The New Freshman 15, Part One

Everyone who has ever stepped foot on a college campus has been warned about the dreaded “Freshman 15.” In an effort to save its bad reputation, we’re giving it a new meaning. Here is our take on the 15 prerequisites for any college dorm room:


A Place for Everything. Storage cubes are great for organizing your stuff in a jiffy. Look for cubes that stack so you can maximize your space. And if you can add a drawer insert, that’s a bonus. Keep in mind your room colors and buy your cubes accordingly.

Much To-Do. Oh, the freedom of being on your own. But don’t forget about your new friend “responsibility.” Buy a white board or some large, erasable wall planner to help you get acclimated to your hectic class routine, while still finding time to maintain an active social calendar.

My Notes are Here… Somewhere. Keep everything on top of your desk neatly in place with a paper storage box or desktop file.

Up next… the bathroom!

Study Smarts

Fall is fast approaching and that means thousands of college students will be heading back to their “home” for another year of academic excellence. And one of the most essential things they’ll need for making the grade is a room that is organized and functional.

When it’s time to hit the books, give them a little more support with a great desk chair.  The key to successful studying is having a chair that properly supports your body while you’re burning the midnight oil. Look for a chair that has adjustable arms and height features. This will help ensure that the only muscle they strain is their brain. And don’t forget to make sure their space is well lit. Art Van Furniture has fashionable lamps that will keep them from bumping into furniture while also making a style statement. 

Remember, your child is unique and so are their study habits. Make sure they’ve got the right furniture they need to be a success!

DIFFA’s Dining by Design

Dubbed the “Cannes of tabletops” by filmmaker John Waters, Detroit is honored to be a first-time host for the absolutely spectacular “Dining by Design” event coming this August.

Organized by the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) in partnership with the Michigan AIDS Coalition (one of Art Van Furniture’s 2009 Million-Dollar Charity Challenge grant recipients), DIFFA’s signature event is coming to the Benson and Edith Ford Conference Center at the College for Creative Studies August 12-14.

A feast for the eyes, mind, and soul, this event features dynamic and innovative dining environments. The installations are the creation of local designers, showcasing the area’s talent in the design, artistic, and architectural communities.

Designers are paired with Table Sponsors to create 3-D installations, which results in outstanding works of art beyond even the wildest imagination. Each installation measures approximately 11’x11’ to 11’x20’. This year, Art Van Furniture is proud to be a Silver Table Host sponsor at this can’t-miss event.

DIFFA was founded in New York in 1984. One of the greatest supporters of HIV/AIDS services and education organizations in the U.S., DIFFA has mobilized immense resources in the design communities to provide more than $38 million to hundreds of AIDS organizations nationwide.


Event Schedule

Thursday, August 12: Cocktails by Design/ArtWorks Auction

6 p.m.-midnight

  • Strolling supper featuring signature appetizers from 25 top-tier area restaurants
  • Live and silent auction featuring original works from 200+ artists

Friday, August 13: Open to the Public

Noon-5 p.m.

Saturday, August 14: DINING BY DESIGN (DBD) Gala Dinner

6 p.m.-midnight

  • Cocktail reception and open bar all evening
  • Dinner and appetizers provided by the Matt Prentice Restaurant Group

For tickets or to learn more, please visit:

Back-to-school: Black-and-white with color all over.

From L.A. to NYC, up to the U.P., and in the heart of the “D,” colleges and universities are gearing up to welcome back students along with the freshman class of 2010.

So what can you expect to see in hip dorm rooms across the country?

For the fashionable young gal-on-the-go, pink is the dominant color. According to Jessica, a sophomore in Ann Arbor, just about everyone she knows has a rosy room. And it looks like the pink path has also found its way to Kalamazoo where Abigail, an incoming freshman, is using pink accents as a way to give her room some extra pizzazz.  While shopping, Abigail noticed, “It seemed like black-and-white is really popular—especially pink with zebra print for the girls.” Abigail decided to pass on the zebra theme, but did stay on trend by sticking to black and white in a Damask pattern.

And zebra-print bedding is exactly what you’ll find in the Grand Rapids dorm room of Liza and her roommate. Instead of pink, they opted for blue and green color combo. Liza’s half of the room will be green, while her roommate’s will be blue. That way they can show-off their individuality, but still have a cohesive look to their room.

As with all good decorating: make sure you like it, it’s comfortable, and it reflects your exceptional personality!

Back-2-School: Eclectic Attitude

Let’s face it. Most of us haven’t been inside a dorm room for… well, let’s just say a number of years. So how can you make sure your daughter doesn’t commit a freshman faux pas before classes even start? Well, we went straight to the source for the latest in dorm decorating: Jessica, a savvy sophomore at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Here are some of the must-have items decking out her dorm:

  • Gigantic wall stickers are very trendy—the big dots, the cute words, the glitter stars, etc.
  • Polka dots show up at one point or another in everyone’s room, or wonderfully obnoxious busy patterns in outrageous colors. Basically, you walk into someone’s room and it should visually punch you in the face
  • A cute vintage poster is absolutely necessary—Audrey Hepburn or the iconic 1945 V-Day photograph of a sailor and nurse smooching in Times Square

Jessica also mentioned that a lot of girls in her dorm take the high-end and trendy advertisements from magazines like Vogue and Elle, and make their own collage over the year until they have a wall of high-gloss lace and couture.

Mini fridges and microwaves are still required basics, but it seems like each girl aspires for a little more. As Jessica so aptly put it, “I think room decor develops with credit status, so check back in a few years.”