Six Design Rules to Break

Rules can be helpful – especially when you’re doing something new. But rules are also made to be broken – especially when it comes to a creative process like decorating your home. If you’re afraid of making a design faux pas, here are six rules you can toss out of your (treatment-free) window:

Design Rules Old and New

You shouldn’t mix old with new

Your room isn’t meant to be a time capsule. In fact, decorating in a single style or period can make a room feel boring and uninspired. Instead, pick your favorite pieces from across decades. If you love them, chances are they’ll work well together. One way to create a cohesive look is to use the room’s architecture for inspiration. If you live in a traditional Colonial, for example, combine contemporary pieces with an Oriental rug. You want your room to look as though it’s been assembled over time, not in a single shopping spree.


Design Rules Sofa

A living room needs a sofa

It used to be that designing a living room started with the sofa. This rule no longer need apply. Consider creating a cozy conversation space with four oversized easy chairs. A pair of loveseats or settees can make a space feel more formal. Or choose a chaise and an easy chair combination, for a place to relax and unwind. While you can never go wrong using a sofa in a living room, it’s not the only option.

Design Rules Windows

Windows need window treatments

If you have a beautiful view and gorgeous windows, there’s no rule that says you have to cover them up with window treatments. Let the outdoors in by leaving windows treatment-free. This is a great choice when privacy and insulation aren’t a concern.

Design Rules Nightstand

Nightstands should match

His and hers doesn’t have to mean identical. Why not create a more interesting setting by letting each person choose the nightstand option that suits them best? If you like to read in bed while enjoying a cup of tea, choose a sleek glass-top end table. If your partner prefers to store magazines and the remote, a more classic design with drawers would be best. Then bridge the difference by choosing a similar finish.

Every room needs a pop of color

An accent wall or bright throw pillows certainly make a room feel alive, but monochromatic rooms can be just as interesting. Design a room in subtle shades of gray or ivory or tan. Neutrals look very rich when they’re layered in different textures.

Choose one wood finish and stick with it

While it’s never a bad choice to bring home a matching dining room set, you make a room much more interesting when you mix pieces. While many people are afraid to use more than one wood finish in a room, it’s actually a great way to create a layered look. Dark furniture looks great when placed on light oak floors, for example. Or choose furnishings with mixed finishes. Limit the finishes to two or three, and use them throughout the space for a harmonious look.


Style 101: Coastal Style

Life’s better at the beach. So why not bring some of those good vibrations home? Coastal style gives you the feeling of being on vacation all year long. Its casual attitude and breezy energy makes it an easy-to-live-with option that is classic and fun.

If you like Coastal Style, here are five things you should bring to your sea-worthy residence:



Coastal style sings the blues. Choose your favorite shade of blue or introduce a palette that combines more than one. From sky to turquoise to midnight, blue helps you feel calm and relaxed, and you can create depth by layering shades of blue and using patterns. For accent colors, look to other sea inspirations, such as sand, coral and green. The result will be refreshing.

Lots of Light

Dare to bare your windows, or keep them minimally covered when possible. Coastal rooms are known for letting in the light. In rooms that require treatments, such as bedrooms, consider draperies that can be pulled back during the daytime. Or choose white Plantation shutters that are classic Coastal Style.


Sea-Inspired Accessories

Bring the feeling of the sea into your room with items you might discover on the beach. A basket of shells, beach glass or driftwood adds a touch of nature. An antique telescope or sextant gives your room a maritime feel. Or choose a nautical-inspired print or decorative chest. But be careful not to overdo it – you don’t want to like a seafood restaurant! Less is more when it comes to creating the right balance.

A Casual Feel

Coastal Style promotes barefoot living, so make sure your home is casual and comfortable. Warm up wood or tile floors with a nice rug. Choose furnishings that encourage people to lounge and linger. Add an ottoman that beckons you to enjoy an afternoon spent with a book.

White And Bright

Coastal rooms get definition from crisp white woodwork that amplifies the blue hue. Use white in furnishings, as well. Or choose light wood varieties like oak, maple, and pine in natural finishes. You’ll want to avoid heavy, dark woods, opting for painted varieties instead. Or lighten the look of dark wood by toning it down with white accents.



Look Alike Desk

A sleek and contemporary desk offers the perfect combination of function and modern design, elevating the look and atmosphere of your office. These two desks look alike. Both have a beautiful walnut finish and both feature sleek track metal legs and an elevated work surface.


One is the Clybourn Walnut Executive Desk from Crate and Barrel, which sells for $2,699, and the other is the Petunia Walnut Desk from Art Van Furniture, which sells for $389 and includes free shipping.


Why work harder and spend more than you have to? Click here to save a well-deserved $2,310. We’ve got the look (for a lot less!)

We’ve Got the Look: Anne Hathaway’s Connecticut Dining Room

Actress Anne Hathaway recently bought a 4,561-square-foot home in Connecticut for $2.8 million. Rich with charm, the gorgeous five-bedroom 1920 estate has the quaint feel of a New England cottage with European design and flair.


We love the stunning dining room, which has lots of character. The cozy stone fireplace sets a rustic tone, while the crystal chandelier provides a touch of sparkle and glamour. If you like the room that features a touch of new and old, we’ve got the look.


Start with a farmhouse table. This beautiful piece is from Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Home Collection. The keyed trestle table is weighty for a statement piece in the room. Perfect for dinner, it’s also a great place for homework and craft projects.


Hathaway’s room pairs rustic with modern, using vintage cantilever-style frame chairs. Our Father Dining Chairs offer the same look. The leather-look upholstery is quilted and features a distressed finish, which blends well with the farmhouse table. The dark frame offers an urban touch, which works well in this room.


In the corner, Hathaway has a china cabinet to hold and display serving pieces. Our San Rafael Display Cabinet works well with the farmhouse table, and the circle pattern on the doors offers a beautiful design element.


Finally, a crystal chandelier sets a special tone in Hathaway’s room. Our stunning Eleanor Chandelier offers the same effect and has the look of a candelabrum. It features chrome and crystals for an elegant display.

Your Guide to Buying Custom Furniture

You’re an individual and your style is your own. Why not express your personality through your home furnishings? Custom furniture is the perfect way to show that you’re a one of a kind, and the process isn’t as complicated or expensive as you might think. At Art Van Furniture, we have several lines of furniture with custom options. Here’s how it goes:


Choose Your Style

Whether you have a distinct design preference or embrace a touch of many, start by choosing your style. Here are a few popular options:

Traditional. This style is inspired from formal elegance and historic times. Your furniture tends to be classically beautiful with detailed wood scrolling, intricate embroidery, feminine shapes, carvings, and filigree. Your color scheme is typically on the darker side with rich tones and finishes throughout, and you love antiques.

Urban. This style is inspired by the hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitan city life where furniture has an emphasis on shape and color, straight lines, tight backs, and geometric shapes. You prefer sleek and sophisticated design with clean lines. Your accessories are most likely minimal, simple, and striking. Your choices of color range from black and white to bold and vivid.

Casual. This style is inspired by living the comfortable life, with plush furniture that’s extra durable for your active lifestyle. You prefer your home to be simple and warm. Your upholstery is soft and round, and fabrics are usually in neutral colors. Your accessories are most likely lighthearted and whimsical.

Rustic/Farmhouse. This style is inspired by nature and a laid-back country lifestyle where the furniture is durable, relaxed, practical, and simple. Finishes and materials include wrought iron, distressed woods and leathers. Detail is important, so you may find hobnails and tarnished edges. Color schemes are usually earth toned and reflective of natural colors.

Modern. This look is inspired by sophisticated life in the city. Pieces are sleek and chic, with straight lines and geometric shapes. Finishes and materials include upholstery such as leather or microsuede, and metal like chrome or brass. Details are kept minimal, letting the silhouette stand out.


Choose Your Fabric or Finish

Making sure your home reflects your true individuality is easy to do with fashionable and versatile custom order furniture. Find your favorite leather or fabric. Choose something understated or go bold; it’s all up to you! For wood pieces, choose your finish, ranging from light to espresso.


When choosing fabric, it helps to consider who will use it. If you have young kids, you’ll want fabrics that are durable. If your dining table will double as a homework/craft station, consider tabletops that are easy to wipe clean. And if you have pets who will be enjoying the sofa or chair, too, think about scratch-resistant upholstery or a fabric that will repel fur.


Choose Your Accents

The final step is adding the details. Consider accents such as nailhead trim, fringe, welting or tassels. These choices will represent your style point of view, so choose wisely. Then select the upholstery for toss pillows, contrasting or matching the body of the piece. Details make the look your own.


Then it’s time to relax and count the days until your home becomes a one-of-a-kind display of your style. Your one-of-a-kind creation will be in your home sooner than you’d expect!


“Style is emotional and personal,” says HGTV’s Hilary Farr. “Go as far as your imagination will take you and never settle.”