28 Great Gifts for the Home
When in doubt as to what to give a friend or family member, a present for her home is always a good option. There’s nothing like a thoughtfully chosen gift to make your friend’s house a little bit more comfortable, cozy, and stylish. Plus, chances are she has a running wish list of something practical or decorative for the home, so your gift won’t be something that goes to waste. There are so many options for home gifts, so you’ll be able to find something unique and impressive without a tireless hunt. For the friend who is always hosting dinner or cocktail parties, there are plenty of accessories or helpful finds for the entertaining extraordinaire. If you have a friend who is always on the go and traveling for work, gift her a cozy blanket or a luxurious candle that will make it easy for her to unwind when she returns home. Or, maybe your brother just moved into his first house or apartment, give him something that’s practical and clever, like a kitchen gadget, or a terrarium to add some greenery (don’t worry: they’re easy to take care of) to his space. We know that everyone a unique design aesthetic at home, so there are plenty of finds for every person, from the midcentury modern-obsessed or the minimalist, to the glamour girl or the bohemian. Next time you’re at her house, take some notes about her decorating style to gather clues. That way, you’re sure to find something just right.
Farmhouse Pottery Cheese Stone
This versatile piece will get a lot of use in your friend’s kitchen, especially while entertaining. It’s a go-to serving dish, no matter what she’s feeding her guests. Pop it in the freezer before plating to keep cheese cold, or warm it up in the oven to keep small bites and pizzas warm. With this beautiful stone, the hostess doesn’t have to do much else in terms of decorating the table for a dinner party. The handmade platter may look fragile, but it’s surprisingly durable and can be placed in the dishwasher to clean.
To buy: $78 for the small version, serenaandlily.com.
Vintage Blacksmith Soap/Lotion Caddy
Add some rustic charm to a bathroom with this blackened iron caddy. Inspired by a blacksmith’s work, this set will handsomely corral everyday soap and lotion on the countertop in a master bathroom, or make visitors feel right at home in the entryway powder room. Say goodbye to unsightly bottle labels with these uniform containers that have a blackened finish—the set comes with two blown glass bottles that can be filled with a favorite brand of soap and lotion. The caddy can also be displayed on a dresser or vanity for easy access to beauty products.
To buy: $49, potterybarn.com.
Did you know that the pineapple has been heralded as a symbol for hospitality since colonial times? Share that tidbit and this resin figurine with the friend who is always welcoming guests for brunch or dinner. When it’s time to set the table, she can place the piece in the center to make for an eye-catching addition. It will also look good as an objet on a kitchen counter, console table, or bar cart. Choose between silver or gold finish, depending on her décor style. The metallic finish isn’t too flashy, but it does give off a subtle sparkle.
To buy: $45, dwellstudio.com.
Irwin Hodson Bath Sign
Treat the friend who’s obsessed with anything vintage to this license plate-inspired sign for his bathroom. Bonus points if he already has a collection of antique signs all over his home. The hand-stamped design is made by one of the last remaining private license plate manufacturers in the United States. And it serves two purposes: it makes for interesting wall or door art and it will also direct houseguests to the powder room, so they won’t accidentally stumble into a linen closet or bedroom while trying to find their way around the house. Place it on the bathroom door or the spot above the doorframe.
To buy: $20, rejuvenation.com.
Paddywax Apothecary Collection Jar Candle in Blue Sage/Lavender
Everyone deserves a luxe home item to help him or her kick back and relax after a long day at the office. This candle, with a blue sage and lavender scent, conjures up a comforting vibe. It can be placed in the bathroom to set a soothing mood during bath time or on a nightstand, where it will give off a calming scent when it’s time to unwind before bed. With over 60 hours of burn time, it will be put to good use for months to come. The beautiful blue glass bottle can be recycled as a vase or trinket holder when the candle is finished.
To buy: $19, amazon.com.
Bedside Essentials Pocket
This product was made for lazy weekends spent lounging in bed. And who doesn’t love to spend an entire Saturday binging on Netflix every now and then? They’ll never have to leave the warmth and comfort of their covers to grab something with this bedside pocket. The felt pouch can be placed between the mattress and the bed foundation to keep essentials, like a tablet, phone, headphones, reading glasses, magazines, and books, close by. Or, place it between the couch cushions to hold the TV remote, reading materials, and even small snack bags, while channel surfing.
To buy: $20, uncommongoods.com.
The solid wood serving pedestal will be a lifesaver during cocktail parties, game nights, or movie marathons. It solves the age-old problem of cleaning up discarded shells: the top layer holds eight ounces of delicious pistachios, while the bottom layer is designated to corral any scraps. While the wood dish was created specifically for pistachios (hence the subtle green rim), it can be used for any kind of nut that’s unshelled—think peanuts or walnuts. When it comes time to tidy up, separate the bottom layer from the top, and dump the shells in the trash.
To buy: $48, uncommongoods.com.
Ornate Blush Frame
When you gift this frame, include a few photos or art prints so it won’t remain empty for long. The beautiful shape of this frame gives it an old fashioned, ornamental look, but the light blush color (which is one of the trendiest colors this year) makes the piece feel a little bit more modern. It can hold 5-by-7- or 8-by-10-inch photos and is made to be hung on the wall (it comes with hooks for easy assembling). Since the frame doesn’t have a glass cover, you’ll want to be mindful of what gets placed inside.
To buy: $29, dwellstudio.com.
The Useful Book
Even though Home Economics and Shop classes have been replaced with other lessons, like computer or technology, everyone still needs to know some essential life skills that they don’t teach in school—like how to sew a button or unclog a drain. This book has (almost) all the answers to common household questions. Gift this handbook to the relative or friend who’s straight out of college and living on her own for the first time. She’s sure to refer to it often and learn some useful skills. The step-by-step instructions, helpful illustrations, and handy charts make just about any household dilemma easy to solve.
To buy: $15, amazon.com.
ILoveHandles Plank Floating Cell Phone Wall Mounted Wood Shelf With Magnetic Keyhook
If your friend is the type of person who’s always running late because he can’t find his keys or phone, this smart wall shelf will help him keep everything in its place (and make mornings a little less stressful). It’s not only practical, but also stylish: a floating shelf in all natural wood, solid black, or black walnut finishes will look sleek and unobtrusive with the rest of his dÃ©cor. Plus, it’s functional for the rest of his family or roommates, too—the shelf has a strong magnetic strip that can hold up to three heavy sets of keys.
To buy: $25, amazon.com.
Sloshed Cocktail Napkins
Who says entertaining has to be so stuffy and formal? It’s okay to stray from the usual solid-colored napkins when serving guests wine or cocktails. The set of four humorous napkins—a duck in galoshes who has had a bit too much to drink—make a great addition to her bar cart or entertaining essentials collection. Plus, they will definitely help break the ice and act as a conversation starter for guests who aren’t familiar with each other. And it’s not all silliness; the linen and hemstitching help elevate the set for any kind of occasion.
To buy: $36, domino.com.
Brass Geo Terrarium
You can’t go wrong with a terrarium, a dÃ©cor trend that has seen a big rise in popularity over the past couple of years, mostly because the glass garden containers are both low-maintenance and stylish. Whether she’s a pro gardener or a total novice, this gift won’t go to waste. Plus, it’s perfect for the holiday season, when outdoor gardening is nearly impossible in most of the country. All she needs to do is fill the container with rocks, a bit of soil, some moss, and the plants of her choice. We recommend air plants, succulents, or cacti.
To buy: $20, worldmarket.com.
Two-Piece Salt and Pepper Cellar Set
It’s always a good idea to keep some salt and pepper on hand when cooking—a good dish should always be seasoned. In the kitchen, the set becomes a useful tool whether he’s making soups or stews, or is about to place a pot roast in the oven. Plus, a simple design and peekaboo color ensures the bowls sit pretty on just about any countertop. Or, he can place the stoneware bowls on the dining table for guests to season accordingly (just keep things clean by putting some small serving spoons inside). Luckily, they’re not too fragile either—the bowls are both dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
To buy: $20, amazon.com.
This grained mango wood tray serves multiple purposes: it can be used to dish out drinks and appetizers when entertaining guests, to corral books, magazines, and the TV remote on the coffee table, or to hold kitchen counter essentials like canisters and jars. Whatever her need, one thing is guaranteed: It’s a good organizing and serving piece to keep on hand. The beautiful wood makes the item a classic and fit for any type of dÃ©cor, while the copper handles give it a trendy of-the-moment feel.
To buy: $50, crateandbarrel.com.
Whirly Pop Popcorn Maker
This smart kitchen gadget was made for movie marathons. Why reach for the bag of microwaveable popcorn, when the Whirly Pop will easily deliver freshly popped kernels sans excess oil (it uses just one teaspoon, to be exact)? It may not be as convenient as putting a bag in the microwave, but movie theater-quality popcorn is so much better—and can be prepared in three to five minutes with this machine. Plus, the whole family can get involved in the popcorn making process by taking turns with the crank. With some chocolates and other sweets, that on-demand movie has never been better.
To buy: $30, surlatable.com.
She may already have received a set of go-to dinnerware for her wedding so many years ago, but these bright, colorful appetizer plates add personality to any existing pieces. Pretty plates in just about every color of the rainbow, these dishes make any table a little bit more cheerful. Bring this set of eight out during a cocktail party—each guest can have a designated colored plate to avoid any mix-ups. For everyday use, plate afternoon snacks for the kids on these dishes, or serve up desserts on them. And, if you really want to go the extra mile, pick up a set of the matching bowls too.
To buy: $40, domino.com.
Ocean Wave Salad Servers
The beautiful aqua etchings on these salad servers are an eye-catching, interesting detail. They are made of mango wood, which is known for its striking grain details. These serving tools will be a staple in the kitchen and ideal for entertaining—toss and serve up salads with style. Plus, there’s also a matching serving bowl if you want the whole set—it has the same bright aqua spots on its exterior. Just note that because of the material, these servers shouldn’t be soaked in water or put in the dishwasher, but should be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
To buy: $13, worldmarket.com.
Mushroom Salt & Pepper Shakers
The dining table doesn’t have to be a stuffy, formal spot in the house, especially for gatherings with family or close friends. These bright red and yellow mushroom-shaped salt and pepper shakers with adorable faces will keep any table from being too serious. During holiday gatherings, place these at the kids-only table so they can have a little bit of fun during mealtime. Plus, maybe the cute design will entice them to stay at the table instead of wandering off to play. The cute duo is made of ceramic has a plastic stopper underneath to keep all the contents inside.
To buy: $8, amazon.com.
Melamine Tidbit Plate Set
This set of four glossy melamine plates will get people talking even after they finish their meal, encouraging diners to linger around the table with a couple of glasses of wine. At the bottom of each plate is a charming saying, from “Salut!” to “Care for seconds?” that will surprise dinner guests when they polish off their meal. Each plate is in a different shade, too, so every meal will end with a splash of vibrant color. Plus, the glossy detail gives the set of plates a polished and glam finish. And they are dishwasher safe, to boot.
To buy: $30, bloomingdales.com.
Textured Bright Dip Bowls
Petite, yet bursting with personality, these glazed ceramic bowls have unique color and texture with patterns like lines, honeycomb, and lattice. At just three and a half inches wide, they’re great for serving dips and condiments, and also helpful for a mise en place, which is how chefs and cooks prepare ingredients by placing them in bowls and plates before they start cooking. Collect a few in different colors if you want to give your friend a little variety, or keep it uniform with a set in one color and texture to match their kitchen palette.
To buy: $3, westelm.com.
Double Deck Playing Cards
Add unexpected flair and fun to Saturday game night with a monogrammed deck of cards. When you offer these to your friend, she’ll always know which deck is hers. Not just for game night, these cards also come in handy on long road trips or plane rides, or when you’re enjoying a picnic at the beach or park. The cards come in various color combinations (like candy cane stripe, green and red, and navy and orange), and you can choose from an array of monogram designs so the cards can really be personalized to her tastes. A clear winner in the gifting category.
To buy: $49, markandgraham.com.
Kennebunk Home ‘Bliss Zurich’ Throw
The easiest way to add a luxe touch to a bedroom or living room is by keeping a plush blanket on hand. This one is a warm and super-soft throw ideal for flinging over the sofa—or an unexpected overnight guest. The cozy blanket will be useful for afternoon naps on the couch, or curling up with a good book and a cup of tea in bed. The throw has a stylish gradient stripe in gold or silver hues, depending on your metal of choice. Plus, fringe is in, so this throw is definitely on trend.
To buy: $39, nordstrom.com.
Small Mod Metal Planter
Every home could use a bit of greenery to bring the outdoors in. This one is great for the friend who just moved into a new house or apartment because the minimalist metal planter in metallic gold will wake up a windowsill, tabletop, or kitchen countertop. It comes in white, too, if your friend is looking for a subtler piece. Even if they swear they don’t have a green thumb, plant a succulent or cactus inside when it’s time to gift. These low-maintenance plants don’t require frequent waterings and will do just fine hanging out in a sun-filled spot.
To buy: $10, urbanoutfitters.com.
Charley Harper Original Birds Glasses
Offer these to your nature-loving friends (bonus points if they live in an urban area and can’t take a trip to the great outdoors often). Take the birdwatching indoors with these intricately designed drinking glasses—spot the song sparrow, black and white warbler, painted bunting, and white-breasted nuthatch on each. Designer Todd Oldham took the illustrations of Charley Harper, an American Modernist artist who is known for his wildlife drawings, and turned them into a charming set of glassware. Each glass has a different illustration so guests will always know which one is theirs.
To buy: $37 for a set of four, amazon.com.
Tocca Stella Sapone Soap
This is the time to stock up on beautifully scented soap, especially when it’s wrapped in paper embellished with a beautiful metallic print. This particular soap is made with kukui nut oil, blue-green algae extract, and Vitamin E, all of which moisturizes your skin—because there’s nothing worse than using a harsh soap that leaves your skin feeling dry. An added bonus: This gentle soap has the refreshing scent of Italian blood oranges. Any bathroom will feel a little bit more luxe with this bar on the sink countertop. When it comes time to gift, why not add a beautiful soap dish in the package?
To buy: $12, bluemercury.com.
Every house needs a relaxing scent to make it feel like home. Instead of buying a boring old candle this season, opt to buy a bunch of clean, universally loved fragrances in attractive packaging to have on hand. Trust us, they’ll delight. The recycled glass containers look beautiful on a mantel, coffee table, or nightstand. Offer this to friends who can enjoy it year-round—it has a burn time of about 40 hours. If rosemary isn’t his or her favorite scent, there are also thyme, moss, jasmine, lavender, and magnolia varieties, depending on his or her personal preference.
To buy: $36, amazon.com.
Sagaform White Wine Decanter and Stopper
Rather than offer just a bottle of wine, why not pair it with something elegant (and affordable) to serve it in? This sculptural piece with contemporary flair will elevate anyone’s bar cart or dining table. Plus, it’s a must-have for the friend who loves to host dinner parties or wine nights at home. The glass decanter can also be used to hold water as well—a sophisticated way to allow guests to serve themselves at the dinner table. When it comes time to clean it after use, it only needs to hand washed and carefully dried.
To buy: $30, saksfifthavenue.com.
A classic keepsake that will never go out of style, this simple objet will look right at home perched on a mantel, side table, or bookshelf with other decorative accents, or standing on its own. Or offer this item to the friend with a home office, so he can accessorize his work desk with something other than paper, pens, and a laptop—it will make the spot more interesting without being too distracting. And since the hourglass is filled with a pewter-colored sand, it will work with just about any color palette or home dÃ©cor style.
To buy: $25, target.com.