Tag Archives: living room

Interior Design: 3 Savvy Ways to Makeover Your Living Room Using Existing Furniture

One Day Makeover Tips 

If you haven’t updated your interior for 5 years or more, it may be time for a refresh.  If your budget doesn’t allow you to start completely over, why not opt for a one day makeover instead?

In this photo above our interior design firm reupholstered an existing sofa and chairs to freshen up the space along with refinishing the kitchen table top and updating the room’s finishes including the floor, light fixtures and walls.

If you’re ready to refresh your space, here are my top three tips!

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

1.  Create an inviting floor plan that emphasizes your focal point whether its a fireplace or bed, for example.  If you don’t have a focal point, design one yourself by grouping items together such as a sofa table or chest with a piece of artwork overhead plus a table lamp and/or tabletop decor.

In this room the client started with a favorite piece of art over the mantel and we replaced the fireplace tile along with upholstering the existing chairs and ottoman to create a fabulous new look!

Karen Mills' blog

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

3. Shop your entire house for furniture/furnishings you can use in your room.  Keep those items you discover in mind as you start to put together your room, bringing ones you think might work to a staging area nearby.  

In this living area, the client wanted to keep an existing coffee table that had been passed down through her family in the interior design of this living room so we had to ensure we had similar warm hues – the outdoor fireplace beyond, to create a  cohesive feel with the antique table.

Karen Mills' blog

Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Add a pop of color with accents throughout your room with pillows, art, drapes, decor or an area rug.   Remember, you can repaint or re purpose items to use in your refreshed room too.   In this great room the client wanted to keep the mermaid art over the mantel so we tied in the furnishings to the art by layering in orange and blue pillows along with luxurious blue drapes beyond.

 Looking for more great budget friendly decorating ideas that you can implement this summer?  SIgn up for our weekly interior design blog here

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Interior Decorating: 3 Ways to Make Your Living Room Bloom for Spring

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

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Kravet furniture

1. Add bold pops of spring color

In this room bold patterned pillows, a cheerful blue vase and red throw mimic the colors of the brightly colored area rug underneath to give a spring like feel to this beautiful room by Kravet furniture.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Lillian White for Hickory furniture

2. Introduce fresh flowers and/or plants

This dining room gets a touch of spring with fresh flowers on the table that replicate the colors in the artwork on the furniture to add life to this space.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Lillian White for Hickory furniture 

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Design within Reach

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.   Fresh leaf clippings, a red pillow, and purple throw add to the fresh spring atmosphere of this living room.

For more great ideas on interior design 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 here!

Interior Decorating: 3 Color Scheme Options for Your Living Room

One of the biggest questions I get asked as an interior designer is what color scheme to use in decorating or designing a space.  If you’re not sure what color is best, trying shopping your closet for inspiration because often your favorite outfits or jewelry are the colors that look best.  Read on for three possibilities for your living space.

Karen Mills' blog

1. Blue and Orange 

Here in this photo I snapped before the rug was placed to tie everything together, we incorporated cool turquoise pillows to calm down the bold pops of orange along with introducing pillows with both colors to lessen the impact.

Karen Mills' blog

Interior decorating by Karen Mills

This living room is another example of how to decorate with blue and orange.  Our inspiration for the color scheme came from the existing water blue and orange artwork over the mantel.  To bring it all together we started with a light neutral sofa and coffee, then layered in custom blue draperies and fun toss pillows to create a cohesive color scheme with the artwork.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesty of Century Furniture

2. Blue and Red

In this living space blue and red has been used quite effectively to create a little drama.  By starting with a neutral base of white and blue gray that’s more relaxing, red decor – tables, pillow patterns, and accents, can be added without overpowering the space.

Karen Mills' blog

Interior decorating by Karen Mills

3. Taupe gray and beige

When you have a room that already has bold patterns and color in its finishes like this one, you might want to introduce lighter neutral colors with little or no pattern.  Here we introduced lighter upholstery and an area rug with interesting textures and less pattern to create a calming effect.

For more great ideas on interior decorating 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 here!

and check out our latest interior design article on Houzz here


Interior Design: 3 Ways to Successfully Mix n Match Your Existing Furnishings


As an interior designer who’s designed or decorated over 1100 homes, I understand how overwhelming it can be for a homeowner to bring together their disparate furnishings to create a beautifully designed interior.  Read on for 3 steps you can take today to created a more finished look.

Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Horst by Hickory White

1. Repetition – To coordinate mismatched furniture or accessories I recommend tying them together by repeating a color from one piece to onto another like the pillow, rug, and art in this photo that helps unify the furnishings to create a beautiful interior design.  The branches, rug, artwork, and cloth fabrics also provide a welcome contrast to the hard surfaces of the floor, windows, walls, and table.


Karen Mills' blog

Photo courtesy of Marge Carson

2. Opposites Attract –  One great way to combine furnishings is by juxtaposing shiny finishes with dull, textural with smooth or formal with casual to give your room life and keep it interesting.   The upholstery, branches, stone formation, and rug contrast beautifully against the hard surface of the tables while the brown pillow on the sofa marries the sofa to the chair.

3. Size (and shape) Matters –  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 like this photo, while keeping taller items at the back for a graduated look.   Pillows, artwork, and blue accessories bring together the color palette, while the yellow vases provide an unexpected pop of color.

Click here to watch one of my recent TV interviews with Gina Bullard on Better Kansas City on KCTV5 about how to create rooms with staying power


plus sign up for our weekly interior design and decorating blog here

and become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook here!