Seven Iconic Home Accessories No Design Obsessive Should Be Without

Smart home accents that add timelessness and legacy to any space.

Image courtesy Vitra

An Eames lounge chair. A Saarinen table. A Mies daybed. These are the sort of essential pieces with legacy and provenance around which you can build a room—one that will outlast changing trends and tides. But there are smaller objects, too, that can breathe a bit of modern design history into your home. Here are seven celebrated accent designs that will add provenance to any space.

Nelson Saucer Pendant

Often imitated, but never quite perfectly repeated, George Nelson’s Bubble Lamps for Herman Miller reset the tone for interior lighting with a mix of Japanese and Swedish influences paired with a post-war experimentation with plastics. It’s a design straight from the ‘50s that’s just as fresh and contemporary today as it is familiar and friendly. $395 at Design Within Reach.

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Alessi Mediterraneo Fruit Holder

A youngster on this list, Emma Silvestris’ 2005 steel-and-resin tabletop accent is nonetheless something one doesn’t forget. Certainly, it’s been a bestseller from current steward Alberto Alessi’s successful tenure as head of the company that has brought humor and delight to the kitchen for so long. $110 at LBC Modern.

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Kartell Componibili Storage Unit

With Mies van der Rohe’s “Less is more,” still ringing in everyone’s ears, clutter was very much the enemy as 20th-Century design matured past the Bauhaus and split into a broad array of factions and movements. Anna Castelli Ferrieri responded with this very Italian, very tidy storage unit made by Kartell that manages to combine boldness, grace, and a place to hide your HDMI cords. $185 at Yoox.

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Kartell Shanghai Vase

Again from Kartell and, again, very Italian, is this more recent—though nonetheless indelible—number by Mario Bellini. A veteran of 1960’s European product design, Bellini looked east here, turning the folds of the traditional Asian fan into an undulating vessel and an example of modern playfulness. $370 at Yoox.

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Eames Hang-It-All Coat Rack

When you begin to discuss the way midcentury design reshaped the contemporary home, you can’t get very far without mentioning Charles and Ray Eames. While so many of their standout, headlining chairs, tables, and shelves have become part of the modern design lexicon, their smaller accent pieces, such as this now-iconic coat rack, are just as familiar, smart, and stylistically durable. $185 at Herman Miller.

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Vitra Miniatures Collection: Wassily Chair

An unimpeachable classic, such as Marcel Breuer’s 1925 leather-and-steel minimalist take on the traditional club chair, is always a welcome sight for the eyes. But be it for aesthetic, functional, or financial reasons, it’s not always welcome in every space. Rendered expertly and painstakingly in 1:6 scale however, it’s a happy, cheeky accent that has legacy and travels well. $325 at Design Within Reach.

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Magis Puppy

Whosa good design object? Whosa good design object? Yes you are! Yes you are! $95 at Herman Miller.

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