Outdoor Furniture Buying Guide

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:

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

I’m In the Mood for Loveseats

The coziest piece of furniture is definitely the loveseat. Its diminutive scale is more inviting than a long sofa and its unique size is more charming than a simple chair. So how much do you know about this home favorite?

Made in the U.S. since the early 1800s, the loveseat wasn’t originally created as a courtship aid; instead, it provided a seat that would fit the large dresses worn by the ladies of the period. Luckily fashions have changed and the oversized accommodation became the perfect spot for two. In the 19th Century, the design was named “loveseat” (an early example of the power of marketing?) and the rest is history.

A loveseat is small enough to be used in a variety of settings. Place one with a sofa to create a more intimate-looking grouping. Use one in a master bedroom to fashion a comfortable sitting area. Put one in an oversized foyer to provide guest with a place to sit. And use one in a kitchen to turn dinner into a leisurely event.

Loveseats also add a sense of balance to the seating arrangement of larger rooms. Choose one that blends with your existing décor; styles range from traditional to contemporary to casual. Or add one that serves as an interesting accent piece – especially if you custom-order the upholstery.

Sidney Road Loveseat

 

As you would with any piece of furniture, measure your space to determine the correct size for your home before you shop. Loveseats can be overstuffed and large, or petite and streamlined, with sizes ranging from 50- to 76-inches in length.

Then get ready to fall in love. The perfect loveseat will transform your space into an intimate gathering – no matter if your room is large or small.

How to Choose the Perfect Media Center

The focal point in most family rooms is the television. It’s got everyone’s attention when you enjoy a movie, cheer on your team or watch the news. While you’ve probably spent a lot of time choosing the right TV, what you put it on is just as important.

A media center provides a frame for your viewing, and it helps you keep all of your components organized and operating. Before you choose yours, consider these three elements to make sure you get exactly what you need:

Size. The first thing to consider is the best size. This will be determined by the size of your television and the size of your room. Start by measuring your TV; you want to be sure it will fit. If your media center is too large, your TV will look tiny, and if your media center is too small, the TV will make it seem out of place. For wall units that surround your television, measure the width, height, and depth of your TV, then bring this information to the showroom with you.

Also measure the wall space you have. If your room is large, you may want to choose a wall unit that includes storage towers on either side that can hold decorative accessories. Or fill the wall by using two or more consoles side by side. If your room is small, a console that is just a little wider than your television will provide a nice sense of scale. Or consider a corner unit to take advantage of space. Make sure when you measure that you can fit your media center in a spot that doesn’t block heating vents or windows.

Storage. Media centers are designed to hold your television and components, organizing cords and keeping everything accessible. When choosing a media center, determine what electronics you need to store. Maybe you have just a TV and cable box? Perhaps you have a stereo system you want to contain? Or maybe you have it all, from TV to DVR, video game consoles, DVDs, CDs and controllers? By tallying up everything you want to hold, you’ll be able to quickly narrow down your best options. This will also help you decide if open shelving is sufficient or if you need cabinet doors that can close and hide things away.

 

Style. Media centers come in every variety of home décor. From traditional to contemporary, urban and casual, you’re sure to find a unit that will blend with your interior style. Choose a media center that matches your existing furniture so that it’s an attractive addition to the room’s design. Wood is a good choice, and you’ll find a media center in every finish, including cherry, mahogany, and pine. Contemporary media centers are also available in glass and metal.

Now you’re ready to shop for your best entertainment center. Click here to get started.

How to Buy Sheets

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.

 

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 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.

How to Shop for a Sectional

Nothing says family friendly quite like a sectional. One of the largest pieces of furniture you can buy, a sectional offers plenty of room to relax without having to arrange several pieces of furniture. A sectional also offers a sleek, streamlined look, without breaking up your line of vision by several pieces.

Before you shop, measure your room to see what size you can accommodate. Since it’s a large piece of furniture, it will take up more space than a traditional sofa, and because it has at least two angles, its placement will probably be restricted to one or two spots. Be sure to consider the amount of space you’ll need around it to navigate the room; optimal traffic flow is at least two feet wide.

Here are five types of sectionals and the kinds of rooms they best accommodate:

 


A Sectional with a Chaise

A sectional with a chaise lounge is the perfect choice for small rooms where a traditional sofa and loveseat would overwhelm the space. Providing space for four to sit or two to lounge, the look is modern and comfortable. Before you shop determine if you want the chaise to be on the right or left side of the sofa to best accommodate your room and traffic pattern.

 


A Classic L-Shaped Sectional

Much like a sofa and loveseat, the classic L-shaped sectional will seat four comfortably and five in a pinch. This piece of furniture keeps the room sleek and simple, with an uninterrupted flow of design and color. It provides a great spot for having conversations as well as watching television, although the focal point may not be directly in view of all of the seats.

 


A Recliner Sectional

A sectional with a built-in recliner brings together the ultimate in comfort into one piece. Versions are available with one or two recliners and some have a chaise. Perfect for watching the big game or hosting movie night, the only limitation is that a coffee table or ottoman won’t fit. But don’t worry; most recliner sectionals include hidden tables or cup holders.

 


A Curved Sectional

A modern and hip option is the curved sectional, which can be the best choice for a large room. With this sectional, everyone has a great view of the focal point, such as a television or fireplace. Because of its size, the curved sectional takes up a lot of room. Measure carefully before you decide on this kind of configuration.

 

 

A U-Shaped Sectional

Finally, a U-shaped sectional is great for creating a conversation area because everyone can see each other. Depending on the style you choose, it can resemble a sofa with two loveseats, a sofa with a loveseat and chaise, or a sofa with two chaises. If you use a cocktail table or ottoman, consider the traffic flow. Also know that this sectional takes up a lot of space; make sure your room is large enough to accommodate it without being overwhelmed.