Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: Fall Decorating Ideas From Your Backyard

Tips for Creating Fall Arrangements Using Items from Your Backyard and More

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

A couple of weeks ago I did a live TV segment on Fox4 TV where I shared tips for fall decorating using natural items from outdoors from the perspective of an interior designer.  Of course the foliage hadn’t started to turn yet here in the mid west so I had to inject some rustic color foliage from the store to create the look of what can be done.

 

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Fox4 TV segment

To recreate this lovely fall decor piece start with a container you have around the house that coordinates with your home.  Then cut some evergreen branches and fall color leaves from nearby trees along with other interesting additions you find along the way.

I added a couple of mangoes that I already had on my counter for additional color along with a beautiful white pumpkin that my friend Marilyn Beebe decorated for me a couple of weeks earlier.

 

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Pumpkin decorating by Marilyn Beebe

Here’s another of Marilyn’s fun creations.

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Interior decorating by Karen Mills

Here’s a closeup of the fun tabletop decoration we did.  First I grabbed a clear vase and filled it with barren branches I got from the woods.  Then I placed the vase of branches on an existing tray and filled the bottom with pieces of a decaying log and pine cones I discovered while traipsing through the woods and topped it off with leaves and berries.

For more great fall decor ideas and design tips sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: How to Cozy up Your Space with…

Area Rug Design Ideas for Your Interior

Karen Mills' blog

As our long term interior design clients know I have a penchant for designing custom rugs that have a pattern that relates back to nature so when The Rug Company presented their line of rugs to our interior design firm last week I got excited about what they’re doing and wanted to share some of the most interesting ones.

How amazing would this butterfly rug look in the right space?  And the best part? We can source the rug in an array of color options to fit our client’s needs just like we do when we design custom rugs.

Love graphic designs especially like this rug that reinforces the cleaner lines in this room, plus the combination of warm and cool neutral colors makes it more versatile.

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Of course if you’re a lover of bold contrasts and a more modern look then this blue and white rug might be just the right fit whether its in blue, red, black or another color.

You might not be able to tell it but this fabulous leaf rug is multi dimensional which gives it a one of kind look that you don’t see everyday.  And in this bedroom the tonal color palette is perfect for giving a serene feel to the space.

 

Finally I wanted to share this wonderful rug that feels like a contemporary paint or paint brushed across a canvas.  Don’t you love the way this patterned rug makes a huge statement without overpowering the living room?

What’s your favorite rug design?  Let us know!

For more great ideas and photos on how to design with area rugs, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: How to Inject Autumn Orange into Your…

Ways to Fall for Orange in Your Home

Karen Mills' blog
Interior Decorating by Karen Mills

Injecting fall hues like orange into your home for the season can be as simple as layering in orange toss pillows or artwork over the mantel like this room.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

Introducing fall leaves in a glass container or a ceramic vase can also add a pop of orange along with an orange rug and art pictured here.

 

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

In this dining room artwork helps create a fall orange vibe along along with velvet covered seats in orange and brown.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

But if you want just a pop of orange then you might opt for a couple of toss pillows with orange accents and orange decor on the coffee table like we did here.

Other options might include also include pumpkins or oranges grouped together in a clear glass container or orange decor.

For more great ideas about how to inject orange into your home for autumn, read my latest Houzz article here.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 8 Steps to Designing a Beautiful Space

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

Commonsense Tips for Creating a Beautiful Interior 

Designing a new or remodeled interior design can be both exciting and daunting.  Read on for my 8 tips as an interior designer for creating a functional and beautiful space.

1. Decide on an interior design style or mix of styles that will flow with your architecture and existing furnishings you will be re purposing. Start by selecting several photos of room designs you like and make sure any spouse or significant other involved agrees.

2. Determine your color scheme ensuring it coordinates with adjoining rooms and any existing furnishings to be used in the interior design.   If you have no idea, take a look in your closet to see what colors you’re drawn too or pull colors out of an inspiration piece such as art, a rug, or fabric.

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Interior design by Karen MIlls

  3. Create a floor plan so you know what fits in your space and the sizes you need.   To do that go online and use space planning software or get an expert to help.

  4.  Set a timetable.   At this point you might want to bring in an expert to review your design plan/timetable because investing a few dollars for a master plan and viable timetable can help avoid thousands of dollars in costly mistakes or huge delays.    

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Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Design and order custom furniture and any built in cabinetry after consulting with your interior designer or tradespeople if you’re managing the project yourself.    At this point all custom interior design needs to be finalized and ordered.   In addition permits need to be pulled for construction.

6.  Select and order all plumbing, flooring, tile, and general lighting needed.

7. Design any custom draperies, bedding, rugs, wall/floor/ceiling finishes or pillows needed along with choosing hard window coverings, light fixtures, and any ready made furnishings.  Place orders.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

8. Make final purchases including artwork, hardware pulls, lamps, and all other furnishings needed.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: Master Bath Remodel Before & After

Tips for Transforming Your Bathroom From Blah to Beautiful

Karen Mills' blog
Master bath before remodeling

As an interior designer I think you will find this master bath remodel quite amazing not only because of the transformation of this historic high rise built in the early 1900s but also because of how it lives so much larger in the same space.

When you entered the master bath as shown here the space was chopped up by a walled in shower placed in the middle of the room making the space feel cramped, small, and unattractive.

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Master bath remodel before

To the right of the shower was a  dimly lit dressing area with a small amount of storage that didn’t function well.

To solve this interior design dilemma we ripped out everything but one small closet and started over.  By pushing back the shower we gave the bathroom a bigger sense of volume and were able to expand the vanity to accommodate two people instead of one just like the shower.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

As you can see the transformation was amazing!  By placing the same marble style tile from Italy on the floor and walls the room suddenly visually expanded into a beautiful timeless space with an over sized shower for two.  To help the bathroom live even larger we also eliminated the shower curb and placed a solid glass panel along the front so the shower space virtually disappears.

Karen Mills
Interior design by Karen Mills
Karen Mills' blog
Hand sketch by Karen Mills

For the former dressing area I designed a double vanity that included usable top drawers that wrapped around the plumbing for better use of the space

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The result!  A gorgeous bathroom that ended up in a national design magazine – Kitchen Bath Design News along with an interview earlier this year.  Click here to read article!

Media Matters

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: What to Consider Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen MIlls/Photography by 29 Pixel Studios, LLC

If you’re  considering remodeling your kitchen or even designing a new kitchen, here are my suggestions as an interior designer to consider before signing any contracts or starting construction to avoid costly mistakes.

First I recommend that you look for design inspiration in interior design magazines or online to get ideas of what you like so  you can effectively communicate your design vision to the team you assemble.

Karen Mills' blog

Make a list of items you absolutely must have in your kitchen and another list of things you would like to have.   If you’re not sure, make an ongoing list as you use your kitchen on a daily basis for a couple of weeks.

Next hire an interior designer to show you how to layout a kitchen that’s both functional for your family and beautifully designed.   An interior designer will have great resources for contractors, architects, and trades people to help you accomplish your goal, will act as a trusted advisor, and will help create flow in the space along with coordinating finishes, assisting with lighting, and giving advice on storage to ensure your kitchen design looks great!

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

If you can’t afford an interior designer for the whole project, I would recommend hiring a designer for at least a couple of hours to help you create a master plan that makes sense.

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

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Designing a Relaxing Living…

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Century Furniture

Nothing’s better than coming home to an inviting relaxing home.   That’s why my focus as an interior designer has always been as much about function as beauty.  Read on for three tips for creating a comfortable interior design.

1. Comfortable seating.  Select upholstery cushions that are comfortable for long periods of sitting.  Plus ensure your feet are able to touch the floor and the seat depth is right for you.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
2. Layer in texture  Texture can be added with area rugs and/or soft window treatments along with accessories like pillows or throws.  And remember each layer of texture creates a cozier feel.
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Photo courtesy of Century Furniture
 3. Create a Cozy Seating Area for Conversation
When interior designers put together a floor plan for a living area, they focus on designing intimate seating areas like this one pictured.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: Kitchen Remodel – From Ugly Duckling to…

Remodeling a historic high rise kitchen

When updating a historic high rise apartment like this one on the renowned plaza area in Kansas City, there’s much more to consider than  the interior design of your home.

Karen Mills' blog
Kitchen Before Remodel

First you must find out the building’s requirements for construction from time of day limits to how the construction is completed.  Next you need to know building structure  limitations (especially for a 1931 historic building like this one) and if your finish materials or products will fit whether it’s up the elevator or via another method.

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Left Side of Kitchen Before

When I first entered this kitchen in Kansas City I knew as an interior designer it was going to be one of our more challenging interior design projects which was exciting because I new the change would be dramatic and could see the new open space in my mind almost instantly.

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Maid’s room before

To start the process I got a barely legible copy of the 1930’s blueprints and immediately went to work creating an interior design that was an open floor plan.  For the kitchen I had the wall between the maid’s room and kitchen torn out along with the wall between the dining room and kitchen.

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Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixels Studios, LLC

In addition we right sized the windows from the maid’s room and kitchen to flow together and added layers of lighting.  The result?!

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Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixel Studios, LLC

A beautiful airy light filled kitchen that now opens to the hearth room (formerly a dining room.

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Photography by 29 Pixel Studios, LLC

Much of this high rise apartment had original wood floors so we weaved in new wood flooring in the kitchen to make the space live larger and feel more cohesive.

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Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixel Studios, LLC

For the stove area we squeezed in a beautiful custom wood hood and beautifully lit glass cabinets flanking the hood to create a wow factor when entering the hearth/kitchen area.  In addition we designed inset cabinetry drawers and doors (flush with cabinet frame) to create a luxurious look along with mixing it up with pulls and knobs.

 

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Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixel Studios, LLC

At the end of the kitchen (formerly maid’s room) we designed pantry area that hides a permanent slanted wall and to provide much needed storage which includes cabinet doors that open up to reveal both a coffee station and appliance garage.

The thick mitered island counter by Cambria was juxtaposed against the light airy mini chandeliers for a perfect composition.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29 Pixel Studios, LLC

The bar area includes a wine cooler, bar sink, and lit glass cabinets to hold glassware along with a hidden washer/dryer area.

Overall as an interior designer I was thrilled with the outcome of this remodeled kitchen especially now as I’m reminded of where we started.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Remodeling Tips for Making Your Bathroom…

If you’re tired of your cramped small bathroom, here are 3 tips to help your bathroom live larger when you remodel or build!

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Increase your floor space – Start by swapping out an existing vanity cabinet for a floating vanity/sink or pedestal style sink.  In this guest bath we designed a vanity with legs to make it appear lighter and visually smaller in size while also decreasing the normal depth of the vanity.

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Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29Pixels, LLC

Also consider installing your toilet tank in the wall if budget allows or wall mount your vanity like the space here where we remodeled a former closet into a tiny powder bath.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2.  Monochromatic color scheme –  One of my favorite tricks to make a small bathroom look bigger begins with using one color on all the walls, furniture, floors, and decor like a light neutral to give it a fresh clean look and bounce existing light around the room.  In this master bathroom shower we removed walls while covering the floors and walls in the same large scale tile to create a space where its more difficult to tell where the walls start and end.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2.  Reflective surfaces –  To visually enlarge your small bathroom, use mirrors or glass to reflect light and give your space a light airy feel.   By adding tall mirrors to this master bath we visually doubled the size of the room.  Shiny vanity pulls and vanity lights reflected in the mirror also add to the airy feel that expands the space.

Other great ways to enhance your small bath?  SIgn up for our weekly interior design blog here

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Ways to Spruce Up Your Outdoor…

Taking Your Outdoor Room From Blah to Beautiful

Karen Mills' blog

I love this time of year – warm weather, food on the grill, and great parties outdoors!  But when its time for outdoor parties sometimes our outdoor spaces need a little boost to get them ready for guests so here are 3 tips for taking your outdoor room from blah to beautiful!

1. Add a pop of color with pillows

On this porch we helped clients design we started by layering in fun pillows with a beach theme in a beautiful blue color to remind them of the ocean, one of their favorite vacation destinations while also providing some contrast against the chairs.  To see more about this fabulous porch design, watch my TV segment below.

Karen Mills' blog

2. Layer in textural decor

Texture in a space is critical – it softens the hard surfaces and creates interest.  In this photo the large blue green vase on the hearth adds a pop of color while the branches inside add texture along with the orange flower and napkins.

 

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3. Make it Personal

When you’re decorating or designing a space its important to add your own personal touches that show off your personality.  In this porch the client had a painting done on wood and picked up an iron table base to give this outdoor room a one of kind look.

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The same holds true for this outdoor patio space where a vintage trunk on wheels has been re purposed as a coffee table.   Other personal touches on this patio include a vintage candelabra and wrought iron table that was handmade.  To see more about this patio design, click on the TV segment below

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Porch TV segment (click here)

Patio TV segment (click here)