Small Space, Big Style

Just because you’re short on space doesn’t mean you have to be short on style. Furnishing a small room just takes consideration, planning and little editing. And at Art Van Furniture, we have some tricks up our sleeves that can help you make your cozy room feel more spacious:

First, think tall. In a kitchen or dining area, give the illusion of more room by choosing a gathering, or counter height, table. Measuring between 36” and 42” high, the extra height allows the eye to see more floor space and gives the area the illusion of having more room. We have several styles—from contemporary to casual, rustic and traditional—one is sure to fit your décor.

Use the same technique in a living or family room by choosing furnishings that allow the eye to see a portion of the floor beneath. Avoid skirted sofas and chairs, or those with low, bun legs; these will feel more grounded and space encompassing. Instead, choose a sofa or chair with short wood or metal legs in either a straight contemporary design or curved traditional flare. Also choose end and cocktail tables with longer legs, instead of a trunk style or a table with top to floor drawers or shelves. And finish the room by hanging window treatments at the ceiling level to draw eye upward.

Look at scale. Oversized pieces can weigh down a room. Choose smaller furniture with uncluttered lines and fewer accessories. Armless chairs or sofas give an open feel. Avoid pillow-back furnishings; the extra cushioning makes the room feel “full.” Instead, think simple and sleek. A perfect piece is a settee, which is a medium-sized sofa. Or choose a love seat. Either will take up less wall space but still provide adequate seating (and lounging) capabilities.

Streamline your items. Having fewer pieces in a small room is better. Don’t fret if you love oversized furniture; you can get away with larger pieces if there are less of them. Or choose items that stack or expand. For example, nesting tables can easily accommodate guests when spread out. Also, edit what you bring in. Keep accent pieces to a minimum, and always contain clutter. Choose a storage ottoman that can hold blankets, games, newspapers or DVDs out of sight.

Choose a monochromatic color scheme. Too many colors in a room can make it feel choppy, stopping the eye several times instead of letting it glide across the space. Choose one or two colors to use throughout the room. Or choose subtle variations of the same color. The result will be a soothing palette that pleases the eye.

Finally, let in the light. Start at the windows by removing heavy draperies; use shades or blinds instead. Lighter paint colors can make a room feel larger. Or choose one wall as an accent wall and paint a deeper color there. Choose glass top or mirrored furnishings that will reflect the light. Add lighting at different levels. And hang a large mirror on the wall to give the illusion of more space.

Voila! A small room with large possibilities.

Trick or Treat!!

Halloween is all about the front door. From festive to fiendish, enchanting to eerie, it’s time to make a statement.

We’ve combed the Internet and found five front porches that will inspire your inner witch, be it Glinda or the Wicked Witch of the West.


Friendly Front Door

Yellow Cape Cod by Sarah Macklem Interiors

This front door, featured on the Yellow Cape Cod by Sarah Macklem Interiors, is a beautiful layering of color and texture. And it could easily stay up until Thanksgiving. Choose mums to coordinate with your foyer décor and be sure to pick pumpkins of different colors. Click here to read the story behind this creation.

Festive Front Door

This front door was featured in Good Housekeeping magazine. The pumpkin topiary makes good use of summertime planters, and you can create any design you like on your pumpkins. For complete instructions, click here.

Spooky Front Door

Country Living featured this batty front porch, for just the right amount of haunted-ness. The look is quick and easy to duplicate with black craft paper or black felt, and the magazine offers a bat template if you’d like to try this at home.

Aaahhh!!!!! Front Door

This front porch isn’t for the faint of heart. Featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine, the spooky phantoms were made using tulle and translucent garbage bags. Eerie music playing in the background would complete the mood. Conjure up the spirits with these complete instructions.

“Witch” door is your favorite?

“Swanky” Loft Style

Actress Hilary Swank has portrayed intense characters in movies such as Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don’t Cry and Amelia. But when she’s in New York, she loves to leave the drama behind and put her feet up inside her calming 1,400 square foot Manhattan apartment, located near the Hudson River.

Swank worked with designer Mark Zeff to create the look, and Elle Décor featured her home in a recent issue. If you love Swank’s understated surroundings, we’ve got the look.


Swank’s cozy setting accommodates guests with a sofa and loveseat. Notice how the pieces have clean lines, but don’t match? The mix of styles adds a casualness to the room.

At Art Van Furniture, start with our Twilight Sofa, which offers a similar style, simple and clean. It’s full, squared armrests and straight back make it a versatile and comfortable piece.

Next, add our Kate Chair and a Half. Not quite as wide as the loveseat in Swank’s apartment, the look is similar and the lighter scale adds balance to the boxy sofa. If you have the space and want to include more seating, use two. The Kate Collection also offers a sofa.

Now it’s time to add tables. Next to the sofa, place our Rectangular End Table. With a drawer for storage, it offers a great place to set a drink and reading materials.

Instead of a coffee table, Swank uses two smaller end tables, side by side. This offers an easy ability to move them out of the way during large parties. We have a similar style with our Modern Basics Rectangular End Table. Choose a pair for a cocktail table and a third as a side table.

To free up space, Swank uses floor lamps instead of table lamps. Place two Arc Lamps on either side of the sofa. On the other side of the room, choose two shaded floor lamps.


 An ivory rug keeps the room feeling light. Our Bliss Ivory Rug will do the trick and is available in two sizes.

Finally, if you have space for a table, our 48” Round Dining Table paired with four Low Back Parsons Chairs provide a great space for enjoying a meal, playing a board game or doing homework.


Finish the room with black and white prints, floor length sheers at the windows, a vase of hydrangeas and your favorite accents from Art’s Marketplace. And there you have it: A million dollar look from Art Van Furniture.

Hoorah for the Buffet!

China cabinets were once a staple in dining room décor, but today many are instead opting for a buffet.

Sometimes called a sideboard or server, buffets are one of the most flexible pieces of furniture you can add to your home. It can be used to hold china, serving pieces and silverware inside its cabinets and drawers. It can be used to create a buffet-style dinner for a large dinner party or holiday gathering. It can be used to display collections. Or it can be topped with lamps and used to add lighting to the room.

Buffets look quite comfortable outside the dining room, too. Use one in a bedroom in lieu of a dresser, in a family room as a media console, in a kitchen that needs more cabinet space, or in a living room as a sofa table with storage.  In fact, what room could not benefit from a buffet?

And – of course! – Art Van Furniture has a buffet for every design style.

For casual homes, the Vineyard Buffet is the perfect choice. In rich, distressed mahogany, it features the classic buffet design with two doors and three drawers. Behind the doors are three shelves and removable wine racks, each of which holds eight bottles of your private reserve. The top drawer is lined in felt to accommodate silverware.

Those who prefer contemporary style will love the Woodward Collection Side Buffet with Granite Top. Made of mahogany solids and veneers, its deep coffee finish is accented with satin nickel hardware. You can’t help but love its contoured drawers and door. And the solid granite top provides durability for serving everything from Thanksgiving dinner to martinis and hors d’oeuvres.

The large Hearthstone Buffet in a warm oak finish is the perfect choice for rustic-style living. Farmhouse charm mixed with classic design, its two plank-style doors flank three center drawers. The top drawer is felt lined, and shelves inside doors are adjustable. It begs to be used for Sunday brunch or neighborhood potluck.

And finally, traditional-style dining rooms will get a punch of drama with our velvet Sideboard. There’s nothing predictable about this piece. Two velvet-lined drawers sit between two doors that open with push latches. Crystal knobs on the front cover the black velvet exterior.  The scroll-carved legs add another layer to its allure. Whether it’s a black tie event or espresso with friends, this piece holds its own.

So … which of these is right for you?

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Are you the fairest of them all? Perhaps. Mirrors add beauty to a room, both in what they reflect and what they bring in. Light, depth and a bounce of color can be added to a room simply by adding a mirror.

Here are five things mirrors can do:

Create a focal point. If your room lacks an architectural highlight, a large mirror propped against a wall becomes an instant focal point. Whether it’s a living room or bedroom, an oversized mirror graciously takes center stage. To add more drama, position it to reflect a beautiful view. It serves double duty by providing a quick wardrobe check before you leave home.

“Install” a window. An interior room without windows can suddenly feel like a room with a view by using a mirror that is designed to look like a window. Used alone or in pairs, windowpane mirrors add depth to a room that a painting cannot. Or if your room has a single window, position a mirror on a nearby adjacent wall to reflect it and you’ll create the illusion of a second window.

Give the illusion of space. Small rooms suddenly take on the feeling of spaciousness when you add a large wall mirror. By creating the visual trick of extending a room, a mirror can virtually double a room’s square footage. Use one large mirror, or hang rectangular mirrors on their side in groups of two or three. You can also line both sides of a narrow hall or stairway with mirrors to make it feel wider.


Add more lighting. Mirrors reflect any light you have in a room, making the room seem brighter. Place mirrors across from your light source to get the greatest effect. Or set a small mirror on a buffet table behind a lamp or lit candles. Using a mirrored end table or nightstand will also bring more light into a room by reflecting the light from a lamp that is set on top of it.


Make the most of a gorgeous view. Whether it’s a backyard garden, fountain or beautiful tree, position a mirror to reflect your gorgeous view. If your outdoor view is less than lovely, draw attention away from windows by placing the mirror across from a piece of artwork or plants and flowers that are inside your home. The reflection will double the impact.


A mirror is easily added to any room of your home. Functional and a work of art, what it does best is reflect your good taste.