I like to go into trade shows as if I'm an average consumer out for a day of shopping. I let myself get drawn in by products that I love, whether that be because I like their design or because they'll make life easier - or both! These are ten of my favorite useful items from my visit to the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.
- Galanz has been making air conditioners since 2001 but they're new to North America. I love the mirrored front on this wall mount A/C unit.
- Dry air can be an assault to the senses over the long winter months. This heater from Broksonic not only throws off hot air, it's also a humidifier. Added bonus: the styling is pretty cute.
- Like a Roomba for your windows, Ecovacs' Winbot is a window cleaning robot. Spray a little cleaning solution on the pads, place it on the window and it zig zags around, making short work of cleaning the glass. Here it is in action:
- This air revitalizer from Ecogecko pulls impurities out of the air and traps them in the water reservoir. Freshening up the machine is as easy as dumping out the water and starting with fresh.
- These hooks from Jimmy Hook stick to the wall to hold up to five pounds. They can be pulled back off without leaving residue and reapplied over and over again. The perfect solution when you don't want to or can't put holes in the wall.
- I love anything that helps me skip the laundromat so of course I was drawn to The Laundry Pod. This hand crank washing pod (think lettuce spinner) requires no electricity and it's pretty stylish, too.
- The red plastic cup has become an iconic symbol for good times. Red Cup Living is introducing a line of cups styled after the famous SOLO cups - except these are reusable and dishwasher safe.
- The Numbra Wall Clock from Umbra was inspired by house numbers. It comes with a template for hanging but you can also get creative and spread it out on a wall. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, this would be a good model for a DIY.
- Not only does the Bistro Coffee Maker from Bodum come in an array of fun colors, the back of it is clear plastic, which allows you to see the coffee brewing. Plus, it includes a thermal carafe that will keep your coffee warm for up to seven hours.
- Portable air conditioners are usually big bulbous eyesores but the styling on Whynter's A/C unit is pretty cool. (Ha - see what I did there?!)
(Images: Jason Loper)