Buying a gift for someone’s home is an infinitely more personal gesture than, say, purchasing a dress or t-shirt. Whereas the latter items can be squirreled away in closets or rotated on a daily basis, the perfect tea kettles, blenders and Surrealist landscape paintings prove to be more of a conundrum. Though personal style is one gauge for determining another’s taste, looks can be deceiving—particularly when a disproportionate amount of our budgets are spent saving for Margiela and skimping on IKEA. Short of saying Happy Holidays with a Crate & Barrel gift card or replacing the bowl you broke last Thanksgiving, there are still a few options for home decorating fiends. You can buy from an interiors guru you know they already admire, go for something innocuous yet eminently useful, or simply ask the gift-receiver. Or you can follow JC Report’s guide to items destined never to be re-gifted.
Sometimes the most delightful presents are the one you don’t even want to touch, let alone use. Behold Masashi Tentaku‘s Kudamemo apple- and pear-shaped sticky notes, the most appetizing antidote to the Post-it pad we’ve ever seen. Speaking of yumminess, we’d probably be loath to actually eat one of Sucré‘s macaroons, lest we disrupt the rainbow-packaged perfection—but even if your appetite gets in the way, we hear they’re divinely delicious.
If using pencils to scribble down your thoughts seems about as apt as penning a love letter with quills, then clearly you haven’t seen Lanvin‘s black-and-white commemorative crayons. To celebrate 120 years of the venerable French brand, designer Alber Elbaz created a set featuring both his own quirky likeness as well as those of assorted cartoon mamans et filles. An equally lovely alternative that’s fragrant to boot is Kiosk‘s all-natural lavender soap, which is imported straight from Provence.
For those design mavens who are equally versed in Gehry and Gucci, Zaha Hadid‘s stainless steel Crevasse vase is the way to go. The Pritzker prize-winning architect also created last year’s multi-city Chanel mobile art pavilion, and this piece is another excellent example of strong, sensuous modernity. Vitsoe‘s ultra-utilitarian shelving is equally steeped in superior craftsmanship. The shelves are part of the Dieter Rams-designed collection of mobile, re-arrangeable units for the office, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. We see them centered nicely below Cocktail Designers‘ acrylic aviator mirror, or acting as the perfect perch on which to place anything created courtesy of Muji‘s origami folding paper.
Once party time rolls around, ensure that your friends don’t replicate last year’s plastic (or not) coaster faux pas. Anna Rabinowicz‘s Brazilian agate set will not only add a little color to even the dullest of family functions, but, according to lore, it will also bring its owners good luck and pleasant dreams. And there’s no need to lie awake at night wondering whether your mom’s mini cheeseballs will be a hit again—provided they’re deliciously displayed in Tom Kovac‘s limited-edition, black stainless steel bowl or set atop Pierre Marie‘s bizarrely beautiful porcelain plates.
The aforementioned Margiela-coveting, IKEA-buying friend could probably use a little fix right about now. Though a given coffee table might collapse under the weight of the über-reclusive Belgian designer’s recently published tome, nothing offers a more comprehensive look at the enigmatic, inimitable artist’s life work. Both the new Prada book and goth guru Tim Burton’s Tragic Thoughts Light Up Journal are also both worth a gander. Meanwhile, Dame Vivienne Westwood‘s latest interiors foray might just leave your Anglophile friend’s mouth agape. Created for The Rug Company, this pillow is cheeky and fun—an ideal conversation piece for any non-family gathering.