At first glance, the home seems somewhat immune to innovation. After all, how much can you really improve the light bulb, doorknob or trash can? If 2017 taught us anything, however, it’s that the home doesn’t shy away from fresh perspectives. In fact, it welcomes them.
— Contributions by Jack Seemer, Emily Singer and Andrew Connor
Molekule Air Purifier
Conventional air purifiers rely on HEPA filters, which were developed as part of the Manhattan Project; they haven’t changed much since. Funded through the EPA and Department of Defense, Molekule launched over the summer to much excitement. Why? The air purifier relies patented Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology to eliminate indoor air pollution on the molecular level. According to the company, it’s capable of eliminating pollutants 1,000 times smaller than standard air purifiers.
Marpac Dohm Elite
Earlier this year, Marpac, the company behind the Dohm — which, by the way, is endorsed by everyone from GQ to the The New York Times — finally released an updated version of its beloved, fashionably unfashionable white noise machine. Dubbed the Dohm Elite, the new model was designed by the legendary architecture and design firm Michael Graves Design. It features a slightly sleeker, textured body and comes in five different colors.
Casper Wave Mattress
Casper Sleep debuted a new high-end mattress called the Wave. While the New York-based brand has expanded its product range over the years — including but not limited to pillows and dog mats – this is its first mattress launch since the original Casper came to market in 2014. The Wave features what Casper Sleep calls the Natural Geometry System — a patent-pending support system that conforms to the shape of the sleeper at 36 different points — as well as a hypersensitive top foam layer for a softer, more “liquid-y feeling,” as described by the company’s Chief Product Officer, Jeff Chapin. Deeper sleep won’t come cheap, however; the Wave starts at $1000 for a twin — almost double that of the entry-level Casper.
IKEA Odger Chair
With the Odger — a $75 chair inspired by springform cake pans and ski bindings — IKEA combines sustainable materials with low-effort construction. Available in brown, whitish beige and blue, it’s made from 30 percent recycled wood and at least 55 percent recycled plastic. The rounded edges and bowl-shaped seat stick to the minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic shoppers have come to expect from the Swedish giant.
August Smart Lock Pro
New to August’s respected lineup of smart locks, the Smart Lock Pro is a wifi- and Bluetooth-enabled, HomeKit-compatible deadbolt that borrows from the original August Smart Lock. Coupled with DoorSense, the Smart Lock Pro offers Active Monitoring, a beta program that alerts users if a door has been left ajar for an extended period of time. Designed by Yves Béhar.
Simplehuman Sensor Can with Voice Control
Hear us out: a $250 automatic trash can makes navigating a busy kitchen quicker and less stressful. Especially if you’re short on time and your hands are full. While it features a motion sensor that opens the can with a simple wave of your hand, it’s carrot is the voice control capability. From the couch, just say, “open can,” to channel your inner Steph Curry.
LIFX Mini Day & Dusk Bulb
LIFX, creator of the first wifi-enabled multicolored LED smart bulb, diversified its product line with three new “mini” lights this year. At $45, the LIFX Mini costs $15 less than LIFX’s flagship smart bulb, yet boasts many of the same features, like variable shades of white and full spectrum color. The LIFX Mini Day & Dusk may serve as its most practical addition, however. It lacks the full spectrum color of the original LIFX, but calibrates brightness and light temperature throughout the day in accordance with sunrise and sunset, as well as pre-set wake and sleep times.
Pilgrim Collection Zoé Diffuser
Pilgrim Collections’s Zoé packs a humidifier, aromatherapy defuser and a meditation device all into one device. But it’s real point of difference to most humidifiers and diffusers you’ll find at big-box department store: it’s actually something to feel good about bringing into your home. It features a handsome design constructed from handmade ceramic and oak wood.
Grovemade Desk Shelf System
Grovemade’s Desk Shelf system — handmade in Portland, Oregon, with walnut, pine, leather, aluminum and merino wool — includes an elevated shelf, desk pad, laptop stand and tray. It’s humble, yet genius, in its mission: to create visual borders. It’s also designed to help users quickly transition from digital (computer and keyboard) to analog (pen and paper) workspaces.
Florence Knoll Relaxed Sofa
An icon of mid-century aesthetic, Knoll’s classic lounge sofa — defined by its spare, angular profile — debuted in 1954, finding its way into tens of thousands of homes and office in subsequent years. This year, Knoll began offering a softer, more-relaxed variation of the famous sofa. It features deeper proportions for prolonged comfort. You could call it one for the bingers.
Areaware Bitmap Textiles by Susan Kare
In September, Susan Kare, a digital design pioneer and creator of the icons and fonts for Apple’s original Macintosh operating system, teamed up with housewares company Areaware for a series of double-woven jacquard coasters, tea towels, napkins and placemats made from organic cotton. While not direct copies of Kare’s icons for Apple, the tableware is similarly two-toned and gridded — the ideal upgrade for design obsessives and Apple nerds.
The Best Products of 2017
A look back at the year in gear. From superlative whiskey to sustianable denim, these were the best products released in 2017. Explore the Series