Style. Color. Fabric. Fashion. At Art Van, We've Got The Look! Our team of fashion and furniture 'Insiders' take you behind the scenes for the greatest trends, décor and design tips. Looking for what's new and what's next? It's here!

You’ve got your menu planned and are ready to head to the park for a picnic, but do you have everything else you’ll need? Instead of roughing it, dine al fresco by bringing the conveniences of home with you.

Here’s a checklist of 10 things to pack inside your picnic basket:

  1. Ice packs to keep food fresh
  2. Condiments, such as ketchups and mustards
  3. Salt and pepper
  4. Cups and plates, disposable or eco-friendly reusable plastic or bamboo
  5. Utensils and serving utensils
  6. Corkscrew or bottle opener
  7. Napkins
  8. Trash bags
  9. Hand wipes
  10. Blanket

Nothing in your home gets as much wear and tear as your flooring. You walk on it, stand on it, and sit on it. Your kids and pets might even run across it. And it’s where the dust settles and spills happen.


While flooring is the structural foundation for your room, it’s also the foundation for your décor. Choosing the right materials combines personal taste with practicality. Art Van World of Floors has several flooring choices. Here are three options that are perfect for a family room living space:


wood floor
Wood floors are a timeless choice, offering natural beauty as well as versatile style. Durable and easy to maintain, wood floors are also a great long-term investment because they can be sanded and refinished. You’ll have a rainbow of options when it comes to finish; from light oak to deep walnut, the color of your wood will set the tone for the room. You can also choose the size of the wood. Strip flooring is a narrower cut of woods – about 2 3/4 inches. Or choose plank flooring, which has a more informal look with wider boards up to about 7 inches. Rooms that might be exposed to moisture, such as a basement family room, should avoid wood as it can warp or bubble in humid conditions.


Today’s laminate floors offer the look of wood or stone at a fraction of the price. Like wood, laminate flooring is available in planks and strips. Traditionally, it is glued in place over your existing flooring, although manufacturers have recently introduced glueless and pre-glued formats that can be installed in half the time. Unlike wood, laminate flooring cannot be stripped or refinished. However, it’s more resistant to dents and scratches, and offers a layer of cushioning that can be more comfortable than wood or tile.  Laminate is also a great option for a finished basement as it stands up to moist or humid conditions.


Finally, carpet is a popular family room choice because it offers the highest level of comfort. Carpet is also one of the easiest ways to personalize an environment; its color can provide a neutral foundation or a more vibrant shade can become a focal point. Unlike wood and laminate, carpet provides an added measure of warmth and insulation against extreme heat or cold. It’s available in a wide variety of fibers and textures, giving the room a casual or more formal feeling. Carpet also helps provide safety from slip and fall – an important consideration for families with young children. Many carpets have been treated for stain resistance, but they aren’t stain-proof. Regular maintenance, including vacuuming and professional cleaning will help protect and prolong the life of your investment.

Just like any other furnishing in your room, light fixtures collect dust. Help them light up your room by giving yours a good polishing. Here are three things you should consider before cleaning a light fixture:


1. First, turn it off. Since you’ll be using a damp cloth, eliminate the risk of shock by turning off the electricity to the fixture or by unplugging it.


2. Wipe the exterior. For light, everyday cleaning, simply wipe down the fixture, shades and bulbs with a damp cloth. Microfiber cloths do a great job without the need for harsh cleaners that could damage the finish.


3. Deep cleaning. Once a year, you’ll want to do a more thorough cleaning. Turn off the electricity to the fixture, remove glass or plastic shades or covers and hand-wash them using water and dishwashing liquid. Use a vacuum attachment to remove dust and grime from the base. Stubborn dirt can be removed using a damp cloth treated with all-purpose cleaner.


A summer escape to the lake is a treat, but you can have that vacation feel at home 24/7 by decorating with Coastal Style. Part Harbor Springs, part Cape Cod, the look is entirely crisp and sophisticated. Feel like a permanent (albeit stylish!) beach bum by incorporating these five characteristics of classic Coastal Style:


coastal striped chair
1. Light Colored Neutrals and Stripes. When choosing paint colors and furnishings, keep things light and classic. Coastal Style uses varying shades of white to create a clean background that will show off furnishings and accessories. Other favorite colors include shades from the ocean and sky. When choosing fabrics, go for wide stripes. Stick with a palette of neutrals, blues and charcoal, which are tailored and nautical. The Yardley Accent Chair with its pin stripe upholstery has the right amount of detail for a sleek Coastal Style room.


coastal lamp
2. Nautical Art and Accents. The feel of the ocean becomes more literal when you collect nautical themed art and accents for the room. Choose paintings of sailboats in a harbor or fish in the sea. Adorn frames with shells or rope, and scatter accessories, such as sand dollars, coral or ship instruments. Our Double Oar Table Lamp is a natural in a Coastal Style room. The base is constructed of distressed wood and topped by a neutral linen shade.


coastal dresser
3. Painted Furniture. In Coastal Style, homeowners often revamp older pieces of furniture by painting them. White is a popular choice, as are strong colors, such as marine blue, cherry red or bright yellow. Save yourself the DIY project by choosing one of the painted pieces from our Summer Breeze Collection. This Eight Drawer Dresser has velvet-lined top drawers, adjustable shelves and brushed nickel finished hardware. It’s available in white, black, red, green and teal.


coastal chair
4. Natural Materials. Since Coastal Style gets its inspiration from nature, materials found outdoors often make an appearance. Choosing natural floor coverings, such as seagrass or sisal rugs. Window treatments also go earthy, with wood blinds or bamboo shades. And select furniture that features fabrics like linen, cotton and jute. This chair – made from natural banana leaf, abaca, mahogany and mango wood – is from our Grass Roots Collection and combines fitted lines with elegant texture – the perfect way to bring the outdoors in.


coastal oversized chair
5. Large Scale Furnishings. Finally, Coastal Style is meant to be relaxing, and that means furnishings in a large scale. Seating should feel inviting and generous – a place to curl up on a leisurely afternoon with a good book or a good friend. Our Amanda Chair 1/2 does the trick, taking casual style to another level. The cream-colored body fabric provides a neutral background for throw pillows that pop in with a poppy red paisley and sophisticated stripe.

Catching fireflies is a traditional summertime activity that can make childhood magical. These little bugs capture our imagination and our hearts. Capture them – temporarily – to enjoy their charm. offers these three tips for finding fireflies:


1. Turn off your exterior house lights, and bring a flashlight outside, turning it on and off to attract fireflies. Don’t shine the light directly at a firefly; it’s likely to scare them.


2. Carefully catch fireflies (they’re fragile!) using a net. Then place them in a clear jar with a lid that’s been pierced to let in air. Place a moistened paper towel inside to keep the air in the jar humid.


3. Once you have a jar of fireflies, don’t keep them for longer than a day or two. Let them go at night when they’re most active and able to avoid predators. Firefly numbers are dwindling — so each one matters!

Dorm Sweet Dorm

Author: Art Van

Dorm rooms aren’t known for their cozy atmosphere. Architectural details are at a minimum and everyone on your floor has the exact same floorplan and furniture: one bed, one desk and one dresser. Since your dorm room is your home away from home for the semester or two, why not give it the comforts of home? Here are five ways you can create a comfortable oasis in the middle of an academic environment:



dorm desk lampdorm floor lamp


1. Lighting

Overhead lighting is functional but if you want a homey atmosphere, you’ll need two more layers of light – task and accent. A table lamp is a great task light when used on a desk, illuminating your studies as well as giving you a way to stay up late when your roommate is sleeping. A floor lamp will provide accent lighting in your room. Position it in a corner next to a chair or bed, and it will add another layer of lighting to the room.


dorm rug
2. A Rug

The soft feeling of a plush rug can make cold tile dorm floors feel warm. While some of the newer dorms are carpeted, a rug will also add pattern, color and interest to your room. What’s more, a rug also does a great job of camouflaging spills and dirt. Consider a polypropylene rug, which is the easiest to clean as well as the most stain resistant.


big joe dorm chair michigan futon
3. Seating for Guests

While studying is the main focus, relaxing and making friends is another important part of college life. You’ll want a place where visitors can kick back and have fun, so consider adding seating. Grab a portable stuffed chair like our Big Joe Dorm Chair. Or if you have the space, a futon is a great choice – especially if friends decide to crash overnight.


dorm comforter 2 dorm comforter 2
4. A Comfortable Bed

One of the few furnishings provided in a dorm room is a mattress, and while it’s functional, it’s not usually comfortable. A good night’s sleep is vital for your health and learning process, and you want both the right support and a healthy sleeping surface. Art Van Furniture offers the new Twin XL mattresses to fit the dorm frame. They start at just $99, and we’ll deliver one right to the dorm or apartment on move in day. You’ll also need a comforter. Choose one that reflects your sense of style. Then make your bed feel more like home by adding lots of toss pillows.


dorm wall art
5. Artwork

Dress up a dorm’s beige walls with artwork. Of course, posters are a natural for college students, who aren’t usually allowed to use nails. But you can also use photos with artistic collage frames hung from Command Picture Hanging Strips. Display pictures of family or friends who are off at other schools. These personal touches will make your dorm room feel more like home sweet home.

Make mealtime a breeze by organizing your pantry. You’ll save time and money by knowing what you have on hand so you can get dinner on the table quickly. Here are five quick steps:


1. Start with a clean slate. Empty your pantry, then check expiration dates and get rid of foods that are past their prime. If you know you’ll never use it, consider donating unexpired food to your local food bank. Then wipe down the shelves.


2. Put like items together. Group canned goods, baking supplies, spices and dried goods, such as rice, pasta and beans. Keep small items, such as spice and sauce packages, in bins for easy storage.


3. Create zones. Make life easier by storing the things you use every day – such as coffee, breakfast items, and snacks – front and center. Items used less frequently can be stored towards the back.


4. Make the pantry kid-friendly … or not. Allow kids to help themselves by putting putting child-friendly snacks on lower shelves. If you’d rather be the gatekeeper of the treats, put them in lidded boxes up high.


5. Label. Store items such as flour, sugar and cereals in airtight containers. Then label them for quick use. A few hours now saves time and money later.


Art Van Blog: A Q&A with Our Outdoor Furniture Buyer


 Outdoor Furniture


Summer is in full swing and we’re all spending more time outdoors. Maybe you’ve noticed your patio furniture has seen better days? Or maybe you have more guests than seating? Art’s Backyard at Art Van Furniture has plenty of outdoor furniture that can make your deck or patio a summer retreat. We’ve Got the Look sat down with Robin Mack, Outdoor Furniture Buyer for Art Van Furniture, and asked her five questions that will help you with your next purchase:


1. Are there rules of thumb when it comes to choosing the right type?

Robin: The basic rule of thumb when choosing the right type of outdoor furniture is how the individual feels they will most be using their outdoor space – dining, lounging or both? Today, the latest trend is a lifestyle shift to the more cushioned lounging pieces such as sofas, sectionals and lounging chairs. Firepit seating has also become quite popular as people are discovering they are spending a lot more time just “lounging around” with family and friends than they are dining. Other important factors are comfort and easy maintenance.


2. What are the best pieces for families with young children?

Robin: Most outdoor furniture is child friendly and it is typically very durable. In the case of dining chairs, which are often available as stationary or as swivel/motion, the stationary chairs are often preferred with small children in mind as the lack of motion keeps the young ones more settled and secure. I would suggest sling over cushion sets – they are easier to clean and dry more quickly.


3. What are the most low-maintenance pieces?

Robin: Today’s outdoor furniture is mostly very low maintenance. Aluminum frames (vs. steel) will not rust and typically do not need to be touched up if the surface paint is scratched down to the metal. Faux wicker sets are also very durable and easy to clean.


4. Which pieces tend to last the longest?

Robin: Most “better” patio furniture is designed to last for 10 – 15 years, however, outdoor furniture gets “used” 24/7 by the weather and the sun… even when not “in use.” In the long run it pays to shop for quality and understand what you are buying.


5. Are there things you can do to help protect your investment?

Robin: Buying a protective cover for your outdoor furniture is a good investment. Clean and wax the furniture once at the beginning of spring to allow it to easily shed dirt and water throughout the season. Check the wear of foot glides and periodically lubricate moving parts. Do not store tubular aluminum furniture upside down as this can result in freeze damage from water/snow entering the drain holes and causing the tube to freeze and split.

The kids are out of school for the summer but that doesn’t mean the learning needs to be put on hold. Your yard is a virtual classroom if you know where to look. Here are two lessons waiting for your kids:


Animal tracks can be a fun mystery for you and your kids to solve. In fact, you might be shocked at how common it is that a coyote or fox has passed through your yard at night. Look for tracks in mud, garden soil, sand or snow, or create a “track trap” by using smooth, damp sand with bait such as peanut butter, chicken or dog food. Then identify who came to visit by comparing the tracks to this site.


Butterfly eggs are tiny, but they’re easy to find if you know where to look. Watch for butterflies on warm, sunny afternoons. If you don’t see one in your back yard, attract them with an overripe banana. Butterflies visit two kinds of plants: a nectar plant, where they eat; and a host plant, where they lay eggs. When you spot a butterfly, watch if it lands on a flower. If it does, it’s there to sip nectar. If it lands on a leaf for a short period of time, there’s a good chance it’s laying eggs. After the butterfly leaves, take your children to the leaf and look for tiny eggs, which are sphere or oval shaped. Eggs can be white, yellow, green or black. When they hatch, usually five to 14 days later depending on the species, you’ll see small caterpillars making a meal out of the leaf they were laid on.

One of the most important elements in home design is lighting. It helps you function in your space and sets the mood for the occasion. A well-dressed room is done in layers of light – ambient, task and accent. Each one serves a different purpose, and each one can be fabulous. And the great thing about a showstopper lamp or chandelier is that it shines a spotlight on itself.


Take a look at these three types of statement fixtures:


statement lamp chandelier
Ambient lighting is general lighting. Its job is functional, offering the right amount of brightness so you can see and navigate about. Common ambient fixtures include ceiling, wall-mounted, recessed or track lights, as well as table or floor lamps.


This type of lighting is often the most utilitarian, but our Celestial Chandelier will change that. In addition to providing light to a room, it will add “oohs” and “ahhs” because of its round black metal frame and crystal accents.


statement lamp brown statement lamp oars
Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks, such as reading in bed or working at your desk. Place one on an end table and use another at the edge of your desk.


We love this brown, Glazed Porcelain Table Lamp with its sculpted circular base and textured fabric shade. The mix of textures is striking. Or check out this nautical-inspired Double Oar Table Lamp. The distressed wood oars on the base and beige linen shade combine for a retro feel.


statement lamp hgtv statement lamp european floor
Finally, accent lighting adds drama to a room and creates a focal point. Use an accent light to highlight a paintings or a quiet nook of your room. We love the big style of petite HGTV Classic Chic Table Lamp, with an angular graphite base topped by a gray oval linen shade. A pair would be stunning on a formal dining room buffet, bringing attention to a fancy night of entertaining. Or choose the three column Euro Torchiere Floor Lamp. This statement piece will light up a corner of your home with its majestic lion accents and gold and bronze tones.