When it comes to imagining your dream home, there are probably a handful of pieces that spring to mind: a statement sofa, a lively rug, perhaps a palm tree floor lamp (follow your heart!). For all these easily envisioned, thrillingly aesthetic choices, however, there are a multitude of household items that we spend zero time dreaming of. Often rendered in garish plastic, these items (most often found in the kitchen and supply closet) are dull to look at and uninspiring to use (looking at you, ugly toilet brush). What’s an aesthete to do to have a functional home without spending hours researching laundry hampers? Wouldn’t it be swell if someone with great taste simply gifted you a list of the best, most beautiful version of every homemaking necessity?
Enter Alex Kalita, co-founder and CEO of Common Bond Design, a New York–based firm with a “modern, utility-driven” approach to solving design problems at all budgets. After noticing that many of her clients were struggling to find the same types of practical products for their new homes (often caught between ultra performance–driven review sites and those that made aesthetic recommendations with no mind paid to price), she decided to draw on her personal and professional knowledge to create a secret shopping list just for them.
Having been successfully put to the test by clients with a variety of interior styles (and even used as the basis for an entire wedding registry), we asked Kalita for an exclusive peek into her essentials list. Here is a selection of some of her favorite gems—all under $100 and all available on Amazon today.
For Extra Storage
Have a metal door or magnetic fridge? Kalita recommends leveraging this oft-overlooked “organizational real estate” with magnetic storage racks. The key hooks can also cleverly organize all your other leaving-the-house essentials (a coiled phone charger, sunglasses, a reusable market tote), while the spice shelf keeps your counter clear and can even conceal that smudge on your rental fridge.
For Your Wake-Up Call
When a client’s project called for an analog alarm clock that would be subtly backlit at night, Kalita and stylist Veronica Olson searched high and low before landing on this handsome design by Marathon. Featuring silent hands (no maddening ticking!) and a “gentle, classic alarm sound,” this clock comes in multiple colors and rings in under $30.
For the Cupboard
Durable, affordable, kid-friendly, dishwasher-safe, and stackable (another must for small spaces), these glasses, made in France, are a no-brainer.
For Extra Seasoning
Tired of those clunky plastic salt and pepper grinders? Kalita suggests switching it up with these Scandi-chic versions from Menu, favorites for their ease of use, fresh contemporary colors, and simple-to-clean silicone exterior.
For Your Morning Cup
For the perfect cup of pour-over coffee, Kalita is a fan of this under-$40 stainless steel kettle with a built-in thermometer—it’s a timeless design that will work with any kitchen style. Life hack: The long “gooseneck” spout means the kettle can also serve double duty as a watering can.
For the Noteworthy
Although these mini magnets may not look like much, Kalita has over 50 of them now, employing them for everything from pinning up samples and floor plans above her desk to tastefully displaying photos on her fridge and metal apartment door.
For Laundry Day
Kalita’s clients repeatedly requested a portable laundry hamper that had at least two sections, looked dignified enough to leave out, and didn’t cost a fortune. This chrome-and-canvas cart fits the bill for under $40.
For Breezy Season
Praising Stadler Form as the “gold standard of aesthetically appealing climate control,” Kalita recommends this small streamlined design for your desktop or bedside. (You can even plug it into a portable charger for use on the go.)
For Drafty Days
Kalita discovered this chic space heater through intensive personal research and has crowned it as the only top-performing space heater that passes the interior designer aesthetics test.
For the Storage Under the Bed
Sourced for a client with the help of Become Organized, these under-bed storage bags are large and sturdy, include a clear plastic window for easy identification, and are made in an unobtrusive canvas that will blend in visually with your other organizational products.
For the Top Shelf
In Kalita’s opinion, a step ladder is a necessity for leveraging vertical storage space. She likes Hasegawa’s sleek aluminum version, describing it as “mind-blowingly light for its strength.” It’s also easy to stow and attractive enough to keep out in the open.
For a Chic Clean
After seeing Marseille soap throughout Provence, France, where natives used it for washing hands, dishes, and clothes, Kalita brought the charming cubes back to Brooklyn and has been hooked ever since. Thanks to Amazon, you won’t have to book an international flight to bring the Provençal charm to your own washbasin.
See more of our best Amazon Home finds:
Everything in Our Kit for New Plant Parents Is on Amazon
11 Picnic Essentials You Can Find on Amazon Today
12 Rad Coffee Tables You Can Amazon Prime RN
Amazon Has Secretly Been Selling the Chicest Lights