Archive for the ‘Kids and Family’ Category

18, Aug


Kids Storage 1

If getting your child to clean their room is a constant struggle, it may be time to set them up for success. Too often kids’ rooms become activity catch-alls: part bedroom, part den, part playroom and part library. Keeping all of those tasks neat and contained is a challenge – especially when you’re four feet tall or under.

Smart parents take time to bring in child-sized solutions that can make cleaning a room easier. Here are ten tips for helping your child’s keep their room tidy:

1. Include them in the organizing process. It’s tempting to rush in and take care of it, but getting your child’s input on furnishings and where things go is important. If they have a say, they’re much more likely to keep up with it.

2. Get rid of extras. Make sure everything that is in your child’s room needs to be there. For example, store out of season clothing and neglected toys in bins in the basement or attic.

3. Create zones. Organize your child’s room with a designated area for sleeping, studying and playing. Then add storage items that can accommodate the items needed for those tasks. Place a bookshelf near a beanbag chair for reading, for example, or include basket or bins for storing toys.

4. Set a limit. Keep things fresh by keeping toys to a minimum. Decide on a number of items that is manageable and rotate out the toys so they play with them more.

Kids First Bed 2

5. Reclaim wasted space. Maximize storage capacity by looking up and down. Choose a bed with storage drawers built in the base – perfect for storing clothing as well as toys. And hang pocket organizers on closet doors to hold small items such as socks or stuffed animals.

6. Display special items. Have a space where your child can keep treasures, such as trophies, awards, artwork and vacation souvenirs. A shelf or bulletin board will keep these things neat and contained.

7. Think small. Consider your child’s size when you bring in storage items. For young children, keeping shelves low will encourage them to put things away. Make sure closet rods are multi-level, helping your child get ready in the morning.

 Kids Storage 3

8. Label where things go. Help your child know where things belong by making it clear. You can use words, pictures or a combination of both.

9. Color code for siblings. If children share a room, consider assigning each a different color. Then use bins and hangers in those colors for their toys and clothing.

10. Schedule in regular maintenance. Make cleaning up a habit by creating a routine. For example, create a rule that beds must be made before breakfast. Or wind down every day with a 15-minute tidy-up session before bedtime. Set a timer and it will feel like a game.

When kids make picking up their rooms a habit, the whole house will feel more organized!

14, Aug

Nearly 10 million Americans work from home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and as technology makes it easier and easier to be remote, that number is expected to grow. If you’re among this trend-setting group, you can set the stage for work and get more done by taking the time to design a proper workspace.


Whether you log in fulltime hours or simply manage household affairs, here are seven ways to work efficiently – and in style – from your home sweet home (office):


1. Claim a space. If you haven’t done so already, choose a spot in your home that can be used exclusively for work. A formal home office or spare bedroom is ideal – a spot on the sofa with a laptop is not. Look for an area where you can place a desk and storage system –you can even if you convert a closet if need be.


Modena White Desk


2. Choose a work surface. Every home office needs a desk or work surface. From a sleek writing desk to a larger executive set, the amount of space you have will dictate which style is best for you. If you have the room, consider an L-shaped desk that will offer room for your screens as well as a surface for writing.


3. Clear out distractions. Home offices sometimes need to double duty as a guest room or den, but you’ll want to get rid of anything that might steal your attention. This includes everything from clutter to media components, such as a television – you want your space to be focused on work. If your job requires you to watch videos, however, the TV can stay; if you’re tempted to watch Judge Judy, it should go.


4. Personalize your room. Just as you would place a picture of your loved ones on your desk at an outside office, personalize the area so it is welcoming to you. Choose a paint color that makes you happy, hang art on the wall, and consider furniture beyond a desk and chair. For example, a loveseat or accent chair might make sense if you do a lot of reading at work and want a comfortable place to sit.


5. Incorporate good lighting. No matter what kind of work you do, you’ll want to do it in a room that is well lit. This means including an assortment of lighting. Overhead lights are a good place to start. Then add task lights at your desk or workstations, as well as accent lights that will help create an inviting atmosphere.


filing cabinet


6. Find a place for paperwork. No matter how much of your work is digital, you’ll most likely have papers you need to keep and reference. If your desk doesn’t have adequate drawer space, include filing cabinets or bookcases that can handle the excess. You’ll find several options that look like furniture, which will help keep your room from looking like an office supply store.


7. Maintain a clean-up routine. Once you’ve organized your space, do the work to maintain it. Every evening before you quit work, take a few minutes to put away papers. On Fridays, take out the trash and to run the vacuum cleaner so that everything is fresh and ready when you come back on Monday. And reserve your office space for office activities. If kids bring toys in, remove them at the end of the day. Do a visual sweep each day, and you’ll stay organized.

10, Aug

Getting kids to bed can feel like herding cats. Set yourself up for success by following these three tips from the National Sleep Foundation:

Start in the morning. People who make their bed in the morning are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep every night, according to the NSF. While it’s not clear why, we’re guessing there is a connection between feeling good about where you sleep and your tendency to sleep through the night. Teach your child to make their bed when they get up in the morning.

Pay attention to texture. Select soft linens and pajamas. Three-quarters of us claim that comfortable sheets and bedding are important to a good night’s rest. Since kids tend to kick off their covers at night, dress yours in pajamas made of breathable fabrics that keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Provide the right bedtime snack. Think about what you offer your child to eat or drink before bed. Foods containing tryptophan – the amino acid that is a building block of the sleep-related chemical serotonin – could encourage drowsiness. Turkey is a well-known source, but so are eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts. Another good bedtime snack is a light carbohydrate, such as whole -wheat crackers with a small amount of peanut butter, or cereal with milk. But avoid fatty, fried or spicy foods before bedtime that will upset the stomach and can interfere with sleep.

8, Aug

Tucking your child into bed at night is supposed to be a special and calm moment, but it can often turn into a struggle when kids don’t want to go to sleep. Instead of dreading bedtime, follow these three steps for setting the right moment.

Set a bedtime routine. An early bedtime is important for kids – between 7 and 8 p.m. works best for most, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Since kids thrive on structure, creating a bedtime routine can take away the stress. Start 15 to 30 minutes before their actual bedtime by turning off the television and playing relaxing music. You might even dim the lights and talk softer. The most important part of your bedtime routine is that it’s consistent.

Create the ideal sleeping environment. If your child’s room is filled with too much excitement, it could be physically hard for them to fall asleep. Keep things calm, quiet and soft. A nightlight can provide just enough illumination to make your child feel safe. Soft fabrics for pillows and comforters can also be soothing.

Remove electronics. Limit screen time before bedtime, which can activate your child’s brain. Also keep technology, such as televisions, computers and video games, out of your child’s room. The light these gadgets emit mimics daylight and tricks the brain into thinking it needs to stay awake.

7, Aug

Child's First Bed

Going from a crib to a “big boy” or “big girl” bed is a big step in your child’s life. While some parents choose to transition to a toddler bed, going right into a regular size bed is just as easy, saving money in the long term.

Start by identifying the right size. Twin, full or even queen are great choices, and which you choose will have to do with the space in your child’s room. Twin mattresses take up the least amount of space, which is nice if your child’s room is small or you want to provide lots of floor space for playing. If your child will have sleepover guests when they get older, twin beds can be outfitted with trundle beds. Or consider full- or queen-size beds, which provide extra room for spreading out or sharing with friends.

Select the best mattress. Kids need a mattress that will offer proper support and pressure relief. Since they probably can’t tell which mattresses feel best, Art Van PureSleep takes out the guesswork with our patented diagnostic machine, ensuring that your child has a more restful and productive sleep.

Sleep helps us all retain what we learn during the day. At night, we go through different stages of sleep where our minds are working, filing and organizing all of the information we collect during the day. If the mattress doesn’t support your child properly, he or she will toss and turn and that can lead to fragmented memory and trouble in school.

Kids Storage Drawers

Set a realistic budget. While it’s tempting to allocate most of your budget to the headboard and frame, the most important investment is the mattress. A good quality mattress will last through childhood. You can always purchase a headboard and frame later.

Invest in safety accessories. When you’re transitioning your child into his or her own bed, consider their safety. You can purchase guardrails that prevent your child from falling out of the bed while they sleep. Another option is to purchase a bed that doesn’t require a foundation, so your child is lower to the ground. And make sure to place a rug or carpet around the bed to reduce the chances of slipping and falling.

Moving into his or her own bed is an exciting time for your child. Make sure you celebrate the milestone by creating the perfect setting.

4, Aug

For a teenager, a bedroom is more than just a place to sleep. It’s a place to study, dream, brood, laugh, retreat and grow. It’s where curious minds seek answers to burning questions. It’s where BFFs share LOLs and OMGs.

How you choose to design the space will set the stage for a lifetime of memories. For a teen’s room leave the rules behind and take creativity to its highest level. Most teens appreciate having a say in the matter. Here are three bedrooms that you and your teen can agree on – they’re totally cool and totally on trend:

Sophisticated Teen Room

Feminine chic. Kids grow up fast, but some teens like to hold onto their girly side. This bedroom offers that beautiful classic cottage look with its furniture, and then a sophisticated twist with black and pink bedding. You’ll be glad your daughter is still your little princess, and she’ll be happy to have a grown up twist with a cool color palette.

Teen Loft

Cool loft. You’re never too old for bunk beds, especially when the bunk is actually a loft. This room is a great spot for a teenage boy to call his own. The bed is full size, providing plenty of space to spread out at night, while the desk area is great for homework and Facetime sessions.

Teen Daybed

Fun hangout. A daybed gives a teen room the feeling of a fun hangout, turning the bed into a sofa-style gathering spot during the day. This collection is great for a boy or girl, with a fresh grey finish and an abundance of storage. Then set the tone with your choice of comforters and accessories.

3, Aug
Photo credit: Pinterest /

Photo credit: Pinterest /

In the final stretch of summer, bedtimes are usually pushed back and relaxed, giving parents the opportunity to have some nighttime fun with the family. Here are three fun games to play outdoors when the sun goes down:

Glow Stick Ring Toss: Get a package of glow stick necklaces and dig out the ring toss game. Put one lit necklace around the base, and then have fun seeing how many rings you can toss on the post.

 Flashlight Tag: The person who is “it” has a flashlight. The other players hide. To tag someone, the person who is “it” must shine the light on the player and call their name. The tagged player becomes “it.”

 Ghost in the Graveyard: The “ghost” hides while the remaining players stay at the base slowly chanting, “one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock,” etc. until they reach “midnight!” when it’s time to search for the ghost. The first player to spot the ghost yells, “ghost in the graveyard,” and all of the players must run back to base before being tagged by the ghost. The player tagged is the next ghost.

1, Aug

Summer Fun Themes

Author: Art Van
Photo credit: Pinterest /

Photo credit: Pinterest /

What are you going to do with the last month of your child’s summer vacation? A mom’s secret weapon is a plan. We love this great idea from; create a theme for each day of the week!

·       “Make Something Monday” could include crafts or cooking.

·       “Try Something Tuesday” could be a fun science experiment or a new hobby.

·       “Wander Somewhere Wednesday” could be a fieldtrip to the zoo or a hike around the neighborhood.

·       “Thoughtful Thursday” can be a day for reading, chatting or volunteering.

·       And “Fabulous and Fun Friday” could be backyard activities like running through the sprinkler, play dates with friends or trips to the local pool.

Post the plan and get kids excited. It will be a summer to remember!

31, Jul

Few things are more fun when you’re a child than having friends come over and spend the night. Sleepovers usually involve little sleep, but lots of laughs and memories. Set the stage for fun by creating a bedroom that is sleepover-ready. Here are five things you’ll need to create the perfect space.

Slumber Party Bunk


1. Bunk Beds. Whether your child enjoys his or her own room or shares it with a sibling, you can never go wrong by choose bunk beds. This space-saver creates a cozy feeling on the bottom bunk, and a little adventure on the top. Make it slumber party worthy by hanging twinkling lights from beneath the bottom mattress.

Slumber Party Trundle

2. Trundle Bed. Kids often don’t mind sleeping on the floor, but a trundle bed makes your guest feel welcome. Purchase a bed with a built-in trundle and mattress, or add one to your existing furniture. Then simply roll it out when needed.

Slumber Plush Rug

3. Plush Rug. When there are more than one or two guests, the floor needs to be extra comfortable. It’s the place for sleeping, lounging, dancing and playing. Adding a plush rug will help cushion the room and warm up the space.

Slumber Party Futons


4. Futon. Teenagers love a bedroom that feels like a studio loft. Create that laidback feel with a futon. During the day it will look and act like a sofa, but at night, it can accommodate guests. Choose one in a fashionable fabric or chic black to give your child’s room a cool vibe.

Slumber Beanbag

5. Beanbag Chairs. When you’re a kid, there’s nothing as comfortable as a beanbag chair. Low and soft, they’re the perfect hangout furnishing. Choose a pair or more in bright colors that match your child’s décor, and you’ll create a space for late night chats.

28, Jul

If college is in the forecast this fall, you probably have a list of items to pack. Binders, books and bedding are probably on that list, but what about those things that can make a dorm room feel like home? If it’s your first year, here’s a list of five items you might overlook. The best part is that they all ship for free, right to your dorm. 

Dorm Futon A Futon

Many of today’s dorm rooms include an area for studying – except that most students create a hangout space, instead, moving their desks into their sleep space. A futon provides a great place to relax after class, and it can accommodate a friend who crashes for the night or a sibling who comes for a visit. Futons are also super portable, making move-in convenient. Art Van Furniture has several styles and colors – including a zebra print that would make your dorm room totally fab!

Dorm TV Stand

A TV Stand

After a serious study session, take time to relax and unwind. Video games and Netflix can provide some much needed mental relief. You’ll want a stable spot to store your television, as well as room to keep components together. A TV stand will make sure everything stays safe and organized.

Dorm Bookshelf

A Bookshelf

Dorm rooms offer little in the terms of storage. In most you get a desk with a few small drawers, a dresser to share with your roommate and a closet with a single rod. You’ll need storage for books, food, cleaning items, and clothing that won’t fit in your dresser or closet. A freestanding bookshelf can be a great option. Some versions even have doors you can close to keep the room looking clutter free.

Dorm Lamp

A Lamp

The overhead lighting in a dorm room will provide enough illumination to navigate the room, but when it comes to studying you’ll want to get task lights. A desk lamp will make studying or laptop work easier, reducing eyestrain. And if you read in bed, bring a floor lamp you can position next to your bed.

Dorm Rug

A Rug

Two words: tile floors. Waking up for that 8 a.m. class is difficult enough, but if your feet have to hit the cold floor, it will be even more uncomfortable. Be sure to bring a rug to make your dorm room warmer and feel more like home. It’s smart to choose a bright color or fun pattern, so you don’t have to worry about friends spilling.