Grimy gym floors, deserted tire yards, and worn down erasers are a handful of culprits that have given rubber a not-so-chic rap. Lucky for us, a new wave of burgeoning designers and furniture makers are out to change everything we thought we knew about the buoyant material—and their creations are stretchy perfection.
Much like its fellow shapeshifting friends (resin and mesh included), rubber’s chameleon-like qualities have made it an attractive alternative for the home. No longer relegated to the elementary or mundane, the springy substance is beginning to grace the forms of every household staple—from statement lighting and seating to kitchen essentials and bathroom accessories. Not convinced? Here are 13 rad rubber finds that are unexpectedly chic.
401 Chair, Kristen Wentrcek and Andrew Zebulon, $3,400
Wentrcek and Zebulon’s chair made a loud splash at the aptly-titled “This Is Not A Chair” exhibition in High Point, North Carolina earlier this fall, and it’s easy to see why. While its low-slung seat—really, a heavy slab of industrial polyurethane rubber—gives the piece its streamlined slouch, the minimal yellow pine frame extends much-needed structure.
Gris Rubber Coasters, Slash Objects, $95
Arielle Assouline Lichten, the founder and creator of Slash Objects, started her Brooklyn-based design studio with one simple intention: to give recycled rubber new life as decorative objects. While her homeware collection encompasses everything from cylindrical side tables to standing mirrors, these beautiful rubber coasters—an ideal pick for the eco-conscious hostess—feel especially timely with the holidays around the corner.
Positive Negative Mugs by Recreation Center, Hawkins New York, $42
Hand dipped in black rubber, this might be the coolest handle we’ve ever seen on a mug. This stretchy addition and the careful attention to detail are just two reasons this morning must-have belongs in your kitchen cabinet.
Basket C12, Neo Design Store, $403
Who said that wovens have to be soft? Taking a fresh stance on crochet, this bendy basket will put your finest knits and fibers to shame.
Well Done Yoga Mat, Anthropologie, $58
Everyone knows your fellow yogis judge you by your mat. Impress classmates next session with this ultra-absorbent pad, which has been specifically designed for comfort and a strong grip with its suede and rubber top.
Unfold Pendant Lamp, Muuto, price upon request
From afar, this fixture might look like an ordinary metal pendant. However, this deceivingly quirky shade is actually comprised of soft silicone rubber, meaning it can be crushed, compressed, and crammed any which way you prefer.
Washing-Up Bowl and Brush, Normann Copenhagen, $90
Given its flexible nature and water-proof form, this fiery red bowl makes for a bonus soaking spot for anyone with a less-than-sizable sink. Doing the dishes no longer has to feel like a chore.
Hub Mirror, Umbra, $150
We love a good round mirror—and this rubber-lined one does not disappoint. Introduce shape and texture to a room by hanging this reflective beauty up on a blank wall.
Rubber Waste Basket, Zara Home, $49.90
Tossing your trash in trash? We’ll call that, trashception. Making the most of otherwise scrap material, this tire-inspired basket takes a slightly industrial tone with its rigged edges and worn-down tread.
Submarino Bath Set, Beam, $75
One part soap dispenser, one part toothbrush holder, and one part storage catch-all, this sunny yellow submarine wants to bring a touch of maritime cheer to your morning ritual. Thanks to its rubber-coated porcelain composition, this vanity essential is designed to withstand slippery surfaces.
Rubber Spade Chair by Faye Toogood, March, $2,200
Inspired by the timeless appeal of a three-legged milking stool, Faye Toogood’s imaginative iteration merges English countryside style with raw contemporary ingenuity. Its rubbery irregularity is what gives the seat its eye-catching character.
Vegetable Peeler, Amazon, $17.95
Have you ever been mid-zucchini peel and thought, ‘Hey, could this feel chicer?’ No? Well, once you have this handy rubber peeler in hand, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t been stripping your veggies in style all along.
Poppin Blush Softie Grip Grass, Anthropologie, $12
Our favorite desk essentials already happen to be made of rubber, so why not add a design-savvy addition to the mix? Corral miscellaneous office clutter and loose papers with this peachy grip.