Good design usually involves some form of problem solving—whether the solution is functional, aesthetic, or a little bit of both. Here's a handful of 10 randomly chosen stores that we think do a good job of pinpointing the problems that consumers face and supplying innovative solutions.
Flexible and Adaptable Furnishings
- Smart Furniture: This online store sells adaptable furniture that adjusts to the way people live today. They provide modular options for the 21st century renter or homeowner who moves around a lot and goes through multiple lifestyle changes.
- Flor Modular Carpet Tiles: They sell affordable modular carpet tiles that anyone can install quickly and easily. If you get a stain on your carpet, you can just replace a square. Plus, their products can be sent back to the manufacturer for recycling when you're ready for a new rug.
- Vessel: Based in Boston, this online and in-person store has an impressive list of products they've designed. They created the popular, portable Candela lights, the Squat (shown left, it triples as a desk, shelf, or table), along with many other smart products.
- Resource Furniture: If you live in a small apartment, we recommend checking out New York-based Resource Furniture. They carry expandable tables and sofas that transform into bunk beds. Prices are on the high end, but the furniture is innovative and beautiful.
Smart Cleaning & Organizing
- Chic Shelf Paper: Shelf paper always seems like a good idea until we see the ugly options out there. Francie Christenson felt the same way, so she launched Chic Shelf Paper as a resource for practical and good-looking shelf liners.
- G.U.S. Great Useful Stuff: This online store specializes in affordable "a-ha" products: wall-mounted charging stations for your phone and MP3 player, hangers and systems for your closet, and bins and hampers for kids rooms.
- Simplehuman: Simple Human tends to pay attention to those little details that make a product better—for instance, their dish racks have adjustable spouts that improve drainage, and almost every product comes with a 5-year warranty.
Home Technology & Travel
- Bluelounge: Founded by designers Dominic Symons and Melissa Sunjaya, this online store focuses on good looking solutions to common problems—for example, cord wranglers, adaptable charging stations, and desks designed for laptop users.
- CableOrganizer.com: The site is dedicated to a plethora of wire management, power and data hardware, organizational tech tools and just about anything else that lets you wrangle in the tangle. They're also a good resource for hubs and power strips.
- Flight 001: If you travel a lot and you care about designer style, this is your store. They carry a bunch of compact luggage solutions, small alarm clocks, space-saving packing devices, and smart looking bags designed for people who carry a lot of tech.