These Are the Diamonds in the Rough in Wayfair’s Annual Sale
We did the digging for you and found Alessi, Smeg, an Aalto vase, and more good design buried among piles of perishable furniture.
Admittedly, looking for furniture and other home goods at multi-brand retailer Wayfair can be a bit of a struggle. But it’s important to remember that much like everything else in life, there’s often something good amidst a large, heaping pile of bad, if you just spend some time, use your eyes, and look.
The rewards you reap for due diligence are plentiful: There are some proverbial diamonds in the rough, including sexy Italian housewares from Alessi, perky prints from Marimekko, and every possible iteration of retro kitchen appliances from Smeg. Good design is good design, regardless of its provenance, so take a look at the things we’ve surfaced. (Fun fact: Some of these picks are on sale as a part of Wayfair’s Way Day, a celebration of discounts on home goods for two days only.)
Alessi's sterling reputation is hardly a secret, and now, the cat’s really out of the bag, because you can find the brand’s stuff on Wayfair. The Italian design shop has been around since 1921, and their metalwork is world renowned for its sinuous curves and inventive design. If you’re not familiar, try and imagine the sexiest flatware you’ve ever seen or a corkscrew with a sense of humor, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what Alessi does.
The Dutch design company makes elevated outdoor and indoor furniture that brushes the hem of neotenic design without actually embodying it in full: think puffy bean bags for outdoor use and marshmallow-y sofas. Fatboy’s offerings on Wayfair include some fantastic outdoor lighting and a graphic indoor-outdoor rug that skews Scandi, but would work in any setting.
Of all the prints that exist in the wild and wooly world of bedding, Marimekko’s Technicolor florals are riotously cheerful without being aggressive. The Finnish brand’s signature poppies liven up even the darkest of bedrooms, but don’t sleep (ha ha!) on their graphic stripes—the black and white set is minimalism for maximalists, while the red and white set is a delightful take on subway tile but for textiles. Innovative! Fresh! On Wayfair!
Sometimes the best home decor item is the one that whispers instead of shouts. For this specific need, Yamazaki Home rises to the occasion beautifully. Think Muji but all grown up, and you’ll automatically understand what we’re working with here: simple and elegant storage solutions that wrangle the mess and clutter of a life well-lived into some semblance of organized chaos. Replace the clothing chair in your bedroom with a ladder rack and give your umbrellas a home that isn’t the floor by the front door.
Started by two architects and a sculptor, Blu Dot’s furnishings are modern without being inaccessible–the sort of chair that looks as good as it feels, with little frills, muss or fuss. The brand’s outdoor furniture is unmatched, but we especially like the credenza-adjacent bookcase with open shelving that’s versatile enough to be used in a variety of configurations: behind a sofa; as a media stand; in a particularly grand and imposing foyer. And if furniture is what you crave, the Deep Thoughts leather lounge chair is the adult version of Ikea Poang, dressed in its finest leathers.
What is there to be said about Le Creuset that we don’t already know? The sturdy, heirloom-quality cast iron cookware was beloved by Julia Child and countless others and their Dutch oven is a mainstay of wedding registries for good reason: it’s a solid workhorse that does any job you throw at it, from braising a pork shoulder to baking bread. Other brand standouts that get a little less shine? The tea kettle is a hefty lass with a gentle but insistent whistle and the salt mill and pepper grinder set are classics of the genre.
This brand is practically an American institution when it comes to kitchen and bath fixtures and fixings, and their products are sound. But what makes Kohler a bit of fun in this very overcrowded space is their inventive use of color. Think outside the box and marinate on a kitchen that doesn’t look like everyone else’s. A navy sink or a dark black tub isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you!
If you love the look of vintage appliances but have no desire to manually defrost the freezer, then you are certainly familiar with Smeg’s offerings. The aforementioned refrigerators are probably the most recognizable—chunky, happy little things in bright colors—but if you’re really going for it, aesthetically, then why not pair your retro fridge with the toaster or tea kettle to match! Lean into that Leave It To Beaver fantasy.
Finnish glassware brand Iittala has been around since the 1880s, and are perhaps best known for their collaborations with vaunted and actually iconic designers like Alvar and Aino Aalto, the husband and wife duo whose work defined the mid-century Finnish aesthetic and are likely the reason why wobbly, curvy glassware endures. Plop a peony or three into Alvar’s lissome glass vase, have a little sip of something fun from the Aino-designed pitcher and attendant glasses, and think Scandinavian thoughts.
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