Home decoration is often an exercise in restraint. In waiting to buy a piece of furniture until you’re sure you know what you need, or love what you found. In not shoving everything on a shelf when you move in under the delusion that “you’ll organize it later.” In giving yourself time to mull a decision while things look a little unfinished. The most charming homes I’ve been in aren’t the nicest, or the cleanest; they’re the one’s created with a palpable kind of intentionality. I try to keep that in mind when shopping for my own, and I’ve found that my most cherished apartments buys are things I honest-to-god needed, truly loved at first site or, ideally, both.
It’s an approach that requires time, but honest recommendations can help speed it up. Which is why I tapped team Man Repeller to tell me one item that played an important role in making their apartments feel like home. Read on to see what they said and drop your choice in the comments for mutual perusing.
Picked by: Leandra, Founder
Why did you initially buy it? The living space in our great room is where we hang out most of the time, and because my kids aren’t crawling yet, it has essentially also turned turned into their play garden. We spend a lot of time sitting on the rug building shit in colorful, plastic shapes, but our former rug (a woven blend), while beautiful, was shedding like hell, so we looked into a finding a new one that wouldn’t shed but would maintain the eccentric minimalist vibe of the woven blend.
How does it make such a difference in your home? Unbeknownst to me, changing your rug really changes the entire atmosphere of the space that it’s in. If the energy felt more spritely or summery with the first rug, it is much cozier now. The perfect place to pitch a fake tent, for example. In that way, a rug is everything like a fashion accessory in maintaining precisely the transformative quality that can radically augments what you’re wearing (or where you’re living) without actually changing the bulk of the contents.
Picked by: Elizabeth, Market Strategist
Why did you initially buy it? When I was in college at NYU, I was really into refurbished items for my teeny apartment because they were budget and sustainable. I used this guy to hold the jeans I wore the most in the corner of my room in my pint-sized Greenwich Village apartment. Today, though, it sits upside down as my coffee table/foot rest and, by the way, my apartment is still as teeny as it was then, I just live in a different borough.
How does it make such a difference in your home? I just love the way it looks and that it has a story to it. Also, it’s the perfect height for a foot rest and because it’s so used and old, the wood is smooth rather than splintery.
Picked by: Starling, Office Coordinator
Why did you initially buy it? I initially bought these hangers for my mobile vintage clothing shop. My sister (/business partner) and I slept in our 1950s bus and set up shop in different towns each day. Because our wares were getting unpacked and repacked each day, I wanted to find a way of presenting the clothes that matched their vintage charm. These BB&B hangers were the answer. They gave our items an elevated sense of preciousness and I had many customers ask where the hangers were from (most people assumed they were vintage, too!).
How does it make such a difference in your home? After the bus tour was over and I moved to NYC into an apartment that had no closets, I used the hangers as a way to make my clothing racks seem daintier.
Picked by: Matt, Head of Business Development
Why did you initially buy it? It was my only request for my 30th birthday and was an effort to step into my third decade feeling like an adult
How does it make such a difference in your home? I live in a studio which means my living room, dining room and bedroom are all conveniently located in one square box and this little beauty has done WONDERS in helping me keep my home tidy. AND IT’S SO FUN!
Picked by: Emily, Visual Manager
Why did you initially buy it? I wanted a light directly over our bed that could function as a reading lamp and also look aesthetically pleasing.
How does it make such a difference in your home? We use and look at this lamp every single night and day, which is why I think it was worth investing in. It makes us happy and gives off a warm cozy feel.
Picked by: Nora, Managing Editor
Why did you initially buy it? We don’t have a ton of counter space (especially for cooking larger meals), and this lets us make the most of our weird layout.
How does it make such a difference in your home? I knock fewer things over and am generally a happier person come dinner time.
Picked by: Amalie, Social Media Manager
Why did you initially buy it? Normally I am dead to the world in the mornings (especially since my partner and I sleep with blackout shades), and that needed to change.
How does it make such a difference in your home? This alarm clock feels like a ray of sunshine, and it emits a sound akin to what I imagine someone playing a pan flute in a meadow clearing with fuzzy animals and birds nearby would sound like. If you ever played Legend of Zelda growing up, you feel me.
Picked by: Dasha, Director of Product Development
Why did you initially buy it? My friend had it on her guest bed at her new house and it was the best night’s sleep I’d had in a while.
How does it make such a difference in your home? It’s like sleeping on a supportive cloud — it perfectly hugs your head and holds up your neck. This is affordable luxury at its finest. It seems crazy to spend this much on a set of pillows, but then you realize you are with your pillow for eight hours a day, and that’s a long time to spend with one thing. I’d rather spend it with my head in the clouds.
Picked by: Edith, Photographer and Photo Editor
Why did you initially buy it? To hasten up the pace of my egg-frying process while staying PTFE- and PTOA-free.
How does it make such a difference in your home? The Small Fry makes me 10x more likely to whip up some over-easy eggs or sauté mushrooms when the cleaning process is less cumbersome and time consuming. But I also came here to ask — does anyone have a clear teapot or a bathtub caddy tray they would wholeheartedly recommend?
Picked by: Patty, Head of Partnerships
Why did you initially buy it? I needed some more shelving in my bedroom for shoes, oils, jewelry, tarot cards, accoutrements, etc.
How does it make such a difference in your home? It looks great in my room and all of these floating things now have a home, plus I love moving furniture around so the ability for it to transform from a tall, narrow shelf to a short, wide piece is SO very wonderful.
Picked by: Harling, Fashion Editor
Why did you initially buy it? The brand sent it to me to try out! I was skeptical at first because I normally hate memory foam pillows, but this one completely changed my opinion. It’s lighter and foamier than most memory foam so it doesn’t feel like I’m sleeping on a hunk of hard dough. It also has a silk pillowcase that’s great for my curly hair. It only comes in black, which I don’t love, but apparently that makes it negate light and promote better sleep, which I DO love.
How does it make such a difference in your home? My apartment is tiny and I live with roommates, so I spend a lot of time in my room, and especially in my bed. Making my bed as comfortable and cozy as possible is therefore a big priority for me, and this pillow has really taken things up a notch. Frankly, all other pillows pale in comparison.
Picked by: Haley, Deputy Editor
Why did you initially buy it? I’ve long held the belief that “cool” blankets (i.e. the ones I aesthetically love) aren’t actually cozy. As an extremely comfort-oriented person, I need something I can wrap around me so decadently I forget I have a physical form. It sounds counterintuitive, but I think less expensive blankets (this one is $35) do this better. I picked this one from Amazon because it looks like a fluffy dog in blanket form.
How does it make such a difference in your home? This blanket far exceeded my expectations. I am genuinely delighted every time I get in bed (and keep saying “this blanket is my favorite thing in the world” to my boyfriend whenever we do). The best part is that one side is more of a shearling material (which is warm to the touch) and one side is silkier (which is cool to the touch), meaning I can switch it depending on my bodily temperature. I love this blanket, should I keep talking about it?
Feature image by Emily Assiran of Lotta Nieminen’s home in Brooklyn.