The New Freshman 15, Part Two

In our second part discussion of the “Freshman 15,” we tackle the bathrrom and the comforting touches you can add to a dorm room to make it feel more homey.


Who’s Your Caddy? Your living situation will help you determine what style of shower caddy you’ll need. For community showers, you’ll need a caddy you can take back-and-forth. Make sure it holds all your necessary shower items. You don’t want to be all wet and realize you forgot the soap.

If you’re sharing a shower with suite mates, then you can use a caddy that stays in the bathroom. Look for one that either hangs from the shower head or suctions to the wall. It should have enough places for you and your roommate to house all your shower items without getting confused whose shampoo is whose.

Creature Comforts

The Best Part of Waking Up. Perk up with a colorful coffee maker* or other caffeine-inducing contraption so you can hit your first class all bright eyed and busy tailed!

Change Your View. No dorm room would be complete without a futon. Find the one that suits your personality and space, and then sit back and relax.

Pulling Double-Duty. Another space-saving solution is a small ottoman with storage. It’s a seat! It’s a tray. It’s a footrest. It’s a… you get the picture. 

Go long… Xtra Long. Since college students come in all shapes and sizes, most schools equip their dorms with Xtra Long mattresses. And we’ve got you covered with mattresses protectors that guard against stains and whatever else the previous occupant may have left behind. 

Pantry Raid. Yes. Bookcases are great for shelving your required readings, but they’re also a fantastic way to arrange your “pantry.” There will be times when you want a quick snack, the cafeteria isn’t open, and you have exactly 25 cents to your name. Stock up on a few basics like cereal, peanut butter, and the requisite Ramen Noodles for when the late-night cravings come calling.

Our final installment… Hi-tech & a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

*Electronics and appliances allowed in dorm rooms vary from school to school. Make sure you check with yours to ensure you are using one that has been approved.

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!