K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly), Part 2

Then Comes…

So what if he likes early American bachelor pad style and your tastes are a little more refined? Relax.  During the Spring Market in High Point, North Carolina, Amelia Ellenstein, our Vice President of Visual Merchandising and Store Design, discovered the decorating buzz word for 2010 is “eclectic.”

“We saw a lot of rustic tables alongside contemporary sofas, elegant crystal chandeliers above a rustic dining group, and the marriage of materials that aren’t usually associated with each other—metals and woods with stone or glass, for example.”

To avoid surroundings that are too masculine or too feminine, aim for a gender-neutral look.

We like the Rockford Collection from Rowe because it’s covered in grey fabric, which is the “new beige” for 2010. The silver nailhead trim on the sofa gives it a little bit of an edge, while the raspberry accent color keeps the look slightly feminine.

Here are a few parting tips to keep in mind as you start the negotiation process, so you can keep the fights clean and the lovin’ hot:

  • Be honest, but also be open-minded. Agree that all ideas will be discussed (without rolling your eyes), and that you’ll both look at this an as opportunity to try something new
  • Make sure you each have space to display meaningful personal objects. You may not understand why he has a collection of stuffed microbes, but they make him happy
  • Major purchases like sofas, rugs, and bedspreads should be decided on together, since these have a big impact on how a room feels

Come into Art Van Furniture today for long-lasting solutions that will put you on the path to your own version of Happily Ever After.

Tomorrow, Part 3: Registry etiquette

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

Design Duets: How to Share a Space, Part 1

All marriages are happy. It’s the living together afterward that causes all the trouble.

Raymond Hull, Canadian playwright

Your hearts may “beat as one,” but when it comes to your decorating style, you and your significant other are marching to the beat of a different drummer. Merging your belongings is a democracy; not a dictatorship. Just because you’ve expressed contempt for his favorite recliner, doesn’t mean he’ll put it out with the trash. Find out how you can keep the peace during the decorating process.

First Comes Love

Just like your living arrangement, you’re looking for furniture that lasts. So now is a good time to follow these golden rules:  Measure, Inventory, and Toss. 

Measure – Get the dimensions of your new home as soon as you can. There’s no sense in fighting over something that doesn’t even fit through the front door! To ensure perfect placement, use Art Van Furniture’s  room planner to design a room, save your ideas, and printout your floor plan when you’re ready to buy.

Inventory  – Start with the larger furniture pieces first since these will take up the most space, but don’t forget to make a list of accent pieces you’ll need, too. Items like rugs, lamps, and mirrors are just as important to your new home.

Toss – Hold off getting rid of well-made furniture by thinking quality and value before color or finish. After all, you can always have it recovered, which will make you feel like you’re getting a new piece of furniture. And because you’re both involved in the decision-making process, you’ll have a better chance of getting a look you’ll both love. Remember, it’s much easier to get rid of things before you pack and move.

Come back for Part 2 tomorrow to find out what comes after love.

How’d You Sleep Last Night?

If you’re like 60% of Americans, your answer to that question is something like, “Not too well.” Better sleep is tied to sharper memory, improved mood, and overall better health. How do we get the rest we crave?


Bedtime Basics.

  • Moderate exercise during the day can help you sleep better, but avoid strenuous workouts within three hours of bedtime
  • Keep a fairly consistent bedtime ritual, like brushing your teeth, washing your face, and reading for 20 minutes. These cues will tell your brain it’s time to start unwinding, helping you relax
  • Create a quiet, cool sleep environment, with no TV or computers and dim lighting or nightlights for when you have to get up during the night

But even if your room is the ideal sleep sanctuary, you may still be waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Tossing and turning on the wrong mattress and pillow is one of the leading causes of poor sleep. Luckily, we can help you find the right one.

Mattress Bliss. It begins with the proper sleep system: a mattress, foundation, pillow, and mattress pad or protector. To find the right sleep system for you, Art Van Furniture offers exclusive and free My Side Technology™ from Sleep to Live®. This computerized program replaces guesswork with science by using 18 statistical measurements and over 1,000 calculations that scan both your and your partner’s bodies to build a profile based on sleep preferences, patterns, and needs, to the perfect bed with two sides in one.

Rest Easy. Make sure you buy the best sleep system you can afford to guarantee you get the restorative sleep your body requires. Remember, the mattress you select should be longer than the tallest person sleeping in it. And if you’re sharing a bed, allow yourself enough room to fold your arms behind your head without going beyond the mattress edge or touching your partner’s elbows.

Discover how much better your sleep experience can be at your nearest Art Van Furniture store today, or visit us at artvan.com.

And don’t miss our PureSleep expos at our Canton and new Rochester PureSleep locations! We’ll have experts on hand to answer questions, as well as the chance for you to take home prizes and gifts!

The ribbon-cutting at our new Rochester PureSleep location!

Design by Direction

After a recent trip to the Big Apple, Amelia Ellenstein, our Vice President of Visual Merchandising and Store Design, couldn’t stop talking about all the innovative vertical displays she saw in stores all around the city. This same concept can be applied to your living room.

Going Up
Just like in retail, the space you have available in your home can sometimes be limited. So, when you find yourself working with less, try one of these tricks:

If you’re renting and want to avoid patching up dozens of tiny holes when it’s time to move, use a stylish bookcase ladder as an alternative way to showcase your wall art.

Take your love of reading (and your extensive coffee book collection) and craft an instant table with a stacked set of your favorite reads. Create two piles of sturdy, hardcover books (similar in size) a few feet apart and securely place a piece of Plexiglas on top and you’ve got a functional, repurposed cocktail table that’s a great conversation piece!

An open floor plan can be great, but sometimes you want to define your space. That’s when a room divider with storage is a great solution. Group objects by color for a striking focal point, or arrange items in odd numbers like three or five to give your display a modern look.

Now it’s time to turn our attention down… to the floor, with some easy tips when you’re trying to make the most of the space you have.

Going Down
Even with limited space, you can still create the illusion of more room by strategically placing a few well-chosen pieces:

Using transparent furniture made from materials like acrylic (Plexiglas or Lucite) or glass in small spaces tends to give the room an uncluttered feel. We like the idea of nesting tables made from either of these materials to give you even greater versatility when entertaining.

Stripes are a fashion wardrobe staple because they’re great at creating the right optical illusion. Horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, they can hide a flaw or accentuate a positive feature. The same principle applies when decorating. Look for a rug with vertical stripes to help lengthen a room. Even a curved stripe can help draw the eye to a specific area of interest like a knockout chair from our eclectic Paris Flea Market Collection. And don’t let the floors have all the fun. A striped accent chair can create great design possibilities, and define your living space.

Whether your decorating takes you up or down, Art Van Furniture has the collections you crave for the space you call home—no matter its size.

The Social Event of the Cul-de-sac

If you’d like to take your outdoor soiree in a little more refined direction, a good old fashioned garden party fits the bill. Your first order of business will be reassuring your husband he doesn’t have to wear knickers or drink tea with his pinky up. A “garden” party is simply a more stylish affair than a traditional backyard barbecue.

A proper garden party is always held entirely in the open air with plenty of seating options. Roll out a couple of inexpensive carpet remnants as a way to define a space and as an alternative to blankets which can easily bunch and look messy. Don’t forget to throw around comfort elements like variously-sized pillows for lazy-afternoon lounging.

It is however customary to have a tent or other covered area for the food and refreshments. Serve light tapas alongside an assortment of cheeses (and we’re not talking cheddar) and lush, refreshing salads. For cooling off, keep a supply of citrus-infused water and fresh lemonade with sprigs of mint flowing to help quench parched throats—especially if you’re throwing an all day affair. You can even have a few varieties of wine on hand. Just make sure it complements the food you’re serving.

And while we’re on the topic of serving, no lady of the house would dream of using her best china at these at outdoor parties since they are sure to be broken. Depending on your guest list, we suggest either renting all the necessary glass, silver, and china from the caterer, or investing in durable (and still stylish) melamine plates and platters. For your libations, round up every Mason jar you can find and pick up some shatterproof stemless wine glasses.

And before you know it, all you’ll have left to do is practice your croquet swing and brush up on your bocce ball rules.