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There is something nostalgic and even magical about watching a movie outdoors. Those who grew up in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, will likely remember the old drive-in movie theaters with crackly speakers that hung on car windows and preview reels that featured a dancing concession stand snacks.
It’s easy enough to bring back some of that fun by holding your own drive-in movie night … parked right in your backyard.
First, the technology: you’ll need a DVD projector. If you don’t own one, you can often borrow one from your school or workplace. If that’s not possible, contact companies that rent AV equipment for conferences. You’ll also need a screen, but you can fashion one yourself. Simply hang a white sheet from second story windows or project the movie onto a light flat surface such as a garage door.
Next, 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 movie, such as Stand By Me, NationalLampoon’s Vacation, The Parent Trap, I Know What You Did Last Summer or Jaws.
Now it’s time to make the popcorn. You can set up a popcorn, by filling a big tub with plain popcorn and offering your guests a selection of gourmet toppings, such as dry ranch dressing mix, parmesan cheese and Italian spices, truffle salt, lemon zest and pepper, or mini M & Ms and crushed toffee. Round out the snacks with bottles of Faygo and boxes of Good ‘n Plenty, Raisinettes and Dots.Finally, pull up some comfortable outdoor chairs. Midwest evenings can bring a chill to the air, so be sure to have some blankets for snuggling, too.
Then, it’s time to enjoy. Pass the popcorn, please.
The kids are out of school, and it’s time for fun in the sun. Do you have a fun outdoor play space that keeps them busy? A swing set is a great start, but here are five things that will turn your back yard into the neighborhood hot spot.
1. Kid-Friendly Furnishings
Consider getting some outdoor furniture that is scaled for little ones. A small picnic table or table and chairs set would be a fun addition. Or use several small pouf ottomans that provide soft mobile seating.
2. A “Secret” Hideout
Children love tree houses because they feel like kid-only clubhouses. If that’s not a possibility, what about including a ground-level playhouse? Or maybe a tent that can be put away when not in use?
A pool is ideal, but you can provide lots of other water features. Consider getting a fun sprinkler that kids can splash in. Or how about a slip and slide? You could also have a bucket of squirt guns or water balloons on hand, for some old-fashioned water fights.
4. An Adventure
If you have room in your yard, consider installing a fun item, such as a zip line, tire swing or even a hammock. These items never grow old, and you’ll probably have just as much fun using it as the kids.
5. A Garden
Gardening is a great way to teach kids about patience and care. Plus, they’re more likely to try new fruits and vegetables when they grow them themselves. Consider dedicating a corner of your yard to a garden, or plant in fun pots like this cool turtle planter.
What does your summer backyard plan entail? Please share your ideas in the comments below.
Filling your home with fancy furniture that will make you cringe when your little one’s hands get dirty is probably not the best way to decorate your house when your children are young. But you don’t want to look like you live in a day-care center, either. Instead, choose a style that durable and decorative – a happy medium for a happy family
Kid-friendly homes can be fashionable if you keep these six things in mind when selecting your furnishings:
1. Cushions will become forts. That means you have two choices: Get a sofa with firm cushions that will stand up wear and tear. Or pick a sofa with cushions sewn in so they’re not removable. You can satisfy your child’s imagination by providing other fort-building props, such as portable and stackable cube ottomans or a fabric tee-pee
2. Upholstery will attract spills. Whether it’s sofas, chairs, headboards or ottomans, choose fabric for upholstered pieces that is a durable, such as microfiber or leather. You can also check the color of the stains on your sofa before choosing a hue for the new one. Something in taupe, gray or tan will hide spills, making them less noticeable. Or pick furnishings with slipcovers that can be thrown in the washing machine to be freshened up.
3. Rugs camouflage a multitude of mishaps. Just like upholstery, your floors will take a beating be the recipient of a few spills, as well. A rug with a rich pattern will hide just about anything, and it provides cushioning for little ones who might slip on hardwood flooring. Rugs are easy to send to the cleaners. And when kids are grown, rugs are more affordable to replace than wall-to-wall carpeting.
4. Round corners are your friends. Small children, especially when they’re learning to walk, tend have plenty of trips and falls. Since cocktail and end table corners are at eye-level, you can help prevent bruises and bumps by choosing tables that are round or oval instead of shapes with corners. Upholstered ottomans are a great option for a cocktail table.
5. Kids have lots of stuff. That means it’s smart to incorporate storage to keep clutter at bay, and plenty of options will tie in with your décor. For example, decorative baskets and bins tucked under end tables can be a quick hiding spot for blocks and dolls. Bookshelves can hold reading material as well as board games. And a chest that doubles as a cocktail table can hold blankets, magazines and stuffed animals. Make sure the storage is accessible so kids get things out and put things away.
6. Kids just want to be kids! While making sure all of your rooms are family-friendly, having a room that is meant for the kids helps minimize the wear and tear on your home. Whether it’s a family room, basement rec room or your child’s bedroom, create a space for kids by filling it with the things he or she loves to do – such as finger paint and cartwheels. When kids have a place of their own, they’re less tempted to get into stuff that’s not theirs.
School’s out, and it’s time to let loose!! Here are three ideas for celebrating summer in style.
Host an Ice Cream Social
Create a make-your-own sundae bar with a couple flavors of ice cream and lots of toppings. Consider sprinkles, nuts, fruit, crushed cookies and whipped cream.
Have a Picnic Bring lunch or dinner outdoors. It can be in your own back yard or at a nearby park. There’s something about eating outside that makes the food taste better.
Camp Out Enjoy a night under the stars by popping a tent in your back yard or vising a campground. Roast hot dogs and marshmallows, and tell ghost stories.
Dads come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. Some Dads love golf, while others prefer spending their afternoon by the pool. Some Dads are climbing the corporate ladder, while others are happy taking a walk with their four-legged friend.
Sunday, June 18th is Father’s Day, and Art Van Furniture wants to help you celebrate your unique Dad. Take a look at these gift ideas that are sure to fit him to a T.
Does your Dad love to soak up the sun? Whether he’s poolside, camping or tailgating on the weekend, this fun 60-quart cooler will keep his favorite beverages cold and ready. Available in a variety of colors, the cool design features a built-in bottle opener and a convenient cap catcher, keeping the area tidy. And the casters let the party roll wherever he goes.
Armchair Quarterback Dad
Complete Dad’s man cave with the beautiful brown Avatar Leather Recliner and Ottoman. Perfect for binge watching his favorite series or taking in the game, the design features plush padding and a sleek exposed metal base. The durable leather upholstery is easy to clean, and you’ll love that it ships for free.
Whether he works from his convenient home office, a comfy cubicle or a corner office with a view, Dad will love the Zline Hayes Oversized Executive Chair. The memory foam contoured seat is super comfortable, and the waterfall edge provides enhanced leg circulation. Wheel casters let Dad move around easily, and it ships for free!
If your dog is truly Dad’s best friend, he’ll appreciate this stylish new Lounge Bed. Designed like a sofa, the bed lets your pup sleep in comfort. The bolstered side and center pillow unzip for easy cleaning, and the black and white buffalo plaid will look great in Dad’s rec room. Available in a variety of sizes, it ships for free.
Every Dad becomes an iron chef when he gets behind the flames of a grill. Help him kick it up a notch with the Himalayan Square Salt Plate. Made from natural salt crystals hand-mined from the Himalayan Mountains, this plate allows Dad to cook, cut and display his grilled masterpiece. The rock can be placed directly on the grill or stovetop, adding flavor to the meal. This great item ships for free.
Music Loving Dad
Headphones and ear buds are nice, but they can get in the way if Dad is trying to nap. With wireless SleepPhones, he doesn’t have to worry about getting tangled up in cords. The hypoallergenic fabric headband has removable speakers that let Dad listen to his favorite tunes or podcasts. Available in a variety of colors, SleepPhones are machine washable and they ship for free.
If you’re really stumped, let Dad pick out what he wants with an Art Van Furniture Gift Card. Available in denominations from $25-$500, he’ll enjoy spending it in any of our 100+ Midwest showrooms.
One of the most important pieces of furniture in a living or family room is the sofa. The largest furnishing in the room, it provides you with a place to relax or gather with friends and family. The perfect sofa does more than that, though; the perfect sofa also serves as a reflection of your personal style.
To find the right one, you’ll need to consider your design preferences and lifestyle. We’ve made it easy with this fun quiz that will help you find the sofa that’s right for you:
1. When it comes to accessorizing a room, I …
A.) Use three or five accents, as long as they’re child friendly
B.) Prefer one statement piece
C.) Think the more the merrier
D.) Choose pieces that have a sense of history
2. On a typical day, you’ll find me wearing …
A.) Khakis, a comfy tee and flip flops
B.) Slim black slacks and a leather jacket
C.) A classic shift dress and smart flats
D.) Jeans and boots
3. My ultimate ride is a …
A.) Classic SUV, laid back and roomy
B.) A two-seater coupe, fast and stylish
C.) An elegant luxury sedan, sophisticated and safe
D.) Jeep, rugged and rough
4. The magazine I carry on the plane is …
A.) Better Homes & Gardens
B.) Architectural Digest
C.) The Smithsonian
5. My favorite dining room centerpiece is …
A.) Brightly colored Gerbera daisies
B.) The drama of an orchid
C.) Red roses
D.) Wheat grass
6. If I’m choosing the restaurant, we’re going to a …
A.) Family-friendly pizzeria
B.) A trendy downtown sushi spot
C.) An elegant steak house
D.) Farm-to-table hot spot
7. When my friends come over, we like to …
A.) Share a potluck dinner and play board games
B.) Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and discuss current events
C.) Sit down to a formal multi-course dinner and swap stock tips
D.) Have a backyard barbecue and talk about our latest travels
8. When I have an afternoon to myself, I like to …
A.) Curl up on the sofa with a good book
B.) Visit a local art gallery
C.) Volunteer at a local nonprofit
D.) Take a long hike in the woods
If most of your answers were “A” your style is most likely Casual. This style is inspired by an active, easy lifestyle. Your home is simple and warm, and your accessories are lighthearted and whimsical.
If most of your answers were “B” your style is most likely Modern. This style is inspired by the hustle and bustle of a cosmopolitan city. Your home is sleek and sophisticated, and you appreciate straight lines and geometric shapes.
For you, the simple shape of the Avery II Sofa provides a striking spot for relaxing with friends. Its rich grey upholstery is very current, while the metal legs provide a bit of drama. For more Modern sofa options, click here.
If most of your answers were “C” your style is most likely Traditional. This style is inspired by a sense of family and tradition. Your home is formal and elegant, and your furniture has feminine shapes and rich detail.
The Bennett Sofa, in grey genuine leather, will be a great addition to your Traditional home. Its classic details such as rolled arms and nailhead trim are sophisticated and elegant. For more Traditional options, click here.
If most of your answers were “D” your style is most likely Urban. This look is inspired by the energy of city living. Your home is filled with texture and organic materials, with accents collected from your travels.
You’ll love the unique lines of the Abbott Sofa. The comfortable piece has just enough edge to make it noteworthy, while the graphite grey upholstery looks city smart. Or for more Urban sofa options, click here.
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:
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.
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.
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.
It’s time to add color and depth to your yard. If you’re headed out to your local nursery, here are plants that are ready to take root:
Trees and shrubs
The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a mild and dry spring for Midwest planting, and trees and shrubs love cool conditions. Make sure you give them plenty of water for the first few weeks to keep them healthy and happy.
Add quick color with annuals. Plant them in beds or containers on your porch and patio for instant beauty.
Perennials are great because they come back year after year, lessening your workload. Here are 12 that do well in the Midwest, according to Midwest Living magazine: Coneflowers, butterfly weed, Lenten rose, Virginia bluebells, hardy geraniums, black-eyed Susans, allium, panicle hydrangeas, sedums, Russian sage, goldenrod, and aromatic aster.
The weather has finally turned and that means not only can you enjoy the outdoors, it’s time to get your yard ready for spring planting and backyard barbecue season. Here are three projects to tackle this weekend:
1. Prune roses
Prune your roses before new growth emerges, to shape the plant and encourage new growth that can produce lots of buds. Here are instructions that will keep you in bloom.
2. Divide perennials
Plants like irises and hostas can spread like wildflower, but they are healthier when they have space. Anything that’s grown to be two to three times its size needs to be dug up and divided. Here’s what you need to know.
3. Get a handle on weeds
Weeds can make all of your hard work in the garden look messy. Pull weeds when they’re small to avoid having them go to seed, creating more weeds. A good layer of mulch will also help. Experts say a two-inch spread will hold moisture and discourage weeds.
Spring is filled with reasons to celebrate. From Easter to Passover and Mother’s Day, make it special by setting a table that welcomes friends and family. Here are five tips for creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Photo credit: Meaningful Spaces/Pinterest
1. Choose your style. Before you start setting your table, consider your décor and design goals. Do you want your table to effortlessly reflect your design point of view or are you creating a special mood to reflect the season? This will help you choose the right pieces.
2. Select your dinnerware. Classic white is always in style and can be easily updated with colorful accessories. Or, mix and match to create a unique setting. If your plates are patterned, pair them with solid colored glasses and cutlery. Popular seasonal motifs include botanicals, flowers, butterflies and birds.
Photo credit: From The Woman Cave/Pinterest
3. Add colorful fabric. A spring table should be lit up with color of the season. Choose a bright tablecloth, runner, napkins or placemats. Or embrace pastels, with colors like pink, yellow, sky blue or mint green. If the fabrics on your table are bright, create balance by using neutral plates. Or if your dinnerware is the star of the show, keep your fabrics muted.
4. Consider your centerpiece. Spring is the perfect time to indulge in fresh flowers. Choose colors and shapes that complement your décor. You can also create individual bouquets at each place setting by choosing something small but meaningful. Get creative with containers, using a variety of vases, cups, mason jars or glasses.
Photo credit: Preppy Empty Nester/Pinterest
5. Finally, accessorize. A dining table proves several opportunities to add your special touch. Include candles, napkin rings, place cards and utensils. Be sure to create depth and dimension by taking advantage of pedestals, pillars and trays.
The most important thing is to make your guests feel welcome in the way only you can do. Whatever you choose will reflect your personality and style.