to make your space adaptable could be hiding a desk area inside kitchen cabinetry, adding a murphy bed to a guest room you now need for an office, or enclosing a niche with barn doors in the basement to hide bunk beds for the grandkids.
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Interior Design by Karen Mills

3. MORE CONTEMPORY MODERN DESIGN STYLE AESTHETIC – Furnishings and finishes in a lighter airer feel help create a more modern look that can be achieved by layering in more furniture with legs instead of visually heavier pieces.  Layering in more furniture with simple lines and more textural tone on tone finishes instead of busy patterns also help give a room a more modern vibe.  Of course, nature inspired patterns and real plants indoors continue to be popular with the emphasis on outdoors. Here the homeowners wanted to keep their beloved family heirlooms, but also wanted to bring a more modern updated look to their new house with an open floor plan.  That’s why we integrated more modern furniture into the room to give the space a more timeless appeal.

  If you’re looking for more custom interior design, decorating, or remodeling inspiration, ideas, and photos, sign up for our bi-monthly 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 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE HIRING A…

  • May 20, 2021

What to Consider When Procuring a Contractor in Addition to Costs

As an interior designer I’ve heard numerous sad stories recanted by homeowners who’ve selected a remodeler based on lowest price that resulted in poor craftsmanship, unfinished work, or even worse, damage to their property. Read on for my design tips on what to ask a contractor before hiring.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen MIlls
  1. What qualifications/experience do you have with my type of project and can you provide references? Also ask if the contractor belongs to NARI, National Association of Remodelers or HBA, Home Building Association.
Lenexa interior design
Lenexa interior designer Karen MIlls

2. Can your insurance company mail a current copy of your insurance policy(s) before we sign the contract? Contractors need to have liability insurance to cover any damage to your property and workman’s comp for anyone working on your home to protect you if they get hurt on the job.

3. How do you charge? Normally remodelers give a bid/estimate of total amount for project minus any unseen issues or simply charge for time (hourly) and materials (products). If you want to buy materials yourself and just pay the contractor for your time, make sure they offer that option and that you can put a limit on the hours billed so project doesn’t get out of hand.

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Kansas City Interior design by Karen Mills

4. Can you complete work within my time requirements and may I have a written timeline/schedule of construction beforehand?

5. Will you provide a signed contract with scope of work to be done that includes a warranty? Warranties are critical because they provide a guarantee and help ensure the remodel is done correctly the first time.

Karen Mills' blog
Kansas City Interior design by Karen MIlls

Now that you’ve hired a contractor ensure you have a professional interior designer also for your project to avoid costly design mistakes. And if you need guidance in that area, give us a call at 913.764.5915 to find out how we can help.

For more great ideas on remodeling or interior design sign up for our 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!