Setting a Holiday Table: Dress Up Your Dinnerware in Style

You could go out and invest in new dinnerware for the holidays. Gorgeous designs that are perfect for holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas are festive and fun. But you can also easily dress up your existing dinnerware with some easy and inexpensive details that will give you the same result. Here are five tips for setting a holiday table dressing up your existing dishes and making them shine for the season:

The Set of 4 Holiday Plaid Plates is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
1. Purchase New Salad Plates

Instead of investing in an entire set of china, why not purchase salad plates that you layer atop your everyday dinner dish? The single piece won’t cost a lot, and the top plate is the star of the setting. Choose something for the holiday or season, and it will look like you went all out.

2. Use Chargers

Classic white plates look chic and elegant when you place them on a charger. Choose luxurious silver or gold for a classic look. Or brighten up the table with jewel tones, such as ruby, emerald or sapphire. We love this snowflake charger craft idea. You’ll be surprised at the impact a charger can make when setting up a holiday table, and it can happen in a snap.

The Two Piece Santa Snowman Salt and Pepper Set is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.

 

3. Add the Details

Little things can make a big impact, and your choice of salt and pepper shakers, napkins and napkin rings can set the tone. Instead of classic white napkins, choose a bold color or pattern. Or stick with white and let the ring take center stage. You could even go simple, and tie a sprig of evergreen with twine or ribbon.

 

4. Roll Out the Table Runner

Add flair by using a dramatic table runner. Not only does it introduce a theme; a runner allows the natural beauty of your table show through. You’ll find a wide assortment of options designed for your specific holiday, or head to the fabric store and purchase a piece of velvet, satin or even faux fur. You could also use a beautiful plaid blanket when setting up a holiday table; the contrasting texture will create a warm, festive setting.

 

Clearwater Dinnerware is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
5. Think About Place Mats

Place mats offer another design opportunity, and they help protect your table. Choose a color that enhances your holiday décor, or personalize a set of your own with this fun burlap place mat craft project.

We’d love to see how you create a festive tables design for the holidays. Post your photos in the comments below!

Hostess with the Mostess: How to Choose a Sleeper Sofa

Whether it’s your childhood best friend or an out-of-town relative, the holiday season often means overnight guests. While a sofa can be comfortable, a sleeper sofa is a better option if a dedicated guest room isn’t available. Before you head out to purchase a sleeper sofa, there are a few things to know.

The Kerry III Full Sleeper is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
 Measure the Space

The first thing to think about is where you will put the sleeper sofa. Quite often a sleeper is used in a smaller room, so before you head out the door, be sure to measure your wall space. You should also consider the amount of room needed when the sleeper is in the “open” position. Most require clearance of seven and a half feet to open the mattress; you will also want to add space around the sides so your guest can easily get in and out of bed.

Another consideration is how many loose pillows the sleeper sofa has, as you will need to store them when it is being used as a bed. If your room is small, you may wish to choose a model with fewer cushions and pillows, so you don’t overwhelm your room.

The Kerry III Twin Sleeper is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
 Know Your Guests

Next, determine how many people you expect to accommodate. Sleeper sofas come in three sizes. Queen and full sizes are like their mattress-size counterparts and can sleep two. Loveseat sleeper sofas are generally 36″ to 30″ wide, slightly smaller than a standard 39” wide twin mattress, and are good for a single guest.

The Kennedy II Queen Sleeper is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
Choose the Mattress

Finally, decide what kind of mattress you would like. Art Van Furniture offers three different mattress types. The majority of sleeper sofas have innerspring mattresses, which give the body support. These have come a long way and are more comfortable than sleeper sofas from the past. A new option is the air mattress sleeper sofa. This combines innerspring mattresses with an easily inflatable air mattress for an extra thick comfortable night’s rest. The third option is a memory foam mattress, which is just like the bed but designed for the sofa. Memory foam mattresses are available for special order.

Owning a sleeper sofa will make it infinitely easier to be a great host. And remember: “Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even though you wish they were.” – Unknown

Find the Dining Room that Matches Your Entertaining Style

The holiday season can also be called the dining room season. Whether you invited your large family or a small gathering of friends, it’s the time of year to celebrate with loved ones and that often involves bringing people together over food. So is your dining room ready? And does it fit your personality? Your dining room should be a reflection of your entertaining style, and the pieces you’ll need are dictated by your personality.

The NB2 Casual Modern Dining Table is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
The Socialite

Do you love large parties with dozens of guests, mingling and chatting with Michael Buble’s Christmas CD playing in the background? Look for a chic dining room table that will accommodate intimate gatherings, such as the NB2 Modern Dining Collection that has features clean lines and a sleek grey finish. A buffet is a must, offering a spot for appetizers and drinks. A bistro or gathering height table in your kitchen is also a great addition, since that’s often where people tend to gather.

 

The Infinity Dining Collection is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
The Matriarch

Do you relish hosting your extended family once or twice a year for a traditional-style holiday feast? If so, you’ll want special pieces in an elegant style worthy of your semiannual affair. You’ll need a dining room table with a leaf (or two). A formal china cabinet or sideboard will also fit the bill. And consider a table protector to guard your investment, especially if you have small children in attendance. Consider the Infinity Dining Room Collection. The cherry finish is rich and inviting, while the leaf expands the table to 96”. You’ll love using the matching buffet for displaying prized accents or tempting dinner guests with dessert.

The Sterling Dining Set is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.

 

The Laidback Hostess

Do you combine your everyday eating area with the space in which you entertain? If so, you’ll need a causal yet transitional dining set that would be as much at home during Saturday morning Cheerios with your kids as it would be on Christmas Day sharing a standing rib roast with your in-laws. Sturdiness, comfort and function are key for your entertaining style, so look for a table and chairs that are sold enough for daily use yet beautiful enough for showing off. The Sterling Collection from Gascho is handsome enough for company and sturdy enough for daily use. It’s an excellent example of solid wood construction, utilizing the finest selections of solid maple. An investment in Gascho is an investment in a family heirloom. You’ll love this piece for years.

 

Create An Inviting Guest Bedroom With Tips From Fine Hotels

Opening your home to friends and family is part of the holiday season, and you want your guests to feel welcome. If you will be hosting anyone overnight in the upcoming weeks, take some time now to plan ahead and create a wonderful retreat for your guest bedroom. Here are 10 things fine hotels do to make their guests feel special so they look forward to coming back:

Guest bedroom
The McKenzie Queen Bed is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
Use soft linens

Launder linens the day before your guests arrive, so they smell fresh and feel crisp. Invest in a high-thread count set of sheets, which will be soft and comfortable. If your guests are visiting during winter, make sure to provide extra blankets, and consider flannel or microfiber sheets, which will be warmer.

Provide a clock radio

If your guests want to wake up early, make it easy by providing a clock radio with an alarm. This will also allow your guests to listen to music while they fall asleep.

Prepare the bathroom

Make sure your guests have extra towels in the bathroom, so they can easily freshen up during they stay. Put out a basket of toiletries, including soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and consider offering a robe they can use if the bathroom is down the hall or shared with others.

Pay attention to the details

Fresh flowers on the nightstand of a guest bedroom are a nice touch, as is including candies, bottled water and a book or magazine for reading. Be sure the room has adequate light for reading.

Ask about food preferences

Before your guests arrive, find out if they have any food allergies or diet restrictions. You’ll want them to feel at home; set up a coffee and tea station in the kitchen so they can help themselves if they wake before you in the morning.

guest bedroom
The Arlington Queen Bed is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.
Provide easy access to electronics

Help your guests connect online by writing your WiFi password on a notecard on the nightstand in your guest bedroom. You can also give a quick tutorial on cable remotes, and provide a cable guide so your friends can find their favorite channels.

Plan activities

If sightseeing is on the agenda, provide information on all your area has to offer. You can plan this ahead of time, and pre-purchase tickets to ensure you get your first choice.

Provide a place luggage

Think about where guests can set their luggage in your guest bedroom, such as a luggage rack, bench or chair. Suitcases can be dirty, and your guests will be glad they don’t have to place them on the bed.

Clear room in the closet

Make space in the closet for guests to hang clothes. Be sure you provide enough hangers, as well as floor space for shoes.

Think about the kids

If there will be children, consider their special needs. Look into renting a crib if you don’t have one. Place socket protectors on outlets, and gather age-appropriate games and activities.

Final tip: Before guests arrive, consider spending the night in your own guest bedroom. You’ll experience firsthand your own hospitality, and will welcome them with confidence later.

Three Fun Summer Party Ideas

Looking for an excuse to throw a party? Summer is a good enough reason in itself, and choosing a theme can help you come up with creative food and decorations. Here are three summer party ideas that will heat up your entertaining schedule this season:

Ice cream social

On a hot day, there isn’t a treat much better than a dish of ice cream! Fill a cooler with ice and add tubs of creamy gelatos, refreshing sorbets, and old-fashioned vanilla. Then set out toppings such as fudge sauce, fresh berries, nuts and sprinkles. Add dishes, cones and scoops and let guests serve themselves.

Outdoor Movie Night

Rent or borrow a DVD projector, then put up a screen or simply hang a white sheet from second story windows or on the garage door. Choose the movie; consider campy classics, such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, Beach Blanket Bingo or anything starring Elvis. Or select a fun summer flick, such as Stand By Me, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Parent Trap, I Know What You Did Last Summer or Jaws. Pop popcorn, and offer snacks with bottles of Faygo and boxes of Good ‘n Plenty, Raisinettes and Dots. Set up chairs and enjoy the show!

Backyard Ball Game

If you have a great back yard, invite friends over for a fun game of softball. You can assign teams beforehand or pick on the spot. Enhance the fun by having t-shirts made. Make bases out of floor mats, and grab bats, balls and gloves. Then play ball! When the ninth inning is over, serve food favorites such as hot dogs off the grill, peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks and ice-cold beverages.

 

What are your favorite summer party ideas? Let us know in the comments below!