By Lydia Geisel

Published on November 8, 2018

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ILLUSTRATION BY PHUONG NGUYEN

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.  

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photo courtesy of Kristen Wentrcek and Andrew Zebulon

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.

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photo courtesy of slash objects

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.

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photo courtesy of hawkins ny

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.

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photo courtesy of neo

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.

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photo courtesy of anthropologie

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.

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photo courtesy of Muuto

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.

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courtesy of normann copenhagen

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.

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photo courtesy of umbra

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.

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photo courtesy of zara home

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.

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photo courtesy of beam BK

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.

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photo courtesy of March SF

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.

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photo courtesy of amazon

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.

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photo courtesy of anthropologie

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.

See more home decor we’re loving: 
Affordable Lighting That Still Looks Chic
Zara Home Is Having a Major Sale—Here Are 4 Trends We’re Loving
How to Decorate with Animal Print if You Hate Animal Print