Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Ways to Make Your Living Room…

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.

Karen MIlls' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

1. Add bold pops of spring color

One of the easiest ways to add spring hues begin with bright colored pillows. Other simple ideas could include removing dark heavy drapes, adding white cotton slipcovers to your upholstery, or replacing a heavy darker rug with a sisal one.

In this room bold patterned pillows create a dramatic contrast against the white sofa and custom blue green drapes beyond while the red orange flowers and artwork add to the tropical look.

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2. Introduce fresh flowers and/or plants

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.

Karen Mills' design blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Swap out dark furnishings for lighter ones when possible

If you have a lighter area rug like the one pictured here that you can swap out for a darker one, the entire room can be transformed from winter to spring.  White coral and a rope glass lantern with a blue candle enhance the spring/summer feel along with the light airy pillows and fresh plant beyond.

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 7 Steps to a Successful Living Room…

Like any project that involves money, you need a budget or at least a range before you start. Do some research and bring in the experts  – an interior designer, contractor/builder, and/or architect  to give an estimated investment.  Then follow these 7 steps to create the room of your dreams!

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Decide on a design style or mix of styles that will flow with your architecture and existing furnishings you will be re purposing.   As an interior designer in Kansas City, I always suggest clients select several photos of room designs they like and make sure any spouse or significant other involved agrees. Here in this great room our client wanted a glamorous Hollywood style mixed with touches from the beach in decor and color.

 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 like we did here with the existing artwork.

Karen Mills' blog
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 you can go online and use space planning software or get an interior designer to help.

In this living room, we created a U shaped seating area to add emphasis to the fireplace which is the main focal point in the room.

  4.  Set a timetable.   At this point you might want to bring in an expert – interior designer and/or contractor/builder to review your design time frame because investing a few dollars for a master plan and viable timetable can help avoid thousands of dollars in costly mistakes later.

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Interior design by Karen Mills. Photo by 29 Pixels, LLC

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 designs need to be finalized and ordered.   In addition permits need to be pulled for any construction.

In this great room we designed a custom sofa and reupholstered two chairs to perch atop a cozy organic style rug we found.

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

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen MIlls

7.  Design additional furnishings

Furnishings may include rugs, window treatments, pillows, bedding or other items.  In addition ensure you select art, finishes, and other decor needed. Here we found coordinating pillow fabrics, a rug, tables, lamps, and decor to coordinate the custom sofa we designed.

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 
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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Big Mistakes People Make in Living…

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Lack of a Focal Point    Often the best spot to emphasize in a living space is the fireplace or great view outside but if you don’t have those options, create a vignette (grouping) of furniture/accessories that will grab your attention. Then group your upholstery around the focal point to emphasize it. Here in this living room a focal point was created on the back wall to entice people into the space for a closer look.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2.  Purchasing Over Sized Upholstery Or Too Many Pieces  Have you ever decided you wanted to buy a new living room grouping but didn’t bother creating a floor plan or measuring the space first? Suddenly your furniture arrives and the furniture takes up so much real estate you can barely walk through or don’t have room? As an interior designer I can’t tell you how many frantic calls I’ve received from homeowners requesting help with their space planning only to discover the wrong furniture was already purchased and they want me to fix it which we know is impossible. In this living room, the right size furniture was used and strategically placed to not only enhance the focal point (fireplace) but also leave ample room for someone to pass through.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

3.  Selecting The Wrong Wall Color   After working on 1200+ interior design projects I see this mistake happen more than any other. We might want to blame a decorating network like HGTV or DIY for making us believe that picking paint colors is easy but I think its because the general public doesn’t realize how much a color can change when it goes from a tiny paint swatch to an entire room or house. In this room, we selected the paint color during day that not only coordinated with the finishes and furniture but also played well with other rooms in view.

For more 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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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: What’s Hot and What’s Not for 2019

5 Interior Design Trends To Embrace in 2019

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Curated Kravet

1. Warm Vibrant (or Bold) Colors  For the past ten years we’ve seen gray neutral colors dominate the interior design scene but now as an interior designer I’m noticing a return to bolder colors with warmth whether they’re in a whole room color scheme like shown here or just as an accent in a light neutral warm hue.

In fashion this fall crimson red, warm yellow, and tobacco brown mixed in new and unusual ways made a strong comeback including bold combinations like red, black, and white which I will cover in more detail in an upcoming blog.

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Interior Design Project by Karen Mills featured in book DESIGN ICONS

2. Nesting Trend    Homeowners are beginning to return to nesting with all the turmoil in the headlines so we will see a resurgence of comfortable and inviting interiors that are textural including finishes like rattan or raw wood, artisan products, and curves on our sofas or sculptural items.

In this entry the space is warmed up with branches and a comfortable fringe throw along with with comfortable pillows.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Century Furniture


3. Health and Wellness   With environmental factors impacting our health right and left along with an over abundance of processed foods, people are looking for healthy alternatives whether its natural fabrics and controlled sleep environments like our Sleep Better Live Better program or the ability to cook farm fresh meals in the kitchen.

Here in this room shades made of natural fibers, an antler lamp, and wood art piece bring a sense of well being to this space.

Interior design project by Karen Mills featured in Design Icons book

4. Personalization  Even though we’ve heard this term before its still a huge trend this coming year as evidenced in this library we designed that’s has been completely personalized for our client from the custom desk made of champagne wood, leather, and glass and accompanying pebbled leather chair to the custom designed rug underneath, snakeskin chair , and mementos from world travels displayed on the shelves beyond.

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

5. Maximalism  For years we’ve seen a minimalist trend with less pattern and movement but that’s changing and we will see more bold patterns and/or colors mixed together in a mix of design styles like this entry that includes an antique french console table, classic black and white tile, hand made wallpaper, and a custom contemporary rug in this contained space.

So what’s not hot for this coming year? First copper or rose gold is starting to lose ground in finishes along with single accent walls and overly ornate details. Cool grays, all stark white, wall signs, and ikat patterns have also fallen off the trend wagon for next year but that doesn’t mean that warm grays or white can’t be combined with other vibrant colors which I will cover in an upcoming blog.

For more 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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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Ways to Showcase Room with Interior…

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Coastal Shower Doors

The architecture or bones of the house are the most important elements when building or remodeling because they set the backdrop for any interior design you’re about to create and determine the style of your space.  That’s why not only the walls and ceilings are so important but also the doors and windows.

Here are 3 ways you can use doors to create drama in your space.

  1. Make your door the focal point like the shower door pictured here.  In this room the grid design of the door draws attention to itself along with the dark dramatic color, making it the star of the room.

Once you’ve selected your shower door, then you can repeat the color or pattern on the door to unify your space.

Karen Mills' blog

2. Introduce doors that are wider or taller than average to give a grander feel to your space.   In this room the french doors appear to be taller by adding a transom above.

Recently completed an interior design project for a client where we specified 8 foot doors to create a majestic look walking in the front door and we are currently creating a fabulous new interior design project  where every interior door will be at least 8 feet, completely transforming the space into a grandiose one of a kind home.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is office.jpg
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Use doors to divide space without visually closing off the rooms in an open floor plan.   The french doors here create a wonderful view into the adjacent home office while providing an option to be closed when needed.

For more 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!

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Sofa

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesty of Century Furniture

As an interior designer I realize how little most homeowners know about how to select a sofa that best fits them.  Here are my top 5 secrets to selecting a perfect custom sofa for your home!

  1.  Determine the style and size of sofa needed for your space.  If you have tall ceilings and supersized furnishings, you will need a sofa that’s in proportion to the room’s design.

 

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Century Furniture

2. Make sure you select the right cushioning for your sofa style and your personal preference whether it’s foam and down, all down, allergy free, or a combination of materials on the seat and back of your sofa.

3.  Ensure the 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.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Bernhardt Furniture

4. Select the correct material for your sofa.  If you will be using the sofa  regularly then you will need a higher double rub count for durability and if you have dogs or cats, try to avoid a fabric that can be snagged easily.  Also keep in mind how easily the fabric will clean and if it will go will with your room’s design and other fabrics.

5. Color –  As an interior designer, I prefer a solid color or tone on tone sofa because it’s usually one of the biggest items in your room and can seem overpowering if you select a busy pattern or even a color that’s too bold.

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Photo courtesy of Bernhardt furniture

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 7 Tips to Creating a Dramatic Entry

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of John Richard furniture

Front entries are the first impression you make on guests so why not create an inviting space.  As an interior designer I tell my clients to think of their entry as an advertisement for their home and what’s to come.  The entry should hold some of their favorite things and introduce the color scheme for their home’s interior design, revealing a little about their personal style.  Read on for 7 simple ways to create a beautiful foyer.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

  1. Introduce a Sofa Table or Case piece –  Start with a piece of furniture that fits easily in your entry and ideally can also hold decor.  Examples of case pieces could include a chest like this photo, a curio, sofa table, desk, etc.  In this entry the art brings together the warm neutral lamp, antique chest, and blue vase.
  2.   Freshen Up with Live Flowers or a Plant – In the photo above the texture of the leaveas  balance out the cold surfaces of the floor and walls, bringing the outdoors in.

    Karen Mills' blog
    Interior design by Karen Mills
  3.   Layer in Artwork or a Mirror – Introducing artwork can add texture and reveal a bit of your personality, while a mirror is not only functional but also makes a style statement and can bounce light around from a lamp placed in front.
  4. Ground Your Entry with a Rug – Layering a rug underneath adds warmth, color, and style to your foyer.
  5. Karen MIlls' blog
    Photo courtesy of John Richard furniture

    5.  Light it up With a Lamp –  Lamps not only provide function and ambiance, but they can introduce more style to a space like this spiked lamp pictured here.  The gold and warm colors throughout creates a cohesive element, while the pattern of the chest, chair, and plates add style and interest.

  6.  Replace Your Overhead Lighting 

    Karen Mills' blog
    Photo courtesy of John Richard furniture

     
  7. Tell a Color Story – You don’t have to be as bold and bright as this entry photo, but every space does have a color scheme even it’s neutral.  The earthy brown of the chest is picked up again on in the painting and bowl while the blue lamp base color reinforces the artwork.

To learn about color options for your foyer, read my Houzz article titled 7 Color Palettes for a Pleasing Entryway  – 

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/…/list/7-color-palettes-for-a-pleasing-entryway

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Coordinating Mismatched Furnishings

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

Karen Mills' blog
Interior decorating by Karen Mills

1. Repetition – To coordinate two pieces of mismatched upholstery, unify both pieces by repeating a color from one piece to onto another with a pillow or throw.  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.

 

2. Introduce a new design element  – A piece of artwork overhead or nearby accessories  with both colors can also serve as a way to bring two different colors of upholstery together effectively.  Here in this family room the blue center of the pillow is repeated in the blue candle nearby while the white seashell picks up the white upholstery.

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.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of All Modern furniture

3. Layer a rug underneath – Placing a rug underneath your upholstery helps create a cozy grouping of furniture like this living area but it may also pick up colors from one or several pieces of upholstery.  Here the brown chair color is repeated on a pillow accent color and coffee table while the yellow and gray hues in the rug are mimicked again on the sofa and pillows.

For more great ideas and photos, sign up for our weekly interior design and decorating blog here

Become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design showKaren Mills, on Facebook here!

 

 

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Tips for Remodeling Basement to Live…

If you’re lucky enough to have a basement and are thinking about remodeling or finishing it, here are three tips for designing your basement to live large like upstairs.

1. Bring in the daylight.   When creating an interior design plan for a basement in a new home you’re building raise the ceiling height so you can bring sunshine further into your basement like this living area shown.  You can also incorporate french doors or glass windows in interior rooms that allow the sun to penetrate further into the basement.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior architecture and finishes by Karen Mills/Photography by 29Pixels, LLCOther ways to bring in the light could include adding a glass door and and sidelights to a walkout basement like shown in this basement or by adding a large daylight window.    The stacked stone wall we adding around the fireplace also gives importance to the basement living area while also adding a focal point to the space.Karen Mills' blog

2. Give it importance.  Treat your basement space like you would a main level room.  Use drywall on the ceilings and create focal points with architecture, color and/or interior design to give the rooms a “wow” feel like this wall where the television disappears into a black accent wall.

Here’s another example of adding a focal point in the basement using a niche and different wall color

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Beef up your artificial lighting.  By adding extensive artificial light with wall washers, accent lighting and/or directional strip lights in addition to your standard lighting, you’ll find that your basement feels more like an upstairs living space.

For more basement remodeling ideas and more, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

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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.

 

Karen Mills' blog
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.

Karen Mills' blog
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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