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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Things to Avoid in a Kitchen…

Tips for Creating a Functional Kitchen Interior Design

If you’re thinking about remodeling or designing your kitchen read on to learn about some of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when designing a kitchen.

Karen Mills' blog
  1. Work Area Not Functional – Creating a functional layout is the first step to kitchen design whether you’re designing for a new home or doing a kitchen remodel. Here in this kitchen a work area with the stove, refrigerator, and sink easily accessible within a few steps of each other makes cooking easier and less frustrating.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

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

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design and remodel by Karen Mills

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

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

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

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

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

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

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 kitchen project.

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Adding a Home Office…

How to add a Workspace at Home When You Don’t Have a Dedicated Room

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  1. Add sliding doors – pocket, French or barn doors to enclose an open room or space – In this gorgeous home office we designed hidden pocket doors slide together to hide this office space next to the living room to create a cozy area for getting work done without being disturbed.

If you prefer to have your home office in full view, you can also opt for French door style pocket doors that can make your overall living space feel larger like this interior design project below we designed.

If you prefer to have your home office in full view, you can also opt for French door style pocket doors that can make your overall living space feel larger like this interior design project below we designed.

2. Hide your workspace behind built in cabinetry or in a closet. – As an interior designer I’ve helped numerous clients solve the issue of where to put a home office. One of my favorite solutions as an interior designer was a home office we designed behind kitchen cabinetry as part of a remodel. And we disguised the doors to look like cabinetry which also functions nicely as a safe room.

Other solutions our interior design firm has created includes hiding an office under the stairs, in a niche area on a landing or loft, or inside a step-in closet where you can just shut the door to hide the space.

3. Introduce a piece of furniture that can act as a desk along with storage for your office necessities. Options could include an office armoire or dining table, for example. For one client, our interior design firm helped them take over their rarely used dining room by utilizing the table as a desk for their laptop and custom built in cabinetry on the wall behind to hide everything else. The bottom of the cabinetry held office items, while the top half provided display space for the client.

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 Decorating: 3 Ways to Make Your Living Room…

How to Give Your Living Room a Spring Lift

Karen Mills' blog

If you’re like me you’re ready for warmer weather and cheerful colors.  Here are 3 ways to make your room feel lighter and happier.

1. Add bold pops of spring color in your favorite hue(s).

One of the easiest ways to add spring color begins with introducing bright pillows in happy colors. Other simple ideas could include removing dark heavy drapes, adding white cotton slipcovers to your upholstery, or replacing a heavy darker rug with a visually lighter one like sisal or a light neutral cotton one.

In this room we did for an interior design client the graphic blue and white pillows contrast nicely against the chairs while also picking up the cobalt blue color in the ottoman. A light cotton rug sits underneath.

Karen Mills' blog

2. Introduce fresh flowers, plants and/or nature inspired decor

Nothing says spring like a bouquet of fresh flowers, a beautiful orchid or live plants. Here in this outdoor living room the orange flowers pick up the color in the napkins, creating a cheerful spring look while branches in a blue vase beyond bring the outdoors in.

Karen Mills' design blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Swap out dark furnishings for lighter ones

Light neutral slipcovers, light area rugs, and eliminating dark heavy drapes can do wonders for your living room in spring. Painting the walls a lighter color can also make a huge difference along with adding table/floor lamps and introducing more white hues into your room.

In this family room we reupholstered dark upholstery – sofa and chairs, in fresh lighter hues along with swapping out the rug for a lighter one, and introducing light decor including white coral, a rope glass lantern, lighter pillows/throw, and a plant on the chest beyond.

In summary by replacing visually heavy or dark furnishings with lighter ones and introducing items from outdoors you can create a space that’s fresh and spring ready.

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 Decorating: 3 Steps to Creating a Finished Look…

Do you have a collection of mismatched furniture that feels undone?  Read on for my 3 interior designer tips for creating a more cohesive look in your living room.

Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Use Repetition – To coordinate two pieces of mismatched upholstery, unify both upholstery pieces by repeating one color from one piece of furniture to another with a pillow or throw, for example.  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 to create a cohesive feel.

2. Introduce a new design element – By introducing a pillow with blue and tan accents on the chair the same color scheme is now picked up in the tan tray that holds white coral and a blue candle, tying both furnishings together.

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 as shown on this tray.

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Photo courtesy of Curated Kravet

3. Layer a rug underneath – In this living room the striped area rug underneath helps brings together the white sectional and brown chair plus ottomans to create a cohesive feel.

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our 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 Decorating: 5 Secrets to Procuring the Perfect 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 size and style of sofa you need.  If you have tall ceilings 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.

For more great ideas on selecting furnishings and 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

Interior Design: 3 Enduring Bathroom Trends

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 Decorating: 3 Tips for Making Your Bedroom Appear…

Ideas for Enlarging Your Bedroom Without Remodeling

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Interior design by Karen Mills featured by Design Icons book
  1. Choose bedding in a similar color to walls and other finishes or a little lighter.  In this master bedroom design, our interior design team opted for white airy bedding that bounces more light around the room while also nicely offsetting the dreamy light blue green wallpaper, hand knotted wool rug, and other reupholstered furnishings. In contrast you can also opt for darker bedding and walls to help the boundaries of the room disappear.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Layer in some furniture that feels visually lighter. In this master bedroom, we layered in some furniture with legs showing underneath along with a lighter wood bed, and light fabric on the chair to make the room feel larger. Light neutral bedding, a bed, light painted walls and a light chair bounce more light around the room, visually expanding the space.

Karen Mills' blog

2. Add fabrics and finishes in simple, plain or tone on tone patterns including bedding, walls, furniture, and flooring. In this bedroom the homeowner used tone on tone bedding, a white upholstered bed, an acrylic bench with invisible legs, and mirrored nightstands to help visually expand her bedroom.

For more great ideas on design and 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

Interior Decorating: 3 Ways to Create a Healthier Cleaner…

3 Tips for Making Home More Germ Free

As an interior designer I know many of our clients are looking for a home space that is more sanitary without being sterile. Read on for my ideas on how to create a more germ-free home.

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  1. Decontaminate the indoor air more efficiently with a superior quality purifier that will clean the air in your home on a regular basis. I’ve personally had the most success with a Volara air purifier in my home but ensure you select an air purifier that will reduce airborne and surface contaminants, dust, and dirt that may contain viruses or bacteria. And don’t forget to introduce fresh air inside your home every chance you get along with having your ducts cleaned.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Remove contaminants before going inside.  Start by mounting a motion sensor activated disinfectant cleanser bottle on the wall in your garage or mudroom area to sanitize your hands before entering the remainder of your home.

Then add a rack for shoes nearby to place contaminated shoes or introduce a disinfecting mat that you and/or your family can walkthrough before continuing into the house. Note: Leaving these items in the garage for 24- 48 hours can also be helpful in keeping contamination away.

Placing any contaminated clothing you have on in a hamper or nearby washer and jumping in the shower right after also help fend off germs.

For this bathroom we installed tile on floors and much of the walls that can be scrubbed down along with an adjustable shower head that makes cleaning easier whether it’s kids, pets, or yourself.

Lenova kitchen faucet with an ozone generator

3. Maintain a More Sanitary Home Interior. By keeping the inside of your home more sterile you increase the odds that you will stay healthier. One way to accomplish that feat is by cleaning your home or bringing in a maid. But home products also exist to help you be cleaner.

According to the press release by Lenova, their faucets are the first conventional faucet line that is also an ecologically safe way to clean food and any other water-safe surface without chemicals. A small, thin ozone generator uses regular house current to produce ozone water (aqueous ozone), a natural disinfectant 100 times stronger than chlorine that kills 99.9% of common viruses, bacteria and germs. Adding foot pulls at the bottom of frequently used interior doors provide additional peace of mind.

Nostalgic solid brass doorknobs

Brass also keeps germs more at bay than other metals like these solid brass doorknobs shown here. Other ways to keep your home more sanitary would include using the sanitize cycle on your dishwasher and purchasing washable materials – rugs or bedding.

In summary by removing most contaminants possible before coming inside, purifying your indoor air, and keeping surfaces clean you can create a home interior that’s safer overall for the whole family.

If you’re looking for 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 Decorating: 3 Design Tips for Cozying Up Your…

Ideas for Creating a Comfortable Nest at Home

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills.

1. Comfortable seating.  As an interior designer I recommend selecting high quality upholstery with upgraded cushions that will provide comfortable seating for hours at a time, while also making sure the sofa fits your body type from the seat height and depth to level of cushioning desired and style of seating cushion needed.

In this room we went with high quality custom furniture that you can sink into while enjoying the incredible views. We included a branch style fabric pattern on the sides of the chairs to tie them into the outdoors beyond.  3 Tips for a Budget Living Room Makeover

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Overland Park interior design by Karen Mills

2. Create a Cozy Conversation Area When we put together a floor plan for a living area, we 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 cozy 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

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design showKaren Mills, on Facebook  or Instagram now.

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

5 Frequent Furniture Arranging Mistakes Made in the Living…

How to Space Plan Your Living Room

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Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Too Much Stuff – A room with too much furniture is visually overwhelming because it doesn’t give the eye a place to rest which can be unnerving. A well laid out living room will have a main sitting area around a focal point or if a larger space, different seating zones that can stand on their own. Here in this great room there’s ample seating and tables for drinks/books without overwhelming the space, making it calm and inviting.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Not Functional Before you lay out your furniture ensure you have ample room for 3 foot walkways to and from other rooms in addition to creating a path through your living room. Plus leave a 4 foot wide path to any exterior exits. Here in this compact living room we created a cozy seating area while leaving ample room to walk through to other spaces.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Oversized Furniture – One of the most common mistakes I see as an interior designer are clients who purchased upholstered furniture that’s way too big for their room and are determined to make their costly mistake work. The best way to avoid that problem is to measure your room before purchasing furniture or ideally hire an interior designer to give you a floorplan that works. In this cozy living area the armless chairs take up less space visually along with the round ottoman to keep the room feeling larger overall.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

4. Off Balance – When arranging furniture ensure your room is evenly balanced on both sides of the space and distributed throughout the room instead of hugging the walls. Also make sure you have vertically balanced your room by using taller furnishings or architecture to draw the eye up to the ceiling and/or by having the right size of furniture for your room. In this sitting area we’ve placed the sofa facing the fireplace center and chairs on either side to create balance on both sides of the room. A rug completes the look to bring everything together.

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5. Seating That Doesn’t Emphasize Your Focal Point – Before arranging your furniture determine your main focal point. Ideally your focal point will be a dramatic architectural feature like a fireplace or great view out a window. But if that isn’t possible you can create a focal point with furniture and art, for example. In this great room the seating is arranged to emphasize the grand fireplace by facing the sofa towards it while also allowing the incredible view out the window to be clearly visible from the entry.

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!