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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…

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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

Porch photo
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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

HOME OF THE FUTURE

An Interior Designer’s Tips for Building or Renovating a Home That’s Adaptable

Homeowners are looking for a home of the future that’s flexible as their needs change whether it’s adding a home office, a gym, entertainment area, or outdoor area for a staycation. Read on for my interior designer tips on how to make your home more adaptable.

Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Look at how you to make every part of your floorplan adaptable. For example, if you live in an area where you can have a finished basement also consider finishing the area directly under the garage to use as a home theatre, safe room, or storage. Here are some additional ideas.

A. A multipurpose area off the garage for dropping off jackets/shoes/sports gear, cleanup, or even deliveries – if the delivery can be made through an exterior door. like this room. In one project for interior design clients, we turned part of the garage and the existing laundry into an adaptable space that can serve either as a laundry, mudroom or butler’s pantry when needed.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

B. Design your open living area to allow portions of it to be partitioned off with doors – barn, pocket, partition, or French doors like this family room area with a home office to create private spaces for family members, while also making the spaces multi-functional. For example, you could have doors that provide a cozy sitting area for reading/games, home office or home theater that could transform into a guest bedroom with just the addition of a small closet.

In the kitchen hidden doors that look like cabinetry could open to reveal a small home office area that could later become a pantry or even a panic room. French doors that lead to a porch/sunroom can also provide much needed additional space for alone time without sacrificing your outdoor view.

Karen Mills' blog

C. Plan for aging in place or surgeries that may limit mobility with 36″ wide doorways into your home, zero entry threshold from your garage to interior and into your shower area like this bathroom.

2. Add outdoor spaces that are multifunctional. Outdoor entertainment options could range from heated pools, hot tubs, and putting greens to outdoor kitchens, covered bars with big screen TVs, and/or a small guest house with French glass doors that morphs into a studio/office, man cave, or pool house if needed.

In this porch design heated floors and a fireplace were included to make the porch more all weather where winters can be quite cold. A TV hidden behind an original artwork provides flexibility for using this space to watch television too.

In summary successfully designing a house of the future starts with a floorplan that’s adaptable and planning ahead for your needs.   

For more great 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: High Impact, Low Budget Remodels For The…

How to Remodel for Less

Courtesy of Brosh Architects, Borehamwood, England, United Kingdom
Courtesy of Brosh Architects, Borehamwood, England, United Kingdom

As promised here is part 3 of the three-part series I promised you written by my former executive producer Andrew Ellenberg.

Trevor and his wife Tiffany were sitting on the bleachers watching their oldest son play baseball, waiting for his chance to slide into the home plate from third base when Trevor got a text from his boss that he would be working from home full time. A flood of emotions rushed to his head as he grappled with his ambivalence about the change.

Less time stuck in traffic braving the morning commute for 45 minutes was a game-changer for quality of life and cost savings. But his house wasn’t configured for a home office and needed work.

Over the next several days, as the reality of the remote lifestyle started to settle in, Trevor and Tiffany discussed their options for transforming their house into a remarkable but affordable space for life and business.

After researching the project online for hours, their plan had come into sharper focus. Two weeks after Trevor got the text, they were ready to hire a remodeling contractor. Now they needed to figure out how they would pay for the project.

With 60 percent equity on their mortgage, they were sitting on the right side of supply and demand and figured they could tap some of it to pay for the renovations.

Their research found a loan officer who said he could help them tap the equity in their home to fund their bold new vision. During a date night on their covered porch, they uncorked a bottle of champagne, made a toast, tapped glasses, and laughed uncontrollably in relief and excitement. 

Halfway across the country, it was a brisk evening in May when Bryce Johnson spoke with Life In Style about high-impact remodels that won’t break the bank. He is a seasoned industry vet with a 30-year history of transforming outdated spaces. Johnson has an eye for design, a sharp mind for functionality, and an almost manic intensity about his work. 

He said the perception that luxury remodeling projects need to be exorbitantly priced is mainly misplaced.

“People think that high-end materials and finishes have to be expensive, but that’s not always the case,” Johnson said. “I’ve found that many people are surprised by how affordable their dream home can be.”

People traditionally view luxury vinyl tile as something you would never see in million-dollar homes. But Johnson installs them all the time. They have hundreds of colors and style choices, some with textured or distressed designs to add character.

They are also water-resistant, ideal for high-traffic areas or homes with pets. “The same is true of many other materials people associate with more modest price tags,” Johnson said. “The key is to use them in ways that elevate the overall design.”

He said you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a significant impact. His philosophy at his firm, Bryce Johnson Construction, is that you can find ways to get the look of more expensive materials for a fraction of the price with ingenuity and creativity. That means more bang for the buck while more equity bucks make homeowners flush. 

“Homeowners are likely getting an extra incentive from record-high home equity levels. Home prices continue to gain as demand for housing soars. People are crunching numbers to calculate their ROI on projects,” said Justin Rabin, a loan officer at Fountain Mortgage.

Internationally respected interior designer and regular Life in Style contributor Karen Mills stresses the importance of “future-proofing” your remodel with timeless spaces that don’t go out of style.

“Materials don’t need to be expensive to look high-end. By strategically repeating elements – shapes, colors, lines, finishes, and styles in a design, a true artist can draw you into the room, causing an emotional response that speaks to your soul.” 

Lior Brosh, the owner of UK-based Brosh Architects, recently designed a secret bathroom door for a client with four children. She hid it behind a slick contemporary display cabinet with cool decor bolted to the shelves, so items don’t shift when opening and closing the door. With a budget of less than $10,000, the remodel is stunning and looks like it cost three times more than it did.

“Getting the most value for your money is all about creative thinking,” she said. “There are ways to make affordable materials look like a million bucks.”

Brosh said high-impact remodels don’t have to mean high-budget projects. With savvy design choices and impeccable execution, you can have a stunning space that rivals those at the top of your wish list.

Three months after Trevor received the text message about working from home full time, he sat with Tiffany in their newly remodeled home office. Enclosed in tinted glass, the space is bathed in natural light but provides privacy from the rest of the home.

The built-in transparent desk appears to be floating, and the walls are painted in a burnt orange bursting with energy. The hanging barn doors lead to the kitchen and the living room, a commute two steps from his favorite rooms in the house.

Trevor is in good company. In today’s competitive real estate market, homeowners are looking for ways to increase property values and enhance their quality of life. For many, this means making bold remodeling decisions that will give their homes a high-end look without breaking the bank.

Life in Style, the weekly Publication from Team Real Estate, helps homeowners make more inspired decisions about their homes and lifestyles. It features original news, commentary, tips, and analysis from leading industry experts. To be considered for inclusion in future stories as a professional or homeowner, email  lifeinstyle@teamre.com.

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

And 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!

Or give us a call at 913.764.5915 to discuss your remodel project.

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Imagine Living in a Contemporary Home Like The Ones…

Harmony in the exterior facade at Long Horizontal house
Harmony in the exterior facade at Long Horizontal house

Here is part two of the 3-part series on interior design I promised you. Enjoy!

It doesn’t have to be a big house. It could be like the wood-framed, one-bedroom cantilever you see on Bosch, not much bigger than a Beverly Hills garage with breathtaking views of LA just over the edge of the hill. 

The irreverent detective’s modern house is perched precariously on three steel pylons at its mid-point like a delicate treehouse, floating above the city below. It’s all windows and glass and geometric angles. 

Meanwhile, driving through one of the most affluent neighborhoods in a different city in the midwest, the streamlined profile of another sleek, modern house is so smoothly integrated into the landscape that it is almost indistinguishable from it. At first glance, this architectural gem is functional and stylish with a futuristic vibe.  Dramatic lighting underscores the modular boxes that fit together like lego pieces to create artistic angles, intriguing juxtapositions, and sharp lines.

The house looks like someone ripped it from the pages of a glossy architectural magazine and dropped it on top of a mountain. This is consistent with the spirit of contemporary home design: personal expression and individuality.

In this week’s feature story, the lead graphic showcases the contemporary mountain cabin with two-story ceilings, cinematic wood beams, and a rugged stone fireplace. 

Oversized lighting fixtures, bleached floors, and the ubiquitous but invisible presence of glass reinforce a feeling of openness. The naked eye can’t see where it ends, like an infinity pool, so our imagination fills in the blanks.

Once inside, you are surrounded by large open floor plans and intentional asymmetry, creating more visual interest than the predictable linear repetition of symmetrical shapes in traditional home design. 

Expansive floor-to-ceiling glass panes bring the outside into the interior living space. These homes incorporate the latest home design trends. Modern architects value functionality over aesthetics, removing unnecessary details that divert attention from primary focal points.

Modern homes are more than just a place to live and work. They reflect the people who live there and their unique styles, influenced by a blend of trends from different periods and cultures. The common thread that ties these design ideas together is a commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and durable relevance. 

We can trace the roots of modern architecture back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the cutting-edge buildings that cemented the role of the US as a world leader in art, architecture, and technology.

From modern furniture pieces carved out of natural materials like wood or granite stone to traditional designs utilizing dark rich woods and marble accents, the trend toward simplicity in design is likely to continue unabated for at least ten years. 

The next big breakthrough is integrating our rapidly expanding arsenal of technology into our sci-fi houses as seamlessly as built-in appliances, recessed lighting, and hidden storage areas. Office equipment is now hiding in plain sight.  It materializes when you need it and gets lost when you don’t. 

Don’t let Sonja Rudolf get started on that text thread. The commercial furniture expert at Vari is passionate about her mission to “elevate workspaces.” 

Rudolf told Life In Style during an exclusive interview that the home office is melding into a “real office with commercial-grade office furniture.” Check out our feature story about home office design in the last episode for more ideas.

Contemporary home office design sports clean lines with a simplistic “less is more” design philosophy. “Straight-lined simple design aesthetics with neutral earthy colors never go out of style, “ said Rudolf. 

Removing unnecessary design elements to spotlight the sharp edges may appear sparse, even impersonal, but many modern homes will welcome you into a warm and inviting interior. 

She cited the materials used in the construction and the interior design of the home – dark woods and marble with toasty accents of color.  

Karen Mills served as the interior designer on a Rustic lodge adjacent to a beautiful lake and forest. “The stunning home nestled between a private lake and woods yearned for a lighter color palette and more spartan furnishings to allow the outside views to take center stage, “ Mills told an international design magazine featuring her work.  

From country homes to beach houses, these ultramodern spaces are filled with edgy materials, bold lighting, streamlined furnishings, and even some pops of color, creating striking spaces. 

The contemporary home represents 21st-century architecture and design. It’s evolutionary, meaning it changes and grows as we do, constantly adapting to what’s new, intriguing, and trending in home design.

The primary distinction between contemporary homes and traditional homes is that they don’t have a predefined style. Modern homes borrow and adopt features from a diversified mix of international, minimalist, modern, and eclectic design styles that are unique yet still familiar.

While traditional architecture and design can be beautiful, they can also feel outdated and stuffy. According to Adam Grimsman, a mortgage banker at USA Mortgage in Overland Park, contemporary homes always feel fresh and current, and demand in this category is rising. 

“Many people want white lines, a nice clean space. We are seeing an uptick in loan applications for contemporary homes as they are more desirable to millennials and Gen Z,” he said. 

Contemporary home design often incorporates natural materials like wood, stone, metal, and glass. This design tends to be more energy-efficient than traditional designs, making it a popular choice for eco-conscious homeowners. We will delve more into that topic next week. 

Popular shelter magazines like Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, and House Beautiful celebrate phenomenal modern home designs. They showcase inviting spaces that feel both contemporary and timeless. 

“When considering a contemporary design approach, my core belief is that good planning and design of space has a direct and positive impact on our quality of life,” said Lior Brosh, owner of UK-based Brosh Architects in Borehamwood, England.  

Brosh recently completed a project in Notting Hill, London for a client who wanted a bright space with a contemporary aesthetic that still felt calm, warm, and homey.  

From streamlined lighting and plumbing fixtures to cool doors, water features, sculptures, window treatments, and oversized address number treatments to dramatic special effect landscape lighting, contemporary design can be stunning.  

Another popular trend is bold geometric shapes in both furniture and architecture. These accents can add tons of visual interest to any space. Once you get comfortable with all the photographers in your living room and cars slowing down to get a closer look at your house, you’ll be fine!

Life in Style, the weekly Publication from Team Real Estate is dedicated to helping homeowners make more inspired decisions about their homes and lifestyles. It features original news, commentary, tips, and analysis from leading industry experts. To be considered for inclusion in future stories, email  lifeinstyle@teamre.com

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

New Trends in Home Office Design: The Ultimate Space…

For the first time I am sharing a series of fabulous guest articles written by my former executive producer of Living Large, Andrew Ellenberg. Enjoy!

Deborah rises to the sound of soothing nature sound effects and meditation music gently nudging her to ignite the day. She tells Alexa to turn on the shower and warm up the water temperature to the perfect temperature. As she prepares for another round of carpe diem and Starbucks Espresso, she watches her favorite YouTube newscast in the foggy mirror. 

After she pushes a button to rotate dressing options from her wardrobe to her fingertips, she is camera ready to step into her home office, which doubles as a Television and podcast studio. 

Once Deborah is ready to kick off another exciting business adventure,  she tells Alexa to raise the twin monitors for her computer, silently ascending from under the table in response to her command.  Alexa reads her priority emails delivered to an exacting standard of relevance and value per her specifications. 

A pleasant audio notification reminds Deborah about an online meeting that she needs to join in ten minutes. The video conferencing app kicks in and initiates the call. Compact Sonos speakers sneak into view.

The green screen pops up; she puts on her anchor face, and two cameras go live. Welcome to the future of home offices! 

As we move from temporary home offices to permanent ones, scenes of hilarious real-life photos of video calls conducted from playrooms and makeshift ironing board desks are becoming less relevant.  

Corporate executives and owners realize the benefits of foregoing lease renewals and expansions and instead choose to go virtual. Often seen as a way to reduce costs, it can also increase efficiency and productivity. As businesses have become more globalized, the need for physical office space continues to diminish. 

Home Offices Aren’t Going Away.

The September 2021 Gallup Poll found that as many as 45 percent of American workers now work from home permanently.  That means many of us never want to go back to the office and are finding solutions to make working from home a phenomenal experience. 

Big tech brands Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Square, Facebook, Dropbox, Slack, empower employees to work from home and offer flexible work schedules to accommodate family time.  As the most innovative sector in the market, tech is always ahead of the curve. 

We’re going to take an educated guess here. You are probably motivated more by freeing up windshield time for date night while the kids are getting spoiled at your mom’s house than by reducing your carbon footprint. 

Let’s be honest. You can’t work all day and then go home. Your home office needs to be where you do your best work 24/7, so it must accommodate whatever crazy schedule life throws at you. 

Do yourself a favor. Get some white noise headphones because they will help minimalize distractions from other conversations so you can maintain deep focus no matter what is going on around you. 

If you have children at home, try to set aside some dedicated time when you can arrange to provide entertainment for them, so you avoid distractions. And if you find yourself working odd hours, don’t be afraid to let your family and friends know so they can adjust their expectations accordingly.

Home Office Design is Built into Home Design

Karen Mills, an internationally respected interior designer and Founder of Interiors by Design, says, “Now that people are working at home, they want their office to blend into the living space. They don’t want their homes to look like corporate offices, so all the ugly office equipment must disappear.” 

For those using a guest room as an office, the Murphy bed is an excellent choice. Create the desk space when you need it while still having a place for guests to sleep. Soundproofing rooms is another design choice people are making; homeowners want a place to work quietly, close the door at the end of the day, and live in the rest of the house without being reminded of work. 

Now that working at home is permanent, workers are decorating home offices. Gone are the pandemic days of sharing the playroom with kids. We’re creating Zoom rooms or spaces in the home where we can do our video calls uninterrupted.  But if the dog wanders into the studio and barks during a call, no one cares. 

We all understand the challenges and beauty of working at home. We’re adding color, art, photos, plants, and lighting to our permanent workspaces. We’re investing in office chairs like we would a new couch or bed because we want to be comfortable while we work.

Families make space in playrooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms for work. Sometimes it means sharing space and dividing it with a partition. Room dividers are back in fashion; you can use them as an accent wall or add color to an office setting. No one needs to know that’s the guest bed behind you! 

When you’re not working, how does your home function? It’s an important consideration, especially if you’re thinking of buying a new home or renovating your current one to be more functional for your lifestyle. Creating a work-life balance seems to be the new American Dream.  

Meditation and Exercise: Rooms for Work-Life Balance

To support work-life balance, we’re rethinking how the home functions for our families. Dining rooms are now meditation and exercise spaces. Music is piped throughout the house to create a sense of peace or to pump up the energy on long workdays. 

Patios are now offices. Pets are coworkers who join us for at-home yoga classes and an occasional video call—each of these needs a convertible or dedicated space that works for you and your family. 

As you consider your next home, think about how you want to optimize your space and what you want the house to be for your family. The remodeling options are virtually unlimited, from home offices to rooms for work-life balance. 

Life in Style, the weekly Publication from Team Real Estate  is dedicated to helping homeowners make intelligent decisions about their homes and lifestyles. It features original news, commentary, tips, and analysis from leading industry experts. To be considered for inclusion in future stories, email lifeinstyle@teamre.com

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 
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