Back-to-school: Black-and-white with color all over.

From L.A. to NYC, up to the U.P., and in the heart of the “D,” colleges and universities are gearing up to welcome back students along with the freshman class of 2010.

So what can you expect to see in hip dorm rooms across the country?

For the fashionable young gal-on-the-go, pink is the dominant color. According to Jessica, a sophomore in Ann Arbor, just about everyone she knows has a rosy room. And it looks like the pink path has also found its way to Kalamazoo where Abigail, an incoming freshman, is using pink accents as a way to give her room some extra pizzazz.  While shopping, Abigail noticed, “It seemed like black-and-white is really popular—especially pink with zebra print for the girls.” Abigail decided to pass on the zebra theme, but did stay on trend by sticking to black and white in a Damask pattern.

And zebra-print bedding is exactly what you’ll find in the Grand Rapids dorm room of Liza and her roommate. Instead of pink, they opted for blue and green color combo. Liza’s half of the room will be green, while her roommate’s will be blue. That way they can show-off their individuality, but still have a cohesive look to their room.

As with all good decorating: make sure you like it, it’s comfortable, and it reflects your exceptional personality!

Back-2-School: Eclectic Attitude

Let’s face it. Most of us haven’t been inside a dorm room for… well, let’s just say a number of years. So how can you make sure your daughter doesn’t commit a freshman faux pas before classes even start? Well, we went straight to the source for the latest in dorm decorating: Jessica, a savvy sophomore at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Here are some of the must-have items decking out her dorm:

  • Gigantic wall stickers are very trendy—the big dots, the cute words, the glitter stars, etc.
  • Polka dots show up at one point or another in everyone’s room, or wonderfully obnoxious busy patterns in outrageous colors. Basically, you walk into someone’s room and it should visually punch you in the face
  • A cute vintage poster is absolutely necessary—Audrey Hepburn or the iconic 1945 V-Day photograph of a sailor and nurse smooching in Times Square

Jessica also mentioned that a lot of girls in her dorm take the high-end and trendy advertisements from magazines like Vogue and Elle, and make their own collage over the year until they have a wall of high-gloss lace and couture.

Mini fridges and microwaves are still required basics, but it seems like each girl aspires for a little more. As Jessica so aptly put it, “I think room decor develops with credit status, so check back in a few years.”

Creating an All-Star Space

Attention, Sports Fans! With baseball season in full swing, you want to maximize your television’s viewing possibilities before the World Series rolls around. Whether you get a new big screen from Paul’s TV in Art Van, or just plan to make the most of your current set, there are a few basic guidelines to make sure your television set-up hits a home run.

Westwind Entertainment Collection

The size of your TV often depends on the room. For a kitchen or bedroom, you can easily view something like a 24-inch screen, but for a family room or home theater, you should go as big as your space and budget will allow. Start by measuring the room you’ll use. If the TV will be against a wall, that space should be at least a foot wider than the base of the screen, to allow for the frame and ventilation (you don’t want it overheating during the seventh inning stretch). If the TV is on a console or in a wall unit, there will be six inches to a foot of space behind it, bringing it further into the room. The TV should be proportional to the furniture, or you risk having an off-kilter room, or worse: damaging your expensive equipment on a too-small console.

Your room’s seating is also very important when deciding the right TV size. For rooms with seven or eight feet between the sofa and the TV, 32 or 36 inches is a good size screen. For a larger room, with 10-12 feet between the sofa or recliner and TV, you can go as big as 50 inches. Keep in mind, sitting too close to large screen may cause the pixels to be distracting and make it hard to watch. But if you’re too far away, you’ll miss the “movie theater” impact, and all those slo-mo replays and “outta the park” hits will lose their thrill factor.

By carefully choosing your furniture—and television—you can make the most out of summer sports, and have a rocking room the rest of the year.

Join the Leader!

Art Van is looking for dynamic individuals to join our sales team. If working in a fashion-oriented environment for a dynamic company appeals to you, then you may be a perfect fit!

At Art Van you’ll experience a team-oriented work environment that rewards high-quality people with competitive wages, a comprehensive sales training program, opportunity for advancement, and one of the best benefits packages in retail.

Find your future at our Statewide Sales Career Fair, hosted at all Art Van Furniture locations from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 29. Please bring a copy of your résumé with you. Professional attire is requested.

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly), Part 3

Navigating the Registry Minefield

Registering I Do’s and Don’ts

Just like all the other elements associated with your wedding, timing is everything. In order for your guests to have a chance to shop for, and in some instances send your gift, make sure you register at least four to six months before your showers and wedding date.

The idea of people buying you brand-spankin’ new sheets, flatware, etc. is understandably exciting, but it doesn’t give you a license to go overboard. When registering, choose one or two national department stores your guests are familiar with and that also offer the convenience of online shopping. You can also add a favorite local store if you’d like.

Ready, Set, Careful with that Price Gun!

You know your guests better than anyone. Even if you’re not that familiar with your significant other’s side of the family, you should know enough about them to understand what they can afford.

When it comes to registering for items, it’s always a good idea to offer your guests a range of price-point options. And be honest with yourself. The KitchenAid® Custom Metallic Artisan series is the mother lode of mixers, but if the last brownie you made was in your Easy-Bake Oven, you should resist the urge to put this on your list. However, if your friends and family regularly proclaim your cooking skills as the second coming of Julia Child, scan away!

A good rule of thumb is to register for more gifts than you have guests, so there will be plenty of items to choose from. And remember, you should review your registry often so that you can add or adjust items.

Don’t Tell. Let Them Ask.

While including registry information has become somewhat acceptable for shower invitations, it is still a huge faux-pas when it comes to your wedding invitation.

Close friends and family will have knowledge of where you’re registered, so let them spread the word. Or, if you have a wedding Web site, you can include all your registry info there. Another way to commit social suicide is to ask your guests directly for money. If you’re already an established couple and don’t want or need another dishtowel, there are Web sites that allow you to register for stocks, honeymoon amenities, or you can set up a housing fund through your bank.

Your wedding is one of the best days of your life, so have fun! Just keep in mind that a gracious bride is always more attractive than a blushing one.