There are many opinions out there about what really separates good design from great design. And, product designers have been working to crack that code for years — investing research and time into what makes customers tick. Perhaps it is an item's ability to blend right in with its surroundings or to offer a streamlined experience along with an eye-pleasing exterior? I would like to believe that great design is the completely visceral reaction to a product coupled with its ability to not only function well, but to enhance and anticipate needs without being so overt about it. It's the study of behavior and culture and boiling it down into a product that makes people go "wow"! In short, you just know it when you see it.
And, sure, great design can be subjective, and really hard to quantify. But, there are studies that do show the personal as well as professional benefits. This study shows that prioritizing design can have a major payoff in terms of profit for a business — with businesses who lead with design as a top pillar seeing almost a 299% increase in profit over those who did not.
Here at the Lonny HQ, we've been talking a lot about the amazing design-driven companies that come across our desks, and how we've really seen a fundamental shift in the way companies prioritize design. Perhaps it's partly due to the way millennials shop or because of the attention to convenience and quality direct-to-consumer brands provide.
Regardless of the reason, we can say (from experience) products that are designed well make us happy and even take those mundane tasks, like laundry, and make them tolerable. This is why we rounded up some of our favorites products that add a touch of beauty to our lives every day — or at least almost.
We have divided up some of our favorite pretty products by room and function and the results are pretty impressive. In fact, our talented stylist Kaeja Korty brought in some amazing props for the shoot — and you can hardly tell which is the prop or which one is the functional item. We call that a win. If you're looking to add a glimmer of beauty to your everyday, this is a good place to start.
Let's be honest, getting work done is so much better when you have pretty accessories to help you get through it. Making your desk a design haven with items that are both gorgeous and do the trick is key. We paired a pretty mint tape dispenser by Hay with sleek scissors (also Hay) with golden accents like a sleek Poketo ruler and Leif metallic notepad. And, we threw in that vintage Playboy for good measure. Hey, all in a day's work!
There's no shortage of beautiful items for the kitchen — stemware, platters, pitchers, you name it. But, what about the items that no one really thinks to make pretty? The stuff that isn't always presented to guests but used every day (or at least used often enough you find yourself reaching for it on the regular). You know, like olive oil, cheese graters, spice grinders? We bet you didn't realize an eye-pleasing iteration of these existed? Well, they sure do. Now every inch of your kitchen can have a wink of pretty — not just the stuff that our friends and family revel at but you will actually get a little bit of joy interacting with.
You know that luxurious feeling when you shower with fancy hotel soaps? Or indulge in a little self-care bath time? It feels good, right? Well, that could be your life every day without even thinking about it with a little switch of your current bathroom items (and they won't run up the same bill as a trip to the spa, we promise). By upgrading those little things your bathroom (again that we sometimes fail to take into consideration), like floss, razors, or toothpaste, you can live that #goodlife every time you brush your chompers. In fact, it's actually the bathroom products that are the most exciting to us, because of these direct-to-consumer brands like Billie, Quip, and Cocofloss that are really changing the game. And, the best part is that you'll never find yourself high and dry, heading to the convenient store to replenish. Most of the aforementioned brands come with subscription services so once you start to run low you can get them delivered right to your door. If that isn't convenience, what is? Oh, and of course, they make the tasks like shaving so much more entertaining. Top it off with a luxe soap like the ones by Studio Cue and you're golden — we speak from experience.
Billie Razor Starter Kit, $9, Billie; Studio Cue Golda Soaps, $16 to $18, Studio Cue; Lebon Sweet Extravagance Toothpaste, $21, David Pirrotta; Cocofloss Single, $8, Cocofloss; Quip Starter Set, $45, Quip.
The Wellness Shelf
There's a definite mass affinity for wellness that can't be ignored. Folks are turning more and more to the transformative benefits of self-care and we don't blame them. If you haven't already started to build your wellness shelf (you know, a dedicated spot in your home for all the items or potions that relax and support your needs) you definitely should. Even if it's just a pocket of space on a shelf, your mind and body will thank you. We rounded a few of our favorites like a water bottle that lays flat in your bag (because, hydration is the ultimate self-care) to the most design-driven personal lubricant we've ever seen — all of these health and wellness items have an aesthetic and we're here for it. How did we even take vitamins before they looked as enticing as the signature Ritual capsules? May we never look back.
The Utility Shed
Okay, we know probably none of us have a "utility shed" per se — because, apartment life. But, you probably have a fair share of random tools hanging around your house for the occasional task. And, because we know space is precious, having utilitarian items that won't cramp your style is the way to go. No one would ever even guess that these items had an another job aside from looking radiant. The Spartan Shop bottle opener and the Good Thing flashlight look like a pieces of art that should be on display. Plus, that primary-colored tool box? So sleek.
The Cleaning Cabinet
Cleaning isn't glamorous — there's really no way around it. Even with products that enhance the experience it's still a slog, but we have to do it (or at least we should). Making the experience at least semi-enjoyable with wash that's easy on the eye or a mini-brush that will make after-dinner crumbs a thing of the past sounds ideal.
Photography by Maria del Rio; Styling by Kaeja Korta; Creative by Briana Gagnier; Editorial Direction by Angela Tafoya.