Revamping Your Space


So this blog is pretty appropriate from a spring cleaning and editing standpoint even for me.. I am doing it in my own home and there is such a freedom in it. I also have to practice what I preach, which is a very good lesson for me. So here are a few tips and tricks for doing things on the economical side to say the least.

So if you’re long on desire to make your home look better but short on money, don’t despair. Here I share some cash-free tips for sprucing up your home this spring.

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Everything in your home will look better if there’s less of it. Edit, edit and edit some more. Everyone says it, but how do you do it? Take a garbage bag or box and put everything in it cluttering the surfaces of your space. Be ruthless! Put the bag or box in your basement. If you can’t remember what’s in the box a month later, toss it.


Play art gallery curator. Most people move into a new home, hang their paintings and never touch them again. Choose a section of wall or even a corner. Take down some of the art from other rooms and hang them in a grouping. Rethink some of your favourite objects. Can they be hung? If so, add them to the wall in between the paintings. Print some of your favourite photos, frame them and add them to the mix. Voila! You now have a French salon.


Books are linear objects begging to be styled in a new and interesting way. Group all of your books according to size and colour. Then take one section per shelf and lay down several books horizontally. Place a special object of the same colour on top of the pile. The result is an eye-pleasing design and a way to use the knick-knacks that pile up on your dining room table.


A room isn’t a puzzle. There’s more than one way to arrange all of its pieces. Rethink your space. Take an hour and move your furniture around. Swap items in your living room with ones from your dining room. It will feel like you have just moved into your home.

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Sweep, dust and scrub your space. Spring’s bright sunlight reveals dirt that has collected in your home during the winter months. Objects in your home will look better if they’re clean. The air will feel and smell fresh and your space will shine.

And last but not least remember when you are editing and getting rid of things. It is so beneficial to look at the charities in your area that could benefit the most.
And remember have some fun with the tedium, it is all worth it in the end.

Happy Spring Cleaning…



Color Story

I am excited to say that I have become a guest blogger for one of my favourite digital and print magazines, Canadian Home Trends. I am actually more than excited I am honoured. I recently wrote this blog piece on colour and some of my favs and I would like to share it again with you now….

Despite the fact that gray is not my favourite kind of day, I love working with the amazing variety of shades of gray available.
I love any version of that magical combination of black and white. From dark, edgy charcoals to soft, washed out gray whites, the spectrum of gray runs the gamut. Add a hint to colour to the mix and I am sold. It works with almost every decorating style. Gray is Cinderella to beige’s ugly stepsister with its timeless elegance and sophisticated feel.

Fuchsia. Orange. Teal. Purple. Whatever bright colour happens to be the trend of the season, it will always pop beautifully against the foolproof, flattering canvas that gray provides.

The specific colour scheme of your home will alter the effects of the gray you choose. For example, a pastel palette with a retro feel works well with a dusty gray while a monochromatic room with granite gray wall paint would anchor a modern industrial space.

photo1My favourite shade right now is Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC 23. It’s a classic suit, tie and white shirt kind of a look. It never goes out of style. It’s worth never depreciates.

For a calming bedroom, my go-to gray is Benjamin Moore’s Coventry, which pairs beautifully with Decorators White for a crisp trim.

When it comes to my particular brand of design, I love adding pops of fuchsia to a room. It adds a bit of whimsy and makes a great statement in a soothing gray space.

Fuchsia: A blend of deep pink and blue, fuchsia inspires confidence and adds personality when placed against a quiet, strong backdrop of gray.

Photography by Stephani Buchman



Trending Now


Well I am back from having the best summer I can remember! And I have picked up so much along the way…being grateful for such an amazing life is certainly number 1 on my list. I have been on some wonderful trips to really get my juices flowing when it comes to my interior design business. My husband Rob, the chef ( I like to refer to him a lot and will more in my upcoming blogs) have been to some incredible parts of this great country.

First stop was the Charlevoix region in Quebec, 2nd the farmland in Oxford County nestled in South Western Ontario, and most recently the gorgeous Anne’s Land in Prince Edward Island. Talk about getting inspired.
Moving forward in my blog posts I want to become a bit more personal with my readers and not so “teachy” in my design approach.

I want us to get to know each other better and you can then get a sense of my “true style.” In this post I did want to determine with you what I was forecasting for some interior design trends for 2013-2014. So here we go..


As we already have figured, there is a countless number of interior design trends for fall 2013 and going into 2014 you can introduce them into your home décor including hot pink and yellow colours and hand-made elements. Even if you are nowhere near trendy things, take into consideration that even the boldest designs are being based on classical styles. Simply, keep it simple, which is a key to a classy and elegant interior. Even if you want to introduce trendy elements into your home décor, try to utilize them the way that can be changed with ease. Let’s take a look at a roundup:


For those who like things a little more black and white, classic monochrome styling is here to stay; at least for the next season anyway. They’ve always gone together, but will they ever go out of fashion, right… not for a quite some time anyway.

Raw materials

Wood and stone are really being showcased in their natural stripped down state, really showcasing the beauty of the material in its natural form. Sticks, branches, and even wood stumps are set to be brought into the home, while crystals and gems ere finding their way indoors too.



To really make a statement in your home opt for gold finishes on your furniture. It’s a little opulent, but a bang on trend for the new season.
Metals such as brass give a shiny surface making it an important element in your interior design as well. Use decorative pieces of these shiny metals in your home as candle holders, bowls, vases, lamps etc. These will give your home more shiny appearance and add warm glow to your space. Think “Great Gasby”.

High Gloss

We are seeing a lot of lacquer finishing in furniture pieces as well as on interior walls and doors. A real return to 80’s glam with shine in decor.

Man Caves

Can’t seem to get rid of this trend..and why not, lets keep them happy shall we? We are seeing a lot of leather and suede and a return to a sexy “James Bond” feel. Also the metals and high gloss work really well with this trend.

Pops of Colour

I use fuchsia as a statement in a lot of my designs. I love the way it looks with a very clean monochromatic space. I’m all for this trend!

White on White

Again we are seeing this trend a lot . Believe it or not there are so many fabulous whites to chose from and it is such a fresh amazing look. If I was purchasing a new home or cottage right now it i would be the first thing I would do…painting it out that is with a great white.

And also we all know how much of a hit shabby chic styling has been in the last year or so; well upcycled furniture plays on that style, but with a new modern twist. Rather than keeping furniture looking old and vintage, upcycling gives it a new lease of life. Think classic wooden sideboards painted with a whole host of bright colours, vivid pink dining room chairs; that kind of thing. We are in love with it.

And I personally can’t say enough about our return to a more modern ’80s approach to design. Trust me I didn’t like it then but I absolutely love it now. You can feel it in the music we are listening to and the fashions on the runway. I have friends and family with a lot of teenagers and when I see them wearing almost the exact thing I was wearing I find it fantastic…everything has a more edgy sophistication now however. And it is certainly coming through in our interiors.

Now on to planning my next trip for inspiration…lol

See you soon,




Outdoor Sectionals

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I’ve got to say I love sectional sofas. So when I had the opportunity this year to make some changes to my own back deck, I just couldn’t resist the idea of designing the space for the way we like to live…guess that’s why I have used for my company logo the tagline “design for living” because it really is that simple. Design a space that best suits your needs and personality. So that’s exactly what I set our to do. My husband is a chef and loves to entertain so what a better way than to eliminate the formality of a dining table and create entertaining, relaxing and reading spaces. He says the plan that I put together this year is brilliant and I would have to agree. Because sectional sofas when configured correctly are a wonderful spot to rest and relax, and for his 6ft 2 inch frame a great place to really stretch out! Piling together on a sectional sofa encourages playfulness and interaction with your guests as well and is great for tapas food on those steamy summer nights.

The pieces making up a sectional are typically an armless chair, a corner chair, a left/right arm chair, armless sofa, and left/right arm sofa.  An ottoman and a chaise are often included in the mix.  With this variety of pieces, it is possible to create all kinds of configurations.

Many sectionals are configured to create a right angle, but others continue through another corner, to create a U shape.  Placing a large ottoman in the middle is great for multiple uses. You can use it as a coffee table or as extra seating. Add a sheet of glass and it can be a great games area. Let the games begin!  And what better place to play a game than while seated on a never ending sectional sofa?

For outdoor living, sectionals are found in a variety of materials:  metal, wood, and all-weather wicker are some of the most popular.  I like to keep the fabric simple on sectionals and add lots of throw pillows for my accent patterns and colour. It is also so great to change the look anytime you feel like it and every year can take on a whole new colour trend. This year I am into upswing fuchsia as my pop of colour

If you really want a patterned fabric, be mindful of how it will look on so many pieces.  In addition, consider how the pattern will look as it changes direction from one side to the other through the corner piece.  Stripes and geometrics can be a problem in these situations.

I love the idea of a sectional in a small area that can’t accommodate an entire sofa grouping. Lining the sectional around the perimeter of the space creates uniformity and an almost built-in look that helps keep the center space open.  By placing the furniture this way in a small area it really gives that cozy living room feel in the outdoors.

And when used  in a large area, a sectional can help take up space and create a focal point that is often needed when numerous areas create distractions.  The area that the sectional occupies becomes the anchor and holds the attention before focusing on other areas.

So there you have it; with all the great new outdoor furniture and fabric selections available the sky really is the limit.

So enjoy! And remember “Design for Living” it really makes perfect sense.



Alfresco Dining

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Now that my own patio is almost complete and I have opted for not replacing our dining table, I still feel that I need to spend some time and attention on alfresco dining in the great outdoors.

Outdoor dining furniture is essential for people who enjoy entertaining guests for casual meals and garden parties during the summertime. When you invest in a well-made outdoor table and complimentary chairs, you can create an elegant patio space while providing yourself and others with a comfortable area to eat and relax . This guide to the latest trends in outdoor dining furniture can guide you in choosing pieces that are stylish, modern and suited to your (2)

With their classic look and high degree of functionality, the latest designs in outdoor dining furniture are not only on trend for the upcoming summer season, but will also remain fashionable in the years ahead. You can easily update your outdoor tables and chairs by shopping at online or on-site furniture stores and selecting the designs that appeal to your tastes and complement your home decor. Be sure to store your outdoor furniture properly during off-seasons so that its quality and appearance are not compromised by inclement weather.
When purchasing new outdoor dining furniture, you can benefit greatly from choosing pieces that are crafted from sturdy, functional and practical materials. Metal materials such as wrought iron and cast aluminum are ideal for chairs and table bases. Vinyl-and-resin wicker, with its chip-resistant properties, is a much more appealing option than the easily damaged natural wicker of years past. You may also wish to consider sling fabric chairs, which are lightweight and capable of drying rapidly. With regard to table surfaces, opt for stone, glass or concrete designs with mosaic, speckled or distressed (1)

Also as I have been mentioning to my clients that I am currently working with, I always remind them to use the space to fit their lifestyle. So for me this year it meant couches and lounge type furniture but my new client has dinner outside every night in the summer so we are purchasing a large cedar table and chairs and creating an outdoor kitchen and even an exterior wine fridge for the wine tastings that they love to do…

So really it is about tailoring the outdoor project  to your own specific needs and requirements and achieving a look that is cohesive with the look and feel of your interior space…

Good luck with the planning…



Outdoor Living Spaces

With the idea of staying home for our vacations on the rise, more and more homeowners are designing and creating their very own backyard retreats complete with high-end outdoor flat screen televisions, luxurious all-weather furniture, chic accessories, gorgeous outdoor kitchens, and wonderful lighting. We as designers have truly set the bar in terms of landscaping and décor and I am pleased to share some top-notch design and décor ideas for creating an outdoor space you will never want to leave.

securedownload-6To begin, you should think of your backyard as a true extension of your home where lounging, cooking, and entertaining seamlessly intertwine. Just as you plan for designing and decorating the interior of your home, it is essential to create a solid plan of action before you start shopping for your backyard oasis.  Think about:colour schemes, – neutral colours should be the mainstay, with one or two bright accent colours to make your space pop; style, – will your décor be modern versus country; and. of course, a list of elements you’d like to include such as a fire bowl, TV, and water feature. Once you have your plan, it’s time to look at your options, in terms of furniture, lighting, landscaping, and accessories.

A well-designed addition can have a stunning effect on your home. Ranging in style, color, and detail, outdoor decor is a fun way to create an extension of your favorite living spaces. Try to create ideas from stylish outdoor kitchens to intimate conversation areas.securedownload-1

So as discussed in my last blog we have started and almost completed our updated outdoor living room. The colours that I chose I think are amazing for the space. The deck floor is Oxford Brown and the fencing and trellis is Wrought Iron, a nice dark charcoal grey. Both colours are from the Benjamin Moore palette. I think it makes the space appear much larger, cleaner and more of the living room feel that I had intended to achieve.securedownload-4 I chose both in a solid hide stain which covers over the wood beautifully. I will also add that I painted over the cedar fencing for the first time. I know a lot of you will think that is a crazy move but I tend to find cedar as it weathers after a period of years and in time goes from being a lovely weathered grey patina to just looking plain dirty and unkept. Therefore I daringly had my painter, Hugh, paint it this year to splendid results.
I will also be adding black mulch in the garden area to continue the flow of colour. I am having the sectional delivered this week and will add the daybed from last year to really make it a lounging area for my husband Rob and I to enjoy.

It appears that he will be home a little bit more in the evenings now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have lost to the Boston Bruins. Yes we are fans and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is where he works daily as their Executive Chef. (And yes, I am one lucky girl at home when it comes his cooking). More about that later…..



Backyard Makeover


An outdoor patio can be a relaxing addition or socializing mecca or both. Depending on the intended use for the patio, its décor should give off the desired vibes to truly transform the space from boring and uninviting to fabulous and functional. There are many features that can be used to decorate an outdoor patio to liven up the area, create a place for relaxation or be the talk of the neighborhood during the next barbecue.

Many of us take pride in our homes, investing countless hours remodelling and rearranging the interior. But it can also be refreshing to step out of the confines of the inside and spend some time outside. It’s especially enjoyable during the spring, summer and fall months. When the weather is favorable, it’s difficult to miss out on a nice day

But spending time outside doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your creature comforts. With a few small adjustments you can make your outdoor space comfortable and inviting. Turning a yard, patio, porch or other outdoor area into a functional living space can be a rewarding task, and will expand your living space to the outdoors. With the right setup, you can spend more time in the sunshine and fresh air, and host events al fresco for family and friends

Remember earth tones might look nice in your living room, but in the outdoors they’ll shrink and blend in with the surroundings. And although black tends to be chic and stylish inside the home, black furniture will become very hot in direct sunlight. To complement the greens and browns of the outdoors, you can add a splash of whimsy by choosing bold, brightly colored accessories. For a touch of excitement, you might consider swapping out those faded cushions on your outdoor furniture for bold and colorful ones. Bright blue, red and yellow Adirondack chairs or a pink picnic table might not sound like everyone’s cup of tea — and indeed those colors might be a bit overwhelming inside the home — but outside they’ll add an element of playfulness and fun. Some other options for colorful accessories could include a brightly patterned hammock or coloured glass lanterns.


So now that I have the basics down, I have chosen to do my backyard makeover starting with the deck finish. I have decided to go with dark hues. The floor will be Oxford Brown one of the many solid hide stains available and I have decided to do all the cedar fencing and lattice with Wrought Iron another fabulous colour by Benjamin Moore. I know it sounds dark but it is exactly the living room feel I want to have for showcasing art and minimal decor pieces. download-6The dark brown sectional I have chosen will have pops of colour and the functionality will be spectacular for my husband Rob and I to cozy up on. It will also be great with the day bed with awning that I purchased last year. Add in some area carpets from Korhani and a propane fire pit and we are almost all set.

More to come folks about my choices and the finished project in the weeks ahead. Now to its time to get sanding….



Let the Patio Season Begin

When warm weather arrives, many of us are anxious to get outdoors and enjoy it. If you are among those warm weather lovers, designing your outdoor patio may be on the top of your to-do list this season. I know it is on the top of mine. Here are two very important things to consider when designing your outdoor patio:


Which way does your patio face? This is important when considering which areas to add shading elements. In addition, you may already have many trees and need to consider removing limbs or whole trees to receive the right amount of sunlight on your patio.


What do you intend to use the patio for? Will you be hosting large parties or simply lounging in a chair to read in the morning? This is important because parties require certain features such as grills and fire pits that a small patio does not. It may also determine the materials you use. If you do not plan on having guests, a simple, white, concrete slab may be all you need. If you plan on entertaining, you may want to add some flare with paver stones or stamped and colored concrete.

Outdoor Furniture

Consider a sectional with colourful cushions for a casual and inviting outdoor living space. Corner seating provides more space for entertaining, and the bright fabrics make it seem more like an indoor space. Strealined monochromatic furniture defines the seating area in any outdoor living space, and sleek, faux-rattan pieces can create a modern and inviting exterior lounge.


So that is exactly what I am doing this summer. I have decided to give our outdoor dining table to my sister this year. We just don’t sit at it enough for formal dinners. I instead want to have outdoor seating areas that define the space and allow us to live the way we love to (casual and comfortable). Life for us is about talking, reading, and entertaining. So again it all comes down to ” Design for Living”.

We think we will enjoy more tapas style food, that of course my chef husband Rob (more about him in later blog posts) will cook and have lots of cocktail parties where sitting on comfy sofas fits the bill. So I am on my way to shop for new items as we speak and look forward to showing you the space as it evolves. The colour scheme this year will be lots of beiges, creams, and greens with pops of red and turquoise. I also am calling my painter right now to start sanding for the new application of solid hide stain. I want to do really dark hues to make it sexy and inviting lots on the go.

I look forward to sharing my updates…and I hope I inspire.





Spring is Sprung


To me spring really is a time of new beginnings…Spring is a time when we think of freshening up our homes as the weather starts to get warmer and thoughts of winter finally come to an end. It’s a time to look around your home to make each room more a reflection of your style and to update or change the decor without completely redecorating, to give your rooms new life.

Remove things that take up valuable space or create clutter, as this will only make your rooms feel overwhelmed and a lack of completeness. Shop around within your entire home to reuse items from one area to become a new inspiration or accessory in another area. The first step in this home renewal process is to de-clutter each room in your home. Just as spring-cleaning can add a breath of fresh air, reevaluating the use and function of each item in a room will allow the space to be used and decorated in the best light.


De-cluttering will not only make a room look more spacious and balanced but will produce a sense of order and calmness. Less is more and if you don’t love it live without it. This simple approach will help evaluate what to recycle, reuse or remove and remind you to only buy new items that work with the décor and that make you feel good everyday.

If you want to create the biggest impact for the least amount of time and cost focus your energy on rooms that are used everyday by most of your family members or guest such as the kitchen, family room and bathrooms. These rooms are viewed and used at the beginning and end of each day so change will bring a sense of renewal and revitalization and will be significant. By implementing the following simple decorating ideas you can transform your home this spring to make what you have work best, in a new way

Here are some of my go-to methods for bringing a little bit of the spring indoors:

Trade those heavy afghans and fluffy pillows for light and silky throws and vivid, bright prints! Pick an item you love with a color that pops, and start adding complementary accessories and textures from there. Hand towels, shower curtains, sheets, and bathroom rugs all get the switch for a crisp look throughout the

I am also always looking at spring fashion and colour trends to also inspire me with decor updates. This year we are seeing a ton of black and whites as well as very colourful options like lilac, soft pinks, yellows but also brights like hot pinks and royal blue and then let’s not forget our Pantone colour trend ” emerald green”. So pick your colour scheme with passion this year because our imagination is unlimited….

And now off I go to do my own home now…hmmm I hope my husband is as fond of fuchsia as I am..



Design for Living

So here I am in the most incredible place in my life and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and inspiration with you in my blog posts for Kim Bartley Design. After working with and for other people my entire life I decided this year to create Kim Bartley Design…finally my own company.
It really is a dream come true and I hope to inspire others with my work.

After creating and working on an online venture in 2012, I determined my clients wanted more personalized and attentive service and that there values and visions were in line with my own core ideals. Creating a home that was an inspiration for their lifestyle. To produce a wonderful space in an environment that is inspirational to their well being. By tailoring the projects to the specific needs of the client and allowing to work within a budget that allows them to finally get the space that they truly desire. A perfect combination of “life styling”. What could be more fitting in our hectic lives? The end result of the project is producing not only a beautiful more efficient space but a rejuvenation of the spirit. Perfect life balancing!

I hope to be an inspiration to my clients and be able to share this in a forum where I motivate people to strive to live their best life.

I also hope that my creative edge to design will be something that inspires as well as my insight into great customer service. After being in the hospitality industry for 20 years before following my ” design passion” my focus has always been on attention to detail and customer service. And to be quite honest I want to treat every client in a manner that personifies who I am…

So I hope you join me on this ride. It know it will be an exciting one I can guarantee that!