Archive for the ‘Buying Guides’ Category

6, Jun

Midwest summers are spectacular, and they’re best enjoyed on a patio or deck. You may have seen some inexpensive outdoor seating groups at the grocery store and wondered why prices can vary so greatly. Those cheap sets might get you through a season, but you’ll likely need to replace it next year.

 

Fortunately, Art’s Backyard is stocked with quality sets that don’t break your budget. When you’re ready to shop for a new seating group, here are “Good,” “Better” and “Best” options that will help you soak up the season in style.

 

Doral

 

Good. The Doral Seating Collection will help you welcome guests to your back yard with casual elegance. It features a welded aluminum frame and removable seat cushions that are upholstered in 100% solution dyed olefin to prevent fading. Complete the look with two toss pillows, two lounge chairs, and a cocktail table with a ceramic tile top.

 

Milano

Better. The Milano Seating Collection features elegant curves, turning your patio or deck into a spot for relaxation. Larger in scale, it is crafted with welded aluminum frames and deep seat cushions that are 100% solution dyed olefin fabric to maintain its color. This collection is sold a la carte, with a sofa, loveseat, lounge chair, swivel lounge chair, ottoman, cocktail and end table, so you can configure your space your own way.

 

Carmel

Best. The Carmel Seating Collection brings your classic indoor style to the outdoors. Hand-woven wicker is fashioned over a commercial grade aluminum frame. The thick weave and variegated color offer all-weather durability. Added design touches, like welting and cushions covered in Sunbrella fabric, make this set both stylish and durable. And the sectional can be used in multiple configurations, allowing you to customize your space.

 

Which collection is your favorite? Art’s Backyard will help you love your patio or deck for years to come.

5, Jun

If you’ve seen inexpensive outdoor dining sets on display at your grocery store and wondered why prices can vary so greatly it’s because you get what you pay for. A $199 dining set probably won’t hold up for more than a season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t budget-friendly groups that will.

 

When you’re shopping for an outdoor dining set, here are “Good,” “Better” and “Best” choices from Art’s Backyard, along with information that will help you understand the difference in construction and price.

 

Rugby

Good. The five-piece Rugby Dining Set brings a modern trendy style to any backyard setting. The collection features steel construction with powder coat finish to hold up to the elements. The slat-top steel table comes in square or rectangular versions. And the low-maintenance sling chairs dry quickly, offer a contoured back for lumbar support, and stack for easy moving and storage.

 

Jamestown

Better. If you love to entertain, the Jamestown Dining Set is a beautiful choice. Made of a rust-free cast aluminum frame and a multi-step hand applied finish, it features a thick apron around the table edge that provides outstanding stability. The double hoop design at the table base is not only attractive; it improves durability with welded connection points. Great for busy families, the chairs are rated to a 500-pound static load test.

 

Franklin

Best. The Franklin Dining Collection is not only gorgeous; it’s built to last. The table features an all-aluminum frame, porcelain tile top with an aluminum trim, and a fiberglass resin base for long lasting durability. The woven chairs are beautiful and low maintenance. Quick drying foam cushion are built under the seat, offering the comfort of a cushion chair without separate cushions.

 

Which collection is your favorite? When you bring home a set from Art’s Backyard, you’ll love your patio for years to come.

 

1, May

The best part of summer is dining al fresco – under the sun or under the stars. Make it memorable by bringing home a dining set that reflects your personal style as well as the type of atmosphere you’d like to set.

Here are five things to consider before buying a new table and chairs for your back yard:

Avalon

 

How much space do you have?

Just like your dining room or kitchen, you want to make sure the furniture you choose is the same scale as the outdoor area in which it will be used. If you have a small deck or balcony, you’re better off choosing a small bistro set. If you have a large patio, select a larger grouping to maximize the space. Or if you’re creating zones, such as separate dining and seating areas, make sure the sizes complement each other.How many people do you sually host?

If it’s just your family of four, a round table with four chairs is a good choice. You can select a style with stacking chairs to keep on hand for those occasions where you have extra guests. If you regularly host a crowd, consider a large rectangular table, and bench seating, which can make room for more.

Aluminum

What is your interior style?

Your deck or patio should be an extension of your home, so choose lines and colors that blend. From rustic to modern, you can easily find a set that continues your style outdoors.

 

What kind of weather will your furniture experience?

It can be helpful to choose materials based on the exposure your deck or patio receive. If you have a lot of direct sunlight, aluminum is a good choice. It’s lightweight and rust-resistant, and it’s durable enough to stand up to the elements. Make sure you choose a set that includes a umbrella, so you can get some relief from the heat.

If your patio or deck is covered, wood furnishings are a nice (and natural!) choice. The finish can fade if it’s exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, and it requires more maintenance to protect it from the elements, but the beauty and patina will improve over time.

Franklin

 

Will your dining area double as a sitting area?

Wicker furnishings make a great choice. Today’s versions are made of resin and are more durable than wicker of the past. This material works best with cushions, which means you can easily update the look and color by swapping them out. And wicker chairs are as comfortable as indoor furnishings, so family and friends will love to linger.

 

 

 

 

21, Apr

Spring is here and it’s the season to spend 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 Buer for Art Van Furniture, and asked her five questions that will help you with your next purchase: 

Balmoral

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. Lakehouse

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. Patio Furniture Cover 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.

17, Apr

Spring is here and it’s time to bring out the patio furniture! Whether you’re in the market for a new dining or seating group or you simply want to add a piece or two to your green space, we have what you need in Art’s Backyard. Here are a few things to consider before you make your final decisions:

Bellevue

1. How do you plan to use your outdoor space? Are you looking to accommodate a lot of friends and family for regular barbecues? Do you reserve your deck for a quiet cup of morning coffee? Does your area get sun throughout the day? Or does your space benefit at times from the shade of trees or homes? The answers to these questions will help you determine what you need. If you prefer to keep things intimate, you might get more use out of a cozy bistro table instead of a larger dining set. If your house is party central, a sectional might be better than a pair of chaise chairs. And you’ll know if you should browse umbrellas that fit within a dining group or freestanding, mobile versions.

2. How much space do you have? If your patio or deck is large, you have an option of creating zones, such as dining or seating, with separate groupings for each. If your area is smaller, you might consider double-duty or smaller scale items, such as a firepit with a cover that can be used as a dining table or a pair of armless chairs that take up less room. Measure your space and bring the dimensions to our showroom. We can help you outfit your outdoor living area with the right furnishings and fit for you.

3. What kinds of materials are best for your lifestyle? From wicker to wood and aluminum to wrought iron, outdoor furniture comes in a wide variety of material choices. Choosing the right selection for your family will depend on a few criteria.

Doral

Do you like to customize your outdoor arrangements according to your event du jour? Aluminum furniture is your best bet. Lighter than wrought iron, aluminum provides the flexibility of easy mobility. But just because they’re lightweight doesn’t mean they’re less durable. Aluminum pieces are rust resistant and have powder-coat finishes to stand up to the elements. Clean with mild soap and water, and store indoors during winter.

Brunswick

Want to create an inviting outdoor room? Wicker is for you. These pieces create a cozy setting – something you’d normally find indoors – with deep seating and plush cushions. If you’re worried about the durability of wicker, rest easy; unlike wicker of the past, these pieces are made of resin, which last longer and don’t crack or splinter. Clean up is easy; spray it with water and use a mild soap solution. Bring indoors or cover during the winter.

Westport

Do you love the look of natural materials? Consider wood furnishings. A classic outdoor choice, wood grows more beautiful with time as it weathers from the sun and rain. Teak is the most popular wood option, and your investment will last for years. Of all of your outdoor furniture choices, wood does require the most maintenance; it comes with our care kit, which helps it resist stains and fading. Store indoors during the winter.

3, Apr

Maxwell Sofa

Whether you’re upgrading your furnishings from mom and dad’s hand-me-downs, moving into your first apartment, or decorating a new home, buying your first sofa is a purchase you’ll always remember. The largest item in the room, a sofa commands attention. It’s also the piece that will serve as a landing spot for you and your friends. Sofas are important and you’ll want to take the time to choose yours wisely.

We’ve Got the Look sat down with Art Van Furniture Upholstery Buyer Sharon Gjertsen to get her advice on purchasing your first sofa:

1. What is the first step you should take when purchasing your first sofa?

Sharon: I’ll tell you what I tell my friends and family: the first thing to do is to sit down and think about what you want to get out of it. Sometimes people don’t want to invest a lot of money, and buying a sofa that will suit your needs for a couple of years is fine. Others want to start with something good and make an investment that will last. While everybody has a budget, it’s important to start out by getting the most for your money.

2. What are other things to consider when you’re in the showroom?

Sharon: What kind of use it will get. Will your sofa be in a family room with children, dogs and cats? Are you a single person and your sofa is a design statement? How the sofa will be used will dictate your best material choices.

Evan Sofa

3. Speaking of materials, what are the options?

Sharon: Today we have several options, including fabric or leather. Leather is very durable, but not everyone wants that look and feel. Microfiber, also called microsuede, has a little bit of a nap and is very durable. In fact, any kind of a man-made blend, such as olefin and nylon, will hold up very well. For someone who is interested in prints, cotton takes dyes very well and the prints are very crisp, but cotton isn’t as durable a material and wouldn’t be the best choice for a busy family. If you choose cotton, then you’re going for a look; understand that you’ll sacrifice durability for the visual presence.

4. How important is design?

Sharon: I suggest that people buy a sofa in a more neutral fabric and create contrast and interest with throw pillows. You should think about tomorrow, and not just today’s design trends. Right now, the big push is color, but we think colors should be the jewelry of a room, such as pillows, rugs and lamps. If you fall in love with a bright yellow or lime green sofa, understand that you’ll have to work around that color for whatever time frame you hope to keep it. Changing out pillows, however, will be a fraction of the price of replacing the entire sofa.

Kerry Sofa

5. What about comfort?

Sharon: Most people purchase a sofa due to eye appeal. If they like the way it looks, they’ll sit down on it to judge its comfort. Then they’ll check to see if they can afford it. Ironically, few people test a sofa in the way it will be used at home. I encourage people to take off their shoes and curl up on it. It’s rare that you sit at home with both feet on the ground. Test it in the way you’ll use it at home to see if it feels right. And make sure the size is right. In our big showroom, nothing looks as big as it really is. Think about where you’ll place the sofa and you’ll have a better chance at making the right decision the first time.

20, Mar

Sleep is one of the cornerstones to good health, but not everyone is getting the right kind. From stress on your body to the right sleep environment, outside factors can be the difference between tossing and turning and restful slumber. Sleep science is always evolving, and PureSleep has the latest, cutting edge products that will help you get a good night’s sleep.

Take a look at these three new options that can help you get a great night’s sleep.

Adrenaline

Adrenaline Bed in a Box

You may have heard of a bed in a box, but this one is different. The Adrenaline Bed in a Box is like a shot of adrenaline gives you an immediate energy boost, enhancing your body’s ability to perform at its highest level. Composed of plant based support foam and layered with pressure relieving comfort foams, the mattress giving you 12 inches of comfort and support. The secret ingredient is Copper Surge Gel Foam. This foam is the next big thing in performance foams. This state of the art material is infused with the healing properties of the natural element copper, and is combined with supportive and pressure absorbing gel.

In addition, it’s treated with the most advance temperature regulating technology available. Copper Surge Gel helps to heal fatigued muscles and give you the deep restorative sleep you need to function at a peak performance level. Wake up fresh, cool, and ready to Surge into your day!

Sleep to Live

Sleep to Live 600 Series Mattress

Sleep to Live is hand-assembled sleep system designed to provide scientifically recommended posture support through a precise combination of wrapped innerspring coils and luxury foams. Advanced smart materials wick heat away from your body so you sleep cooler resulting in better restorative sleep.

The patented cushion cloud construction promotes comfortable sleep, relieving pressure with each layer. Sleep partners never have to compromise, as each side is personalized to fit your exact support needs.

Stearns and Foster

Stearns & Foster Lakelet Hybrid Mattress

The Stearns & Foster Lakelet Hybrid Mattress features an eco-friendly knit fabric, used in athletic wear for moisture wicking and breathability. The high performance design of this mattress results in increased durability and less pilling.  The exclusive IntelliCoil Advanced coil design delivers variable support, with an outer coil for durable comfort and an inner coil that precisely adapts to the shape and weight of any body for the perfect level of support.

13, Mar

Hudson Bedroom Set

Your bedroom is one of the most important rooms in your house. It’s where you spend about a third of your time, and it’s where you begin and end each day. Creating a relaxing setting is important, and that means choosing the right furniture is key.

Here are five things to consider before you start shopping for your next bedroom set.

1. The size of your room. To create a calming setting, don’t overwhelm your room with furniture. Choose the right size and style of pieces by considering your square footage and layout. Measure the wall space, including door and window frames. This will help you determine how many pieces will comfortably fit.

Richmond Bedroom Set2. The size of your bed.From twin to king, beds come in a variety of sizes. Before you go out and buy the biggest bed you can find, determine how it will fit in your room. Select the wall where you’ll place the bed, and measure how much room you have. Here are the mattress measurements:

Twin: 39” x 75”

Twin XL: 39” x 80”

Full: 54” x 75”

Full XL: 54” x 80”

Queen: 60” x 80”

King: 76” x 80

California King: 72” x 84”

3. The amount of storage you need. How much clothing you have and how you prefer to store it will help you determine how many storage pieces will fit in your bedroom. Do you need a dresser and a chest of drawers? Would two chests of drawers be better? Can you combine a nightstand with a small chest to maximize space and storage? The options are limitless, so make sure you maximize your room.

Parliament Bedroom Set

4. Your décor. Consider the atmosphere you want like to create in your bedroom and choose a style to match. You’ll find everything from traditional to contemporary, modern, rustic, urban, casual and mission. You may also decide to pair an upholstered headboard with wood furniture. Or create an eclectic grouping by mixing styles and finishes. It’s your room – let your personality shine!

5. Your palette. The color or finish of your bedroom furniture can have a big impact on the overall design of the room. Dark-toned woods work well with traditional décor. Black, white and espresso are great for contemporary rooms. If you love cottage style, choose furniture with a distressed or painted finish. Mission style bedrooms look great in oak and cherry finishes.

How would you describe the style of your bedroom décor? Let us know in the comments below.

6, Mar

How to Buy Sheets

Author: Art Van

You spend a third of your life in bed. A good mattress lays the foundation for a good night’s sleep, and great sheets help you drift off in luxury. But with a variety of sizes, materials and thread counts, choosing the right linens can keep you up at night.

Don’t lose sleep over making the right choice. Here are three simple things to consider:

How to Buy Sheets

1. Thread count. A sheet’s thread count is determined by the number of threads contained in one square inch of the fabric. While a thread count of 200 is considered acceptable, good-quality sheets should have a thread count of at least 300, which will provide a more comfortable sleep. Often, the higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the sheets will be, but the quality of the material also matters. For example, a lower-thread-count sheet made of Pima cotton will feel softer than a high-thread-count sheet made from a lesser quality cotton. The bottom line: Consider the thread count, but be sure to feel the fabric.

2. Material. At Art Van Furniture, we carry sheets in three materials: cotton, bamboo/cotton blend and microfiber. Which is right for you depends on how you like to sleep.

Cotton Sheets

If you like your sheets crisp, cool and soft, cotton is your best choice. Cotton is the most popular fabric for sheets for several reasons. First, it’s breathable. Cotton traps heat during cold months and lets cool air pass through in summer. Cotton is also durable, which means your sheets will wash up well. And cotton is naturally stain resistant. The only downside is that cotton is most likely to shrink and wrinkle.

Bamboo Sheets

Bamboo blends have become more popular in recent years. They are created with a mixture of 70% bamboo and 30% cotton, and are incredibly soft. Bamboo is a sustainable material, which makes them environmentally friendly. Bamboo is naturally bacteria and allergy resistant. This fiber also wicks moisture, so it’s a good choice during the summer months. Bamboo sheets are among the more expensive options, however, they are very durable, which means your investment should last for years.

Microfiber Sheets

The final choice is microfiber sheets, made of extremely fine fibers of polyester. They’re very soft and will resist pilling. However, microfiber is less breathable than cotton or bamboo. They would be a good choice during the winter when retaining heat would be welcome, but they might not be the best choice for summer nights or for those with sensitive skin.

3. Fit. Of course, sheets come in sizes to match your mattress, such as Twin, Full, Queen and King, but before you bring a set home, make sure you measure your mattress to know if your Twin is an Extra Long Twin or if your King is California King. You should also check the depth of your mattress to ensure a proper fit for your fitted sheet. Simply measure the depth of the mattress and then choose a pocket depth that offers at least two inches more. This ensures enough fabric for tucking under the corners, and allows room for shrinkage in the wash.

17, Feb

Wood Buying Guide

From the energy of the grain to the richness of the finish, nothing warms up a home like wood. It’s easy to add this element by bringing home wood furniture. Dining rooms, bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens, an abundance of options are available that will add character to your home.

It’s important to know that there are many variables that go into the manufacture of wooden furniture, such as materials and workmanship, says Art Van Furniture Buyer Melinda Lehman.

“Art Van carries a wide variety of wood species including oak, cherry, maple, birch, pine and various hardwoods that are indigenous to countries where the product is manufactured,” she says. “They differ in terms of hardness, cost, grain characteristic, color and other factors.”

Wood Bedroom

Budget

Style and budget are the main factors when it comes to choosing furniture, says Lehman. Pricing will be affected by the materials used in the manufacture, including wood and finish, construction techniques, solid wood versus veneer versus laminate, size and scale, embellishments like carvings, appliques, hardware and moldings.

Type of Wood

Softwoods come from cone-bearing trees, such as pine, cedar, cyprus, spruce, fir, and redwood. They have a more open grain, and they’re typically less expensive than hardwoods. Because surfaces are generally softer than hardwoods, they require extra care to avoid dents and scratches.

Hardwoods are more durable than softwoods and are typically more expensive. These include cherry, maple, mahogany, oak, teak, and walnut.

Cherry, oak and tropical hardwoods including acacia and mango are among the most popular woods that Art Van Furniture sells, says Lehman.

Wood Dining

Construction

Not all wooden furniture is constructed the same way. All-wood construction means the visible parts of the piece of furniture are made of wood. Combination wood indicates that more than one type of wood makes up the piece’s visible parts. Solid means the piece was constructed from a solid piece of wood.

A popular construction method is veneer; a thin slice (about 1/28 inch) of wood is bonded to plywood or particleboard. While veneers are often thought of as being inferior to solid wood, they’re commonly used on high-quality furniture as well as budget pieces. In fact, this method of construction has been used for centuries to create pieces of great beauty and strength, using the most beautiful part of the grain or arranging wood into patterns, such as checkerboard or diamond.

With proper care, wood furniture will last a long time. Do you have a favorite type of wood? Let us know in the comments below.