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 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Biggest Mistakes We Make in The…

How to Make Your Bedroom More Appealing

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Lack of a Focal Point – Often as an interior designer I walk into a bedroom to discover a stark cold space that has no focus. With interior design a bed becomes the focal point and we need to enhance it.

Here in this beautiful inviting bedroom we enhanced this poster bed with crisp white bedding, a fabulous textured leaf wallpaper, and a warm hand knotted wool rug with matching lamps and nightstands flanking it and a bench.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Uninviting – To create a more inviting bedroom with the existing American antiques our interior design firm layered in a upholstered bed with wallpaper behind, an attractive chair, and washable European linens that invite to come jump into bed.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Too Cluttered or Crowded – In this tiny converted attic bedroom we didn’t want the room to feel to crowded or cluttered with this king size bed the clients requested so we designed a bed that didn’t overwhelm the room along with floating bedside tables and lamps that didn’t take up any more room on the floor. The lamps also add an inviting element with their low light. Headboard and custom bedding fabrics in more neutral calming colors help keep the space from feeling too busy.

Looking for more great bedroom design or decorating 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 
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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Biggest Mistakes We Make in the…

Design Tips for Making Your Dining Room More Stunning

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills as featured in Architecture Today Interior Design and Design Icons books
  1. Lack of emphasis  Creating a focal point with your table in the dining room gives you the opportunity to create a dramatic look, perfect for a dinner table or family gathering. Here in this Mission Hills dining room we began with an existing table and buffet along with selecting a fabulous hand knotted wool rug. Then we took the design to another whole level but introducing more contemporary elements from the stunning Swarovoski crystal chandelier that compels you to take a closer look to the bold abstract art beyond, contemporary sculpture, and rich leather squares on the wall.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills as featured in Architecture Today Interior Design book

2.  Cold uninviting space –  One of the most common issues I see as an interior designer are dining rooms filled with hard shiny surfaces such as crystal, glass, or ceramic along with nothing on the floor or walls. To rectify this issue, try warming up your dining space with lots of texture. Here in this Overland Park room the client requested we use their heirlooms – a table and armoire, along with leather chairs. To warm up the space, we introduced a piece of gnarled wood, two handmade looking vases, and a custom cloth runner along with layering in a thick hand knotted rug underneath.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Looks Unfinished  When we walk into an interior design client’s home one of the first things we often see is an undone dining room. To enhance this space and make it more updated, I recommend adding color and items of interest whether with texture or design. In this dining area, we refinished a door in a soft neutral gray, updated the light fixtures overhead, put slipcovers on plain dark leather chairs, and added an interesting centerpiece along with blue art to create an inviting area to eat and relax.

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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 8 Secrets to Creating Interiors That Stand…

How to Design Spaces That Are More Enduring

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

As an interior designer I’ve been fortunate to have the innate ability to create living experiences that are more enduring whether its a living room like this one or a work space like the shower in the next photo. In this living space quality upholstery, less patterns, and simple lines create a lasting appeal.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

Even though finishes on furniture are important the most critical element to making an interior more timeless begins with finishes that are classic and enduring like this marble type tile we used on this bathroom high rise to make it last for years to come.

To read all 8 of our secrets to creating spaces with staying power that we wrote for HOUZZ, including specific examples of each, click on the link below.

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!

8 Rooms with Staying Power

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design with Intoxicating Color, Rich Texture, and International…

Read on to Learn How We Created a One of Kind Showstopping Design in the Heart of the U.S.

This project was a labor of love for this wonderful family who wanted a place to entertain family and friends. We started with designing the main entry – shown in orange and beige then worked our way through the home and up to the third floor guest suite we affectionately call “The Flat” – pictured in blue and white here, to create a space that’s one of a kind.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

Click now to read the rest of this fabulous article by Kansas City Homes & Style magazine, plus see several more photos, some which have never been seen before.

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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Big Mistakes People Make in Their…

How to Make Your Entry More Interesting

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Unwelcoming  –  If you want your guests to feel welcome then its important to create an inviting foyer like this one we designed where you are greeted by rich colors, great lighting, a comfortable rug underneath, and warm textural wall coverings that wrap you in a big hug. Of course Lucy (the dog) will be sure to say hello if she’s around too!
Interior Design by Karen Mills

2. Zero Personality – As an interior designer I can’t repeat enough the importance of showcasing your personal style in the foyer. I believe the entry to be the most important area in your home because it gives people a hint of who you are and what you like. In this entry area we showcased the clients’ love of animal prints on this traditional custom designed stool while also showcasing their sophisticated taste in mixing styles with the abstract art above.

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

3. Lack of Intrigue   I always tell our interior design clients to think of their entry as the advertisement for their home because your entry should give visitors a glimpse into what’s coming next from colors and style to personal mementos like this entry where we began with a family heirloom piece (one of many) and dressed it up with a beautiful landscape painting, vase, and lamp that give you a preview of the color scheme and what’s next.

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!

And for more foyer inspiration, click here to read my article on & Color Palettes for Pleasing Entryway

or my budget tips titled Refresh Foyer for Less

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 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Big Bathroom Trends for 2019

What’s in and what’s out for bathrooms this year

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. OPEN CONCEPT – In 2008 I talked about open concept living where master suites will merge sleeping and bath areas together on my broadcast interior design show Living Large. Now I’m finally starting to see this open concept appearing more in upscale hotels which means its coming to homes next! The precursor to that open concept are bathrooms with glass or an open shower where you can see the plumbing with zero entry (no curb) tile that extends into the shower which will gain popularity this year like this bathroom above. A free standing tub and light airy chandelier add to the look.
Karen Mills' blog

2. SPA LOOK WITH A WOW FACTOR Not sure the spa look will ever die because its so appealing but bolder colors will increase for this year including a trend towards dark colors like dark gray or black paired with light neutrals, especially white. In this bathroom we added a candle wall over the tub to create a wow factor when you enter the space. The rolled towels and teak furniture in wood to coordinate with the shelves reinforce the teak feel.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills featured in Kitchen Bath Design News magazine natonally

3. MORE TIMELESS APPEAL – Marbled tiles, sleek lines, less busy patterns and a neutral palette help create the more enduring look. In this nationally published project we designed an unique vanity that feels classic in front of marbled tile that runs up to the ceiling for a wow factor.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

And in the adjoining shower we designed a jewel box of a shower that becomes part of the room, making it more timeless and definitely a showstopper.

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!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Cozy Bedroom Trends for 2019

UP YOUR SLEEP FACTOR WITH A COCOONED BEDROOM

Often we take sleep for granted until we start to have problems with concentration, alertness, or our overall ability to function well. Then good sleep becomes more of a priority. Read on for 3 ways to create a nest like atmosphere in your bedroom that’s conducive to better sleep.

Interior design by Karen Mills featured in international book titled Architecture Today Interior Design
  1. Simpler Bedding and Patterns As an interior designer I’ve used simple tone on tone patterns and texture in bedrooms for years but this trend for bedding is going public for 2019 in everything from fabulous washable lines from Italy to textured velvet or sheared fabrics like we’ve seen recently in fashion wear. Here in this bedroom Italian bedding in simpler patterns, textural finishes and clutter free space create a stress free environment where we can unwind and relax.
Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills featured in international book titled Architecture Today Interior Design

2. Cozy Beds  Beds that envelope us will continue to be popular whether its are a four poster bed, an upholstered bed like this guest room, or a fabulous combination of both. In this guest room calming colors and patterns, low lighting, and clean lined furnishings enhance the overall feel.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills featured international book titled Design Icons

In this bedroom a four poster bed creates a cozy feel
while the wallpaper, area rug, upholstered bench, and simpler fabrics on the chairs beyond enhance the relaxed inviting feel of this space.

Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Curated Kravet


3. Textured Walls  Painted accent walls have been a craze for years but wrapping the whole room in textural walls will gain popularity in 2019. In this space featured by Curated Kravet an upholstered bed, area rug, bench, throw, and bedding add to the cocoon feel created by the gorgeous textural walls enveloping the space.

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

For more information on how to get better sleep, learn more at SLEEP BETTER LIVE BETTER now

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: 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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