Table Talk

Holiday dinners become feasts for the senses when you take a moment to creatively set your table. It’s not hard – we promise – and the effort will be well worth the oohs and aahs you’ll receive.

While holiday candlesticks, Grandma’s matching china, and the napkin rings you received as a wedding gift are all wonderful, the secret to creating a dining experience this season is to look at all of those things differently.

Here are tips from Art Van Furniture’s merchandising expert Sarah Ambrose.

First, build height in the center of the table and then slowly taper it down the sides, thinking like the sides of a triangle.  Tall vases and candlesticks always work, but you can also use creative things to build height on your table. Use something different like books with a vase stacked on top, a flat rectangular vase on its side, a stack of extra plates, or wrapped boxes which are especially good at Christmas time!

Layer colors. Don’t be afraid to mix two or more sets of china together. Use a charger in one color, a plate in a second color, and a bowl with a third color or pattern. Or roll two napkins in contrasting colors together. If you stick to two or three colors, you create interest. More than that and it can become overwhelming.

Think outside the ring for your napkins. Fold them in a pretty pattern. Or tie them with ribbon that matches your décor. You can also simply place a fresh flower, sprig of ivy, or pine branch atop a folded napkin.  If you are using place cards, consider cutting oversized tags out of cardstock, writing names in scrolled fonts. Attach them to your napkin with string. Or write names on ribbon with fabric paints.

Finally, consider all of the senses when you choose items for your table. Use different textures of placemats and tablecloths. Think about the scent of the candles you are using; will they complement or fight the aroma of your meal? Unscented candles often work best and they’re often available in a variety of different colors. Consider putting your dining room chandelier on a dimmer so you can adjust the level of light. And don’t forget the holiday music!

The Perfect Spot for “Friends”

Actress Courteney Cox has one of the hottest careers in Hollywood, and she is probably best known for her role as Monica on the television show Friends. It should be no surprise then that her Malibu retreat looks like it was designed to welcome a crew of her favorite people.

In an interview with Elle Décor magazine, Cox says she originally wanted to be an architect. You can tell from the simple, clean lines of her family room furnishings – a style she calls “modern barn” – she let the bones of the California house stand out. In a palette of grey and white, two of the most current colors in home decor, Cox has created a casual yet sophisticated gathering spot.

Of course, Art Van Furniture has the look …

To mimic Cox’s design in your home, start with a pair of our Stanford Side Chairs in a classic, neutral grey fabric that accentuates the crisply tailored lines. Then add the Stanford Sofa. Like the chairs, its boxed and welted cushions offer a sophisticated simplicity. By using matching pieces in the room, you create a soothing, uninterrupted look, and a solid foundation for modern style.


Cox added versatility to the room by adding ottomans. We offer two options to recreate this look. Choose a pair of Allegra ottomans in white leather, which can be easily moved around the room during a party or pulled up and used as a footrest. Or select the Enterprise Ottoman, an oversized piece in white leather with the added contemporary detail of chrome legs. Both ottomans offer a clean silhouette.


Next, add a cocktail table. The Modern Basics Round Cocktail is similar to the one in Cox’s room, but has the benefit of nesting capabilities. The C-shaped table is portable and allows you to bring the table surface closer for more convenience. And its natural cream travertine top adds texture to the room. Be sure to accessorize the table with a splash of color. Cox uses a vase of bright yellow and green flowers, which add some warmth to the white and grey palette.

Cox creates the “barn” feel by adding a rustic, log-style side table. Consider adding our reclaimed wooden accent table in a distressed light brown finish for an unexpected element in your room.

Light up the room with our abstract floor lamp, which has a slim line metal base and cylindrical fabric shade. The modern lines of the lamp fit seamlessly in the room, and the curved detail provides a nice complement to the straight lines of the furnishings.

Finally, complete the room with our ivory rug from the Bliss Collection. The texture adds a layer of warmth to this modern living space … and creates the perfect spot for entertaining your friends.

Curious Curios

Curios are intended to hold your collection of curiosities, but our Art Works Curios are interesting all on their own. As beautiful as whatever you put inside, take a look at these accent pieces that were inspired by three of the great artists.

The Klimt Art Works Curio is finished in antique gold with details inspired by Gustav Klimt’s renowned “Tree of Life” painting. A gorgeous showcase for your holiday baubles, this piece will earn a place of honor in your home year round.

An Austrian artist, Klimt achieved fame during his “Golden Phase.” He created “Tree of Life” in 1909 as part of a mural he painted for the Stoclet Palace in Belgium. This work is one of the most reproduced oil paintings in modern day. Admire it and you might come to know a piece of the artist.

Gustav said, “Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant – they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognise what I am and what I want.”

The Kandinsky Art Works Curio is finished in ebony and adorned with a multicolor essence of Wassily Kandinsky’s celebrated “Heavy Red” painting. Stunning in its vibrant red with accents of turquoise, orange and plum, this piece will provide a unique setting for colorful collectibles.

Kandinsky was a Russian painter and art theorist; his abstract work followed years of intense thought and retrospect. You’ll find this curio to have melody all its own; the artist described painting like writing music:

“Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.”


The Monet Art Works Curio is finished in ebony and accented with Claude Monet’s famous “Water Lilies” painting. In Monet’s signature Impressionist style, this soft-spoken piece will be a welcome addition to any home.

“Water Lilies” depicts Monet’s flower garden at Giverny. In fact, Monet’s gardens were the primary subject of his paintings during the last 30 years of his life. The French artist created a series of 250 water lily paintings, which are on display at museums all over the world.

We believe this piece will find a place in your heart. Monet said, “People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.”

White Hot


It’s the color that never goes out of style. It’s classic. Timeless. And it makes a statement. It’s white, and it’s a white hot trend in home décor.

White is simple yet complex. White whispers, but it commands attention. White is cool, although it radiates light. And white is new but, at the same time, mature.


Here are five reasons to use white – and lots of it – in your home.

It adds immeasurable square footage

Using white in your home creates the feeling of having more space. Small rooms instantly feel larger, and large rooms take on a loft-like feel. Use white on the walls, the furnishings and the floors, for a feeling of airy and openness.

It’s museum quality

White is the perfect backdrop for art. Whether your “collection” is wall of priceless paintings or an assortment of embroidered pillows, everything pops against a white background. Use the color to showcase your favorite possessions.

It’s glamorous

An all-white room is daring and dazzling. It provokes the enchanted feeling of Hollywood in its heyday. Sophisticated but never gauche, white captivates. Consider a white sofa adorned with a white faux fur throw; it’s the perfect setting for a sophisticated gathering or for an afternoon with a novel.

It transcends seasons

White looks at home during the icy days of winter. It lights the buds of spring. It provides cool relief to the heat of summer. And it reflects the warmth of fall. Forget the Labor Day rule and wear white on your walls, floors and furnishings 365 days a year.

It plays well with others

White clashes with nothing. It complements any shade of blue, looks at home with reds, greens and yellows, and provides the yang to the yin of black. It’s also comfortable alone; use different shades of white to create a layered and textured feel.

White is always right. How will you use it in your home?

Home for the Holidays

Nostalgia. It has a way of creeping into our lives this time of year. Reminiscing about traditions kept since you were a child is one reason to look forward to the holidays. This year set the stage for a trip down memory lane by incorporating vintage-inspired décor.

Take a look at two versions on this decorating trend, each of which pulls inspiration from the pages of yesteryear and updates it with a modern twist.

Twinkle Twinkle

Bring the sparkle of new fallen snow into your home with the glimmer of metallic décor. Gold is the hottest color of the season, and you can go all in by bringing home a metallic tree. Gold and silver trees came into fashion in the late 1950s and continued to be all the rage into the early 1960s.

A few decades later, this look has resurfaced. Whether you use it as your main Christmas tree, as an additional symbol of the season in an adjoining room or as a welcoming beacon on your front porch, a gold Christmas tree will add sparkle and shimmer to your holiday.

Beautiful as is, it looks glamorous when dressed up with white lights. Or adorn the tree with matching gold ornaments. Then gather an assortment of coordinating decorations; we have an assortment of glittery details at Art Van Furniture. Our Chloe Room Divider in warm brown is a great place to display some sparkle. Or choose a shiny accent piece that will bring twinkle into your home year round, such as our mirrored chest.

Currier and Ives

Nothing feels more like the holidays than the winter scenes of American life created by Currier and Ives in the 1800s. The New York City printmaking firm created hand-painted lithographs depicting horse-drawn sleighs and bonneted women on skates … Americana at its best.

Bring this feel into your home by starting with the right shade of red. This year, the color that’s most current – and most nostalgic – is a rustic deep barn or cranberry red. Use it when choosing those items that will embellish your home. For a mature feel, decorate with Old World angels and a fruit and floral-adorned topiaries. Families will love using old-fashioned children’s toys, such as sleds or skates, to dress the occasion.

It’s also a great time to add a piece such as our Sideboard that will enhance your holiday décor and keep the American spirit all year long with its hand-finished floral detailing. Or put a more modern spin on the folk art-inspired look with our Striped Accent Chest.

Unwrap either of these looks at Art Van Furniture. You’re sure to find some other gift-worthy items to put on your list, so be sure to say hello to Santa who pays us a visit each weekend.  Click here for details.