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 don’t have to visit a professional photographer to create a family photo to include with your holiday cards. Today’s digital cameras and smartphones make it easy to have your own photo shoot. To help you get your picture perfect shot here are five tips from the experts at Kodak:

 

1. Direct eye contact can be as engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person’s eye level. For children, that means stooping to their level.

 

2. A plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject.

 

3. Take a step or two closer before taking the picture and zoom in on your subject. Your goal is to fill the picture area with the subject you are photographing. Up close you can reveal telling details, like a sprinkle of freckles or an arched eyebrow.

 

4. Next to the subject, the most important part of every picture is the light. It affects the appearance of everything you photograph. Don’t like the light on your subject? Then move yourself or your subject. For landscapes, try to take pictures early or late in the day when the light is orangish and rakes across the land.

 

5. Become a picture director, not just a passive picture-taker. A picture director takes charge. A picture director picks the location and adds props. Take charge of your pictures and win your own best picture awards.


If you love classic, tailored lines as well as upscale European design, Traditional Style decor would be a great choice for your home furnishings. Formal in feel, this timeless look curates the best pieces from centuries of home fashion, including such items as wing back chairs and camel-back sofas, entryway console tables with brass lamps, and walnut dining tables with Queen Anne chairs.

 

With a buttoned-up attention to detail, this style has signature characteristics that make it stand out:

 

rich colors traditional home

 

1. Rich colors. From walls to upholstery to wood tones, colors in a Traditional Style room are rich yet neutral. No bold or high contrasting color combinations here; the palette includes saturated shades such as warm coral, rich emerald, and earthy taupe.

 

coral chair

 

2. Conservative fabrics. Upholstered pieces in a Traditional Style home are covered in fabrics with timeless patterns. Floral, damask, houndstooth, plaids and stripes are common choices. The understated look is often embellished with trims including tassels and fringe.

 

classic lines traditional home
3. Classic lines. While they’re formal in feel Traditional Style rooms are not ostentatious. Furniture will have a mix of straight and curved lines, but the look is functional and not fussy. Sofas and chairs have curved arm details, and wood pieces feature light carving. The attention to detail is carried over into the architecture, as well, with interiors that feature crown and chair rail molding.

 

formal dining room traditional home
4. Formal living and dining rooms. A Traditional Style home is built for entertaining with formal rooms for dining and living. The living room will include a formal sofa, wing back chairs and a cocktail table. The room is often grounded with a rug in a classic Old World pattern. Traditional Style dining rooms include a large rectangular table with matching chairs and a sideboard or cabinet that displays the homeowners collection of fine china.

 

traditional home accessories

 

5. Elegant accessories. Accessories in a Traditional Style home further the home’s rich look. Oil paintings of landscapes or still life as well as portraits are displayed in heavy frames, any of which are gilt. Silver or crystal candlesticks can be found in the dining room as well as on tables throughout the home. Flowers – fresh or silk – are found in oversized vases. Other accessories include lamps, urns, books, plants and mirrors.


holiday dining room

 

The holiday season puts the spotlight on the dining room – the room where everyone gathers to celebrate. Whether it’s a formal family dinner or a potluck feast with friends, you’ll want to deck out your dining room to make the evening memorable.

 

Here are five things every dining room needs:

 

1. A table. While it’s a basic addition, choosing the right dining room table is the first step in creating a great meal. It should fit the space as well as accommodate all of your guests. Consider how many people you expect to be dining at once. If you regularly seat four or six, a square or rectangular table should be perfect. If you have larger groups on occasion, look for a table with at least one leaf. And if your dining space allows, consider a round table that will help facilitate conversation. No matter which shape you choose, allow 42” to 48” from the edge of the chair to the wall, giving guests enough room to get up from their seats.

 

2. Comfortable chairs. If you have visions of leisurely meals, make that happen by choosing comfortable chairs. Upholstered or leather seats, such as Parsons Chairs, are most accommodating but wooden chairs with ergonomic features can be quite comfortable, as well. While you can always go with the chairs that match your table, it’s fun to create a one-of-a-kind look by mixing and matching from our wide selection of options.

 

3. Good lighting. You’ll want to create the sense of an inclusive gathering and good lighting will help you do that. A chandelier will illuminate the room and add a sense of ambiance. Options are available in contemporary, traditional, casual and rustic styles, and help accent the design of the room. Hang the fixture 33” to 36” above the table, so it will provide direct lighting. Also consider adding task lighting such as buffet lamps, and candles will make the party a more intimate affair.

 

4. A sideboard. From tablecloths to serving platters, the dining room has its own set of tools that are only used during the holidays. Free up space in your kitchen cabinets by storing these items in a dining room sideboard. Choose a style that matches your dining room table, or make it a showpiece by choosing something a little more dramatic. A sideboard also comes in handy during holiday meals, providing a place where food can be set to free up table space. Or utilize a sideboard to create a more casual buffet dinner. When not in use, a sideboard is a great place to display your favorite silver or crystal pieces.

 

5. Good conversation. Finally, prepare for the holiday season by thinking of ways to start interesting conversation around your table. You can use place-cards for guests and write an interesting fact about each person on the back. Seat people next to someone they don’t know. Or add an unusual piece of art to the room that might spark conversation all on its own. Remember, the best dinners aren’t just about the food; they’re about the friends and family gathered around the table creating new memories.

 


If you’re planning to brave the early morning crowds to score some Black Friday deals, there are a few things to do to prepare:

 

1. Review the flyers. With crowds at all-time highs, Black Friday isn’t the time to be a browser. Instead, peruse the flyers and websites and know what you want before your alarm goes off that morning. Skipping this step can mean missing out on the best deals.

 

2. Consider your budget. It can be easy to get caught up in the frenzy and overspend. Decide how much you want to spend and stick to it. Also do a quick Google search to see if coupons or promotions are available above and beyond the sale prices.

 

3. Make a plan. Timing is everything on Black Friday. Create a plan based on the hours of the stores you want to hit and their geographical location. If you want one of the best deals, you’ll have to be there when they open. If you shop with friends, make a plan to divide and conquer.

 

4. Pack some refreshments. Black Friday shopping requires stamina and energy. Pack healthy snacks and drinks that keep you filled up and hydrated. Good choices are nuts, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, water and juice. Bringing your own food means you’ll avoid the temporary spike and big crash that high-fat, high-sugar fast foods can bring.

 


AmericasThanksgivingParade_4color

 

Big Heads. Big Floats. Big Hearts. Big Fun! It’s time for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van Furniture.

 

Art Van Furniture is once again presenting sponsor of the parade. We’ve been an active supporter of the parade since our founder, Art Van Elslander, wrote an historic check a quarter of a century ago to save the parade from the verge of collapse.

 

Whether you’ve watched from along the route or on television at home, you know the parade is one of Michigan’s most treasured traditions – in fact, it’s the second oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the United States. In its 88th year, America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van Furniture has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report Travel as one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country, and is broadcast to over 140 cities nationwide each year.

 

Making its way down Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, the parade is a feast for the senses. This year’s theme is “Walking on Sunshine,” and you’ll see new floats as well as some old favorites. One thing that makes America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van Furniture unique is its collection of papier-mâché heads, which were introduced to the lineup after J.L. Hudson’s display director Charles Wendel saw similar heads in Europe. He had the parade’s collection made in Viareggio, Italy, and it’s the world’s largest.

 

Be sure to look for Old Mother Goose, which was the first float in the 1924 Parade pulled down Woodward Avenue by a horse. Today, she still makes an appearance, although she has been updated to be “self-propelled.”

 

And get ready for some laughs courtesy of the Distinguished Clown Corp, which has been a part of the parade for more than 30 years. The group is made up of 150 corporate and community leaders who trade their business suits for red noses and clown shoes, marching down Woodward and passing out 300,000 beads to parade-goers.

 

This year’s Co-Grand Marshalls are American Ice Dancing Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the first Americans to bring home an Olympic Ice Dancing gold medal at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. Davis and White are both University of Michigan students and longtime friends, raised in metro Detroit. Together they are the longest-lasting dance team in the United States with honors that include gold and silver Olympic medals, Olympic team bronze, and two-time World Champions. Most recently, Davis and White competed on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and Davis and her pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy were named Season 18 champions.

 

Be sure to watch for Van Elslander family members as well as Art Van Furniture associates who will proudly participate by walking the Woodward Avenue parade route and waving to spectators.

 

“This is our way of thanking all of the Michigan families who have supported Art Van Furniture for nearly six decades,” said our founder, Art Van Elslander. “We hope that when people line up on Woodward Avenue this year, the entire country will see how much we all believe in the parade, the city of Detroit, and in creating lasting memories for children and families.”


Thanksgiving can get a little chaotic in the kitchen. There’s a turkey to roast, potatoes to mash and gravy to thicken. It can be difficult to get it all done when there are little helpers underfoot. Keep the kids busy by giving them their own special jobs for the day:

 

1. Greeter. Leaving the kitchen to open the door can get time-consuming. Instead, ask your kids to be the official greeters. Be sure to show them where to hang the coats.

 

2. Official photographer. Tech-savvy kids will love to be the day’s official historian by documenting the guests as they arrive. Give them your smartphone or camera.

 

3. Water-glass filler. Older kids can help by getting beverages ready. Provide pitchers of water and have them carefully fill glasses.

 

4. Artist in residence. Set up a separate table with art supplies and let kids decorate place cards or place mats. Then hand them out before dinner to create an extra special table setting.

 

5. Babysitter. Enlist the help of your family’s teenagers to organize younger children in some games. Set up a bedroom or basement that will keep kids happy.


 

Paint-Swatches

 

Furniture makes a room, but wall color underscores its ambiance. With an ability to showcase your style and taste, the paint you choose brings personality and power into your room.

 

What does your wall color say about you?

 

Yellow

If you paint your walls yellow, you want a home that’s bright and welcoming. Yellows are associated with joy, cheer, friendliness and sunshine. From sunflower to butter, yellow gives a room the feeling of warmth.

 

Red

Red is the color for those who seek high style and passion. It’s a popular color in restaurants because it stimulates energy and sparks your appetite. A great choice for a dining room or kitchen, red is full of excitement. That said, it’s probably not the best choice for a bedroom.

 

Green

Green is the color of life. Abundant in nature, it has a healing quality. Lighter shades are relaxing, while deeper greens are associated with money and wealth. Green is a good choice for any room of your home as it brings positive energy.

 

Blue

Blue is the best color for people who crave stability and peace, but the shade you choose can have an impact on your emotions. Electric blue is dynamic and confident; navy is stately and timeless; and light blue is serene. Because blue has a calming effect, it’s a great a choice for a bedroom.

 

Pink

Feminine in nature, pink adds a touch of romance and sensitivity to a room. Light pink can evoke innocence, while deep pink, such as fuchsia, is bold and exciting. Pink is a great color for a bedroom, as it has a feeling of compassion and love.

 

Purple

If you have a flair for drama, purple is a great choice. The symbol of royalty, purple can make a room look luxurious and dignified. Purple is also associated with magic. Since purple stimulates the creative part of the brain, it may not be the best choice for a bedroom.

 

White

White may seem boring or uninspired, but the color is perfect for those seeking a feeling of freshness. White also represents hope and goodness. Simple and clean, it provides a great backdrop for a home with bold furnishings and artwork.

 

Black

Finally, black is a good choice for people of sophistication and power. Mysterious and elegant, black is best when used sparingly. If you choose it as a wall color, go with a high gloss finish to provide some sheen, or try a lighter variation – such as charcoal gray – to get the depth without being overpowered.

 

 


Sure, the turkey is the main event, but the Thanksgiving centerpiece sets the stage for the feast to come. Why not take advantage of your Halloween pumpkins and transform them into a gorgeous table top? Here are three ideas we love:

thanksgiving centerpiece pumpkins

Photo credit: Pinterest / Cami Meal

Using pumpkins of different sizes, carve a hole out of the top and insert a pillar candle. Trim with leaves and berries from your garden – or from the craft store.

 

Photo credit: Better Homes & Gardens

Photo credit: Better Homes & Gardens

Bridge Thanksgiving with the winter holidays by spray-painting pumpkins metallic gold. The look is ornate, and gorgeously highlighted with a natural linen table runner, pinecones, votives and branches.

 

Photo credit: Pinterest / Susan Raney

Photo credit: Pinterest / Susan Raney

Finally, embrace the unexpected by using white pumpkins. Trimmed in orange and red berry garland, they create a centerpiece that’s bold and unique


Just like custom furnishings help create a look that’s all your own, ordering custom window treatments gives your home that personal touch. While it sounds like an expensive process, the word ‘custom’ simply means the treatment is made to fit your window, says Sharon Zmick, executive director of the window fashions division at Art Van Flooring.

 

“Custom window treatments come at all price points and are an affordable luxury that transform a room,” she says.

 

A window with a specialty shape, such as an octagon, arch top or oval, would most likely require a custom treatment, but any window can have a treatment that’s made to order. For customers considering this option, Zmick suggests measuring the window and recording dimensions using this template before visiting Art Van’s custom window department. Once you have a good scope of the area, a sense of the space and an understanding of your design preferences, a sea of options will become a playground for creating the perfect treatment.

 

Soft treatments

Custom drapery can be made to fit any size window. The trend in soft treatments is using insulating designs in natural fabrics when available, says Zmick. The style can then be geared for the specific personality of the room, whether it is a clean, sleek design or something with more detail and trim. Retro fabric designs and colors continue to be popular.

 

In addition to choosing from hundreds of fabric options, draperies can be customized to include details such as pinch pleats or grommets. Decorative hardware, such as rods, finials and rings, can further enhance the look or make a plain style pop.

 

If a customer has selected a more costly fabric, creating a cornice board is a great option, says Zmick. Using less fabric than drapery or valances, cornice boards help create a custom look while keeping down costs. They can also be embellished in numerous ways, including with decorative trim, curved shapes and pleated details.

 

Zmick says Roman shades are another popular soft treatment, and they’re back in style with a vengeance. Providing a clean look, shades have cordless options that allow them to be raised and lowered with a simple pull.

 

Hard treatments

One of the most popular hard window treatments is the shutter, which is a timeless choice. Zmick says she’s seen so many improvements to shutters that they almost seem new. Durable and energy efficient, shutters offer privacy as well as light control. They can be designed to fit any window shape.

 

Blinds are another popular window treatment. New faux wood styles look like the real thing at a fraction of the price. They can be used alone for a sleek look or in addition to a cornice or drapery, for a more finished layered look.

 

Once you determine your design preferences, Zmick suggests playing with different options until you find a look that fits your style.

 

“Window treatments can be like jewelry for a room,” she says. “They take a nice room and make it quite special.”


One of the most versatile choices for upholstery, leather can be elegant, like a designer handbag. Crisp and clean, the rich upholstery is stately and timeless. Leather can also be cool, like a weekend jacket. Comfortable and always in style, the look is easy and rugged. Take a closer look at leather to improve the style and relaxation factor of any space.