The Elements of Design

With week one of our fabulous fall design classes finished, we decided to give those of you who couldn’t make it a little recap. After all, as Michigan’s go-to destination for furniture and accessories, we want to make sure everyone has a home decorated to suit their personal style.

Shaping Your Style

At Art Van Furniture, we have four style categories: Casual, Contemporary, Rustic, and Traditional. Some people gravitate towards one style, while other folks like to combine a couple. There is no wrong answer, so which style are you?

CASUAL

Casual furniture is definitely made for relaxed living, which is perfect for active households because it is so comfortable, and pieces are often made with multiple functions in mind.

Since the mood of this style is all about inviting and neutral, look for soft blues, greens, and yellows to create a warm and welcoming space.

CONTEMPORARY

Think clean, simple and modern. Contemporary furniture is designed with an emphasis on shape and color. In fact, sometimes these pieces look more like art then furniture.

For the walls, try cool gray colors and various shades of white.

 

RUSTIC

Furniture in this category is charming and often nostalgic. Detail is important, so look for tell-tale signs like hob nails and tarnished edges.

To model this look in your home, incorporate warm tans, and reds along with blue and green accents. We’re particularly fond of Latte from Sherwin-Williams. It looks and sounds delicious!

TRADITIONAL

Offering a more formal take on decorating, traditional furniture is typically constructed of dark stained woods, plush fabrics and showcases lots of fine detailing, which suggests a handcrafted quality.

In keeping with that image, deep, rich colors such as merlot, gray blue, and taupe work well in traditional settings. Sherwin-Williams Storm Cloud is one of our favorites and really adds some major drama to a space.

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: http://www.diffa.org/

Design by Direction

After a recent trip to the Big Apple, Amelia Ellenstein, our Vice President of Visual Merchandising and Store Design, couldn’t stop talking about all the innovative vertical displays she saw in stores all around the city. This same concept can be applied to your living room.

Going Up
Just like in retail, the space you have available in your home can sometimes be limited. So, when you find yourself working with less, try one of these tricks:

If you’re renting and want to avoid patching up dozens of tiny holes when it’s time to move, use a stylish bookcase ladder as an alternative way to showcase your wall art.

Take your love of reading (and your extensive coffee book collection) and craft an instant table with a stacked set of your favorite reads. Create two piles of sturdy, hardcover books (similar in size) a few feet apart and securely place a piece of Plexiglas on top and you’ve got a functional, repurposed cocktail table that’s a great conversation piece!

An open floor plan can be great, but sometimes you want to define your space. That’s when a room divider with storage is a great solution. Group objects by color for a striking focal point, or arrange items in odd numbers like three or five to give your display a modern look.

Now it’s time to turn our attention down… to the floor, with some easy tips when you’re trying to make the most of the space you have.

Going Down
Even with limited space, you can still create the illusion of more room by strategically placing a few well-chosen pieces:

Using transparent furniture made from materials like acrylic (Plexiglas or Lucite) or glass in small spaces tends to give the room an uncluttered feel. We like the idea of nesting tables made from either of these materials to give you even greater versatility when entertaining.

Stripes are a fashion wardrobe staple because they’re great at creating the right optical illusion. Horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, they can hide a flaw or accentuate a positive feature. The same principle applies when decorating. Look for a rug with vertical stripes to help lengthen a room. Even a curved stripe can help draw the eye to a specific area of interest like a knockout chair from our eclectic Paris Flea Market Collection. And don’t let the floors have all the fun. A striped accent chair can create great design possibilities, and define your living space.

Whether your decorating takes you up or down, Art Van Furniture has the collections you crave for the space you call home—no matter its size.

The Future Takes Flight

In the movie The Devil Wears Prada, Anne Hathaway’s character “Andy” scoffs when Meryl Streep’s fashion tyrant persona, “Miranda Priestly” is trying to decide between two seemingly same-colored blue belts. While Andy naively refers to fashion as “stuff,” Miranda coolly informs her that the belts aren’t blue, turquoise, or even lapis, but rather cerulean, which were cornerstones of Oscar de la Renta and Yves Saint Laurent’s collections. Then this color du jour made its way down the fashion food chain until:

“…You no doubt fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs, and it’s sort of comical how you think you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry, when in fact, you’re wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room… from a pile of “stuff.”

Think that “stuff” was just made up for the movie? Think again.

Already world-renowned trend forecaster Li Edelkoort is predicting what we’ll be seeing in autumn/winter 2011-2012. Edelkoort announces the concepts, colors and materials which will be in fashion two or more years in advance because as she puts it, “there is no creation without advance knowledge, and without design, a product cannot exist.”

Twice a year, she and her finely-tuned team take this vision around the world, giving intuitive seminars that coincide with the coveted Trend Union forecasting book.

What does Edelkoort see on the trends horizon? Birds. According to her, our fine feathered friends of all varieties will permeate every area of our lives—they way we live, where we live, and how we dress— giving us the wings to experience a new road to colors, textures, and creativity.

So when you start seeing fowl influences migrating into your daily life, you’ll know it’s the “stuff” you heard about two years ago.