50 Hours, 50 Charities: Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge 2

Since our 2009 Charity Challenge was such a success, we’re doing it again! From over 600 submissions, we’ve chosen 50 charities throughout the state of Michigan as grant recipients for our 2010 Million Dollar Charity Challenge. With so many amazing organizations doing good here in the Great Lakes state, it was a challenge just to decide!

Our 50 winners for 2010 will receive grants ranging in amount from $5,000 to $50,000, for a total of $1 million to be given away! These donations are set up as challenge grants, as well, to help maximize fundraising for the recipients. And on top of that, we’ve also given an additional $5,000 to all of our 2009 winners!

Over 50 hours, we’re announcing this year’s recipients in a series of five press conferences at various Art Van Furniture locations, with Founder and Chairman Art Van Elslander, President Gary Van Elslander, and Senior Director of Merchandising David Van Elslander there to make the exciting and heartfelt announcements!

And you can help! Learn more about the charities and vote for your favorites at www.artvancharitychallenge.com! The charity with the most votes by October 31 will bring in an additional $25,000 for their cause!

As our Chairman and Founder, Art Van Elslander, said, “It’s easy to make a buck, it’s a lot harder to make a difference!” So help us make a difference for these 50 charities and for the state of Michigan!

The Elements of Design

With week one of our fabulous fall design classes finished, we decided to give those of you who couldn’t make it a little recap. After all, as Michigan’s go-to destination for furniture and accessories, we want to make sure everyone has a home decorated to suit their personal style.

Shaping Your Style

At Art Van Furniture, we have four style categories: Casual, Contemporary, Rustic, and Traditional. Some people gravitate towards one style, while other folks like to combine a couple. There is no wrong answer, so which style are you?


Casual furniture is definitely made for relaxed living, which is perfect for active households because it is so comfortable, and pieces are often made with multiple functions in mind.

Since the mood of this style is all about inviting and neutral, look for soft blues, greens, and yellows to create a warm and welcoming space.


Think clean, simple and modern. Contemporary furniture is designed with an emphasis on shape and color. In fact, sometimes these pieces look more like art then furniture.

For the walls, try cool gray colors and various shades of white.



Furniture in this category is charming and often nostalgic. Detail is important, so look for tell-tale signs like hob nails and tarnished edges.

To model this look in your home, incorporate warm tans, and reds along with blue and green accents. We’re particularly fond of Latte from Sherwin-Williams. It looks and sounds delicious!


Offering a more formal take on decorating, traditional furniture is typically constructed of dark stained woods, plush fabrics and showcases lots of fine detailing, which suggests a handcrafted quality.

In keeping with that image, deep, rich colors such as merlot, gray blue, and taupe work well in traditional settings. Sherwin-Williams Storm Cloud is one of our favorites and really adds some major drama to a space.

Our New Fall Look is “Simply Irresistible”

Make the most of your home this season with the help of our “Simply Irresistible” fall home sale catalog. We’ve put together 100 pages of smart fall looks and fashionable furniture ideas to rejuvenate your style.

Our buying team has traveled the world seeking out unique items to offer you a wide variety of styles and trends that are sure to add true beauty and lasting value to your home and lifestyle. On top of this stunning selection and Art Van’s unbeatable prices, our “Simply Irresistible” catalog holds hot design tips and solutions for even your most pressing décor dilemmas. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from Art Van Furniture, and more.

Stop by your nearest Art Van store to pick up your own copy, or check it out online starting September 16! We can’t wait to help you discover something simply irresistible today.

And here’s a sneak peek at some of the fabulous home tips you can find in our catalog—be sure to pick one up for even more design ideas!

Go Gray (In a Good Way). If you’re tired of bland beige, then you’re in luck—gray is making headlines as the new go-to neutral. Not only does it shine with metallics and bright colors as a subtle contrast, but you can use it as a base to layer on soft tones like lavender, sand, blue, and green as well! It goes with pretty much everything and it’s an easy trend to incorporate into your current style.

Mix, Match, Make it Work… Together. Newlyweds and Newly Roommates: if you cringe at the thought of your family heirlooms in the same room as his rustic dining set, fear not! “Rough Luxe” brings together unlikely materials like metals and woods next to sleek stone or glass—like elegant crystal on that scrubbed wood table. This eclectic trend is all about balancing materials that aren’t often seen together, but that share similar colors and finishes to keep the look from getting chaotic. It’s the perfect recipe for harmonious living.

Lean, Mean, Clean & Green!

“Going Green” isn’t just a buzzword for big corporations—it’s a way of life that everyone can embrace. With a few small adjustments, you can make your own home an eco-haven that’s better for the environment—and for you and your family!





It’s Natural.
Harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia can be rough on your skin, but they’re also not a great bet for the environment, either. Instead, opt for household cleaners with herbal bases, like coconut oil, which are easy to find at your grocery store. Non-chlorine bleach and fragrance/dye-free cleansers are also good options. Don’t forget those tried and true cleaning tricks your mom taught you—lemon juice and vinegar really do work wonders on stains.

Clean Air Act!
Instead of heavy, noisome products, use water-based, solvent-free paints, stains, and glues for your home do-it-yourself projects. Our Art Van formulated care kits for leather, wood, and hard surfaces are water-based, biodegradable, non-hazardous, and non-toxic, so you can breathe easier with that in mind. And when you want a little fragrance in your home, be sure to choose candles with lead-free wicks. Look for soy-based wax, too; it burns longer and stronger!

Lights Out.
You already know to switch off a lamp when you leave a room, but you can cut energy costs in more ways, too. Invest in compact fluorescent light bulbs rather than traditional incandescent ones. Compact fluorescents fit most existing light fixtures, and they use only 20-33% of the power that incandescents do. For items in your home office, like a computer and printer, remember to put them to sleep and plug them into a power strip, which prevents them from pulling an electrical current when not in use.

Small steps are easy to take and can make a big difference! What’s one way you’ve already gone greener in your home?

The New Freshman 15, Part Three

In our last Back-2-School installment, we tie up all the loose ends so that you can have an easier time cutting the apron strings.


Have a back-up plan. This is an especially good idea when it comes to your computer. A travel USB Drive is a great way to ensure all your hard work doesn’t get lost in an instant. It’s a good idea to have a couple drives handy. One for weekly back ups and another for more frequent use.

Play that Funky Music. Keep all your CDs and movies neatly corralled in one location with a multimedia storage tower. Just make sure you properly label all your stuff so you roommate doesn’t try to hijack your copy of Jack Johnson.

Snooze, You Lose. Get up and get moving with an iHome alarm clock or docking station. Our only suggestion is keeping the noise at a respectable level as you get ready for your 8:00 a.m. class.


Say Hello to George. As in George Washington. You know, the guy who’s on the quarter. And you’re going to need lots of his smiling faces for your laundry night. After all, your clothes aren’t going to get magically clean on their own.

Paging Doctor… Unless you’re rooming with the future Dr. House, it’s probably a good idea to have a small first aid kit readily available in your room. Stock it with pain relievers, scissors, burn relief cream, thermometer, anti-diarrheal tablets, flashlight, latex gloves, sterile dressings, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, and an assortment of Band-Aids.

Cleanliness is Next to… Since mom won’t be making the trip to college with you, make sure you bring along some cleaning supplies to take care of the mess in the microwave or wipes to sanitize every possible surface the first time you or your roommate gets a nasty cold.

When you add up all the ingredients on this list, the results are sure to be a sweet room set-up without the calories. Now that’s how you do phat!